Massachusetts Route 2

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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 2 marker

Route 2
Route information
Length142.29 mi[1] (228.99 km)
Existed1927, 1971 (current alignment)–present
Major junctions
West end NY 2 in Petersburgh, NY
East endBeacon Street in Boston
CountiesBerkshire, Franklin, Worcester, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk
Highway system
Route C1Route 2A
Route 6BN.E.Route 8

Route 2 is a scenic and historic surface road through the Berkshire Mountains called the Mohawk Trail for about 47 miles, from the New York State line to Interstate 91 in Greenfield. It was built and originally used by Native Americans in the 18th Century. Route 2 continues in New York State as the Taconic Trail, or NY-2. After a brief overlap with I-91, Route 2 becomes a limited access freeway for 1 mile before returning to a surface road for another 14 miles to Orange. It then becomes a limited access freeway once again, this time for the rest of the route to Boston, about 70 miles, minus a short section that isn’t limited access in Concord and Lincoln. It is followed by and is sometimes concurrent with Route 2A between Greenfield and Boston, as Route 2A follows Route 2’s old route before Route 2 was mostly upgraded to a freeway east of I-91. Route 2 provides many suburban and rural communities in northern Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and southeastern Vermont a fast and direct route to and from the Boston metro area. Once in Boston, Route 2 becomes a relatively short but major surface boulevard that goes downtown.

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. 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 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 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 Rd.

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

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, crossing Interstate 95/Route 128. In Arlington, Route 2 is a six-lane and then eight-lane limited-access highway until east of Exit 60 (Lake Street), 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 signaled 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, Concord Avenue, 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 and Beacon streets 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, 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 Public Garden. Shortly after, Route 2 ends on U.S. 3 or Route 3 while Route 28 north joins with the southbound of Route 3.


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.

Route 2 was supposed to be the northern end of New York’s Taconic State Parkway, either in New York or Massachusetts, providing those in New York City and the Hudson Valley with easy access to Williamstown and the Mohawk/Taconic Trails. The parkway was cancelled north of Interstate 90 in Chatham, New York in favor of funding the building of Interstate 87 in the early 1960s from Albany to Canada. Some residents in the area still want the parkway to be extended to Williamstown, however.

Hurricane Irene[edit]

A six mile stretch of the Mohawk Trail section of Route 2 was washed out by the Cold River during Hurricane Irene in August 2011. This caused significant damage to the highway that took time to repair, and in an area with few alternative routes nearby.

Crosby's Corner improvement project[edit]

This major project had been planned since 1999. The intersection had an average of 90 accidents a year. The project solved 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, cost about $71.9 million, widened Route 2 from Bedford Road in Lincoln to 300 feet west of Sandy Pond Road 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 project was expected to begin in 2011. The state 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 included building a new overpass bridge over Route 2 and building multiple service roads next to Route 2. Fourteen retaining walls were built to accommodate the new interchange ramp construction. 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[5] 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.[6]

The project was completed in 2016, with a large improvement in traffic flow.


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.[7]

Concord/Lincoln Bypass[edit]

There have been proposals to connect the two freeway sections of Route 2. Currently, there is a 10 mile section of Route 2, mostly in the towns of Concord and Lincoln, that is not a limited access freeway. While projects like the Rotary replacement are helping, traffic in the area is getting worse and worse, and safety is a constant concern. No formal proposals have been made, and the project would have to make a good use of eminent domain.

Westward expansion of the freeway[edit]

A 14 mile expansion of the limited access freeway portion of Route 2 from its current western end in Orange to Interstate 91 in Greenfield has long been planned, but no formal proposal has ever been made. Some residents in the area disapprove of the idea, not wanting a freeway near their homes. However, there have been a lot of complaints about traffic on Route 2 in the area. If completed, it would give Boston residents a better route to western Massachusetts and Vermont via I-91. Part of the project would have to include expanding an additional 14 miles of the limited access freeway section from one lane in each direction to two, and widening the median. This would be from US 202 in Phillipston to the current western end of the freeway in Orange, where Route 2 becomes a surface road.

All highway improvements[edit]

For more information, refer to the Massachusetts Highway Project Listing.[8]

Completed Phase Type Cost Location Project ID Notes
2002 Complete Median Barrier $1.6 million Lincoln 602308 Install new Jersey barrier.
2004 Complete Bridge Replacement $4.3 million Arlington 600462 Replace bridge over Minuteman Bikeway.
2006 Complete Reconstruction $6.7 million Concord 602626 Resurfacing and median replacement of 1.1 miles of highway.
2008 Complete Resurfacing $7.5 Million Westminster 604201 Over Route 140N.
2008 Complete Resurfacing $5.1 Million Westminster 604202 Over Route 140N.
2009 Complete Resurfacing $7.3 Million Westminster 604364 From Exit 26 Easterly
2009 Complete Resurfacing $3.7 million Lexington 604638 Resurface in Lexington
2009 Complete Resurfacing $1.6 million Lincoln 604629 From the Lexington line to Bedford Street in Lincoln.
2009 Complete Traffic Signage $2.1 million Harvard 604609 Replace traffic signs from the Concord Rotary to Exit 38.
2010 Complete Traffic Signage $2.0 million Lincoln to Cambridge 604896 Replace traffic signs from Route 16 to Bedford Road.
2010 Complete Resurfacing $4.0 million Concord 604630 Resurface two sections from Walden to Sudbury and from Nine Acre Corner Rd. to Elm St.
2010 Complete Bridge Repair $1.5 million Athol 603582 Replace the bridge over Lake Rohunta.
2012 Complete Resurfacing $5.5 million Fitchburg to Leominster 605722 Resurface in Fitchburg, Lancaster, and Leominster.
2012 Complete Bridge Repair $17.9 million Boston 605506 Replace deck on the Boston University Bridge over the Charles River.
2012 Complete Bridge Repair $3.4 million Athol 604912 Replace the bridge over White Pond Rd.
2014 Complete Bridge Replacement $13.7 Million Westminster 603321 Replace the Route 2 bridges over Route 140.
2014 Complete Resurfacing $6.8 million Acton to Littleton 604472 Resurface in Acton, Boxborough, and Littleton.
2016 Complete Intersection $1.9 million Cambridge 605637 Rebuild the intersection at Route 16.
2016 Complete Intersection $56.0 million Concord 602984 Safety improvements at Crosby’s Corner.
2017 Complete Bridge Replacement $32.0 million Lexington 600703 Replace the 2 bridges over I-95.
TBD Design Bridge Replacement $9.4 million Concord 604069 Replace the existing bridge over the Sudbury River
TBD Design Intersection $98.9 million Concord 602091 Replace the Concord rotary with a highway interchange.

Major intersections[edit]

All interchanges along the freeway portions of Route 2 were to be renumbered under a statewide project to change the exits to mileage-based numbers scheduled to start in 2016, however that plan has been placed on hold after negative feedback from both the public, and state officials.[9] [10]

BerkshireWilliamstown0.0000.000 NY 2 west – Taconic Trail, Troy NYContinuation into New York
3.8246.154 US 7 south – Pittsfield, to Mass PikeWestern end of concurrency with US 7
6.22110.012 US 7 north – Pownal VT, Bennington VTEastern end of concurrency with US 7, the beginning of the Mohawk Trail
6.74610.857 Route 43 south – Hancock, Stephentown NYNorthern terminus of Route 43
North Adams11.57118.622 Route 8 south – Adams[14]Western end of concurrency with Route 8
11.74018.894 Route 8A southNorthern terminus of Route 8A "U" segment
12.40519.964 Route 8 north – Clarksburg, Stamford VTEastern end of concurrency with Route 8
FranklinCharlemont29.80747.970 Route 8A south – Hawley, WindsorWestern end of concurrency with Route 8A
30.448.9 Route 8A north – Heath, Wilmington VT, Jacksonville VTEastern end of concurrency with Route 8A
Buckland37.39060.173 Route 2A east – Shelburne FallsWestern terminus of Route 2A
37.80660.843 Route 112 south – Buckland, AshfieldWestern end of concurrency with Route 112
Shelburne38.06261.255 Route 112 north – Shelburne Falls, ColrainEastern end of concurrency with Route 112
38.94262.671 Route 2A west – Shelburne Falls, BucklandWestern end of concurrency with Route 2A
Greenfield47.86077.023West end of freeway
I‑91 south / Route 2A east – Springfield, Greenfield Center, to Mass PikeExit 26 on I-91. Western end of concurrency with I-91 and Route 2A
50.13980.691 I‑91 north – Brattleboro VTExit 27 on I-91. 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 CenterWestern 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, Warwick, Wendell[15]Western end of concurrency with Route 2A
65.060104.704West end of freeway
Orange66.571107.13614West River Street – Orange Center
69.788112.31315 Route 122 – Orange, Worcester, Amherst
70.676113.74216 US 202 south – Athol, BelchertownWestern end of concurrency with US 202
WorcesterAthol75.155120.95017 Route 32 – Athol, Petersham
Phillipston76.474123.07318 Route 2A – Athol, Phillipston
79.009127.15319 US 202 north / Route 2A – Phillipston, WinchendonEastern end of concurrency with US 202; western end of divided freeway
Templeton81.915131.82920Baldwinville Road – Templeton, Baldwinville
83.459134.31421 Route 2A / Route 101 – Templeton, Ashburnham, East Templeton
Gardner86.500139.20822 Route 68 – Gardner, Hubbardston
87.253140.42023Pearson Boulevard – South Gardner
Westminster89.738144.41924 Route 140 north / West Main Street south – Winchendon, WestminsterWestern end of concurrency with Route 140; signed as exits 24A (south) and 24B (north) westbound
91.764147.68025 Route 2A / Route 140 south – WestminsterEastern end of concurrency with Route 140
92.568148.97426Willard Road / Village Inn RoadEastbound exit only
93.479150.44027Narrows Road / Depot Road
Fitchburg94.495152.07528 Route 31 – Fitchburg, Princeton
FitchburgLeominster line96.279154.94629Mount Elam RoadPartial at-grade intersection with right-in/right-out connections only
98.007157.72730Merriam Avenue / South Street
31 Route 12 south – LeominsterSigned as exits 31A (south) and 31B (north) westbound
100.355161.50632 Route 13 – Leominster, Lunenburg
101.125162.74533 I‑190 south – Worcester, to Mass Pike/Mechanic St, LeominsterNorthern terminus of I-190
Lancaster102.429164.84334Mechanic Street / Harvard StreetExit partially in Leominster
103.497166.56235 Route 70 south – Lancaster, LunenburgNorthern terminus of Route 70
104.917168.84836Shirley Road – Lancaster, Shirley
106.419171.26537Jackson Road – Devens, Reserve Forces Training AreaSigned as Exits 37A (no public access) and 37B westbound, exit partially in Harvard
38 Route 110 / Route 111 – Harvard, AyerSigned as exits 38A (south/west) and 38B (north/east)
MiddlesexLittleton113.050181.93639Taylor Street – Littleton
40 I‑495 – Cape Cod, Lowell, to Mass PikeSigned as exits 40A (south) and 40B (north); exits 29A-B on I-495
Boxborough115.505185.88741Newtown Road – West Acton, Littleton
Acton117.612189.27842 Route 27 – Maynard, Acton
118.013189.92443 Route 111 north – West ActonWestbound 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 – LittletonRotary; western end of concurrency with Route 2A; eastern terminus of Routes 111 and 119
121.691195.843 Route 62 (Main Street) – West Concord, Maynard, Bedford
123.901199.399 Route 126 south (Walden Street) to Route 117 – Walden Pond, WalthamNorthern terminus of Route 126
124.824200.88550 Route 2A eastPartial interchange; eastern end of concurrency with Route 2A
Lincoln126.256203.18951Bedford RoadAt-grade intersection; to Route 2A
Lexington128.135206.213West end of freeway
128.527206.84452 I‑95 / Route 128 – Providence RI, Portsmouth NH, to Mass PikeSigned as exits 52A (south) and 52B (north); exits 29A-B on I-95 / Route 128
129.010207.62153Spring Street – LexingtonNo westbound exit
130.002209.21854Waltham Street – Lexington, WalthamSigned as Exits 54A (Waltham) and 54B (Lexington); westbound exits and eastbound entrances
130.894210.65355Pleasant Street – LexingtonEastbound exit and westbound entrance
131.435211.52456Winter Street – BelmontEastbound signage
Route 4 north / Route 225 west / Winter Street – Lexington, BedfordWestbound signage; southern terminus of Route 4; eastern terminus of Route 225
ArlingtonBelmont line131.990212.41757Dow Avenue – Arlington, Belmont
Belmont132.711213.57858Park Avenue – Arlington
BelmontArlington line133.690215.15359 Route 60 – Belmont, Arlington
Arlington134.130215.86160Lake Street – East Arlington
134.649216.697MBTA.svg Alewife StationEastbound exit only
ArlingtonCambridge line134.915217.125East end of freeway
Cambridge135.005217.269 US 3 north / Route 16 east (Alewife Brook Parkway) – Medford, WoburnWestern end of concurrency with US 3 and Route 16
136.354219.440 Route 16 west (Huron Avenue) – Watertown, West NewtonEastern 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
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 Street
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Executive Office of Transportation, Office of Transportation Planning - 2005 Road Inventory
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  4. ^ User: BigRock (April 9, 2007). "Boston's Cancelled Highways". Google Maps. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  7. ^ "Route 2 Concord Rotary Reconstruction Project".
  8. ^ "Project Info". Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  9. ^ "No signs yet from Massachusetts on exit-conversion launch". Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b MassDOT Planning Division. "Massachusetts Route Log Application". Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Massachusetts Department of Transportation. "Exit Numbers and Names: Route 2 (Orange to I-495)". Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  13. ^ a b Massachusetts Department of Transportation. "Exit Numbers and Names: Route 2 (I-495 to Cambridge)". Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  14. ^ Google Maps (July 2014). "Street View". Google. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  15. ^ Google Maps (September 2011). "Street View". Google. Retrieved January 22, 2015.

External links[edit]

Route map:

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