I-91 bridge needs another emergency fix
NORTHAMPTON — For the second time in a month, crews are making repairs to the Interstate 91 bridge abutments over Island Road in Northampton, although traffic is not expected to be impacted as it was the first time, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Workers were under the southbound lanes Monday reinforcing the bridge deck with what is known as a shoring tower.
A recent bridge inspection noted deterioration in a steel beam on the south side of the southbound deck of I-91, said Michael Verseckes, a DOT spokesman.
“The tower is to provide extra support to that beam and will remain until we design and install a permanent steel repair,” Verseckes wrote in an email to the Gazette on Monday.
The tower, which consists of stacked wood beams, is being built by N.E.L. Corp. of Middleton. Workers were positioning the tower so that it would not impact traffic along Island Road or I-91, Verseckes said.
The work is expected to take two weeks depending on weather.
Island Road is a residential, dead-end street off Route 5 that is used to access the Oxbow Marina.
The construction of the tower comes one month after crews responded to the adjacent northbound bridge abutments for emergency repairs on Jan. 24.
In that case, cracking was observed in the area where the bridge deck meets the abutments. At the time, state highway officials attributed the likely cause of the cracking to a combination of age, use and weather.
The work last month forced the closing of a lane on I-91 north and backed up traffic for about three miles. The northbound and southbound bridges over Island Road were built in 1965.
Dan Crowley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.