Massachusetts Route 2

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Route 2 marker

Route 2

Route 2 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by MassDOT
Length142.29 mi[1] (228.99 km)
Existed1927, 1971 (current alignment)–present
Major junctions
West end NY 2 in Petersburgh, NY
Major intersections
East end Route 28 in Boston
Location
CountryUnited States
StateMassachusetts
CountiesBerkshire, Franklin, Worcester, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk
Highway system
Route C1 Route 2A
Route 6BN.E. Route 8

Route 2 is a 142.29-mile-long (228.99 km) 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. Most of the route is a freeway through the northern tier of Massachusetts, with the longest non-limited access segments being the western portion (the Mohawk Trail). Older alignments of Route 2 are known as Route 2A.

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 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. 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 into Fitchburg where Route 2 has several at-grade intersections with Oak Hill Rd, Palmer Rd, Mt. Elam Rd and Abbott Ave. At the intersection with Mt. Elam Rd, a traffic light remains in use on the eastbound side. Continuing east into Leominster, Interstate 190 splits off, heading south to Worcester.

Route 2 continues east to Middlesex County and enters Boston's outer loop at the interchange with Interstate 495 in Littleton. It continues into Acton, where Route 2 reduces its speed to 45 miles per hour, and becomes a four-lane arterial road with some at-grade intersections. 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 by the State Police (who have an emergency-only traffic light) and over the Assabet River. Route 2A formerly broke 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 exits under the highway while Route 2 veers right (but still heads east). While the highway is divided across Lincoln, there is a single traffic light intersection at Bedford Road.

Convergence of Routes 2, 3, and 16 in Cambridge.

At this point, Route 2 enters Lexington and still is a divided four-lane road with surface intersections. It then heads to Boston's inner belt, and as it crosses Interstate 95/Route 128, it becomes a six lane controlled access highway with a speed limit of 55 miles per hour. In Belmont, Route 2 remains a six-lane highway, and then becomes an eight-lane controlled-access highway at Exit 132 (formerly 57) in Arlington, where U.S. Route 3 would have joined it from the north. At Exit 135 (formerly 60), the freeway narrows width to six lanes. The section of expressway from Route 128 to the Cambridge line meets the standards of an interstate highway.[citation needed] As the highway enters Cambridge, the highway reduces its speed limit back to 45 miles per hour and becomes a five lane limited access highway (three lanes heading east, two lanes heading west), with a strip of residential and transit-oriented development on its eastbound side, including an off-ramp that serves the MBTA Alewife Station, Cambridge Discovery Park and development to the south and west of the station. After the Alewife exit, the highway narrows again to four lanes.

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

The highway then meets a large at-grade intersection with Routes 3 and 16, where Route 2 east merges with U.S. Route 3 south and Route 16 and continues as a four-lane, 35 mile per hour arterial parkway — managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation — for the rest of its time in Cambridge. Route 2 follows Alewife Brook Parkway and Fresh Pond Parkway along its wrong way concurrency with Routes 3 and 16, before Route 16 heads west into Watertown. Route 2 and Route 3 concurrently start paralleling the Charles River as Memorial Drive, passing by Harvard University’s campus. It then heads southward on the Boston University Bridge into Boston proper, as it separates from Route 3. It winds through the Boston University campus as Mountfort Street and crosses over both the Massachusetts Turnpike and Commonwealth Avenue before heading due east towards Kenmore Square, while running parallel to U.S. Route 20. Immediately east of the Boston University campus, it crosses into Kenmore Square, which is also the eastern terminus of U.S. Route 20. From Kenmore Square, Route 2 follows Commonwealth Ave to Arlington St. It circles the Boston Public Garden, using Arlington, Boylston, and Charles Streets. Route 2 east goes along northbound Route 28 north at the intersection of Charles and Beacon Streets between Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden. As Route 28 north joins Storrow Drive, which shortly after would join Route 3, Route 28 south joins Route 2 and completes the loop around Boston Public Garden.

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.[2]

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.[3][4] In place of the highway project, the MBTA Red Line was extended from Harvard to Alewife in the 1980s.[citation needed]

The Leominster to Ayer section opened on July 3, 1953, completing the expressway portion from Westminster to West Concord.[5] Full grade separation between Route 128 and Alewife Brook Parkway was completed around 1970.

Crosby's Corner intersection[edit]

This major project has been planned since 1999. The intersection had an average of 90 accidents a year. The project was intended to solve the traffic and safety problems that had long occurred at the Crosby's Corner intersection (junction of Route 2 and 2A) in Concord. The project, which was expected to cost $71.9 million, widened Route 2 from Bedford Rd in Lincoln to 300 feet west of Sandy Pond Rd in Concord. The project eliminated the at grade intersection, realigned Route 2, and constructed new entrance and exit ramps along with new service roads next to Route 2.

The full project included building a new overpass bridge over Route 2 and building multiple service roads next to Route 2. Work also consisted 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 was underway and predicted completion was Spring 2016.[7] The project was completed in 2016, with a large improvement in traffic flow.[citation needed]

Future[edit]

Concord rotary[edit]

A project to improve the Concord Rotary, at the convergence of Route 2, Route 2A/119 (Elm Street), 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]

MassDOT was scheduled to replace the old sequential exit numbers with the new milepost-based exit numbers beginning in summer 2020,[9][10] which had been delayed since 2016.[11][12] On March 16, 2021, MassDOT announced that the Route 2 exit numbers would get renumbered for four weeks starting on March 23.

CountyLocation[13]mi[13]kmOld exit[14]New exit[10]DestinationsNotes
BerkshireWilliamstown0.0000.000
NY 2 west – Troy, NY
Continuation into New York
3.8246.154
US 7 south – Pittsfield
Western end of concurrency with US 7
6.22110.012
US 7 north – Pownal, VT, Montreal, Que
Eastern end of concurrency with US 7, the beginning of the Mohawk Trail
6.74610.857
Route 43 south – Hancock, Stephentown, NY
Northern terminus of Route 43
North Adams11.57118.622
Route 8 south – Adams[15]
Western end of concurrency with Route 8
11.74018.894
Route 8A south
Northern terminus of Route 8A "U" segment
12.40519.964
Route 8 north – Clarksburg, Stamford, VT
Eastern end of concurrency with Route 8
FranklinCharlemont29.80747.970
Route 8A south – Hawley, Windsor
Western end of concurrency with Route 8A
30.448.9
Route 8A north – Heath, Jacksonville, VT
Eastern end of concurrency with Route 8A
Buckland37.39060.173
Route 2A east – Shelburne Falls
Former western terminus of Route 2A
37.80660.843
Route 112 south – Buckland, Ashfield
Western end of concurrency with Route 112
Shelburne38.06261.255
Route 112 north – Shelburne Falls, Colrain
Eastern end of concurrency with Route 112
38.94262.671
Route 2A west – Shelburne Falls, Buckland
Former western end of concurrency with Route 2A
Greenfield47.39876.2802643

I-91 south / Route 2A east – Springfield, Greenfield Center
Western end of concurrency with I-91 and Route 2A. Current western terminus of Route 2A
50.13980.6912746
I-91 north – Brattleboro, VT
Eastern end of concurrency with I-91
50.78981.737 US 5 / Route 10 – Greenfield, BernardstonInterchange
51.48082.849East end of freeway
52.24284.075
Route 2A west – Greenfield Center
Western end of concurrency with Route 2A
Erving57.191.9Gateway Drive to Route 63 – Northfield, Millers Falls
57.492.4Forest Street to Route 63 – Northfield, Hinsdale, NH
57.792.9Prospect Street to Route 63 – Millers Falls
64.865104.390

Route 2A east to Route 78 – Orange, Wendell[16]
Eastern end of concurrency with Route 2A
65.060104.704West end of Super-2 freeway
Orange66.571107.1361467West River Street – Orange, Lake Mattawa
69.788112.3131570 Route 122 – Orange Ctr, Worcester
70.676113.7421671
US 202 south / Daniel Shays Hwy – Belchertown, Athol
Western end of concurrency with US 202
WorcesterAthol75.155120.9501775 Route 32 – Athol, Petersham
Phillipston76.474123.0731877 Route 2A – Athol, Phillipston
79.009127.1531979
US 202 north / Route 2A – Baldwinville, Winchendon, Phillipston
Eastern end of concurrency with US 202; western end of divided freeway
Templeton81.915131.8292082Baldwinville Road – Templeton, Baldwinville
83.459134.3142183 Route 2A / Route 101 – East Templeton, Ashburnham
Gardner86.500139.2082286 Route 68 – Gardner, Hubbardston
87.253140.4202387Pearson Boulevard – Gardner
Westminster89.738144.4192490
Route 140 north / West Main Street south – Winchendon, Westminster
Western end of concurrency with Route 140; signed as exits 90A (south) and 90B (north) westbound[10]
91.764147.6802592
Route 2A / Route 140 south – Westminster
Eastern end of concurrency with Route 140
92.568148.9742693Willard Road / Village Inn RoadEastbound exit only
93.479150.4402794Narrows Road / Depot Road
Fitchburg94.495152.0752895 Route 31 – Fitchburg, Princeton
FitchburgLeominster line96.279154.94629Mount Elam RoadPartial at-grade intersection with right-in/right-out connections only
98.007157.7273098Merriam Avenue / South Street
Leominster99.269–
99.278
159.758–
159.772
3199 Route 12 – Fitchburg, LeominsterSigned as exits 99A (south) and 99B (north) westbound[10]
100.355161.50632100 Route 13 – Leominster, Lunenburg
101.125162.74533101
I-190 south – Worcester / Mechanic St, Leominster
Northern terminus of I-190; exits 19A-B on I-190
Lancaster102.429164.84334102Mechanic Street / Harvard StreetExit partially in Leominster
103.497166.56235103
Route 70 south / Lunenburg Road – Lancaster, Lunenburg
Northern terminus of Route 70
104.917168.84836105Shirley Road – Shirley
106.419171.26537106Jackson Road – Devens, Reserve Forces Training AreaSigned as Exits 106A (no public access) and 106B westbound, exit partially in Harvard[10]
Harvard109.348–
109.357
175.979–
175.993
38109 Route 110 / Route 111 – Harvard, AyerSigned as exits 109A (south/west) and 109B (north/east)[10]
MiddlesexLittleton113.050181.93639112Taylor Street – Littleton
113.285–
113.317
182.315–
182.366
40113 I-495 – Marlboro, LowellSigned as exits 113A (south) and 113B (north);[10] exits 78A-B on I-495[17]
Boxborough115.505185.88741115Newtown Road – West Acton, Littleton
Acton117.612189.27842117 Route 27 – Maynard, Acton
118.013189.92443118
Route 111 north – West Acton
Westbound left exit and eastbound entrance; western terminus of concurrency with Route 111
118.013189.924East end of freeway
Concord120.465193.870


Route 2A west / Route 119 west / Route 111 north – Littleton
Rotary; western end of concurrency with Route 2A; eastern terminus of Routes 119; southern terminus of Route 111
121.691195.843 Route 62 (Main Street) – West Concord, Maynard, Concord Ctr, Bedford
123.901199.399

Route 126 south (Walden Street) to Route 117 – Walden Pond, Waltham
Northern terminus of Route 126
124.824200.88550125
Route 2A east / Sandy Pond Rd – Concord, Lincoln
Partial interchange; eastern end of concurrency with Route 2A
Lincoln126.256203.189Bedford RoadAt-grade intersection; to Route 2A
Lexington128.135206.213West end of freeway
128.527206.84452127 I-95 / Route 128 – Attleboro, PeabodySigned as exits 127A (south) and 127B (north);[10] exits 45A-B on I-95 / Route 128[18]
129.010207.62153128Spring Street – LexingtonNo westbound exit
130.002209.21854129Waltham Street – Lexington, WalthamSigned as Exits 129A (Waltham) and 129B (Lexington);[10] westbound exits and eastbound entrances
130.894210.65355130Pleasant Street – LexingtonEastbound exit and westbound entrance
131.435211.52456131Winter Street – BelmontEastbound signage


Route 4 north / Route 225 west / Winter Street – Lexington, Bedford
Westbound signage; southern terminus of Route 4; eastern terminus of Route 225
ArlingtonBelmont line131.990212.41757132Dow Avenue – Arlington, Belmont
Belmont132.711213.57858133Park Avenue – Arlington
BelmontArlington line133.690215.15359134 Route 60 – Belmont, Arlington
ArlingtonBelmont
Cambridge tripoint
134.130215.86160135Lake Street – East Arlington
Cambridge134.649216.697 Alewife stationEastbound exit only
134.915217.125East end of freeway
135.005217.269

US 3 north / Route 16 east (Alewife Brook Parkway) – Medford, Woburn
Western end of concurrency with US 3 and Route 16
136.354219.440
Route 16 west (Huron Avenue) – Watertown, West Newton
Eastern end of concurrency with Route 16
139.280224.149
US 3 south (Memorial Drive)
Eastern end of concurrency with US 3
Charles River139.349224.260Boston University Bridge
SuffolkBoston139.531224.553 US 20 (Commonwealth Avenue) – Brighton, Kenmore Square
Norfolk
No major junctions
SuffolkBoston140.446226.026
US 20 west (Commonwealth Avenue)
Kenmore Square; eastern terminus of US 20
140.881226.726
Route 2A west (Massachusetts Avenue)
Eastern terminus of Route 2A
141.556227.812
Route 28 south (Clarendon Street)
One-way southbound
142.35229.09Beacon StreetEastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Executive Office of Transportation, Office of Transportation Planning - 2005 Road Inventory
  2. ^ http://www.schlichtman.org/mahighways/bosmap37.gif[bare URL image file]
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-04-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ User: BigRock (April 9, 2007). "Boston's Cancelled Highways". Google Maps. Retrieved December 30, 2010. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ "Part of Sullivan Sq. Span Open Today, Rte. 2 July 3". Boston Globe. June 23, 1953. pp. 1, 12 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  6. ^ http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/reg/09/2009-01425.pdf[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Concord, MA - Crosby's Corner Project". Archived from the original on 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  8. ^ "Route 2 Concord Rotary Reconstruction Project". Archived from the original on 2014-11-07. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  9. ^ "Milepost-based Exit Renumbering" (PDF). Massachusetts Department of Transportation. December 5, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Route 2 Renumbering" (PDF). Massachusetts Department of Transportation. December 5, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  11. ^ "No signs yet from Massachusetts on exit-conversion launch". berkshireeagle.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  12. ^ Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2015). "COMMBUYS - Bid Solicitation FAP# HSIP-002S(874) Exit Signage Conversion to Milepost-Based Numbering System along Various Interstates, Routes and the Lowell Connector". Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  13. ^ a b "MassDOT Route Log Application". Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  14. ^ "Major highway routes and exits". Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on October 15, 2019. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  15. ^ Google Maps (July 2014). "Street View". Retrieved January 27, 2015. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  16. ^ Google Maps (September 2011). "Street View". Retrieved January 22, 2015. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  17. ^ "I-495 Renumbering" (PDF). Massachusetts Department of Transportation. December 5, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  18. ^ "I-95 Renumbering" (PDF). Massachusetts Department of Transportation. December 5, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata