Exit 19 detour in Northampton to last two to three weeks


  • Vehicles head toward Damon Road in Northampton on Tuesday after using northbound Exit 19 from Interstate 91, where a traffic roundabout is being constructed adjacent to the Coolidge Bridge. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Work continues on a traffic roundabout on the Northampton side of the Coolidge Bridge.

Staff Writer
Friday, July 24, 2020

NORTHAMPTON — All vehicles traveling north on Interstate 91 and getting off at Exit 19, whether continuing straight onto Damon Road or turning left to head to downtown Northampton, will soon be detoured over the Coolidge Bridge into Hadley.

With the construction of a new roundabout at the four-way intersection, the detour, expected to be in effect for two to three weeks beginning July 20, is a necessity for completing the project, said Judith Reardon Riley, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation.

“The detour is needed to facilitate the construction of the east side and the westbound approach to the roundabout,” Riley said.

Hadley officials are in the midst of conversations with Baltazar Contractors Inc. of Ludlow, the contractor handling the $8.1 million project for the state, to make sure that the detour doesn’t create significant traffic issues for the town.

The intersection typically handles about 25,000 vehicles per day, making it one of the busiest in Hampshire County.

Hadley Town Administrator David Nixon said the scheme for the detour is to have vehicles cross the Coolidge Bridge, then make a right turn onto Old Bay Road, travel behind the Pride gas station and then turn left onto Bay Road, making another left onto Route 9/ Russell Street that brings them back over the bridge and into the lane to make a right turn onto Damon Road.

Nixon said Hadley Police Chief Michael Mason has spoken to Baltazar and will have the costs covered for the two traffic officers who will be on scene for the duration of the detour. The detour will be in effect around the clock.

“We’ve been notified and Chief Mason is on it,” Nixon said.

In addition, Chris Okafor, the Department of Public Works superintendent for Hadley, is working with the state to make sure there are enough signs in place so it’s clear where drivers will have to go during the detour. Those signs were being installed last week.

The completed project at the western edge of the bridge will feature a two-lane roundabout, traffic signal improvements and upgrades to the on-ramp for southbound travelers getting on Interstate 91. New sidewalks and pedestrian crossings will also be installed.