Blasting, delays set for Massachusetts Turnpike in Becket

New construction work means motorists on one of the westernmost portions of the Mass Turnpike will start experiencing regular midday delays beginning Tuesday. 

After a successful test blast last week, tomorrow the state’s highway department begins removing several tons of stone ledge from the eastbound side of the turnpike, between exits 2 and 3 in the town of Becket. The blasting will take place Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays around midday.  

Traffic in both directions will be halted for about fifteen minutes at these times, according to the department of transportation. The timing of each blast will be posted on portable highway signs the day before to help motorists plan their trip, but will not be available by any other means. 

Spokesman Michael Verseckes says that’s to avoid attracting onlookers.

“The folks that will be traveling through the Becket area on the turnpike, we want to capture their attention and let them know. But otherwise, I don’t think we want to create the kind of spectacle that might attract folks to come and see what they think might be a bigger ordeal.” The two point three million dollar project, being done by a Pittsfield contractor, is designed to minimize the risk of debris falling from the existing ledge. Verseckes says he’s unaware of any injuries at this location resulting from that issue.

The project is expected to continue into June.