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Highway Divison Massachusetts Department of transporatation
Interstate 91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project

Construction

Construction Phases

The project involves replacing the reinforced concrete bridge deck, painting of all structural steel, replacing the bridge bearings, improving bridge drainage and highway lighting on and under the structure, miscellaneous structural steel repairs, improving traffic signage on the structure, and various other safety improvements in the immediate vicinity of the viaduct.

The deck replacement work is taking place in two major phases. Generally, the number of travel lanes on the viaduct has been reduced by one in each direction to demolish and replace about one half of the roadway width per phase. Two travel lanes in each direction remain open for the duration of the project south of the I-291 Interchange. Within the I-291 Interchange area, where I-91 currently has two travel lanes in each direction, the southbound side of I-91 is reduced to one lane, the northbound side is generally two lanes. Regional traffic is maintained on the existing viaduct and local traffic is maintained on the surrounding city streets, including East and West Columbus Avenues/Hall of Fame Avenue. During construction, traffic is being managed through a combination of lane closures and shifts to establish work zones on the interior and then exterior of the north and southbound viaduct to complete the work.

Stage 1A: July 2015 to Mid-December 2015

This phase of work included work on the viaduct and on local streets to prepare for upcoming construction phases:

  • Preemptive repairs to the bridge deck helped prepare the two outer lanes of I-91 North and South to handle traffic while rehabilitation of the inner lanes takes place.
  • Reconfiguration of local roads to prepare for increased traffic volume.
  • Construction of West Columbus Avenue Extension to help improve traffic flow.
  • Construction of a temporary off-ramp from I-91 southbound at Birnie Avenue to carry traffic onto local streets to reach downtown Springfield.
  • Construction of a Real Time Traffic Management System.

Stage 1B: Mid-December 2015 to November/December 2016

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Travel lanes on the I-91 Viaduct looking north during Stage 1B construction

This phase of work included closing the inner travel lanes of I-91 north and southbound along the median for deck reconstruction. I-91 north and southbound traffic was shifted to the right, using the shoulder and breakdown lanes. Speed limits were reduced through the work area and are being enforced. The contractor demolished and replaced the deck in the area of the median and high speed lane(s) of I-91, along with the I-291 on-ramp to I-91 southbound, and the left side of the I-291 off-ramp from I-91 North, in phases.

Stage 2: November/December 2016 to Spring 2018

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Currently underway, this phase of work includes shifting traffic on the I-91 Viaduct from the outer lanes to the center, newly reconstructed lanes. Traffic on I-91 North was shifted in November 2016 and traffic on I-91 South was shifted in December 2016. Construction is taking place in the low-speed travel lane and shoulder portions of the viaduct, along with the I-91 northbound on-ramp to I-291 East. The ramps closed in Stage 1B remain closed during Stage 2. Additionally, the Exit 9 off-ramp from I-91 North to Route 20 West/Route 20A East is closed through the end of Stage 2. For more information and to view detour routes and directions, visit the Traffic page.

Spring 2018: Full Use of I-91 Northbound and Southbound

The full width of I-91 north and southbound will be restored and in use by traffic. The Joint Venture will begin removing temporary alignments of local roads that were built in Stage 1A. The Birnie Avenue temporary off-ramp will be removed as well, along with the West Columbus Avenue Extension.

Late Fall 2018: Finish Painting the Structural Steel

The Joint Venture will paint the structural steel, install municipal street lighting, and complete all final paving and traffic markings on local streets. All disturbed areas will also be restored and final tasks will be completed.

January 2019: Contract Completion

The completed I-91 viaduct will be open and in use, with slightly wider shoulders, new lighting, and stormwater improvements to help protect local water quality.  The contractor will be fully demobilized from the project area.

Construction Impacts

Major highway infrastructure projects inevitably affect people who visit, live, and work in the project area. The Joint Venture is responsible for safely and appropriately mitigating traffic, noise and dust impacts to abutting properties and motorists. Read more about traffic impacts on the Traffic page.

Dust Impacts

The Joint Venture is responsible for controlling construction-related dust emissions at all times during construction. Water, calcium chloride and soil stabilizers may be applied to control dust with sprinklers, tanks, trucks, and other devices. Wind screens and/or wind barriers will also be used to control the spread of dust between sidewalks and the work zone. The following techniques will help prevent the generation of dust:

  • Applying water when cutting concrete and asphalt (no dry cutting)
  • Spraying water during demolition and when loading materials into equipment and vehicles
  • Covering stockpiles with plastic tarps
  • Dropping excavated or aggregate materials from minimal heights

Noise Impacts

Some noise is to be expected for a major construction project. The Joint Venture is responsible for monitoring noise at sensitive locations near the work zone and minimizing impacts on abutters. Please complete this form to report a noise issue related to construction.

The JV is using several noise mitigation techniques during demolition and construction:

  • All heavy trucks and equipment have been retrofitted with self-adjusting back-up alarms, which limit the sound to a set volume above the ambient (background) noise.
  • The JV has taken initial readings of ambient noise in the work zone to establish a baseline for comparison. Additionally, all equipment has been tested to ensure it is operating within the manufacturer’s specification.
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