Meeting held for proposed new exit on the Mass. Pike - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Meeting held for proposed new exit on the Mass. Pike

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(WMN Photo) (WMN Photo)
(WMN Photo) (WMN Photo)

On Monday, the MassDOT held their first official public meeting in Blandford to discuss the plan.

Dozens of people from all over western Massachusetts came out to hear more about the I-90 interchange study.

While it is still very early in the planning process, people are calling it a game changer.

Transportation Project Manager Cassandra Bligh said they're looking at a number of locations where they could possibly put a new exit between exits 2 in Lee and exit 3 in Westfield on the Mass Pike.

The study is at the request of the state, and will ultimately determine if adding an exit will be helpful to surrounding towns, and beneficial to traffic on and around I-90.

"We narrowed down a few areas of interest to gather input. Logically, locations where it would make sense," said Bligh. 

The project is drawing mixed reaction.

Heather Zanolli of Windsor said she's concerned how this would affect people's properties.

"Because I live in a hill town, I'm from Windsor, I'm always concerned what something like this will do to peoples personal property. People don't live from these parts for no reason for beauty and land," said Zanolli. 

Others like the Cosette Cousineaus of Blandford would not only welcome the change but would like to see it happen soon.

"I think 30 miles is far to go and feel bad for people who miss their Westfield exit and have to go 60 miles out of the way," she said. 

Ted Cousineau said that he thinks the Blandford rest stop would be a perfect location for the interchange.

"The land is already owned by turnpike and scheduled having an exit there when put the turnpike in but didn't. Very easy slide in and slide off. No brainier as far as I'm concerned," said Cousineau.

Bligh told Western Mass News there’s a lot of components to consider with a project like this.

"Consider all kinds of criteria environmental economic and engineering factor like where could it go and fix," Bligh noted. 

She added that they hope to complete and submit their interchange study to the state by December.

A project like this could take up to 8 years to complete, but Bligh explained that's because they would still need to look into factors such as design, funding, and permits.

Bligh noted they hope to hold another public meeting by the end of the summer. 

If you didn't make tonight's meeting, you can still submit your input and questions.  CLICK HERE to learn more.

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