Region’s Pike Interchange “Big Dig” Gets Underway
Above, a DOT projected view of how the future interchange will appear from the south.
This is the week that the first actual work on one of the state’s biggest construction project is getting underway, with unforeseeable impacts on commuters who use the heavily traveled roadways.
Built in the 1960s, at time when few could have anticipated the traffic levels now regularly seen on both roadways – and also built to accommodate a large tollbooth complex – the road complex has not aged well. Some curves are too sharp to allow even speeds to be maintained, and a short and sharp roadway bringing Pike traffic onto I-495 southbound disrupts traffic by introducing cars and especially trucks, struggling up hill to reach highway speeds in that road's merge lanes.
The massive project is also made more complex and expensive by current environmental regulations, scarcely a consideration when the highway was first built.
According to Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the current construction phase will run from December 2022 to September 2024, nearly two full years, and will involve the complete future I-495 NB in Median, Fruit Street, and Ramps ES & WN.
Stage 2 will begin in June 2024 and run through May 2026. That phase will complete the future I-495 SB, Ramps WS & SE Stage 3/3b will commence in April 2025 and run through April 2027 It will see completion of ramp NE, NW, SW & EN.
Stage 4, running from August 2026 to June 2027 will complete I-90 widening, remove former loop ramps & complete environmental mitigation areas
Within this schedule there will also be important relocation of key fiber optic cables that pass through the area.
According to DOT, impact on drivers will be minimized by:
- Maintaining 3 lanes on mainlines, except for short-term closures during approved off-peak hours
- Maintaining all ramp connections between I-90 and I-495, including along temporary alignments
- Maintaining proper signage and markings
- Providing temporary roadway lighting along ramps for safe nighttime travel
- Ensuring safe construction access/egress
- Maintaining resident and local business access/egress