Massachusetts Route 2

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Route 2 marker

Route 2
Route information
Length: 142.29 mi[1] (228.99 km)
Existed: 1927, 1971 (current alignment) – present
Major junctions
West end: NY 2 in Petersburg, NY
 

I‑91 in Greenfield
US 202 from Orange to Phillipston
I‑190 in Leominster
I‑495 in Littleton
I‑95 / Route 128 in Lexington
US 3 / Route 16 in Cambridge

US 20 in Boston
East end: Arlington Street in Boston
Location
Counties: Berkshire, Franklin, Worcester, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk
Highway system
  • Massachusetts State Highway Routes
Route C1 Route 2A
Route 6B N.E. Route 8

Route 2 is a major east–west state highway in Massachusetts, parts of which are sometimes known as the Cambridge and Concord Turnpike. Along with Route 9 and U.S. Route 20 to the south, these highways are the main alternatives to the Massachusetts Turnpike/I-90 toll highway. Route 2 runs the entire length of the northern tier of Massachusetts, beginning at the New York border, where it connects with New York State Route 2, and ending near Boston Common in Boston.

Route description[edit]

Route 2 proceeds east from the New York state line on a winding, scenic path through Williamstown, where It serves the Williams College area and on to North Adams that serves the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. East of North Adams, Route 2 ascends via a hairpin turn into the Hoosac Range along what is known as the Mohawk Trail.

It then goes from Berkshire County into Franklin County, Massachusetts, running into Interstate 91 at an interchange in Greenfield and briefly runs concurrent with the interstate highway. At this point the old Route 2 becomes Route 2A and goes through downtown Greenfield. Route 2, however, exits off I-91, becoming an expressway briefly before becoming a two-lane freeway. Outside of Greenfield, Route 2A temporarily ends and merges with Route 2. Route 2 then becomes a regular two-lane surface road in Gill and through Erving though it has some grade-separated interchanges in Millers Falls at its intersection with Route 63. There is another gap in the two-lane expressway in the Erving area. Recently, the road in Erving was routed to the north and straightened to avoid the paper mill next to the river. This rerouting led to the road being shortened by less than a tenth of a mile.

Once the road enters the Town of Orange, Route 2A resumes and breaks off Route 2. At this point Route 2 again becomes a two-lane expressway. In Orange, Route 2 runs concurrent with U.S. Route 202. The road at this point enters the town of Athol in Worcester County, Massachusetts. After its eastern interchange in Phillipston when US 202 breaks off to the north, Route 2 becomes a full four-lane expressway, though not to Interstate standards at most points. It continues through Gardner and Leominster, where Interstate 190 begins, which runs south to Worcester. Continuing east into Fitchburg, Route 2 has several at-grade intersections with Oak Hill Road, Palmer Road, Mt. Elam Road, and Abbott Avenue. At the intersection with Mt. Elam Road, a traffic light remains in use on the eastbound side.

Route 2 continues east to Middlesex County, Massachusetts. At this point it enters Boston's outer loop at the interchange with Interstate 495 in Littleton. It continues as an expressway until it goes into Acton, where it runs into Piper Road and Taylor Road at a traffic light (Exit 44). At this point the expressway ends and Route 2 becomes a regular divided highway at most points and just a four-lane highway at other points. At the Concord Rotary, a major traffic choke point, Route 2 intersects with Route 2A and the beginning of Route 119 (which is overlapped with 2A at that point). After the rotary the road loses its dividing wall as it passes past the State Police (who have an emergency-only traffic light) and over the Assabet River. Route 2A used to then break away from Route 2 at the next traffic light to go left into Concord but is now overlaid with Route 2. At Crosby's Corner, the sixth intersection after the rotary, Route 2A goes straight while Route 2 veers right (but still heads east). The highway loses its dividing wall until the Bedford St intersection in Lincoln where it becomes divided again. MassHighway currently expects to rebuild the Crosby Corner intersection and create a dividing wall from there to Bedford St in 2011–2013.[2]

Convergence of Routes 2, 3, and 16 at Alewife.

At this point Route 2 enters Lexington and still is a divided 4-lane road with surface intersections. It then heads to Boston's inner belt, crossing Interstate 95/Route 128. From there, Route 2 is a six-lane and then eight-lane limited access highway until Exit 60, where it narrows with little warning to six lanes and then to four lanes. This section of expressway actually meets the standards of an interstate highway. The final off-ramp leads directly to the large parking garage at the MBTA Alewife Station. At this point the road heads into Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The shield for Massachusetts Route 2, located across from the Boston Common

The limited access highway portion ends at a signalized intersection, where it merges with U.S. Route 3 south and Route 16 west in Cambridge and continues as a four-lane surface road to the Boston Public Garden. Route 2 follows Alewife Brook Parkway, Fresh Pond Parkway, Gerry's Landing Road, and Memorial Drive (all parkways maintained by the Department of Conservation and Recreation) through Cambridge. It crosses into Boston on the Boston University Bridge. After crossing Commonwealth Avenue (U.S. Route 20), it follows Mountfort Street and Beacon Street into Kenmore Square which is the eastern terminus of US Route 20. From Kenmore Square, Route 2 follows Commonwealth Avenue to Arlington Street. It circles the Public Garden in Boston, using Arlington Street to Boylston Street to Charles Street. Route 2 goes along northbound Route 28 at the intersection of Charles Street and Beacon Street between Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden. Shortly after, route 2 ends on U.S. Route 3 or Route 3 while Route 28 north goes with the southbound of Route 3.

History[edit]

New England 7.svg

In the early 1920s, Route 2 was known as New England Interstate Route 7 (NE-7), a major road connecting Boston with Troy, New York. NE-7 ran roughly where Route 2A (the original surface alignment of Route 2) does now except near the New York state line. NE-7 used current Massachusetts Route 43, New York State Route 43 and New York State Route 66 to reach Troy. Current Route 2 from Williamstown to Petersburgh was previously numbered as Route 96.

Route 2 connected as a highway in its current right-of-way at Alewife Brook Parkway at some point before 1937.[3]

An upgraded Route 2 was originally planned to continue as Boston's Northwest Expressway (merging with a re-routed U.S. Route 3 at the Arlington-Lexington or Arlington-Cambridge border) to a junction with Interstate 695, the Inner Beltway, but this, along with the Inner Beltway itself, was cancelled in 1970, accounting for the abrupt narrowing at Alewife.[4][5] In place of the highway project, the MBTA Red Line was extended from Harvard to Alewife in the 1980s.

Crosby's Corner improvement project[edit]

This major project has been planned since 1999. The intersection has an average of 90 accidents a year. The project is intended to solve the traffic and safety problems that have occurred at Crosby's Corner intersection (junction of Route 2 and 2A) in Concord. The project, expected to cost $71.9 million, will widen Route 2 from Bedford Road in Lincoln to 300 feet west of Sandy Pond Road in Concord. The project will eliminate the at grade intersection and realign it and construct new entrance and exit ramps along with constructing new service roads next to Route 2. The project was expected to begin in 2011. The state has recently spent $25–35 million for property takings in the path of the new alignment of Route 2. In January 2010 a speeding tanker truck carrying liquid asphalt flipped over on Route 2 and crushed three cars. The truck driver was med-flighted to a Boston hospital with serious injuries. The highway was shut down for five hours causing traffic delays for the 46,000 commuters daily. The accident put the spotlight back on the Crosby's Corner project.

The full project includes building a new overpass bridge over Route 2 and building multiple service roads next to Route 2. Fourteen retaining walls will be built to accommodate the new interchange ramp construction. Work also consists of a new signalized intersection. The project was put out to bid for contractors on September 19, 2011. A contractor was expected to be chosen over the winter and construction was expected to begin in Spring 2012 on the estimated $55 million project.

The Army Corps of Engineers published a notice [6] for this project, because of its impact on wetlands at Crosby's Corner. During the summer of 2012, activity on this portion of Route 2 included surveying and the installation of orange painted stakes. Signs were added in January 2013 indicating that construction would start on January 14. As of April 2014 the project is underway and predicted completion is Spring 2016 [7]

Concord Rotary Improvement Project[edit]

A project to improve the Concord Rotary, at the convergence of Route 2, Route 2A/119, Barrett's Mill Road and Commonwealth Avenue, has been in planning since 2003 or even earlier. More than 61,000 cars use this rotary on a typical day, and the backed up traffic can be significant. The improved intersection would include overpasses for local streets, while Route 2 traffic would continue unimpeded at grade. However, the project was removed from the funded portion of the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization's (MPO) Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) in August 2009 and is currently on hold.[8]

Major intersections[edit]

Mechanic Street has access access to Route 111

County Location Mile km Exit Destinations Notes
Berkshire Williamstown 0.0 0.0 NY 2 west – Troy, Albany Continuation into New York Western Terminus of MA 2; Eastern Terminus of NY 2
3.9 6.3 US 7 south – Pittsfield Southern end of US 7 concurrency
6.2 10.0 US 7 north – Pownal, VT Northern end of US 7 concurrency
6.7 10.8 Route 43 south – Hancock, Stephentown, NY Northern terminus of Route 43
North Adams 11.6 18.7 Route 8 south Western end of Route 8 concurrency
11.7 18.8 Route 8A north(south) Northern end of Route 8A "U" segment
12.4 20.0 Route 8 north – Clarksburg, Stamford, VT Eastern end of Route 8 concurrency
Franklin Charlemont 29.8 48.0 Route 8A west – Hawley, Windsor Western end of Route 8A concurrency
30.4 48.9 Route 8A east – Heath, Wilmington, VT Eastern end of Route 8A concurrency
Buckland 37.4 60.2 Route 112 south – Buckland, Ashfield Western end of Route 112 concurrency
Shelburne 38.1 61.3 Route 112 north – Shelburne Falls, Colrain Eastern end of Route 112 concurrency
Greenfield 47.5 76.4 26[a] I‑91 south / Route 2A east – Springfield, Greenfield Center, Brattleboro, VT Southern end of I-91 concurrency; western terminus of Route 2A
50.0 80.5 27[a] I‑91 north – Brattleboro, VT Northern end of I-91 concurrency
50.7 81.6 US 5 / Route 10 – Greenfield, Bernardston Interchange
51.3 82.6 Freeway ends
52.1 83.8 Route 2A west – Greenfield Center Western terminus of Route 2A concurrency
Erving 57.3 92.2 To Route 63 north (via Forest Street) – Northfield
57.7 92.9 To Route 63 south (via Prospect Street)
64.8 104.3 Route 2A east – Orange, Warwick Eastern terminus of Route 2A concurrency; Super-2 freeway begins
Orange 66.5 107.0 14 West River Street – Orange Center
69.5 111.8 15 Route 122 – Orange, Worcester
70.6 113.6 16 US 202 south / Daniel Shays Highway north – Belchertown, Athol Western end of US 202 concurrency
Worcester Athol 74.6 120.1 17 Route 32 – Athol, Petersham
Phillipston 76.5 123.1 18 Route 2A – Athol, Phillipston
78.9 127.0 19 US 202 north / Route 2A – Phillipston, Winchendon Eastern end of US 202 concurrency, beginning of divided freeway
Templeton 81.5 131.2 20 Baldwinville Road – Templeton, Baldwinville
83.4 134.2 21 Route 2A / Route 101 – Templeton, Ashburnham
Gardner 86.2 138.7 22 Route 68 – Gardner, Hubbardston
86.9 139.9 23 Gardner, South Gardner
Westminster 89.3 143.7 24 Route 140 north / West Main Street – Ashburnham, Winchendon Western end of Route 140 concurrency; split into exits 24A (south) and 24B (north) westbound
91.7 147.6 25 Route 2A / Route 140 south – Fitchburg, Princeton Eastern end of Route 140 concurrency
92.2 148.4 26 Willard Road / Village Inn Road Eastbound exit only
93.0 149.7 27 Narrows Road / Depot Road
Fitchburg 94.0 151.3 28 Route 31 – Fitchburg, Princeton
96.0 154.5 (29) Mount Elam Road Partially at-grade intersection with barrier in the middle of the road and flashing light
Leominster 98.0 157.7 30 Merriam Avenue / South Street – Leominster, Fitchburg
99.1 159.5 31 Route 12 – Leominster, Fitchburg Split into exits 31A (south) and 31B (north)
100.4 161.6 32 Route 13 – Leominster, Lunenburg
101.1 162.7 33 I‑190 south / Mechanic Street – Leominster, Worcester Northern terminus of I-190
Lancaster 102.6 165.1 34 Mechanic Street / Harvard Street
103.4 166.4 35 Route 70 south – Lancaster, Lunenburg Northern terminus of Route 70
104.8 168.7 36 Fort Pond Road/Shirley Road – Lancaster and Shirley
105.9 170.4 37 Jackson Road – Devens Reserve Forces Training Area Split into exits 37A (Devens RFTA) and 37B (Jackson Road), no public access to Exit 37A
Harvard 109.2 175.7 38 Route 110 / Route 111 – Harvard, Worcester, Ayer, Groton Split into exits 38A (south) and 38B (north)
Middlesex Littleton 112.7 181.4 39 Taylor Street – Littleton, Boxboro
113.0 181.9 40 I‑495 – Marlboro, Cape Cod, Lowell, Lawrence Split into exits 40A (south) and 40B (north)
115.2 185.4 41 Newtown Road / Central Street – West Acton, Littleton Eastbound exit in Boxborough, Westbound exit in Littleton
Acton 117.4 188.9 42 Route 27 – Maynard, Chelmsford
118.0 189.9 43 Route 111 north – West Acton Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only; western terminus of Route 111 concurrency
118.0 189.9 East end of freeway
118.1 190.1 Piper Road / Taylor Road Traffic light
Concord 120.6 194.1 Route 2A west / Route 111 west / Route 119 – Littleton Rotary, Eastern terminus of Route 111 and concurrency
Eastern terminus of Route 2A concurrency; eastern end of Route 119
121.60 195.70 Route 62 – Bedford, West Concord, Maynard
124.00 199.56 Route 126 south – Walden Pond, Framingham Northern terminus of Route 126
124.9 201.0 Route 2A east Partial interchange, eastern terminus of Route 2A concurrency
Lexington 128.0 206.0 West end of freeway
128.7 207.1 52 I‑95 / Route 128 – Attleboro, Peabody Split into exits 52A (south) and 52B (north), exits 29A-B on I-95 / Route 128
129.0 207.6 53 Spring Street – Lexington, Waltham No westbound exit
129.9 209.1 54 Waltham Street – Lexington, Waltham Split into exits 54A (south) and 54B (north); westbound exits and eastbound entrances
130.6 210.2 55 Pleasant Street – Lexington, Waltham Eastbound exit and westbound entrance only
131.6 211.8 56 Route 4 north / Route 225 west / Winter Street south – Lexington, Bedford, Waverly Southern terminus of Route 4, eastern terminus of Route 225
Arlington 131.7 212.0 57 Dow Avenue – Arlmont, Arlington, Belmont
132.3 212.9 58 Park Avenue – Belmont, Arlington Heights
133.9 215.5 59 Route 60 – Arlington Center, Belmont Center To US 20 via Route 60 west
135.0 217.3 60 Lake Street – East Arlington, Belmont
Cambridge 134.6 216.6 Alewife T Station Eastbound exit only
134.9 217.1 US 3 north / Route 16 north (Alewife Brook Parkway) Northern terminus of US 3/Route 16 concurrency; freeway ends
136.3 219.4 Route 16 west (Huron Avenue) Southern terminus of Route 16 concurrency
139.3 224.2 US 3 south (Memorial Drive) Route 2 exits Memorial Drive
Charles River Boston University Bridge
Suffolk Boston 140.4 226.0 US 20 west (Commonwealth Avenue) Eastern terminus of US 20 at Kenmore Square
Route 2 leaves Beacon Street for Commonwealth Avenue eastbound
140.9 226.8 Route 2A west (Massachusetts Avenue) Eastern terminus of Route 2A
142.1 228.7 Route 28 south (Clarendon Street) One-way southbound
142.29 228.99 Arlington Street Eastern Terminus of MA 2
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b These exit numbers are signed on I-91, and do not refer Route 2’s exit numbering.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing