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Mass. Pike Changes Could Improve Daily Commute

MassDOT has reviewed the overcrowded interchange and has presented its findings to the Hopkinton Board of Selectmen.

For hundreds of commuters headed in to Boston each morning, the Interstate 495-Route 90 interchange creates a serious problem, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s latest findings.

Changes are near, state transportation officials say.

Last year, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Worcester) secured funding to study the backup of traffic on I-495, Route 90 and Route 9.

The plans for the I-495-Route 90 interchange include adding lanes to the exit ramps from I-495 so motorists traveling through the interchange can avoid weaving.

“The primary thought process behind this recommendation was that every movement throughout the process would be assigned a lane,” MassDOT Project Manager Callie Cenizal said.

“With the advanced signage and warning, you would be able to stay in a lane and not have to weave between lanes.”

Also included in the plan is a separate exit off I-495 North to Route 90 East.

This ramp would allow for a smoother, straighter transition for cars and would improve the backup caused by vehicles slowing down to make the turn through the toll booth.

The project, Cenizal said, was designed to be implemented after the Mass. Pike eliminates cash tolls and goes to an EZ-Pass only system. However, it can work with the current toll system.

A major concern Hopkinton officials raised Tuesday night was about the traffic that will avoid the intersection during the construction.

“There is a concern on Hopkinton’s part that during construction people hoping to avoid the work will start using local roads, and one of the local roads that will be impacted is our West Main Street,” Town Manager Norman Khumalo said.

Traffic at the interchange is already at or above capacity during rush hour, and Cenizal said it is expected to rise another 15 percent by 2035.

A final draft is expected to be submitted to the secretary of transportation within a few weeks. At that point, it will go to the engineering stage.

More information about the project can be found on the MassDOT's website.

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