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I-91 crash injures 2, snarls p.m. commute

NORTHAMPTON — A four-vehicle crash on Interstate 91 northbound near Exit 17 in Holyoke caused a massive traffic backup Thursday evening, especially when combined with an earlier closure of one of two lanes near Exit 18 in Northampton just a few miles up the highway.

The accident occurred during the evening commute at 5:30 p.m. and forced state police to shut down I-91 north, detouring traffic at Exit 17 for about an hour before the travel and breakdown lanes reopened, said Trooper Nicole Morrell of the State Police media relations bureau. All lanes were reopened shortly before 7 p.m.

Paula Dane, 61, of Chicopee, and William Ploran, 63, of Westfield, were injured and taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield with injuries that weren’t life-threatening, Morrell said. They were driving separate cars.

The crash remains under investigation, Morrell said.

Meantime, at Exit 18, the state Department of Transportation shut down one lane in preparation for an emergency road repair. That work is expected to take a month.

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