A massive transportation project may be in the works for Springfield according to the head of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Secretary Richard Davey said major repairs were needed for the Interstate 91 viaduct Monday.
Davey said the state spends about $2 million a year on what he described as band-aids on the existing road deck built about 50 years ago. Chunks of concrete have been falling at the Springfield Parking Authority garage for some time and Friday the upper level under the interstate was closed.
State lawmakers were working on legislation to provide bond money for Interstate 91 in Springfield and several other projects around the state. Davey said the viaduct in Springfield was at the top of the list for projects. He said the overhaul would likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The state would look for federal funding, but Davey said they had to assume the state would have to pay for the entire project.
Davey met with state senators, Gale D. Candaras of Wilbraham and James T. Welch of West Springfield on Monday to discuss several projects. Among other items on the list, a portion of Route 5, also known as Longmeadow Street, in Longmeadow. Davey also toured the infamous rotary in East Longmeadow in front of town hall. Seven roads converge in the area and a city worker said she can see an accident there every day from her window.
Davey said a final decision on the bonding issue should be done by Thanksgiving and a plan for a permanent fix on Interstate 91 in Springfield was expected by the end of the year.
The DOT already began emergency repairs on the parking garage under the highway over the weekend. It wasn't clear how long those emergency repairs would take, but parking in downtown Springfield had become very crowded at area parking areas.
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