HATFIELD: Around 1940 a project relocated of US-5 at a NYNH&H RR overpass and made a highway crossing at grade.
NORTHAMPTON: Around 1940 a section of US-5 was relocated to eliminate a NYNH&H RR overpass.
WHATELY: Around 1940 a section of US-5 was relocated to eliminate an old 1899 NYNH&H RR overpass.
WEST SPRINGFIELD: It was in the early 1940s that Riverdale Road in West Springfield from the Showcase Cinemas to Holyoke became the road we know today. In 1941/42 a four-lane highway was designed from the northern end of the 1938 bypass (near McDonalds) to the Holyoke line. The relocated section, between today's MacDonalds and the Showcase Cinemas took the Riverdale name while the old Riverdale Road became a northern extension of today's Elm Street.
HOLYOKE: In 1942 the last stretch of US-5 (Main Street) between the West Springfield line and the Main Street/Ingleside Street traffic lights was widened to a four-lane highway. It was to join the new four-lane highway in West Springfield. We may not today realize that the concrete pavement we are driving today on between Holyoke line and the MacDonalds at the corner of East Elm Street in West Springfield is now over 50 years old. Supposedly, the durability of this section of highway is somewhat legendary in engineering circles... at least among those who are proponents of using concrete as a paving material over the less durable "bit conc".
WHATELY/DEERFIELD: In 1947 US-5 and RT-10 ran through the heart of South Deerfield center on South Main and North Main Streets. A project was designed in 1947 to bypass the town center. It would start in Whately going north. If this section of highway seems curiously straight it is because the state used an abandoned NYNH&H RR right-of-way. It is on this stretch of highway where Yankee Candle is now located. Up until the mid-60's this section was still officially a US-5 Bypass while the US-5 and RT-10 still went through the center of town.
MISC.: In 1957/58 plans were drawn up for relocating US-5 in Bernardston, Longmeadow, as well as other towns. These plans were later adopted for I-91.
NORTHAMPTON: Around 1952 a plan was drawn up to eliminate the Wright Avenue/Conz Street segment of the highway. Pleasant Street, which then cut into the fields, would be extended south to meet the existing highway near the Ally Oops bowling ally.
SPRINGFIELD/AGAWAM: 1952/53. Up until the opening of the new sections of US-5 that were to bypass Springfield center, US-5 entered the city from Longmeadow as it does today. It then connected with Columbus Avenue in Springfield where the route crossed the river at the Memorial Bridge. In the early 50's a new South End Bridge was built to connect the Longmeadow section of US-5 to the new bypasses described below.
AGAWAM/WEST SPRINGFIELD: In 1952/53 construction for a new section of four-lane, limited-access, expressway was begun. It was to run from the new South End Bridge through Agawam and West Springfield to meet the 1938 US-5 bypass at the North End Bridge. Two tunnels were also built so local traffic would not interfere with through traffic. These projects completed the bypass of both Springfield and West Springfield centers.
MISC.: Unlike the major bypass projects constructed for other cities, no such highway relocations were proposed for Northampton and Greenfield centers. Since most interstate through traffic would be diverted to I-91, US-5 still goes through the hearts of these cities.
SPRINGFIELD: During the construction of I-91 a section of US-5 in Springfield was essentially obliterated. Now US-5 in fact runs on I-91 for a short distance until the South End Bridge.
GREENFIELD: In 1961/62 during the construction of I-91, a bridge had to be constructed for US-5 to cross I-91. The opportunity was taken to straighten this section of US-5 by relocating the bridge's approaches from the original layout.
HATFIELD: 1963/64: During the construction of I-91 two minor relocations were made on the older US-5 layouts. One is at Chestnut Street, the other just north of Pantry Road.
NORTHAMPTON: 1963/64: In an effort to keep the entrance to I-91 open should flooding close the Oxbow section of US-5, the interchange of the two highways was built up. There have been plans to extend this raised roadbed south all the way to Easthampton.
WHATELY: 1963/64: A relocation near Claverack Road was made to US-5 during the construction of I-91.
WHATELY/DEERFIELD: 1963/1964 A relocation was made on the town line during the construction of I-91.
HOLYOKE: In 1967 the entrance to Mountain Park and Mount Tom Ski Area was relocated to its current location.
Since the 60's there has been but one change in US-5's actual route. Back in the mid-1930s a dangerous rail crossing had been eliminated on Ingleside Street by the construction of a rail overpass. In the process, a flattened S-curve was built. In the intervening years this curve itself proved treacherous. In 1970/71 raising the roadbed and straightening the road eliminated the curve. The remains of this old highway grade, retaining walls, and rail overpass are still visible at the south end of the RT-5 plaza in south Holyoke.
WEST SPRINGFIELD/HOLYOKE: In 1971 plans were drawn up to make the Riverdale Road section of US-5 into a divided highway. This division was accomplished by erecting a steel barrier on the medium strip between the lanes.
HOLYOKE: In 1974 the section of highway between the 1970/71 project and Whiting Road was widened to accommodate the then new mall in the Mammoth Mart plaza.
WEST SPRINGFIELD: In 1987/88 an extra turn off lane had to be built to accommodate traffic to the then new Riverdale Shops.
EASTHAMPTON:In the summer of 2001 the bridge at the Oxbow was found to be unsafe. It was closed and by October a one-laned temporary bridge was put up until a new bridge could be constructed. That new bridge was opened in the fall of 2004.
"US-5: A Highway to History" © Robb Strycharz, 1996-2006
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