Gov. Patrick Announces $200M for I-91 Viaduct Project in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Gov. Deval Patrick has announced that $200 million has been allocated for the first phase of repairing the I-91 viaduct in Springfield.
Patrick made the announcement Tuesday afternoon at a luncheon of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield …. and he couldn’t have come to town today with better news.
The two mile stretch of roadway was completed in 1968, but has begun to show its age.
On the average, 75,000 to 100,000 vehicles drive through downtown Springfield on I-91 every day and the bridge decks on the elevated part of the highway are in poor condition and in need of replacement.
The upper level of the I-91 parking garage, right underway the highway, had to be closed recently because of falling debris.
Earlier this month, Mass. Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey called the viaduct “the poster child for neglect of transportation infrastructure.”
“And that viaduct which is the only way to get north and south on I-91 in downtown Springfield is long past its useful life as they say. We can’t just prop it up we’ll have to replace it,” Governor Patrick says.
The $200 million commitment is music to the city’s ears.
“(This) is a legacy project. Something that is going to affect generations to come. We have a chance to enhance the 91-viaduct,” explains Mayor Sarno.
Construction on replacing the I-91 decks is scheduled to begin a year from now, next November, with completion three years after that. Besides replacing the decks, phase two of the project involves a study to see if a section of I-91 further south needs to be re-configured.
“For example at the Basketball Hall of Fame the viaduct itself really cuts through the downtown and separates the Basketball Hall of Fame (from) downtown. If we were to bring it below or at grade just the visual aesthetic alone would be significant … it could potentially create more parking space,” notes Davey.
The phase two study will be funded through the $200 million announcement today.
MassDOT spends about $2 million a year in repairs and quick fixes.