State prepares for $400M interchange replacement

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State prepares for $400M interchange replacement
Drone photography shows the Route 495 and Massachusetts Turnpike interchange. (Photo/Tami White)

WESTBOROUGH – The state’s Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is getting ready for the biggest project in its history.

On Nov. 3, representatives from MassDOT presented an update on a project that will improve the interchange at Route 495 and the Massachusetts Turnpike.

“This is a big one for us,” said Rob Nagi of design firm VHB.

Nagi is a Westborough resident who is the private sector co-chair of the 495/MetroWest Partnership’s Transportation Committee.

Currently, the exchange averages 75,000 vehicles per day, and it is a known high-crash and high-traffic location.

The project, which will take about five years and cost $400 million, will include a replacement of the interchange. The old toll booth area will be eliminated.

“This will be a complete reconstruction of the interchange,” said District 3 Highway Director for MassDOT Barry Lorion. “It’s really an unprecedented project.”

The interchange is close to several wetlands, including the Sudbury River and Whitehall Brook. To reduce the environmental impact, plans call for the installation of several ramps to and from the interchange.

“You’re going to see a lot over the next five years,” said Donald Cooke of VHB.

MassDOT is using a “design build approach,” with Barletta Engineering overseeing the build part and VHB overseeing the design part.

On the Mass. Pike portion of the interchange, there will be minor widening to accommodate new ramps and provide consistent shoulder width. The bridge over the MBTA/CSX/Amtrak track will be replaced as will the culvert at Whitehall Brook. Crews will also relocate the fiber optic cables in the median and eastbound shoulder.

As for Route 495, MassDOT plans to add a fourth lane on Route 495 north to Route 9. A future I-495 northbound will be constructed within the existing median, and a future I-495 southbound will be in its existing location with minor widening. MassDOT also plans to replace the Route 495 bridges over the tracks and the Mass. Pike. Additionally, they intend to replace the bridge over Flanders Road.

MassDOT also plans to replace the Fruit Street bridge.

Both phases are underway. The design phase began in May and will continue until December 2024. The build phase of the project began in October with preliminary work.

During most of the project, there will be three lanes open for traffic on both Route 495 and the Mass. Pike. The exception will be when overnight projects require a lane restriction.

MassDOT will also implement a noise control program during construction.

A virtual Public Information Meeting on the project is scheduled to be hosted by MassDOT on Nov. 16 at 6 p.m.

For information and updates, visit https://www.mass.gov/i-495i-90-interchange-improvements; via Facebook at @massdotinfo; and Twitter via @MassDOT.

495/290 interchange work

Work is underway to improve the interchange at Route 495 at Route 290, which is a site of heavy traffic congestion.

According to the MassDOT website, the project will widen the ramp from Route 495 to Route 290 westbound to two lanes and improve the ramp’s alignment. Crews also plan to modify the pavement markings and signs on I-495 southbound. This will mark the extended exit-only lane and a shared through/exit lane.

MassDOT also intends to modify the pavement markings on Route 290 westbound lane to accommodate the additional entrance lane. The Route 495 southbound lane and Route 290 westbound will be resurfaced within the project area to enable the changes to the pavement markings.

This work will continue through November 2023, and it will cost the state $6 million.

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