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Interstate 91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project

Project Overview

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is undertaking the Interstate 91 (I-91) Viaduct Rehabilitation Project to replace the existing deck of the bridge, which is in poor condition. The project is the result of several years of planning and valuable input from a wide variety of stakeholders. MassDOT designed the project to reduce the number of traffic stages and keep construction duration to a minimum. Once completed, the I-91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project will increase safety and accessibility on this busy interstate, reduce annual maintenance costs, and ensure long-term service.

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 middle of the Interstate 291 (I-291) interchange. Rehabilitation of the various on- and off-ramps between these limits and the I-291 ramp structures to and from the south is included in this project. For more details, see the Deck Replacement Details Map.

The completed bridge cross-section will be similar to the existing bridge width, with a wider left shoulder, the same number of travel lanes, and a wider right shoulder. MassDOT will provide new lighting on the structure, upper parking garage levels and surface streets below. The contractor will replace the entire bridge deck, make repairs to and paint structural steel and bearings, and install a new drainage system. Other safety improvements will be included at the I-291 and I-91 interchange, including construction of a barrier to stop I-291 traffic from weaving across I-91 south to access Exit 7 to the Memorial Bridge and downtown.

To create the space required to demolish and replace the existing deck, there will generally be a one-lane reduction in the number of travel lanes on I-91 during construction. On I-91 southbound, there will be one travel lane north of the I-291 ramps, with two lanes maintained south of I-291.  Two lanes will be open to traffic on the northbound I-91 viaduct, with occasional exceptions possible. 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. The work also includes pavement markings, cement concrete sidewalks and wheelchair ramps, granite curb, landscaping, and other incidental upgrades.

Projected Schedule

Based on MassDOT’s May 21, 2015, Notice to Proceed, the Contractor, the Joint Venture (JV) of JF White-Schiavone, is to complete the work within the following contract milestones:

Milestone No. 3 – Full Beneficial Use of I-91, I-291, and Associated Ramps - August 6, 2018

Milestone No. 2 – Substantial Completion - November 6, 2018

Milestone No. 1 – Final Acceptance - February 4, 2019

The contract contains provisions for incentive payments and disincentive deductions of $50,000 per day for up to 180 days to be applied for early and late completion respectively of the Full Beneficial Use milestone.  The JV’s schedule indicates the Contractor expects to achieve Full Beneficial Use of the highway and ramps in Spring 2018. Anticipated key dates are outlined below.

  • July 2015 through December 2015 - Stage 1A, Preliminary Work
  • December 2015 to November/December 2016 - Stage 1B, Inside Lanes and Ramps Closed
  • November/December 2016 to Spring 2018 - Stage 2, Inside Lanes Opened, Outside Lanes Closed, Ramps Remain Closed
  • Spring 2018 - Traffic Restored on the Viaduct and Temporary Alignments Removed
  • Late Fall 2018 - Structural Steel Painted and Finishing Tasks Completed
  • December 2018 - Contract Completed

Projected schedule is based on the Joint Venture’s schedule submitted to MassDOT, and is subject to change. Read more about construction stages on the Construction Page.

Background

The elevated viaduct carries I-91 through Springfield, with the north limit of the structure in the middle of the I-291 Interchange and the south limit just south of State Street. I-91 has an Average Daily Traffic volume of approximately 75,000 vehicles, with 90,000 vehicles using the I-91/291 Interchange. The existing viaduct was put into service in 1970 and generally consists of a reinforced concrete deck slab supported on steel girders. The girders are supported by steel pier caps, reinforced concrete column piers, and footings with pile foundations. A partial rehabilitation of the structure was completed in 2001 and modifications to the south part of the structure were completed in 2007 to accommodate the ramp reversals serving riverfront redevelopment associated with the Basketball Hall of Fame. In recent years, emergency repairs to patch the reinforced concrete deck became increasingly frequent, inspections indicated the deck was structurally deficient and MassDOT concluded that the bridge deck needs to be replaced.

Project Goals

The I-91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project will restore a key element of the regional transportation system. I-91 serves the City of Springfield and the neighboring communities of West Springfield, Agawam, Longmeadow, and East Longmeadow, as well as serving as a primary route between Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. Replacing the deck will improve safety and accessibility, reduce annual maintenance costs and lane shutdowns for repairs, and provide many years of service.

I-91 Viaduct Study

In addition to the I-91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project, MassDOT is conducting a conceptual planning study that will recommend and analyze future alternatives for the viaduct section of I-91. Alternatives may include examination of at-grade and below-grade options, which may be less disruptive to the urban environment and provide a regional highway connection that is more environmentally and financially sustainable in the long-term. The study and the implementation of recommendations will take many years to complete, so the two projects are taking place concurrently. To learn more and participate in the I-91 Viaduct Study, visit the study website.
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