MassDOT releases new study on traffic congestion in Massachusetts

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – MassDOT released a new study on congestion trends and traffic impacts in the state.

According to the study, peak period travel times on I-91 in Springfield have gone up whether you are heading north or south for both the morning and evening commutes.

While the study said Boston has the greatest congestion problem, increased traffic volumes are leading to slowdowns throughout the state including here in our area.

The study found that on I-91 southbound between 291 and Route 5, traffic starts around 4 p.m. on an average day, and doesn’t let up until 8 p.m.

The study also looked at the impact that the highway reconstruction on I-91 had on traffic.

The construction lasted from 2015 to 2018, and the study found that while congestion increased throughout the project, it only added around four minutes on average to the afternoon commute.

But one driver told 22News he hasn’t seen congestion ease up since it was completed.

Springfield resident James Williams said, “I feel like they didn’t do enough with the highway, they tried to consolidate three lanes into two lanes. That’s where all the problems come at, especially if you’re going to Connecticut. That’s how I feel.”

The study recommended that Massachusetts consider implementing some sort of congestion pricing for state highways, and what are called managed lanes – in particular.

Managed lanes are lanes that run parallel on a highway, but one lane would require a toll. They have those in South Florida for example.

Drivers opting to pay for that fast lane would also theoretically free up some congestion in the no cost lanes.

The report said the state would have to consider $2 to $3 tolls per one-way commute for these express lanes, around $20 to $30 a week for commuters.

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