WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A portion of Route 5 southbound will be going on a ‘road diet’ to reduce traffic speeds and improve safety.

According to the MassDOT, Riverdale Street (Route 5) southbound in West Springfield is reduced from two lanes to one lane between East Elm Street and the North End Rotary. The permanent lane closure was done to reduce speeding.

Many of the drivers 22News spoke with had strong feelings about the changes.

“People drive like the Indy 500 down here. People are speeding here all the time,” said one driver.

“This just sucks. I don’t know why they did this, it’s just so complicated now. When it was two lane it was perfect, now it just… there’s a lot of traffic now. It’s traffic, it’s more dangerous now,” said Fernando Rivera of West Springfield.

“It doesn’t make much sense to me because it just seems you are creating a problem down on that end at the traffic light versus just having people take their time getting off these side streets,” said Russ Poe of West Springfield.

MAP: East Elm Street in West Springfield

Traffic lines have been repainted to reflex the new changes and cones will be temporarily placed on the road to help train drivers of the new pattern. According to the Federal Highway Safety Administration, some road diets can reduce crashes by almost 50-percent.

The West Springfield Police Department added that so far, they have not heard directly from residents on the road diet, but have seen posts on social media.. both positive and negative.