PVPC: I-91 viaduct repairs hopefully begin in months - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

PVPC: I-91 viaduct repairs hopefully begin in months

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

In what seems to be a repeated pattern, part of the I-91 viaduct crumbled to the ground on Tuesday.

This time, it caused some emergency repairs to the State Street underpass.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation said there were no injuries reported with this latest incident of "spalling," which is what it is called when loose concrete falls to the ground.

While plans are in the works, officials said it will be years before the viaduct is fixed.

"Right now, we have a billion dollars of projects in the queue somewhere," said Timothy Brennan, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. "We don't have a billion dollars."

Brennan said, as a conservative estimate, there will be around $400 million over the next twenty years for projects across the region.

On top of that, he told CBS 3 that a large sum of money will be dedicated to fixing the viaduct.

"It has over a $230 million price tag," said Brennan. "The hopeful timeline is that it gets advertised this month, awarded by the end of the calendar year and begin as early as the winter of 2015."

Brennan said on an expedited schedule, the project will be complete in three years.

Typically it would take six.

Jacques Jarrett lives in the city and drives over the viaduct on a daily basis.

When he hears three years, one thing comes to mind.

"Time," said Jarrett. "Time that is spent in traffic around 5 p.m., when it's time to go home."

The falling debris has led to an uptick in business for Century Parking.

Their lot is located right across the street from the Hampden County Hall of Justice.

"Because of all of the issues they've been having with it, parking underneath I-91, we're receiving all of the overflow from that," said Nicholas Gove, a parking attendant at the lot. "So all of the jury pool parking, they all come over here in the morning."

Brennan said the department of transportation has pledged to have the viaduct work have as little impact as possible, but he knows not everyone will be happy.

"There's just things you can't overcome," said Brennan. "We've got to shut some ramps down to work on them. There's no two ways about it."

Western Massachusetts residents have until this Friday, Sept. 5, to fill out a survey, that will help the commission set new criteria for how future money will be spent.

Brennan said the survey is quite different from the last one done in the early 2000s.

To complete the survey, it can be found at:

http://www.pvpc.org/content/survey-transportation-projects-are-important-you

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