MassDOT is beginning roadway design work on one of the alternatives under review as part of the Northampton I-91 Interchange 19 Study.
Alternative 13A includes a roundabout at the I-91 northbound Damon Road-Route 9 intersection exit ramp along with I-91 southbound entrance intersection improvements, including ramp widening, signal modifications, and an additional left turn lane on Route 9 to I-91 southbound.
The additional left turn lane on Route 9 will extend under the I-91 overpass bridge. The sidewalk on the north side of the roadway will be relocated behind the piers.
The study begun in 2009 seeks to improve mobility in the I-91 Exit 19 area. The entire project includes traffic analysis, roadway design, environmental analysis, and significant community input. To date, there have been more than 11 meetings with a Project Advisory Committee and two public meetings. The Committee of neighborhood, City, and regional representatives has been instrumental in guiding the project and offering input on the alternatives that were being considered, encouraging additional design work to address bicycle and pedestrians. A majority of Committee members have voiced support for Alternative 13A.
The project preliminary 25% Design is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, with completion of the 100% Design Plan by the end of 2016 and construction completion by 2019, depending on funding availability. MassDOT will continue to work with the Committee through the project design phase, including holding several additional meetings.
Additional information on the I-91 Interchange 19 project is available on the project website at www.mass.gov/massdot/interchange19. Learn more about the project alternatives and the 2004 Connecticut River Crossing Transportation study after the break.
When the current study began in 2009, there were 12 alternatives under consideration, including alternatives for a full interchange at Exit 19 as recommended in the 2004 Connecticut River Crossing Transportation Study. MassDOT initiated the study to develop a more comprehensive program of regional solutions to transportation congestion and safety problems in the area.
After bringing all options to the Advisory Committee and public and conducting a traffic and environmental analysis, the study team narrowed the options to six alternatives – a No Build Alternative, four build alternatives, and one Transportation Demand Management (TDM) package alternative. The TDM alternative was intended to reduce congestion by reducing vehicular traffic volume. Elements of the TDM alternative included more frequent bus services, improved connection to the Norwottuck Rail Trail, Transit Signal Priority, and discounted bus fares through an employer based system.
After more thorough review, Alternative 13A was identified as providing maximum benefits with the most cost-efficient, practical, and widely-supported approach. While Alternative 13A was identified as the preferred approach, there are elements of the TDM alternative that were noted as beneficial. Some of these elements are currently under various states of implementation while others will be incorporated into Alternative 13A. Examples of ongoing TDM measures include a transit signal priority project on Route 9 in Northampton, currently under construction; deployment of a “smart card” fare payment system on PVTA bus routes, and the acquisition of four articulated buses, to be placed in service by PVTA in 2013