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Road work on Interstate 91 causes delays in Northampton, Easthampton

Road work on Interstate 91 is causing delays for commuters traveling both north and south this week.

Workers began resurfacing sections of the highway in Northampton and Easthampton on Monday, said Sara Lavoie, press secretary for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

“It’s not an ideal time to do the work, but we’re up against the weather changing and the temperature getting too low,” she said. The repaving and lane marking is temperature-sensitive work that must be done during the day, she said.

She said drivers should expect delays because sections of I-91 will be reduced to one lane Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. No work is expected to take place over the weekend or on Monday, she said.

Joanne Rome of Hatfield said she has been experiencing the delays during her commute to her job as director of marketing and communications at Holyoke Community College.

She said I-91 southbound has been reduced to one lane for miles. “It’s a mess,” she said. “On my first day driving through it, they had miles of road blocked off, but then they were only working on one little section.”

“I just wonder, is there any way to minimize the impact?” she said. “Closing huge swaths of road just makes it back up for miles.”

Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. there was a four-mile backup of “slow-moving congestion” on I-91 northbound, Lavoie said. “We apologize for the congestion, but this work will make for a smoother ride this winter,” she said.

The work is expected to be completed Tuesday, barring any delays due to weather, she said.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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