Expect I-93 traffic changes as construction continues
During the June 3 Salem Board of Selectmen meeting, project manager Peter Stamnas and supervisor Jay Levine shared an update on the highway’s local progress.
Stamnas and Levine said those traveling through the area can expect a lot of construction activity along the highway over the summer months.
“We’ve made a lot of progress so far,” said Stamnas, who noted that a total of $315 million in projects stretching from exits 1 through 5 have been completed to date, totaling about 54 percent of the total widening project.
As of this month, 17 of the highway’s 19 red-listed bridges have been taken out of service, with bridgework over Exit 3 to be completed sometime in the next year and a half.
Stamnas said one contract, for $40 million worth of work around the Exit 3 area, has yet to be put out to bid.
Right now, the state coffers come up short $250 million to complete highway work north of Exit 3, state officials said.
“We do have the legislative authority to issue bonds; however, traditional revenue sources need to be found,” said Stamnas. “We’re striving to advance forward.”
At Exit 2, work is well underway on the highway’s reconstruction and widening, spanning 1.5 miles.
Stamnas said that particular project also encompasses new northbound and southbound off ramps, as well as widening a half-mile stretch of Pelham Road, stretching from Stiles Road to Policy Street, along with the widening of the two bridges going over Pelham Road.
Once completed, there will be a total of eight lanes of traffic going under the Pelham Road bridge.
This summer, commuters can expect shifts in traffic patterns around Exit 2, including a temporary shift off the southbound bridge via a temporary bridge.
Stamnas said those ongoing changes means the direction of traffic on the southbound ramps will need to be reversed over the summer, with travelers exiting the southbound off-ramp at Exit 2 to exit north of the Pelham Road bridge rather than south.
According to Levine, the new southbound on-ramp will be located just east of Keewaydin Drive, merging behind the Holiday Inn.
“Obviously, it’s going to be a phased approach,” Levine said. “This will have a huge effect on traffic along Pelham Road. A lot of people coming out of the businesses in that area, especially once it gets dark, won’t want to be caught in the wrong lane.”
State officials are currently posting signs alerting motorists of the changes, and they’ve also notified area businesses well in advance.
A median diversion just south of Brookdale Road will reroute southbound traffic later in the summer, with those further changes anticipated in late July or early August.
Construction on the temporary bridge will be done mainly during the daytime hours in hopes of having the least impact on passing traffic.
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