SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — The sign at Neil Tierney’s Shell Station says it all. It blinks with a plea for workers to re-open the ramp from Whitings Farm Road to I-91 South.
“I just want the thing open, I mean it’s affecting individuals, it’s affecting businesses,” Tierney said. “You know I’ve been in business for 26 years and I want to stay in business.”
Since the I-91 ramp closed over one month ago, Tierney says he has lost 40% of his business. He’s had to cut back hours during his busy season, but here’s the thing that gets him, and others:
“I don’t know what the issue is, but they are not working, you can see they are not working on it,” Tierney said.
“I see that every day. There’s nothing there,” Jordan Carriere said. “I was wondering, why is it blocked off.”
MassHighway says “The contractor is doing deck repairs to a bridge adjacent to the ramp you’re asking about. There was no safe way to merge the traffic from the ramp and from the mainline of I-91, so we had to close the ramp while it is under construction.”
Businesses say the longer these signs stay dark and no actual work gets done, the more money they lose.
“All the people going to the mall are going to go out the backside now and get back on I-91 in West Springfield and the people that go north on the weekends,” Tierney said. “When they come back south on the weekend, they are not going to get off here because they can’t get back on here. I’ve lost those people now indefinitely.”
“Every once and a while I hear customers complain,” Carriere said. “I have a couple staff that live on the southbound near Springfield, and they’ll complain about it, that’s for sure.”
The state says the Whiting Farms Road ramp will re-open mid-July of this summer. The ramp construction is part of a nearly $15 million dollar project to repair 16 bridges along the highway. The overall project includes bridge preservation, ramp resurfacing, improved drainage, and clearer safety markings.