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Highway Divison Massachusetts Department of transporatation
Interstate 91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project

Traffic

Overnight Ramp Closures on I-91 North and I-291 West, September 26-30

MassDOT will implement the following closures overnight from Monday, September 26, through Friday, September 30 for the contractor to install temporary construction lighting and perform other work in the interchange area:

  • Exit 8 from I-91 North to I-291 East/Route 20 East: Monday, September 26, and Tuesday, September 27, from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM each night
  • Exit 1A from I-291 West (to I-91 South): Monday, September 26, through Friday, September 30, from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM each night

Signs will be in place indicating the following detour routes:

  • To reach I-291 East/Route 20 East from I-91 North: Take Exit 9 and keep right for Exit 9A to Route 20A East/Main Street. Merge onto Plainfield Street, then turn right onto Main Street. Turn left onto Liberty Street, then turn left onto Chestnut Street. Take the ramp on the right to access I-291 East/Route 20 East.
  • To reach I-91 South from I-291 West: Take Exit 2B on I-291 West and follow signs for Dwight Street. Turn left on Dwight Street, then turn right on State Street. Turn left on West Columbus Avenue/Hall of Fame Avenue, and bear left after crossing Union Street, to merge onto I-91 South.

MassDOT advises drivers to plan for additional travel time through this area.

Please Plan for Additional Travel Time During the Big E, September 16 - October 2

MassDOT advises drivers to plan for additional travel time through the I-91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project work zone in Springfield during the Eastern States Exposition ("Big E"). The Big E fair begins on Friday, September 16, and continues through Sunday, October 2. MassDOT is coordinating closely with Exposition management and first responders on traffic mitigation during the fair.

MassDOT conducted an analysis of traffic volumes and patterns with the current viaduct construction staging in place, plus anticipated additional traffic impacts during the Big E. As a result, MassDOT will deploy 17 additional message boards during the fair in and around the Viaduct project area. The boards will inform drivers of revised routes to take given the viaduct lane reductions and ramps closures in place, alternate routes that can also be used to distribute traffic, and provide information on availability of parking at the fairgrounds. The I-91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project's highway advisory radio, 530 AM, will also include messages related to the Big E.

MassDOT appreciates drivers' patience during this busy time and encourages everyone to travel safely.

Dynamic Lane Merge System Pilot Program

MassDOT is exploring a pilot program for the Dynamic Lane Merge System in the work zone on I-91 South. MassDOT will install traffic sensors and portable, changeable message signs in advance of ongoing lane closures (see below). The signs will provide instructions to drivers on lane use based on the existing traffic volume and speeds. When traffic is low and travel speeds are high, drivers will be advised to merge early. To reduce congestion during high traffic volumes while drivers are traveling at lower speeds, drivers will be instructed to remain in their respective lanes and take turns merging where the lane ends. The system is intended to enhance safety and improve traffic flow in the work zone.

I-91 Long-Term Lane Reductions, Ramp Closures and Detour Routes Continue through Spring 2018

During Stage 1B, the inner travel lanes of I-91 North and South along the median are closed for deck replacement. I-91 north and southbound traffic is shifted to the right, using the areas formerly occupied by the shoulder and outside travel lane. This lane configuration will continue through winter 2016.

The 40 miles per hour (MPH) reduced speed limit in the construction zone (and 45 MPH limit approaching the zone) will continue to be enforced by State Police monitoring the area and fines are doubled. These limits will be in place for the duration of the project. View a map showing where the reduced speed limits are in effect.

Long-Term Ramp Closures

The following ramps were closed on December 20, 2015 for safety and operational reasons, and to expedite construction. They will remain closed through spring 2018:

  • Birnie Avenue connector (closed since October 2015)
  • Union Street on-ramp to I-91 North
  • State Street on-ramp to I-91 North
  • Exit 7 (Hall of Fame Avenue / Downtown Springfield) off-ramp from I-91 South
  • Exit 6 (Union Street) off-ramp from I-91 South
  • Route 20 connector to I-91 South

The following ramp will be closed in winter 2016 for the first part of Stage 2 when traffic is initially shifted to the center of the viaduct:

  • Exit 9 off-ramp from I-91 North to Route 20 West/Route 20A East to West Springfield/Westfield

MassDOT closed the Birnie Avenue Connector in October and has built a new West Columbus Avenue/Birnie Avenue off-ramp (temporary Exit 7-6) for I-91 southbound traffic to access downtown Springfield, the Memorial Bridge, and the Basketball Hall of Fame area.

Take Temporary Exit 7-6 to Access Greater Springfield

MassDOT encourages drivers to use Temporary Exit 7-6 for easier access to West Columbus Avenue and the greater Springfield area destinations previously served by the closed exit ramps, including Boland Way/Downtown, the Springfield Parking Authority I-91 Garages, the Memorial Bridge, and the Basketball Hall of Fame area. After the I-391 merge at the Chicopee Curve, keep right. The right lane on I-91 South connects traffic to Temporary Exit 7-6. The second from the right lane provides access to I-291 East/Exit 8. For more information, view the I-91 southbound lanes diagram.

Detour Routes and Maps

Signs are in place indicating all detour routes. Detour routes for car and truck traffic may vary and are indicated below.

Please review the detour route maps for more information:

Detour Directions:

  • Through Traffic Traveling North and South on I-91: Traveling north, two lanes remain open on the viaduct. Traveling south, I-91 is reduced from two lanes to one lane in the area of the I-291 interchange; south of the interchange, two lanes remain open. Heavier traffic can be expected at peak hours.
  • To Downtown Springfield and Hall of Fame Avenue from I-91 South (Southbound Detours Map): After passing Exit 11 to Route 20 West/Birnie Avenue, keep right. Take the temporary Exit 7-6 from I-91 South. Merge onto West Columbus Avenue and continue south onto East Columbus Avenue through the rail underpass. Bear right onto West Columbus Avenue behind the I-91 North Garage. Continue onto Hall of Fame Avenue, or turn left onto Boland Way for downtown.
  • To Memorial Bridge/West Springfield from I-91 South (Southbound Detours Map): After passing Exit 11 to Route 20 West/Birnie Avenue, keep right. Take the temporary Exit 7-6 from I-91 South. Merge onto West Columbus Avenue and continue south onto East Columbus Avenue and past the I-91 North Garage. Turn right onto Boland Way and continue onto the Memorial Bridge to reach West Springfield.
  • To I-91 North or Route 20 West from Downtown Springfield (Closed State Street/Union Street On-Ramps) (Northbound Detours Map): Continue north on East Columbus Avenue for about a mile. Merge left to the ramp to I-91 North/Route 20 West/Exit 9B. Keep left to enter I-91 North, or bear right for Route 20 West/Exit 9B.
  • To I-291 East from Downtown Springfield (Closed State Street/Union Street On-Ramps) (Northbound Detours Map): From East Columbus Avenue, turn right onto Liberty Street. Proceed to the third traffic light and turn left onto Chestnut Street, then turn right onto the ramp to enter I-291 East.
  • To Downtown Springfield from I-291 West (Additional Detours Map):
    Cars: From I-291 West, take Exit 2B and turn left onto Dwight Street. Turn right onto Liberty Street. Turn left on Main Street to access Downtown Springfield.
    Trucks: From I-291 West, take Exit 2B and turn left onto Dwight Street. Turn right onto Liberty Street and turn right onto East Columbus Avenue. Turn left onto Emery Street and left again onto West Columbus Avenue. Continue to East Columbus Avenue through the rail underpass. Bear right onto West Columbus Avenue behind the I-91 North Garage. Continue onto Hall of Fame Avenue, or turn left onto Boland Way for downtown.
  • To Downtown Springfield from Birnie Avenue (Additional Detours Map):
    Cars: From Birnie Avenue, turn left onto Arch Street. Turn right onto Main Street.
    Trucks: From Birnie Avenue, turn left onto Arch Street. Turn right onto Main Street and turn right onto Liberty Street. Turn right onto East Columbus Avenue, then turn left onto Emery Street and left again onto West Columbus Avenue. Continue to East Columbus Avenue through the rail underpass. Bear right onto West Columbus Avenue behind the I-91 North Garage. Continue onto Hall of Fame Avenue, or turn left onto Boland Way for downtown.
  • To I-91 South from Route 20/Plainfield Street in Springfield (Additional Detours Map): Head east on Plainfield Street (Route 20) and take the exit toward I-91 South/I-291 East/Route 20 East. Keep right to follow signs for Hall of Fame Avenue. Merge onto West Columbus Avenue and continue onto East Columbus Avenue. Bear right onto West Columbus Avenue and continue onto Hall of Fame Avenue. At the traffic signal at Union Street, use the second lane from the left. After crossing Union Street, bear left onto the on-ramp to I-91 South.
  • Alternative Detour to I-91 South from Birnie Avenue (Birnie Avenue Alternative Detours Map): Head north on Birnie Avenue and turn right onto Wason Avenue. Turn left onto Main Street (State Route 116), which becomes Center Street in Chicopee. Take a right at the ramp signed “To I-91 Springfield Greenfield.” Merge left onto I-391 South. Take Exit 1A on I-391 to enter I-91 South

Other Restrictions

During construction, the north entrance to the North Parking Garage below the Viaduct is closed. The north exit remains open, but only right turns are permitted out of the garage, providing access onto East Columbus Avenue.

The contractor has restored a right turn only lane at the intersection of Boland Way and East Columbus Avenue, which was previously removed.

Vehicular Width Restrictions on I-91 and I-291 in Springfield

Due to construction, MassDOT has set maximum vehicle widths in the following locations:

  • I-91 South in the vicinity of the I-91/I-291 Interchange - 11 feet maximum width
  • Exit 8 from I-91 North to I-291 East/Route 20 East - 14 feet maximum width
  • Exit 1A from I-291 West to I-91 South - 11 feet maximum width

Traffic Mitigation

MassDOT has undertaken significant planning to improve traffic flow during the ramp and lane closures. Working with the City of Springfield, MassDOT developed detour plans and local improvements, as well as a comprehensive monitoring program of key corridors and intersections. Signs direct drivers to many Springfield destinations. The traffic plan is constantly updated based on ongoing monitoring. In addition, traffic mitigation includes:

  • Police details at critical intersections during peak periods
  • Monitoring cameras tied into the City of Springfield's system
  • Real Time Traffic Management System signage, known as RTTM
  • Incident Response Operations in case of a breakdown on the viaduct
  • Aid provided to emergency responders for efficient responses
  • Highway advisory radio

Traffic Resources

  • Want to learn more about travel options in your area? MassRIDES is here to improve your commute, which can help you to be healthier, save money, and reduce your carbon footprint. Pick a day and try something different - even a few days a month can make a big difference! MassRIDES also provides reward opportunities for green commuters through our NuRide program. To learn more about MassRIDES, visit www.commute.com, call 1.888.4COMMUTE, or visit MassRIDES on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Visit the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority website to learn about public transit options.
  • View a map of Park & Ride Lots throughout the Commonwealth.
  • Check out other MassDOT Traffic and Travel Resources.
  • Find information for alternative modes of travel
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