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 Petersburgh, NY
 
East end: Beacon Street in Boston
Location
Counties: Berkshire, Franklin, Worcester, Middlesex, Suffolk
Highway system
Route C1 Route 2A
Route 6B N.E. Route 8

Route 2 is a major east–west state highway in Massachusetts. 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 in Berkshire County through Williamstown, where it serves the Williams College area and through North Adams, where it 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.

Route 2 then enters Franklin County, meeting Interstate 91 at an interchange in Greenfield and briefly runs concurrently with I-91. While the old Route 2 becomes Route 2A and goes through downtown Greenfield, Route 2 exits off I-91 as a short expressway before becoming a two-lane freeway. Outside of Greenfield, Route 2A temporarily ends and merges with Route 2. Route 2 remains 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 diverges from Route 2. At this point Route 2 again becomes a two-lane expressway. In Orange, Route 2 runs concurrently 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 departs 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 heads 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 and enters Boston's outer loop at the interchange with Interstate 495 in Littleton. It continues as an expressway into Acton, where the expressway ends at the traffic-light intersection with Piper Road and Taylor Road, 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 eastern terminus of Route 119 (which is concurrent with Route 2A). 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. [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. In Arlington, 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[citation needed]. The final off-ramp leads toward the large parking garage at the MBTA Alewife Station. At this point the road heads into Cambridge.

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. The Brookline/Norfolk County line also lies upon intersecting Commonwealth Avenue. After crossing Commonwealth Avenue (U.S. Route 20), it follows Mountfort Street and Beacon Street through the northernmost tip of Brookline before crossing into Kenmore Square which is the eastern terminus of U.S. 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]

The route amalgamates and supersedes various named highways in some cases going back to the pre-automobile era. For example, parts of Route 2 are sometimes known as the Cambridge and Concord Turnpike and the Mohawk Trail.

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]

County Location[9] mi[9] km Exit[10][11] Destinations[10][11] Notes
Berkshire Williamstown 0.000 0.000 NY 2 west – Taconic Trail, Troy NY Continuation from New York
3.824 6.154 US 7 south – Pittsfield Western end of concurrency with US 7
6.221 10.012 US 7 north – Pownal VT, Montreal Que Eastern end of concurrency with US 7
6.746 10.857 Route 43 south – Hancock, Stephentown NY Northern terminus of Route 43
North Adams 11.571 18.622 Route 8 south – Adams[12] Western end of concurrency with Route 8
11.740 18.894 Route 8A south Northern terminus of Route 8A "U" segment
12.405 19.964 Route 8 north – Clarksburg, Stamford VT Eastern end of concurrency with Route 8
Franklin Charlemont 29.807 47.970 Route 8A south – Hawley, Windsor Western end of concurrency with Route 8A
30.4 48.9 Route 8A north – Heath, Wilmington VT, Jacksonville VT Eastern end of concurrency with Route 8A
Buckland 37.390 60.173 Route 2A east – Shelburne Falls Western terminus of Route 2A
37.806 60.843 Route 112 south – Buckland, Ashfield Western end of concurrency with Route 112
Shelburne 38.062 61.255 Route 112 north – Shelburne Falls, Colrain Eastern end of concurrency with Route 112
38.942 62.671 Route 2A west – Shelburne Falls, Buckland Western end of concurrency with Route 2A
Greenfield 47.398 76.280 I‑91 south / Route 2A east – Springfield, Greenfield Center Western end of concurrency with I-91 and Route 2A; Exit 26 on I-91
50.139 80.691 I‑91 north – Brattleboro VT Eastern end of concurrency with I-91; Exit 27 on I-91
50.789 81.737 US 5 / Route 10 – Greenfield, Bernardston Interchange
51.480 82.849 East end of freeway
52.242 84.075 Route 2A west – Greenfield Center Western end of concurrency with Route 2A
Erving Semb Drive to Route 63 – Northfield, Millers Falls
57.404 92.383 Forest Street to Route 63 – Northfield, Hinsdale NH
57.7 92.9 Prospect Street to Route 63 – Millers Falls
64.865 104.390 Route 2A east to Route 78 – Orange, Warwick, Wendell[13] Western end of concurrency with Route 2A
65.060 104.704 West end of Super-2 freeway
Orange 66.571 107.136 14 West River Street – Orange Center
69.788 112.313 15 Route 122 – Orange, Worcester, Amherst
70.676 113.742 16 US 202 south – Athol, Belchertown Western end of concurrency with US 202
Worcester Athol 75.155 120.950 17 Route 32 – Athol, Petersham
Phillipston 76.474 123.073 18 Route 2A – Athol, Phillipston
79.009 127.153 19 US 202 north / Route 2A – Phillipston, Winchendon Eastern end of concurrency with US 202; western end of divided freeway
Templeton 81.915 131.829 20 Baldwinville Road – Templeton, Baldwinville
83.459 134.314 21 Route 2A / Route 101 – Templeton, Ashburnham, East Templeton
Gardner 86.500 139.208 22 Route 68 – Gardner, Hubbardston
87.253 140.420 23 Pearson Blvd – South Gardner
Westminster 89.738 144.419 24 Route 140 north / West Main Street south – Winchendon, Westminster Western end of concurrency with Route 140; signed as Exits 24A (West Main Street south) and 24B (Route 140 north) westbound
91.764 147.680 25 Route 2A / Route 140 south – Westminster Eastern end of concurrency with Route 140
92.568 148.974 26 Willard Road / Village Inn Road Eastbound exit only
93.479 150.440 27 Narrows Road / Depot Road
Fitchburg 94.495 152.075 28 Route 31 – Fitchburg, Princeton
96.279 154.946 Mount Elam Road Partially at-grade intersection with barrier in the middle of the road
Leominster 98.007 157.727 30 Merriam Avenue / South Street
99.269 159.758 31A Route 12 south – Leominster
99.278 159.772 31B Route 12 north – Fitchburg
100.355 161.506 32 Route 13 – Leominster, Lunenburg
101.125 162.745 33 I‑190 south – Worcester Northern terminus of I-190
Lancaster 102.429 164.843 34 Mechanic Street / Harvard Street
103.497 166.562 35 Route 70 south – Lancaster, Lunenburg Northern terminus of Route 70
104.917 168.848 36 Shirley Road – Lancaster, Shirley
106.419 171.265 37 Jackson Road – Devens, Reserve Forces Training Area Signed as Exits 37A (no public access) and 37B westbound
Harvard 109.348 175.979 38A Route 110 west / Route 111 south – Harvard
109.357 175.993 38B Route 110 east / Route 111 north – Ayer
Middlesex Littleton 113.050 181.936 39 Taylor Street – Littleton
113.285 182.315 40A I‑495 south – Marlboro
113.317 182.366 40B I‑495 north – Lowell
Boxborough 115.505 185.887 41 Newtown Road – West Acton, Littleton
Acton 117.612 189.278 42 Route 27 – Maynard, Acton
118.013 189.924 43 Route 111 north – West Acton Westbound left exit and eastbound entrance; western terminus of concurrency with Route 111
118.013 189.924 East end of freeway
Concord 120.465 193.870 Route 2A west / Route 119 west / Route 111 north – Littleton Rotary; western end of concurrency with Route 2A; eastern terminus of Routes 111 and 119
121.691 195.843 Route 62 (Main Street) – West Concord, Maynard, Bedford
123.901 199.399 Route 126 south (Walden Street) to Route 117 – Walden Pond, Waltham Northern terminus of Route 126
124.824 200.885 Route 2A east Partial interchange; eastern end of concurrency with Route 2A
Lincoln 126.256 203.189 Bedford Road to Route 2A
Lexington 128.135 206.213 West end of freeway
128.504 206.807 52A I‑95 / Route 128 south – Attleboro Exits 29A-B on I-95 / Route 128
128.527 206.844 52B I‑95 / Route 128 north – Peabody
129.010 207.621 53 Spring Street – Lexington No westbound exit
130.002 209.218 54 Waltham Street – Lexington, Waltham Signed as Exits 54A (Waltham) and 54B (Lexington); westbound exits and eastbound entrances
130.894 210.653 55 Pleasant Street – Lexington Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
131.435 211.524 56 Winter Street – Belmont Eastbound signage
Route 4 north / Route 225 west / Winter Street – Lexington, Bedford Westbound signage; southern terminus of Route 4; eastern terminus of Route 225
Arlington / Belmont border 131.990 212.417 57 Dow Avenue – Arlington, Belmont
Belmont 132.711 213.578 58 Park Avenue – Arlington
Belmont / Arlington border 133.690 215.153 59 Route 60 – Belmont, Arlington
Arlington 134.130 215.861 60 Lake Street – East Arlington
134.649 216.697 Alewife Station Eastbound exit only
Arlington / Cambridge border 134.915 217.125 East end of freeway
Cambridge 135.005 217.269 US 3 north / Route 16 east (Alewife Brook Parkway) – Medford, Woburn Western end of concurrency with US 3 and Route 16
136.354 219.440 Route 16 west (Huron Avenue) – Watertown, West Newton Eastern end of concurrency with Route 16
139.280 224.149 US 3 south (Memorial Drive) Eastern end of concurrency with US 3
Charles River 139.349 224.260 Boston University Bridge
Suffolk Boston 139.531 224.553 US 20 (Commonwealth Avenue) – Brighton, Kenmore Square
140.446 226.026 US 20 west (Commonwealth Avenue) Kenmore Square; eastern terminus of US 20
140.881 226.726 Route 2A west (Massachusetts Avenue) Eastern terminus of Route 2A
141.556 227.812 Route 28 south (Clarendon Street) One-way southbound
142.35 229.09 Beacon Street Eastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Route map: Bing

  1. ^ Executive Office of Transportation, Office of Transportation Planning - 2005 Road Inventory
  2. ^ Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Project Information
  3. ^ http://www.schlichtman.org/mahighways/bosmap37.gif
  4. ^ http://www.brorson.com/maps/BostonHighwayPlan_1965_Detail/BostonHPDetailLevel1.jpg
  5. ^ User: BigRock (April 9, 2007). "Boston's Cancelled Highways". Google Maps. Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  6. ^ http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/reg/09/2009-01425.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.concordma.gov/Pages/ConcordMA_Publicworks/Crosbys_corner
  8. ^ http://route2concordrotary.mhd.state.ma.us/about.aspx
  9. ^ a b MassDOT Planning Division. "Massachusetts Route Log Application". Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Massachusetts Department of Transportation. "Exit Numbers and Names: Route 2 (Orange to I-495)". Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Massachusetts Department of Transportation. "Exit Numbers and Names: Route 2 (I-495 to Cambridge)". Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  12. ^ Google Maps (July 2014). "Street View". Google. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  13. ^ Google Maps (September 2011). "Street View". Google. Retrieved January 22, 2015.