U.S. Route 3

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"US 3" redirects here. For the band, see Us3.

U.S. Route 3 marker

U.S. Route 3
US 3 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by MassDOT
Length: 277.90 mi[1] (447.24 km)
Existed: 1926[1] – present
Major junctions
South end: Route 2A / Route 3 in Cambridge, MA
 

I‑95 / Route 128 / Route 3A in Burlington, MA
I‑495 / Lowell Connector in Chelmsford, MA
Everett Turnpike in Nashua, NH
NH 101 near Manchester, NH
US 202 in Concord, NH
US 4 near Concord, NH
I‑93 in Franconia, NH

US 302 in Carroll, NH
US 2 in Lancaster, NH
North end: Route 257 near Chartierville, Quebec
Highway system
Route 2A MA Route 3
US 2 NH NH 3A
Route 5 N.E. Route 6A

U.S. Route 3 (US 3) is a United States highway running 277.9 miles (447.2 km) from Cambridge, Massachusetts,[2] through New Hampshire, to the Canadian border near Third Connecticut Lake, where it connects to Quebec Route 257.

In New Hampshire, parts of US 3 are known as the Daniel Webster Highway. From Burlington, Massachusetts, to Nashua, New Hampshire, US 3 is a freeway. The segment in New Hampshire is a free portion of the Everett Turnpike, while the portion in Massachusetts is known as the Northwest Expressway. A second freeway portion exists in northern New Hampshire, where US 3 utilizes the Franconia Notch Parkway, overlapping Interstate 93.

Massachusetts Route 3 connects to the southern terminus of US 3 in Cambridge and continues south to Cape Cod. Though it shares a number, it has never been part of US 3. Both routes, which connect end-to-end, are treated as a single 91.3-mile (146.9 km) state highway by MassDOT, with mileposts increasing continuously from Cape Cod all the way to the New Hampshire state border.

Route description[edit]

Lengths
  mi km
NH 242.20 389.8
MA 35.70 57.5
Total 277.90 447.30

Massachusetts[edit]

Cambridge to Burlington[edit]

US 3 begins in the south along Memorial Drive in Cambridge, along the Charles River, at an interchange with Massachusetts Avenue (Route 2A). The road continues "south" (actually east) as Route 3 towards downtown Boston, while US 3 heads west, then north along the river towards downtown Cambridge, joining with Route 2 along the way. It runs opposite Soldiers Field Road in Allston along this stretch. Passing south of the downtown area, US 3 and Route 2 transition onto the Fresh Pond Parkway and join Route 16 in a wrong-way concurrency (heading north on US 3, one is also heading west on Route 2 and east on Route 16). Near the Alewife MBTA station, Route 2 splits off as a freeway to the west (Concord Turnpike), while US 3 / Route 16 turn onto the Alewife Brook Parkway. Shortly thereafter, US 3 splits from the Parkway (which continues as Route 16) and joins Route 2A (Massachusetts Avenue) westbound, crossing into Arlington. In the center of town, US 3 and Route 2A split from Massachusetts Avenue and overlap briefly with Route 60 (in another wrong-way concurrency) before continuing as Mystic Avenue. Route 2A splits from US 3 just to the north. US 3 continues through parts of Winchester and Woburn without any major intersections before entering Burlington and interchanging with Interstate 95 / Route 128 (Yankee Division Highway) at exit 33. US 3 joins the freeway to connect with the Northwest Expressway, while its historic surface alignment continues as Route 3A.

Burlington to Dunstable (Northwest Expressway)[edit]

US 3 runs along 1.6 miles (2.6 km) of I-95 (Route 128) in a wrong-way concurrency before exiting at exit 32A onto its own freeway, the Northwest Expressway.

Originally built in the 1950s, before the cancellation of the Inner Belt, the US 3 freeway was to have extended into metro Boston before being truncated to I-95. Consequently, a partially completed cloverleaf interchange connects US 3 to I-95, and exit numbers on the US 3 freeway start at 25 and increase sequentially to 36.

The freeway closely parallels Route 3A, the historic alignment of US 3, along its entire 19-mile (31 km) length from Burlington to the New Hampshire state border. It passes through Billerica and into Chelmsford, where it connects with I-495 and the Lowell Connector, a freeway spur into downtown Lowell widely regarded as one of the most dangerous roads in the state. Continuing north, the freeway briefly enters Lowell, then passes through North Chelmsford and Tyngsborough before crossing the state line into Nashua, New Hampshire. The freeway continues north as the Frederick E. Everett Turnpike.

New Hampshire[edit]

US 3 is one of New Hampshire's most well-known roads, as it passes through most of the state's major cities and towns and is the only highway to extend from the Massachusetts state border in the south to the Canadian border in the north. Running for 242 miles (389 km) in New Hampshire, US 3 is by far the longest signed highway in the state.

US 3 crosses the state border into Nashua and immediately becomes concurrent with the Everett Turnpike, running on the freeway for 6.7 miles (10.8 km) along the western side of the city. US 3 leaves the Everett Turnpike at exit 7E, crosses NH 101A and turns northeast for approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) along a segment known as the Henri Burque Highway, before turning north onto Concord Street, which soon becomes known as the Daniel Webster Highway. (Some locals erroneously refer to the Everett Turnpike from exit 7 through the I-293 interchange as Route 3 and refer to the actual US 3 only as the Daniel Webster Highway or "Old Route 3".)

US 3 continues north through the town of Merrimack and into Bedford, where it becomes South River Road. The highway parallels I-293 until it turns east in Manchester and then crosses the Merrimack River on Queen City Avenue, just after its intersection with I-293 / NH 3A and NH 114A. US 3 and NH 3A are signed in a wrong-way concurrency for approximately 0.6 miles (0.97 km) before US 3 turns north onto Elm Street towards downtown Manchester. After approximately 2.2 miles (3.5 km), US 3 turns east onto Webster Street, then joins NH 28 to proceed in a northeasterly direction towards Hooksett, interchanging with I-93. The two routes continue as Hooksett Road, then the Daniel Webster Highway.

In Suncook, NH 28 leaves to the northeast, and US 3 proceeds northwest towards Concord on Pembroke Street, becoming Manchester Street when it enters the Concord city limits. After crossing the Merrimack River and interchanging with I-93, US 3 intersects NH 3A (South Main Street), which terminates at its parent route. US 3 traverses downtown Concord as North and South Main streets (briefly overlapping with US 202 and NH 9), then follows North State Street to Fisherville Road to Village Street in Penacook before crossing the Contoocook River into Boscawen. US 3 travels north through Boscawen, briefly overlapping with US 4. The highway parallels the Merrimack River north into Franklin, where the highway meets NH 11. US 3 joins NH 11 and turns east; NH 3A also resumes at this intersection, continuing north. US 3 and NH 11 briefly form a three-route concurrency with NH 127 in Franklin, then pass through Tilton, crossing NH 132 and passing the western end of NH 140. Continuing northeast past Winnisquam Lake, US 3 and NH 11 reach Laconia and turn onto the Laconia-Gilford Bypass, intersecting with NH 106, NH 107, and NH 11A. At the northern end of the bypass, US 3 and NH 11 split after a 17.3-mile (27.8 km) overlap, with the U.S. highway continuing north on Lake Street to Weirs Beach and an intersection with NH 11B. US 3 continues north as the Daniel Webster Highway to Meredith at the northern end of Meredith Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee. In Meredith, US 3 intersects the northern terminus of NH 106, then joins NH 25 and continues north past Squam Lake into Holderness, passing the western termini of NH 25B and NH 113. Through Holderness, US 3 and NH 25 gradually turn west, then southwest, passing the southern end of NH 175, and then reaching the northern end of NH 132 in Ashland.

From Ashland to North Woodstock, US 3 proceeds north, roughly paralleling I-93 in the Pemigewasset River valley. Along this stretch it passes through the towns of Plymouth (NH 25 splits from US 3 near I-93 in Plymouth, which also marks the true northern terminus of NH 3A), West Campton (where it meets the western end of NH 49, the principal access road to Waterville Valley), Thornton, and Woodstock. In North Woodstock, US 3 crosses NH 112 (known to the east as the Kancamagus Highway).

Continuing north, US 3 joins with I-93 as it passes through Franconia Notch State Park, one of the more scenic drives in the White Mountains. This stretch of freeway is known as the Franconia Notch Parkway and is the only section of Interstate highway in the country with only one lane in each direction.

US 3 separates from I-93 at exit 35, shortly north of the northern park boundary in Franconia. From there, NH 141 branches northwest and US 3 heads north and east toward Twin Mountain and a junction with US 302. This portion of the road is noted for fairly frequent moose sightings, especially during sunrise and sunset when moose are particularly active.

Heading north from Twin Mountain, US 3 passes through the village of Carroll, where NH 115 branches to the northeast and US 3 bears to the northwest and the town of Whitefield. In the center of Whitefield, NH 142 branches to the northwest and NH 116 crosses, running roughly southwest to northeast. US 3 continues north to Lancaster, where it joins US 2 in the town center, and where NH 135 branches off to the west. After US 2 leaves to the west, US 3 continues north, roughly paralleling the course of the Connecticut River (which also forms the border with Vermont), through Northumberland and Groveton, where NH 110 ends. North of Groveton, US 3 continues to follow the river, through Stratford, North Stratford, and Columbia, until it reaches Colebrook, where it crosses NH 26 and meets the southern terminus of NH 145. Still following the Connecticut River north, US 3 passes through portions of Stewartstown and Clarksville. In Stewartstown, the road turns more directly east (still following the Connecticut River, which is no longer a boundary), before resuming a northeasterly direction through Pittsburg. Its last major intersection is at the northern terminus of NH 145. US 3 continues north for another 22 miles (35 km), eventually reaching the Pittsburg-Chartierville Border Crossing, where the road crosses into Chartierville, Quebec and becomes Quebec Route 257.

In total, US 3 runs along the Connecticut River and its source lakes for approximately 70 miles (110 km).

History[edit]

New England Interstate[edit]

New England 6.svg

Before the establishment of the U.S. Highway system, the section of US 3 / Massachusetts Route 3 from Orleans, Massachusetts, to Colebrook, New Hampshire, was part of New England Interstate Route 6 (NEI 6). It was replaced in its entirety with the establishment of US 3 and Massachusetts Route 3 in 1926.

Massachusetts[edit]

US 3 in Massachusetts closely follows the route of the early 19th-century Middlesex Canal and Middlesex Turnpike.

The modern Northwest Expressway was begun near Route 110 in Lowell before World War II. In the 1950s, it was extended south to Route 128 (later overlapped by I-95), and by the 1960s, it was completed north from Chelmsford to New Hampshire. By 2005, the chronically congested four-lane road, largely with antiquated ramps around Lowell, was later widened to six lanes (as it had been in Nashua, New Hampshire, a few years prior) with a breakdown lane on both the left and right sides of the road, and many interchanges were modernized in what was comically known as "The Big Wide", in reference to Massachusetts' other "Big" construction project (the Big Dig). The roadbed and bridges were built to support a fourth lane in each travel direction for future expansion.

The $365 million, 21-mile (34 km) widening project was completed in 2005 from Burlington to the New Hampshire border.

Termini[edit]

According to the AASHTO route log, the southern terminus of US 3 is at US 20 in Boston, where Route 2 currently meets US 20 after crossing the Charles River at the Boston University Bridge. However, MassDOT officially places the southern terminus of US 3 just to the east at the junction of Route 2A and Route 3 in Cambridge, which is where Route 2A crosses the Charles along the Harvard Bridge (also known as the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge).

The original northern terminus of US 3 (in 1926) was at Colebrook, New Hampshire, but the highway was extended to West Stewartstown in 1928, and to Pittsburg in 1937. Colebrook was the northern terminus again from 1939 to 1940. Since 1940, the highway has run through Pittsburg to the Pittsburg-Chartierville Border Crossing.

Major intersections[edit]

State County Location Mile[a][4] km Exit Destinations Notes
Massachusetts Middlesex Cambridge 55.7 89.6 Route 3 / Route 3A south (Memorial Drive)
Route 2A east (Massachusetts Avenue) – Boston
Southern terminus of US 3; northern terminus of Route 3; Southern terminus of silent concurrency with Route 3A
56.8 91.4 Route 2 east (Boston University Bridge) – Boston Southern terminus of concurrency with Route 2
59.7 96.1 Route 16 west (Huron Avenue) – Watertown, West Newton Southern terminus of concurrency with Route 16
61.2 98.5 Route 2 west – Arlington, Concord Northern terminus of concurrency with Route 2
61.5 99.0 Route 16 east / Route 2A east – Medford, Boston Northern terminus of concurrency with Route 16
Southern terminus of concurrency with Route 2A
Arlington 62.9 101.2 Route 60 west – Belmont, Waltham Southern terminus of concurrency with Route 60
Route 60 east – Medford, Revere Northern terminus of concurrency with Route 60
63.2 101.7 Route 2A west – Lexington, Concord Northern terminus of concurrency with Route 2A
Burlington 33 I‑95 / Route 128 north – Peabody, Portsmouth NH
Route 3A north – Burlington
Southern terminus of concurrency with I-95 / Route 128; northern terminus of silent concurrency with Route 3A
72.0 115.9 25 I‑95 / Route 128 south / Middlesex Turnpike – Lowell Northern terminus of concurrency with I-95/Route 128 concurrency
Exit signed as 25A (north) and 25B (south)
Bedford 72.9 117.3 26 Route 62 – Burlington, Bedford
Billerica 76.1 122.5 27 Concord Road – Billerica, Bedford
77.5 124.7 28 Treble Cove Road – North Billerica, Carlisle
Chelmsford 79.7 128.3 29 Route 129 – Billerica, Chelmsford
81.2 130.7 30
A-B
I‑495 / Lowell Connector – Lawrence, Marlboro Signed as exits 30A (Lowell Connector) and 30B (I-495 north) northbound
Signed as exits 30A (I-495 north) and 30B (I-495 south) southbound
30C I‑495 south – Marlboro Northbound exit and southbound entrance
81.5 131.2 31 Route 110 – Chelmsford Shared collector ramps with exit 30C (northbound) and 30B (southbound)
83.7 134.7 32 Route 4 – North Chelmsford, Chelmsford
85.8 138.1 33 Route 40 – Westford, North Chelmsford
Tyngsborough 88.0 141.6 34 Westford Road – Tyngsborough, Westford
89.6 144.2 35 Route 113 – Dunstable, Tyngsborough
91.0 146.5 36 Middlesex Road – South Nashua NH No southbound exit; northbound entrance crosses the state line
MANH border 91.3
0.00
146.9
0.00
MassachusettsNew Hampshire state line
South end of the Everett Turnpike
New Hampshire Hillsborough Nashua 0.50 0.80 1 Spit Brook Road – South Nashua
1.49 2.40 2 To NH 3A / NH 111 / D.W. Highway Access via the Circumferential Highway
Exit numbered 1A from northbound collector-distributor road
2.59 4.17 3 D.W. Highway – South Nashua Southbound exit and northbound entrance
3.18 5.12 4 East Dunstable Road FAA Center signage was removed at the request of the FAA shortly after 9/11
4.69 7.55 5 NH 111 to NH 111A – Nashua, Hudson, Pepperell MA Split into exits 5E (east) and 5W (west)
5.13 8.26 5A Simon Street Northbound exit only
6.22 10.01 6 NH 130 (Broad Street) – Nashua, Hollis
6.74 10.85 7 Everett Turnpike north / NH 101A – Nashua, Amherst, Milford Northern terminus of concurrency with the Everett Tpk
Signed as exits 7E (US 3 north / NH 101A east) and 7W (NH 101A west)
Merrimack 10.8 17.4 Everett Turnpike.svg Industrial Drive to Everett Turnpike Exit 10 on Everett Tpke.
12.1 19.5 Everett Turnpike.svg Greeley Street to Everett Turnpike Exit 11 on Everett Tpke.
15.7 25.3 Everett Turnpike.svg Bedford Road to Everett Turnpike south Exit 12 on Everett Tpke.
Bedford 17.9 28.8 Everett Turnpike.svg Wieczorek Drive to Manchester Airport / Everett Turnpike Interchange opened in 2011, Exit 13 on Everett Tpke.
20.9 33.6 NH 101 to I‑293 / Everett Turnpike – Boston, Concord, Manchester Airport Southbound access is via Meetinghouse Road
21.3 34.3 NH Route 101.svg Kilton Road to NH 101 west – Bedford
Manchester 22.7 36.5 NH 114A west to I‑293 / NH 3A – Concord, Boston Exit 4 on Everett Tpk (I-293 / NH 3A), no signage for Everett Tpk
Eastern terminus of NH 114A
26.2 42.2 NH 28 south (Beech / Maple Streets) Southern end of NH 28 concurrency, one-way pair
Merrimack Hooksett 27.3 43.9 I‑93 to NH 101 – Salem, Concord Exit 9 on I-93
28.6 46.0 NH 28A south – Londonderry Northern terminus of NH 28A
29.1 46.8 NH 27 east – Candia, Raymond Western terminus of NH 27
29.6 47.6 NH 28 Bypass south – Derry Northern terminus of NH 28 Bypass
Allenstown 35.2 56.6 NH 28 north – Epsom, Alton Northern end of NH 28 concurrency
Pembroke 39.5 63.6 NH 106 north – Loudon, Laconia Southern terminus of NH 106
Merrimack River Korea Veterans Memorial Bridge
Concord 41.8 67.3 I‑93 to I‑89 / I‑393 – Manchester, Lebanon, Plymouth, Portsmouth Exit 13 on I-93
42.2 67.9 NH 3A south (Main Street) Southern terminus silent concurrency with NH 3A
42.7 68.7 US 202 west / NH 9 west (Pleasant Street) to NH 13 Southern terminus of concurrency with US 202 / NH 9
43.0 69.2 NH 9 east (Loudon Road) to I‑93 Northern terminus of concurrency with NH 9
43.5 70.0 US 202 east to I‑393 east Northern terminus of concurrency with US 202; west end of I-393
Boscawen 50.8 81.8 US 4 east – Concord Southern terminus of concurrency with US 4
52.2 84.0 US 4 west – Andover Northern end of US 4 concurrency
Franklin 60.6 97.5 NH 127 south – Salisbury Southern end of NH 127 concurrency
61.3 98.7 NH 3A north / NH 11 west – Andover, Bristol Southern end of NH 11/NH 127 concurrency
61.8 99.5 NH 127 north – New Hampton Northern end of NH 127 concurrency
Belknap Tilton 64.9 104.4 NH 132 south to I‑93 south – Northfield, Concord Western end of NH 132 concurrency
66.4 106.9 I‑93 – Canterbury, Concord, Boston, New Hampton, Plymouth
NH 140 east – Belmont, Gilmanton
Exit 20 on I-93; western terminus of NH Route 140
66.7 107.3 NH 132 north – Sanbornton Eastern end of NH 132 concurrency
Belmont 72.8 117.2 NH 11A – Laconia downtown Western terminus of NH 11A
Laconia 74.3 119.6 NH 106 – Laconia, Belmont, Concord Interchange; to NH 107, via NH 106 north
74.6 120.1 NH 107 – Laconia, Gilmanton Partial interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance
Gilford 76.0 122.3 NH 11A – Gilford, Laconia Interchange
78.9 127.0 NH 11 east – Alton Northern end of NH 11 concurrency; to] NH 11C
Laconia 79.7 128.3 NH 107 south – Laconia Northern terminus of NH 107
82.9 133.4 NH 11B – Gilford, Alton Bay Western terminus of NH 11B in village of Weirs Beach
Meredith 86.6 139.4 NH 106 – Laconia Northern terminus of NH 106
87.1 140.2 NH 104 – New Hampton Eastern terminus of NH 104
88.0 141.6 NH 25 east – Center Harbor, Ossipee, Conway Southern end of NH 25 concurrency
Center Harbor 91.1 146.6 NH 25B – Center Harbor Western terminus of NH 25B
Grafton Holderness 95.8 154.2 NH 113 – Sandwich Southern terminus of NH 113
97.0 156.1 NH 175 – Campton Southern terminus of NH 175
Ashland 99.6 160.3 NH 132 – New Hampton, Tilton Northern terminus of NH 132
100.4 161.6 I‑93 – Tilton, Concord, Plymouth, Littleton Exit 24 on I-93
Plymouth 105.7 170.1 NH 175A to I‑93 – Holderness Western terminus of NH 175A
106.5 171.4 NH 3A
NH 25 west
Interchange; northern end of NH 25 concurrency; to I-93 via NH 3A north
Campton 109.9 176.9 I‑93 – Campton, Littleton, Plymouth, Concord Exit 27 on I-93 via Blair Road
112.7 181.4 NH 49 to I‑93 – Campton, Waterville Valley Western terminus of NH 49
Thornton 114.2 183.8 I‑93 – Plymouth, Concord, Franconia, Littleton Exit 29 on I-93
Woodstock 121.1 194.9 I‑93 – Franconia, Littleton, Plymouth, Concord Exit 30 on I-93
125.8 202.5 NH 175 – Campton Northern terminus of NH 175
126.4 203.4 NH 112 to I‑93 – Lincoln, Conway, Woodsville
Lincoln 128.7 207.1 I‑93 – Concord, Littleton Exit 33 on I-93
131.9 212.3 34A I‑93 south Partial interchange for exit 34A on I-93 interchange; southern end of I-93 concurrency and the Franconia Notch Parkway
Franconia 136.5 219.7 34B Cannon Mountain Tramway – Old Man Historic Site
137.3 221.0 34C NH 18 – Echo Lake Beach, Peabody Slopes, Cannon Mountain Southern terminus of NH 18
138.5 222.9 35 I‑93 north Northbound exit and southbound entrance; northern end of I-93 concurrency and Franconia Notch Parkway
139.4 224.3 NH 141 to I‑93 / NH 18 – Franconia Eastern terminus of NH 141; to I-93 north
Coos Carroll 148.8 239.5 US 302 – Bethlehem, Bretton Woods, Conway In village of Twin Mountain
150.9 242.9 NH 115 – Jefferson, Berlin, Gorham Southern terminus of NH 115
Whitefield 157.3 253.1 NH 116 south / NH 142 south – Bethlehem, Littleton Southern end of concurrency with NH 116/NH 142
157.4 253.3 NH 142 north – Dalton
NH 116 north – Jefferson, Gorham
Northern end of concurrency with NH 116/NH 142
Lancaster 165.6 266.5 US 2 east – Jefferson, Gorham, Berlin Southern end of US 2 concurrency
165.7 266.7 NH 135 – Dalton, Gilman VT Northern terminus of NH 135
166.5 268.0 US 2 west – St. Johnsbury VT Northern end of US 2 concurrency; to Vermont Route 102
Northumberland 175.5 282.4 NH 110 – Stark, Berlin Western terminus of NH 110 in village of Groveton
North Stratford 188.9 304.0 To VT 105 – Bloomfield VT
Colebrook 201.8 324.8 NH 26 east – Dixville Notch Southern end of NH 26 concurrency
201.9 324.9 NH 26 north Northern end of NH 26 concurrency; to Vermont Route 26/Route 102
202.0 325.1 NH 145 – Clarksville Southern terminus of NH 145
Pittsburg 219.9 353.9 NH 145 Northern terminus of NH 145
242.20 389.78 Route 257 Northern terminus of US 3, roadway continues into Quebec as Route 257
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Bannered routes[edit]

A total of at least 4 bannered routes of U.S. Route 3 have existed. The only remaining route still designated is an unsigned business loop in Laconia, New Hampshire, internally designated U.S. Route 3 Business. The route runs along NH 11A and NH 107, and is 4.2 miles (6.8 km) long.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Milepost readings for Massachusetts reflect the combined mileage with Massachusetts Route 3; US 3 and Route 3 are treated as one continuous route by the state, mileposts continuously increase and do not reset when the designation changes in Cambridge.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b US Highways From US 1 to US 830 Robert V. Droz
  2. ^ The official end according to AASHTO is at US 20 across the Charles River in Boston, though current signs indicate a terminus in Cambridge at Massachusetts Routes 2A/3.
  3. ^ Staff (2007). "Interchange Lists (US 3)". Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation. Retrieved August 7, 2011. 
  4. ^ Complex Systems Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space. "NH GRANIT". University of New Hampshire. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Browse numbered routes
Route 2A MA Route 3
US 2 NH NH 3A
Route 5 N.E. Route 6A