There are dozens of electronic signs placed along highways in western Massachusetts, but they don’t always provide useful information for our region.
According to Patrick Marvin from MassDOT, those message boards are used to inform the public of notable traffic impacts, ongoing incidents, upcoming roadwork, and public safety related situations.
However, since they were installed for the I-91 reconstruction in Springfield, they’re often used for fun or community related messages more than they have been for traffic alerts. They have suggested we vote Xander Bogaerts for the All Stars game or to “Use yah blinka.” There have also been accidental messages posted on the boards, such as the time they just blinked “F U.”
When we drove along I-91 and I-291 on Wednesday, those signs were turned off. But many western Massachusetts residents complained on Tuesday that those signs mentioned construction on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, which is in Boston.
While some of the messages seem light hearted and fun, they’re not always serving they’re purpose, and drivers are frustrated.
James Longhi of Southwick told 22News, “I just don’t find them useful at all. Whenever i see them they’re not used to the best of their abilities. It was for fireworks one time.”
Spokeman Patrick Marvin told 22News the message about the Commonwealth Ave bridge was an operator error and was not supposed to run in this area. He also said over the past two months the boards have been used to warn drivers of construction or delays 30 times in the Springfield area.
Sherly Uggiano told 22News that she thinks the idea of the signs showing traffic problems is helpful, “I like to know what’s going on ahead of me. I like to know if there is an accident so I have a chance to get off the highway at a different point so I’m not stuck in traffic.”
Patrick Marvin said that if something appears on the screen that seems out of place, it’s most likely an operator error.