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I-91 repairs cause rush hour jam

NORTHAMPTON — Emergency repairs to fix cracking in an Interstate 91 bridge abutment caused a rush-hour traffic jam about three miles long Friday morning.

The work that reduced the route to one lane began at 6 a.m. and was wrapped up around 2 p.m.

Michael Verseckes, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, said the traffic jam had mostly subsided by 11 a.m., but the traffic feature on Google Maps at that hour showed a backup nearly to Exit 17 in Holyoke.

Verseckes said that cracking was observed in the area where the bridge deck meets the abutment and was likely caused by “a combination of age, use and weather.”

The bridge was built in 1965. He said the cracks were likely small before, but in the frigid weather, water expanded as it froze and made them bigger.

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