STUDY PURPOSE AND BACKGROUND
MassDOT is conducting a conceptual planning study of Interstate 91 (I-91) between I-291 in Springfield in the north, and the Connecticut state line in the south. The primary focus of the study is the elevated structure, or viaduct, which parallels the Connecticut River and stands as a structural and visual divide between much of downtown Springfield and the river. For more details, see the Study Area Map.
Civic, business and political leaders in Springfield have been discussing options for improving the economy and environment of their city for some time. MassDOT’s Office of Transportation Planning initiated the I-91 Viaduct Study to identify existing issues and evaluate alternative alignments for the viaduct section. These may include examination of at-grade and below-grade alternatives, 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 than the existing configuration. For example, the I-91 viaduct currently stands as a barrier between downtown Springfield and the Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway. The study will also identify ways to strengthen both the multi-modal accommodations within Springfield and the connections between downtown Springfield and the waterfront.
Concurrently with this study, MassDOT is starting replacement the deck of the I-91 viaduct between State Street and I-291 in mid-2015 to address urgent safety needs as part of the I-91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project. The existing viaduct was built in the late 1960s, and major rehabilitation of the structure is needed. The deck replacement project is intended to ensure that the viaduct remains a safe structure, serving the city and region while a long-term vision for I-91 can be developed through this study and subsequently implemented.