Interstate 291 (Massachusetts)

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Interstate 291 marker

Interstate 291
Route information
Maintained by MassDOT
Length: 5.44 mi[1] (8.75 km)
Existed: 1972 – present
Major junctions
West end: I‑91 in Springfield
 
East end: Burnett Road in Chicopee
Highway system
  • Massachusetts State Highway Routes
I‑290 I‑295
Eastbound

Interstate 291 (abbreviated I-291, formerly known as the Springfield Expressway[2]) is a 5.44-mile (8.75 km) connector highway in Massachusetts that links Interstate 91 in downtown Springfield with Interstate 90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) in Chicopee. I-291 is roughly a northeast/southwest highway. It merges with I-91 at its southwestern terminus, via a flyover. The road meets the Mass Pike at its northeastern terminus. Getting onto the Pike from I-291 is straightforward, but getting from the Pike to I-291 requires a left turn at a stop light. I-291 travels directly through highly populated areas of Springfield, and passes under several overpasses. From its southwestern terminus to exit 5A, Interstate 291 is concurrent with U.S. Route 20.

I-291 is only 22.4 miles (36.0 km) from Interstate 291 in Connecticut, and there are no intervening Interstate Highway interchanges between them. It can be easy for travelers to become confused between the two highways.[citation needed]

Route description[edit]

Interstate 291 begins as a spur of Interstate 91 at Exit 8 in Springfield, concurrent with U.S. 20, which merges from the north. The two entry ramps from I-91 merge with each other after Exits 2A and 2B, where a sign for the beginning of I-291 east is posted. I-291 and U.S. 20 run eastbound concurrently until Exit 5A (U.S. 20 joins westbound at Exit 5), where U.S. 20 east leaves the highway for a junction with Route 20A. I-291 continues east into Chicopee, where it intersects the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90). I-291 ends at an odd intersection at a stoplight on Burnett Road, but I-291 east traffic can exit uninterrupted by way of a ramp to the Mass Pike. However, drivers coming from the Mass Pike must deal with this traffic light, as a left turn across the intersection is required to get on I-291 west.

The westbound interchange with I-91 is unusual in that the ramps for Exit 1A-B split before the ramps for Exits 2A-B do. Traffic bound for Exit 2A (Chestnut Street) must first take the ramp for Exit 1A (I-91 South), and traffic bound for Exit 2B (Dwight St.) must first take the ramp for Exit 1B (I-91 North).

Traffic bound for U.S. 20 West from I-291 takes Exit 1B. U.S. 20 does not actually join with I-91, but rather this exit splits, left for the on-ramp to I-91 North, the right to continue on the U.S. 20 access ramp.

History[edit]

I-291 was originally conceived in 1953 as the Springfield Expressway, which would bypass US 20 and connect to the US 5 expressway (now I-91) and the proposed Massachusetts Turnpike. I-291 follows the original planned alignment of the expressway, except for the stretch between exit 4 (St. James Avenue) and exit 5 (US 20/MA 20A/Page Boulevard). The original planned alignment had the route turn in almost a perfect 90 degree angle onto Roosevelt Avenue, but industrial development (including the relocation of Smith & Wesson's corporate headquarters) had the highway turn more gently. The first section of the expressway that was built was the bridge over the Chicopee River.[3] The first section of the expressway that opened was from US 20/MA 20A to I-90 (Mass. Turnpike) in 1957; work on the freeway started up again in 1967 and the entire highway was completed in 1971.[4] The construction delay was due to I-91 having priority through western Massachusetts.

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Hampden County. [5]

Location[5] Mile[5] km Exit Destinations Notes
Springfield 0.000 0.000 1A I‑91 south – Hartford, CT Southern terminus of I-291
0.463 0.745 1B I‑91 north / US 20 west – West Springfield Western end of overlap with US 20
0.589 0.948 2A Chestnut Street Shared ramp with exit 1A, no access from I-91 north
0.463 0.745 2B Dwight Street Shared ramp with exit 1B, no access from I-91 south
1.340 2.157 3 Armory Street
2.410 3.879 4 St. James Avenue – Chicopee Falls
4.046 6.511 5A US 20 east – Indian Orchard Eastern end of overlap with US 20
4.057 6.529 5B Route 20A west – East Springfield
Chicopee 5.027 8.090 6 Fuller Road – Ludlow, Chicopee Falls
5.218 8.398 7 I‑90 (Mass Pike) – Boston, Albany, NY Exit 6 on I-90
5.52 8.88 Burnett Road north Northern terminus of I-291
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Route Log - Auxiliary Routes of the Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways - Table 2". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Springfield Expressway (I-291)
  3. ^ "Springfield Expressway (I-291)". Boston Roads. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Interstate-Guide: Interstate 291 Massachusetts". AA Roads Interstate Guide. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b MassDOT Planning Division. "Massachusetts Route Log Application". Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing