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I-91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project

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About The Project

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is undertaking the Interstate 91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project to replace the existing deck of the bridge, which is in poor condition. The project will use accelerated bridge construction techniques to reduce the number of traffic stages and keep construction duration to a minimum. Once completed, the I-91 viaduct deck replacement project will reduce annual maintenance costs, increase safety and accessibility on this busy interstate, and ensure long-term serviceability.

The southern limit of the project includes I-91 northbound and southbound, just south of State Street. The northern limit of the work is in the vicinity of the I-291 interchange ramps. Rehabilitation of the various on and off ramps between these limits and the I-291 ramp structures is included in this project. For more details, see the Deck Replacement Details Map

The proposed bridge cross section will be similar to the existing bridge width, with a wider left shoulder, three travel lanes and a wider right shoulder. Two travel lanes in each direction will be open for the length of the project. In addition to the bridge and highway improvements within the limits of the viaduct, MassDOT is proposing bridge drainage system enhancements that will improve water quality in the Connecticut River. For more information on the project, please read the project's Frequently Asked Questions.

Upcoming Meetings/Projected Schedule

MassDOT held a 25% Design Public Hearing on May 20 at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. Nearly 60 people participated and the meeting was covered on television, radio and in print media. The presentation from the hearing is linked below. You can read the results of a recent online survey on travel and traffic patterns, which will help MassDOT assess potential detours and improvements.

MassDOT will provide additional opportunities to learn more about the project and construction plans. You can sign up for email updates.

Public Meeting Documents

Projected Schedule

  • Bridge Design Completed - June 2014
  • Highway Design Completed - June 2014
  • Environmental Clearance Issued - July 2014
  • Design/Bid/Build Contract Awarded - February 2015
  • Notice to Proceed (Construction Begins) – April 2015

Background

The elevated viaduct carries Interstate 91 (I-91) through Springfield, with the Interstate 291 (I-291) Interchange to the north and State Street to the south. I-91 has an Average Daily Traffic volume of approximately 75,000 vehicles per day, with 90,000 vehicles using the I-91/291 Interchange. The viaduct is the primary North-South route between Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, and it experiences extensive vacation traffic during the weekends in the summer and winter.

The existing viaduct was built in the late 1960s and generally consists of a concrete deck slab supported on steel girders. The girders are supported by steel pier caps, column piers, and footings with pile foundations. Several rehabilitation projects were performed on the structures over the past 25 years; however, in recent inspections, MassDOT found that the bridge deck needs to be replaced.

Construction

The project involves replacing the concrete bridge deck with full depth concrete deck panels, painting of all structural steel, replacement of the bridge bearings, improvement of the bridge drainage and highway lighting, miscellaneous structural steel repairs, improvement to the traffic signage on the structure and various other safety improvements in the immediate vicinity of the bridge.

Traffic Management

Construction will take place in phases with two travel lanes in each direction remaining open for the duration of the project. Regional traffic will be maintained on the existing bridge and local traffic will be maintained on the surrounding city streets, including East and West Columbus Avenues. Traffic will be managed during the deck replacement through a combination of lane closures and shifts to establish work zones on the interior and then exterior of the northbound and southbound viaduct to complete the work.

In addition to the lane reduction on the viaduct, ramp closures will be needed through the work area. Exits 6 and 7 on I-91 southbound will be closed and traffic detoured to a temporary ramp to be constructed north of Exit 8 to provide access to downtown Springfield via West and East Columbus Avenues. The on-ramps to I-91 northbound from both State and Union Streets will also need to be closed. I-91 northbound access will be provided via East Columbus Avenue, with I-291 access provided via a detour off of East Columbus Avenue to Liberty and Dwight Streets.

Accelerated Bridge Techniques

In an effort to expedite construction and reduce project impacts on the traveling public, the rehabilitation will employ accelerated bridge construction techniques. These innovative techniques are designed to help reduce construction impacts and streamline the work. In addition, they help MassDOT to complete projects on-time and on-budget with minimum disruption to people and commerce.

The goal of the project is to reduce the number of traffic stages and keep construction to a minimum. The contractor will use prefabricated elements to help meet this goal. Full depth precast deck panels will be fabricated offsite and shipped to the work site for placement and connection to existing steel girders.

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