Northern Expressway (Massachusetts)

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Interstate 93 marker

Northern Expressway
Route information
Maintained by MassDOT
Length: 27.9 mi (44.9 km)
Major junctions
South end: I‑93 / US 1 at the Zakim Bridge in Charlestown
  I‑95 / Route 128 in Woburn
Route 125 in Wilmington
I‑495 in Andover
Route 213 in Methuen
North end: I‑93 near Salem, NH
Highway system
  • Massachusetts State Highway Routes

The Northern Expressway is a portion of Interstate 93 located north of Boston, Massachusetts. One terminus is at the end of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge.

History[edit]

The Northern Expressway was constructed from Medford to the New Hampshire border between 1956 and 1963. It was extended through Somerville and Charlestown to the Central Artery, U.S. Route 1, and the planned route of the Inner Belt between 1965 and 1973. Because it was already under construction, the highway was granted an exception to the moratorium on highway expansion inside Route 128 which was announced in 1970.[1]

I-93's original southern terminus was in Cambridge (just north of Boston) where it was to meet the Inner Belt (I-695). However, when that route was canceled, and the I-95 section into Boston was canceled and rerouted along Route 128 in the mid-1970s, I-93's route was extended an additional 18 miles (29 km) down the Central Artery (which had been signed as a concurrency of I-95/MA-3 before I-95 was rerouted) and the Southeast Expressway (what was then just Route 3) from Boston to Braintree and then west along former Route 128 to its intersection with I-95 in Canton.

In an attempt to alleviate rush-hour traffic jams, travel in the breakdown lane of I-93 is permitted on a small stretch between Exit 41 and Exit 47/48. This extra travel is permitted on the southbound side on weekdays between 6AM and 10AM, and on the northbound side between 3PM and 7PM. However, on most busy days this fails to prevent traffic delays. The Massachusetts State Police is displeased with this arrangement, citing that traffic in the breakdown lanes interferes with the ability of emergency vehicles to respond to accidents.

Rapid bridge replacement project[edit]

In August 2010, in Medford, a 25-by-7-foot (7.6 m × 2.1 m) section of bridge deck on the northbound side partially collapsed due to age-related structural fatigue.[2] The collapse forced the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to evaluate the remaining bridges along the corridor, eventually deciding to replace several bridges along the highway in a plan called 93 Fast 14. MassDOT set in motion a plan to replace the superstructure and concrete decks on 14 overpass bridges along that section of the interstate, using rapid bridge replacement methods. The $98.1 million project replaced bridges originally built in 1957 with a set of prefabricated modular concrete bridges in a series of weekend roadway closures. Traffic was diverted into a series of crossover lanes during construction. The main part of the project took place each weekend from June through August 2011,with the exception of the July 4th holiday weekend. One or two bridges were replaced each weekend during the construction time frame. The project was part of the Commonwealth's Accelerated Bridge Program.[3][4]

Exit list[edit]

For exit list of the Northern Expressway, see Interstate 93#Exit list.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Northern Expressway (I-93)". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Moskowitz, Eric (August 4, 2010). "Officials expect I-93 north lanes in Medford to be open for a.m. commute". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ "I-93 Medford Bridges: 93Fast14 Video". Massachusetts Department of Transportation. May 5, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ "MassDot Accelerated Bridge Program: About the program". Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 20, 2011.