Submitted by GibsonL-5 t3_110k38v in massachusetts

I cannot understand why the road condition of Route #5 (also known as Riverdale Road) is so poorly maintained. It has been terrible since my father drove his '56 Oldsmobile on it to work. Richie Neal has been our Federal Congressman for more than 30 years and in all of that time hasn't lifted a finger to help with this problem. Considering all of the new businesses along this stretch of the road in West Springfield one would think that the Federal Government would spend some of its tax collections to help improve business so they remain successful and continue to provide employment and taxes. After all it is a federal highway.



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wastingtoomuchthyme t1_j89evyq wrote

Many roads in Massachusetts are going to shit..

Don't know if it's because of the weather but most likely it's the lack of funding..


A_Man_Who_Writes t1_j89j9mk wrote

One thing I just don’t get. One of the most well-off states financially can’t maintain its roads. Love driving over the border and instantly hitting smooth roads.


squarerootofapplepie t1_j89mi73 wrote

You must not be driving over the border into Rhode Island.


bobmcrobber t1_j8ar09n wrote

Driving into Connecticut or New Hampshire especially


WinsingtonIII t1_j8dzcei wrote

I mean the roads in NY state are significantly worse in my experience, and it's also a high income state.


Marco_Memes t1_j89yfsx wrote

It’s because roads are a trap since their cheap to build but expensive to maintain, and they all tend to need maintenance around the same time when you build a bunch at once. When that time comes around, you’ve got a gigantic cost to pay for resurfacing and Pothole fixing and the like, and the budget isn’t enough to pay for it. So some get fixed and the rest get kicked down the line. But the thing is, then other roads need the same thing and the same problem arises, and there’s never enough in the budget to pay for it all. And since roads and streets don’t even make close to enough money to pay for their own maintenance, you need to rely on government funding. But here’s the fun thing, in order to make enough money for those maintenance bills, taxes would have to be raised so high that people would be paying more than their entire yearly income on taxes alone, which obviously you can’t do. So the money never comes, and the roads stay broken. But since we’re all so far deep down the car dependency pit and the initial construction cost is the only number anybody looks at, we keep building roads that we can’t afford since it’s the only transportation option that anybody thinks we can build. And so the cycle continues.

There’s a great series on YouTube that goes into more depth on this, it’s by the creator NotJustBikes and it’s his StrongTowns series. Looks into how car dependant places are being subsidized by walkable/public transit focussed places. Highly recommend watching it


AnyRound5042 t1_j8a3rz0 wrote

This is the answer. And also why we need to fund more public transit


DJScrubatires t1_j8abr1e wrote

FYI Not Just Bikes was talking about Strong Towns. Strong Towns itself was created by Chuck Marohn Jr. He has written some books: Strong Towns and Confessions of a Recovering Engineer.


Marco_Memes t1_j8akq41 wrote

Yes I’m aware, NJB calls it his strong town series since it’s about the books called the same thing, which is why I called it the strong towns series


lazybum86 t1_j8aawbc wrote

If they are cheaper to build than maintain why not just build a new one over the old one?

I'm just kidding.


Marco_Memes t1_j8aku7a wrote

Call the governor, you may have stumbled onto a gold mine here


UncleCustard t1_j89ghcs wrote

Going to shit....yes. This has been a hazard since 2006. That year over 40 cars were destroyed in the pot hole that is right outside Dunkin. Ive blown 2 tires on that road and own of my old coworkers snapped a strut on his 3 year old car.


GibsonL-5 OP t1_j8ftnbn wrote

Was it not a few years ago when the north bound lane under the "tunnel" was in such bad repair that the road was shut down? I believe that the entire road from the Springfield Rotary to Holyoke needs some re-engineering. I also believe that that this route is important to the area economy. When you consider the number of business along that road from the Big Box Home Depot to the numerous new car agencies one would think that that portion of the roadway be given some priority. If I were a business owner I would be concerned if the highway gets any worse that it it lead to a slow down of business.

I did lose a front rim on a S40 Volvo but I think those are made from plastic anyway.


UncleCustard t1_j8fvc07 wrote

One of my biggest clients is right by the hospital.....oh yeah, there is a hospital there. And that's the worst part of the road. Right in front of the hospital.


11BMasshole t1_j89jti7 wrote

I started driving in 1987, this particular stretch of road has been terrible since then. It’s literally never been addressed since. It is absolutely a car eater.


LowkeyPony t1_j89y6av wrote

The city of Fitchburg is floating the idea of a $200 per vehicle fee; in addition to excise taxes and property taxes, for road repair in the city.


TinyEmergencyCake t1_j8aoqgv wrote

Should start the fine off for the heaviest vehicles. Pickup trucks and large suv


AboyNamedBort t1_j89yxdz wrote

Drivers create potholes and refuse to pay more than a few pennies for gas tax yet still complain. Massachusetts drivers get hundreds of millions in hand outs and think they are somehow the ones getting screwed.


Kitsu-Chi t1_j8a87z4 wrote

Potholes are created by the weather, snow heaves, contraction and expansion. Usually plows create potholes yearly.

It’s uncontrollable.


bobmcrobber t1_j8aqxh8 wrote

Most of 126 through bellingham is shit. Once you cross into Medway or even Woonsocket, the road becomes 100x smoother


ManifestDestinysChld t1_j89wkfj wrote

>After all it is a federal highway.

Incorrect. U.S. Highways are maintained by local or state governments. The only thing "Federal" about them is that their names are coordinated among/between states.


WikiSummarizerBot t1_j89wlxh wrote

United States Numbered Highway System

>The United States Numbered Highway System (often called U.S. Routes or U.S. Highways) is an integrated network of roads and highways numbered within a nationwide grid in the contiguous United States. As the designation and numbering of these highways were coordinated among the states, they are sometimes called Federal Highways, but the roadways were built and have always been maintained by state or local governments since their initial designation in 1926. The route numbers and locations are coordinated by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

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GibsonL-5 OP t1_j8a23x6 wrote

Help me understand as you seem to have a much better understanding of this subject but does Mass DOT receive Chapter 90 funds for infrastructure improvements? And does the Fed approve the requests for funding these projects? Because it's call US Route #5 I thought that this designation indicate it is a US highway? After all this road is interstate and therefore part of interstate commerce?


Tacoman404 t1_j8af1tu wrote

It was a federal initiative and they paid for the original construction but part of the deal was the state was responsible for maintenance.


dew2459 t1_j8c9d43 wrote

Chapter 90 is a state law that defines how state highway funds are distributed to local MA communities. It isn't MassDOT or federal highway funds.

Each year the state legislature appropriates (passes a budget with) a certain amount of money for MassDOT and for chapter 90.

MassDOT and sometimes individual communities can (and do) also apply for federal highway funding for projects. It is sometimes a bit more complicated - big projects are usually a mix of state and federal funds (plus sometimes local funds), and MassDOT also plans for a certain amount of federal highway funds each year (much like towns plan for a certain amount of chapter 90 funds). But we sunk many years of what would be MA's federal highway allotment to pay off the big dig, which probably put us way behind on federal highway funds available for the rest of the state.

As the top comment says, US numbered highways are not maintained by the federal government. US route 5 is just a federal designation for maps to help people get around, not any federal claim of ownership or responsibility for repairs.

US 5 might be locally owned or state owned - or even a mix; even if the towns own the "road", often the state owns/maintains the bigger bridges. Who owns it pretty much defines who is responsible for maintaining it. If the state, then MassHighway (for example, they definitely own I91). If the local town owns it, then it is the local town that needs to fix it, either through chapter 90 funds, local tax funds, or they can apply for a federal grant (often hard to get, you are competing with everyone else in the US).

But in the end - your local planning office, highway department, or state rep might be the best people to ask about who is responsible for fixing US5, and to ask why it isn't being fixed.

Hope that helps a little.


lazybum86 t1_j89aeh0 wrote

But they added a 1 mile bike lane in West Springfield. /s


IronAntlers t1_j89nvmo wrote

Bike lane was a town project, DOT is responsible for paving route 5 as its a state highway


Fadedaway1347 t1_j8diy72 wrote

Many funding grants are only for increasing pedestrian traffic these days


[deleted] t1_j89v2mj wrote

Even in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville, I am astounded at the poor conditions of some of the roads around here. As a transplant to Mass., I ask, what is up with the poor infrastructure here? I lived in NJ all my life before here and accidentally downgraded. Now that's saying something lol.


AboyNamedBort t1_j89z71i wrote

Should have left your car in NJ.


[deleted] t1_j8a2mnw wrote

Full disclosure, I do have a car that I share with a friend of mine in the area. I start the engine every two weeks to make sure the battery doesn't die and actually use the car myself maybe once a month. Not a wise financial decision on my part, I know. I do like getting out of the city to the mountains to hike in the warmer months.

If you check my post/comment history, you'll see I'm active in a lot of transit- and city-related subs. I'm a big transit advocate and use the T almost daily is some form or another (bus, tram, subway) and also use the T commuter rail and Amtrak for weekend getaways or vacations. I try my best to support the T by actually riding it and to defend it on the internet based on my own experiences with other cities' transit systems (it's not easy being a keyboard warrior lol), but they're making it really difficult these days.

For example, my parents came to visit this weekend. Last night, we got tickets for a concert at the House of Blues over in Fenway. It took us nearly two hours to get from my apartment to the venue using the Green Line because of the closure between North Station and Government Center, where the T offered a shuttle bus between these stations instead. The bus took almost 25 minutes to go from North Station to Gov Center with traffic; walking between these two stations would have taken 15 minutes. Everyone on the bus was livid. We got to Government Center and packed like sardines into the tram and finally got to the Kenmore stop, having missed our dinner reservations. I was embarrassed that my parents had to put up with this experience. This felt like something out of 1930s Belarus or something. You bet your behind we took Uber back to my apartment after the show (a 16-min car ride).

Sorry for the long-winded answer. Maybe I am a hypocrite for having a car here, but my apartment had off-street parking included in the rent, so I said what the hell and brought my car with me. But honestly, I don't think it'll be a concern for me too much longer as I'm looking for jobs back in NJ now.

Edit: Forgot to add-- I noticed the shitty road conditions here on my bike moreso than in my car.


BovaDesnuts t1_j8npee1 wrote

Lots more freezing and thawing up here, especially closer to the water.


MykeyInChains t1_j89t4sx wrote

Memorial Ave in W. Springfield is so bad right now too.


Salty-Neighborhood10 t1_j8adl75 wrote

THE WORST!!! I don’t understand why they don’t ever fix it!!!


the-tinman t1_j89k5ou wrote

The Feds don’t need to fund infrastructure projects in Ma. Because there is no danger of us voting any but democrat.


RedditSkippy t1_j89x40k wrote

Ummmm, Big Dig might like a word.

If anything the Big Dig used a huge share of federal money in Massachusetts, and we’re probably at the bottom of the list for the next decade or so.


MeEvilBob t1_j89w223 wrote

We have some of the most republican democrats in the country.


Tacoman404 t1_j89vqs5 wrote

RT 5 through West Springfield recently has been making me think about the highway infrastructure in the area. It could be argued that either RT 5 or 91 doesn’t have to exist as separate roads on separate sides of the river. From the Memorial bridge to the Riverdale shops you could just get rid of Rt 5. I know it’s a hot take but neither Springfield or West Springfield have a real waterfront district and that section already has a stretch of residential and the rest is useless car dealerships. There were apparently plans to bury 91 many moons ago but that seems more costly. That section of RT 5 is convenient but I wouldn’t be mad if it was gone.


KosherNazi t1_j89xfbr wrote

91 was originally supposed to go where rt 5 is, but it was lobbied to go thru springfield instead. thats why it crosses the river in chicopee and then crosses back again in windsor locks.


Tacoman404 t1_j8aesic wrote

The most ironic thing is that it was lobbied by Springfield to increase commerce but it made 75% of the waterfront unusable and it just acts as a way to pass through the city to VT and the Pike.


UniWheel t1_j8c0azs wrote

Historically being skipped by the railroad meant the commercial death of a city, people (especially in the cities that won the railroads) likely assumed the same would be true of the interstates.

Turned out of course to be more the opposite - you want good access to one, but to NOT have it going right through the city chopping it up.


UniWheel t1_j8c1sqz wrote

>I know it’s a hot take but neither Springfield or West Springfield have a real waterfront district

When I think about it, I'm struggling to think of anywhere on the CT river that has much of a waterfront district. Maybe Holyoke where it's been heavily engineered?

May be because it's a silty, shallow river that's not really navigable.

Hartford has parks by the river, but they regularly flood.

In the pioneer valley it's just farmland (much of it restricting access) and out of the way boating.

Turners falls has on park above the dam and decaying industry and path along the canal below

Brattleboro has maybe one restaurant with a deck overlooking it but other than that it's rail yards and lumber, on the NH side it's just abandoned rails/trail with Hinsdale on a bluff far away and above.


CleverCat57 t1_j8baoou wrote

Yeah, Rte 5 is bad. I just took a teeth rattling jaunt down Damon Rd. in Northampton. It was worse than usual.


Caduceus1515 t1_j8a4b9e wrote

U.S Numbered Routes, sometimes called federal highways, are not maintained with federal funds. The federal government is very much not involved, other than the Department of Transportation providing a consistent numbering system.


lumierelove t1_j8abfi0 wrote

Can we add the condition of the roads from the south and north end bridges heading into West Springfield and Agawam? I swear it feels like I lose a tire each time.

Also fuck Richie Neal.


GibsonL-5 OP t1_j8ac9bz wrote

I agree! I think the general condition of the roads and highways in western Massachusetts are deplorable. I live in one of the towns north of Chicopee and our local streets and roads look like they've been bomb. Awful.

I also agree with your sentiments of Congressman Neal. He hasn't done much for our area and his mediocre help in retaining S&W is a tragedy.


lumierelove t1_j8acfid wrote

Not to mention the controversy around the recent election with Mayor Moore. That really shined a light on the type of man Neal is.


Bender7676 t1_j8a07d1 wrote

I drive Riverdale road from time to time. It is in rough condition. Wouldn’t be surprised if they let it get bad just to keep the speeds down.


Dismal_Ad_9603 t1_j8ajtnu wrote

A big part of the issue is that the road was originally paved with concrete. Since then the area has grown exponentially. I remember a time when the Showcase Theater was there almost by it itself and there was very little development on the northbound side of rt 5. Anyhow concrete and asphalt don’t play well together, the reality is that the concrete should be torn up and replaced with asphalt, the other part of the problem is that the infrastructure beneath the road is failing ( same as many other areas) so the road is always getting torn up.


bkdlays t1_j8a3lo4 wrote

Actually Riverdale Street


cdcyclist t1_j8dir47 wrote

I love that they didn't bother addressing the craters and pot holes down on the Holyoke side of route 5 but they put a "road diet" on the other side where the McDonalds is. I turn right onto route 5 at that intersection going towards 57 nearly every day for work and watching people drag race at the McDonalds light so they can be "first" before the lanes squeeze down to one seems significantly MORE dangerous than it was. I understand people had a hard time pulling out of their driveways and side streets there but now it's one lane and people are doing like 80mph+ to try and be first to the next rotary entrance. Not sure the road diet was the right answer there but I'm not a civil engineer.


Fadedaway1347 t1_j8dig24 wrote

Mass DOT only cares about the Boston area that’s why. It’s not town jurisdiction so the town can’t do anything on it.


Kodiak01 t1_j8f4yhv wrote

It's the Holyoke part that's bad, West Springfield did major work to multiple sections over the past decade.

They're about to start a new portion this year as well:

WEST SPRINGFIELD – State officials are planning to repave the northern end of Riverdale Street (Route 5), the town engineer told West Springfield’s Town Council on Jan. 3.

The council voted to approve several utility pole relocations that are necessary before the work can begin. Town Engineer Connor Knightly told councilors that “a few miles” of potholed stretches from the Holyoke city line almost to the Interstate 91 ramps will be resurfaced.

He also said the heavily traveled street will gain some new sidewalks and a reconfigured intersection with Brush Hill Road.

“They’re simplifying the intersection a little bit to make it more conducive to traffic making U-turns,” Knightly said. “I know there have been issues at this location, vehicles using the wrong turning lane to make that maneuver, and ironically enough, colliding with each other in front of Red’s Towing.”

Currently, northbound drivers attempting to turn south at Brush Hill Road are expected not to make a tight U-turn, but to make a gentler left turn and enter a jughandle lane, merge with traffic coming from Brush Hill Road and wait at a traffic light to join southbound Riverdale Street.

Knightly also said the state is allowing West Springfield to set a school zone speed limit on Piper Road in front of West Springfield High School, in the area where a car struck and killed a pedestrian last month. He said the town is looking at applying for a state grant to install school zone signs with flashing lights and a radar display that shows each driver’s speed.

Also on Jan. 3, councilors took no additional action on their Dec. 5 order to ban heavy trucks from Larone Avenue, a side street connecting Elm and Riverdale streets. The council had been expected to vote on whether to override Mayor William Reichelt’s veto of the ban, but following a subcommittee discussion on Jan. 3, the mayor agreed to rescind his veto, Sullivan said.

Residents of Larone Avenue had requested the truck ban to prevent commercial vehicles from using their street as a shortcut to Route 5. They also complained about large trucks parking on the street and blocking traffic, but under state law, the town is only able to ban through trucks. Trucks making local deliveries to businesses on Larone Avenue will still be allowed to use the street.


Melbonie t1_j8g39lh wrote

I live in West Springfield and have to drive it almost daily. It's long been a dream to take the Governor for a ride down Riverdale and ask them to hold my nice hot cup of tea while I do it.


wickaboaggroove t1_j8a0s46 wrote

Doing construction on Riverdale just exacerbates everything; def cant do it in the late summer or fall. It was simultaneously always under construction and never seemed to be improving for the 6 years I worked at T&V.


RJE2 t1_j8c0c1q wrote

This is why I drive a jeep.


DunkinRadio t1_j8da3ab wrote

No worries, when the money from the millionaires tax starts rolling in it'll get taken care of.


ksyoung17 t1_j8dav24 wrote

Don't despair! The 4% increase in tax revenues from the 1% should be ample funding to repair these roads.


We all know all that money goes directly to the T. And then they'll tell us "we should be using public transportation to help preserve our roads."

Serves 10% of the state's population, gets 90% of the funding.


bostonmacosx t1_j8dhaer wrote

Seriously though you can drive through newton $$$$$ and see the same thing. I mean is like I'm adventuring in the white mountains....