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I-91 traffic to flow during Deerfield bridge replacements

Work to replace four Route 91 bridges in Deerfield is ahead of schedule, according to the state Department of Transportation. A platform and coffer dam are now being built between the twin bridges carrying I-91 over the Deerfield River.
PAUL FRANZ

Work to replace four Route 91 bridges in Deerfield is ahead of schedule, according to the state Department of Transportation. A platform and coffer dam are now being built between the twin bridges carrying I-91 over the Deerfield River. PAUL FRANZ

DEERFIELD — As vehicles drive across Interstate 91 toward Deerfield, drivers may notice piles of dirt, trucks and steel beams.

For the past six months, the state Department of Transportation has been working to knock down and replace the bridges that carry I-91 across the Deerfield River at Stillwater.

It is part of the $36.2 million Stillwater and Lower roads Bridge replacement project.

The project will replace four I-91 bridges crossing the Deerfield River, Stillwater Road and Lower Road. According to the DOT, the bridges are structurally deficient.

The bridges are the I-91 northbound bridge over the Deerfield River and Stillwater Road, the I-91 northbound bridge over Lower Road, the I-91 southbound bridge over the Deerfield River and Stillwater Road and the I-91 southbound bridge over Lower Road.

So far, 10 percent of the project is complete, according to Sara Lavoie, a DOT spokesperson.

“At this point, the project is running ahead of schedule. Those passing by the site may just notice workers and piles of earth, but much preliminary work has already been completed,” Lavoie said.

Completed work includes installing erosion controls, eliminating invasive plant species, clearing and grubbing for construction and relocating a water main on Lower Road.

Considerable work has been performed with utilities, such as relocating electrical lines.

In addition, earthwork for filling the median as needed to build a temporary I-91 roadway and the new permanent I-91 roadway is largely complete. Work needed to make lane shifts for the first phase of construction is complete.

The bridges will be replaced in stages so that there will always be northbound and southbound bridges available to traffic.

According to Lavoie, the new median bridge will be built first. This will carry the southbound traffic while the current southbound bridge is being demolished and replaced. Southbound traffic will return to the rebuilt southbound bridge. Northbound traffic will then use the median bridge. This will be the new permanent alignment for northbound traffic. The current northbound bridge will then be demolished and not replaced.

The project began in June with J.F. White as the hired contractor. It is scheduled to be completed by April 2016.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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