Lane closed on I-91N bridge over Route 5
NORTHAMPTON — State transportation officials closed the passing lane of Interstate 91 north over Route 5 late Thursday afternoon after a bridge inspection revealed deterioration in a steel beam that requires emergency repairs.
The state Department of Transportation estimates the lane will be closed for about a month and will affect travel over Memorial Day weekend, the busiest travel holiday of the year, spokesman Michael Verseckes said. The highway will be down to one lane in the stretch covering the Exit 18 off- and on-ramps until next week, when the DOT will restripe the bridge deck for two lanes.
“This is going to come as a surprise and an inconvenience, but we will work expeditiously to make this repair,” Verseckes said.
He said crews conducting a bridge inspection over the last several days found corrosion around one of the beams that runs under the highway’s passing lane. The corrosion was severe enough that officials needed to take action to shift the weight of traffic off the deteriorating beam immediately.
Work is not expected to begin until next week as the state awaits the materials to fix the bridge. Weather permitting, the DOT will restripe the bridge deck for two lanes by using space along the shoulder. This will require the closing of the northbound on-ramp from Route 5/Mount Tom Road, forcing drivers wishing to go north on I-91 to Exit 20.