Mass. Ave construction underway, detours in place in Amherst


Monday, January 10, 2022

AMHERST — A detour is in place for Massachusetts Avenue’s two eastbound lanes as construction on new graduate and undergraduate housing, to be completed by the fall of 2023, begins.

The new traffic pattern requires motorists heading east on the road to go into a portion of Lot 32, before reaching the Robsham Visitors Center building, to avoid a section of Massachusetts Avenue that is being dug up.

Road closed and detour signs are posted, and during work hours traffic detail officers will be on hand to guide motorists until this work is finished around Jan. 21.

UMass Police issued an alert about the need for drivers to adhere to the posted signs after some vehicles went into the westbound Massachusetts Avenue travel lanes, rather than following the detour.

In its social media post, the department wrote, “We have had several confused motorists crossing over the median and driving up the westbound lanes into oncoming traffic, and we need your help to make sure everyone follows the posted traffic pattern to avoid an accident.”

The road work is the first evidence of the construction of a 623-bed undergraduate dormitory that will rise across from the Whitmore Adminstration Building. In a meeting with residents in the fall, UMass administrators said the building be close to the road and sidewalk and feature a landscaped plaza, a cafe and other elements that will serve all students, and make the location more pedestrian friendly

The project, the first under a public-private partnership on the campus, includes a 200-bed graduate complex that will replace Lincoln Apartments, which is slated to be demolished. Residents who attended that meeting were informed that the new graduate residences will be situated at greater distance from the single-family homes in the nearby neighborhoods.

During the construction, Lincoln Avenue will be dead-ended near North Hadley Road and other changes will also be in place, including adjustments to pedestrian paths and closing a vehicular entrance to the visitors center from Massachusetts Avenue and requiring vehicles to access it via Lot 34.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.