Joining I-91 and Downtown with I-90 and the Mass Pike, Interstate 291 forms an urban loop through the city of Springfield. The freeway is six lanes wide east to Exit 4 (St. James Avenue) and four lanes from there north into the city of Chicopee. The connection with the Massachusetts Turnpike is substandard with an at grade intersection joining the access road to I-90 from the freeway end at Burnett Road.
Initial plans for Interstate 291 got underway in 1953, with construction starting the following year. The freeway opened between Interstate 90 and U.S. 20 / Massachusetts 20A in 1957. Ensuing work on I-291 did not commence until 1967. The remaining section was completed in 1970.1
Interstate 291 advances north from the folded diamond interchange (Exit 6) with Fuller Road to the turn off (Exit 7) for the Mass Pike access road to I-90. This former guide sign included a state named shield for Interstate 90. Photo taken 07/00.
Perspective from Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) west
Two miles ahead of Exit 6 with I-291 and Burnett Road on the Mass Pike westbound. Interstate 291 provides a more direct route to I-91 south to Hartford, Connecticut from this direction of I-90. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Burnett Road ties into the access road from the trumpet interchange at Exit 6 west from Holyoke Street and the town of Ludlow. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 291 is the first of three interchanges along the Mass Pike westbound for Springfield. The succeeding exits connect with Route 33 and I-91/U.S. 5. U.S. 20 accompanies I-291 west from Exit 5 to I-91 at Downtown. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Replaced button copy overheads at the departure of Exit 6 for Interstate 291 west and Burnett Road east. A signalized turn leads motorists south from the exchange onto I-291 in Chicopee. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Perspective from Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) east
Entering the East Springfield Interchange (Exit 6) with Interstate 291 west and Burnett Road east on the Mass Pike eastbound. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (06/00).
This button copy sign directed motorists at the at-grade intersection with Burnett Road onto the freeway beginning south from the Mass Pike access road at Exit 6. Burnett Road leads north to nearby Chicopee Memorial State Park. Photo taken by Shawn De Cesari (12/99).
West End – Springfield, Massachusetts
Perspective from Interstate 291 & U.S. 20 west
The first diagrammatic overhead for the ramp separation to Interstate 91 precedes the Armory Street off-ramp at Exit 3. A full-Y interchange joins I-291 and U.S. 20 with I-91 at Pynchon Park along the Connecticut River. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Amory and Liberty Streets pass over Interstate 291 & U.S. 20 one half mile ahead of their split at I-91. Forthcoming Exit 2B leaves with Exit 1B for Interstate 91 north and Dwight Street. Exit 2A departs with Exit 1A for Interstate 91 south and Chestnut Street. U.S. 20 follows the I-91 ramp system north to Plainfield Street. Photo taken 08/09/04.
A fourth lane opens along I-291/U.S. 20 westbound from the Liberty Street entrance ramp. Ensuign ramps for Dwight Street (Exit 2B) and Chestnut Street (Exit 2A) link I-291 with the Springfield central business district to the south. Photo taken 08/09/04.
U.S. 20 westbound departs Interstate 291 at Exit 1B to the North End Bridge and West Springfield. I-91 north travels 1.50 miles to split with Interstate 391 at Chicopee. I-391 spurs north 4.46 miles to U.S. 202 in Holyoke. Photo taken 08/09/04.
The ramp for I-91 north also connects with Dwight Street (Exit 2B) while the connection to I-91 north and U.S. 20 west includes a loop ramp (Exit 2A) for Chestnut Street south. Dwight Street intersects Route 20A (Carew Street) two blocks to the north. Photo taken 08/09/04.
The northbound ramp to Interstate 91 partitions with a loop ramp taking U.S. 20 westbound onto Plainfield Street. U.S. 20 continues beyond West Springfield to the city of Westfield. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Perspective from Interstate 91 north
A collector distributor roadway joins ramps from Route 83 and U.S. 5 onto I-91 north, two miles ahead of the directional T interchange (Exit 8) with Interstate 291 and U.S. 20 east. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (06/00).
Two lanes depart from an elevated section of Interstate 91 north for I-291 & U.S. 20 east at Exit 8. U.S. 20 overlaps with the urban loop from Plainfield Street and I-91 to Page Boulevard. Parallel Route 20A along Carew Street and St. James Boulevard represents the former U.S. 20 alignment through Springfield. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (04/19/02).
Perspective from Interstate 91 south
Exit 11 leaves Interstate 91 south well ahead of the parclo interchange with U.S. 20 at Plainfield Street. The off-ramp connects with parallel Birnie Avenue south to U.S. 20 at the North End Bridge to West Springfield. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Four lanes progress southward from Exit 11 to the flyover for I-291/U.S. 20 east to the Mass Pike at Chicopee. Photo taken 06/28/05.
U.S. 20 merges with Interstate 291 east from a distributor roadway extending south from Birnie Avenue and Plainfield Street into the exchange at Exit 8. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Subsequent sign changes made for Interstate 291 at Exit 8 added I-90/Mass Pike and Boston. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Perspective from Interstate 291 & U.S. 20 east
The flyover (Exit 8) from I-91 south to I-291/U.S. 20 east connects with Chestnut Street (Exit 2A) before merging with the ramp from I-91 north. Photo taken 06/28/05.
The two roadways from I-91 to Interstate 291 east converge beyond a begin shield assembly. Photo taken 06/28/05.