Downtown Springfield Businesses Concerned About Viaduct Construction
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — A massive $260 million highway rehabilitation project is in the works for the I-91 Viaduct in downtown Springfield.
I-91 is not that far away from downtown restaurants like the Red Rose Pizzeria.
The elevated highway section through downtown needs to be repaired. One lane will be closed in both directions.
Keeping traffic flowing is a major challenge.
Local restaurants like the Red Rose are closely watching the project.
“Obviously, traffic will slow down a little bit, but people will have to be patient with the construction. I really don’t think it will impact the business, to be honest with you, it will take longer to get here after you get off the highway,” says Rita Caputo-Capua, Manager of the Red Rose.
Across the highway on the riverfront side is Max’s Tavern.
“It might be a little too early to speculate how that would affect our business, but where we might want to keep an eye on it is our happy hour business, during that rush hour,”says Trevor Gilberti, Manager of Max’s Tavern.
There are concerns across the downtown area.
“What needs to be very careful, is that economic spin-off, things we need to pay attention to as we repair it, so the concerns are really keeping traffic moving and keeping as much parking as we possibly can,” says Jeff Ciuffreda, President of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield.
That’s because those parking spaces under the highway will be lost when the elevated highway is under construction.
When construction begins, the project is expected to take at least two years to complete.