Hadley road project brings traffic delays, inconvenience

  • Employees from Gomes Construction work at the intersection of Pleasant and Conz streets Tuesday in Northampton. The summer roadwork season is creating traffic tie-ups here and on Route 9 in Hadley. Gazette Staff/Andrew Whitaker

  • Excavators are parked along Russell Street at the village center during a road resurfacing and widening project Tuesday in Hadley. Gazette Staff/Andrew Whitaker

  • Cars drive down Russell Street during construction to the road Tuesday in Hadley. Gazette Staff/Andrew Whitaker

  • Construction workers dig up the road off of Russell Tuesday, August 2, 2016 in Hadley. Gazette Staff/Andrew Whitaker—Andrew J. Whitaker

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

A road construction project in Hadley is creating a bumpy mess and traffic delays, though many commuters say they see the work as a necessary and temporary inconvenience.

A $3 million road widening on Route 9 in Hadley is being managed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

The state agency did not respond to requests for updated information on the project this week, but earlier estimates said work will continue through late 2017.

For now, commuters, workers and surrounding business owners struggle with the inconveniences of the work, some of which have been heightened after a stretch of rainy days.

“Rain over the past few days has really deteriorated conditions,” said Sgt. Mitchell Kuc of the Hadley Police Department. “We’ve been asking people to try to seek alternate routes.”

A rainy weekend turned the dry and exposed dirt road bed into a muddy string of puddles and potholes. Kuc said complaints about the state of the road have poured in.

The project will widen Russell Street and replace 100-year-old water pipes beneath the asphalt. The town of Hadley is responsible for the pipes, paying about $260,000 towards the project, and MassDOT is responsible for the road widening.

There are many ways to circumvent the construction, including using Bay Road and Railroad Street, which could allow citizens to avoid the rougher patches and save their cars wear and tear, according to police.

The work between Whalley and Middle streets is messy because the gravel and dirt beneath the road are being replaced in addition to the asphalt, Kuc said. However, the bulk of the mess should be cleared in time for the back-to-school rush.

“There should be pavement on this by the end of August,” Kuc said.

This is one of many projects set to revamp Route 9 in the next few years, said David Nixon, the town administrator.

“There’s work planned in Northampton in 2018, and in 2020 there is a plan for work on an additional section of Route 9 in Hadley, from the Farm Museum to the East Street intersection.”

The current project is slated to be completed in September 2017, Nixon said.

“The rest of the work will be on the final pavement, curb work, line painting, and all the additional things that go into making a road that’s going to be safe for pedestrians and motorists,” Nixon said.