Massachusetts Turnpike

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Massachusetts Turnpike markerInterstate 90

Massachusetts Turnpike
Interstate 90
Massachusetts Turnpike highlighted in green
Route information
Length138.1 mi[2] (222.3 km)
RestrictionsNo hazardous goods and cargo tankers east of exit 21[1]
Major junctions
West endToll plate yellow.svgNo image wide.svg
I-90 / Berkshire Connector at the New York state line in West Stockbridge
East end Route 1A in Boston
CountiesBerkshire, Hampden, Worcester, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk
Highway system
Route 88I-90I‑91

The Massachusetts Turnpike (colloquially "Mass Pike" or "the Pike"[3]) is a toll highway in the U.S. state of Massachusetts that is maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). The turnpike begins at the New York state line in West Stockbridge, linking with the Berkshire Connector portion of the New York State Thruway. Spanning 138 miles (222 km) along an east–west axis, it is entirely concurrent with the portion of Interstate 90 (I-90) that lies within the state. The turnpike is the longest Interstate Highway in Massachusetts, while I-90 in full (which begins nationally in Seattle, Washington) is the longest Interstate Highway in the United States.

The turnpike opened in 1957, and it was designated as part of the Interstate Highway System in 1959. The original western terminus of the turnpike was located at Route 102 in West Stockbridge before I-90 had been completed in New York state. The turnpike intersects with several Interstate Highways as it traverses the state, including I-91 in West Springfield; I-291 in Chicopee; I-84 in Sturbridge; the junction of I-290 and I-395 in Auburn; and I-495 in Hopkinton. The turnpike originally ended at I-95 in Weston; it was extended to Allston in 1964, and to the Central Artery (designated as I-93, US 1, and Route 3) in Downtown Boston in 1965. The "Big Dig" megaproject provided for the construction of the Ted Williams Tunnel, which has carried the turnpike to its eastern terminus at Route 1A beyond Logan International Airport since 2003. As an Interstate Highway, the turnpike is supplemented by I-190 and I-290 as auxiliary Interstate Highways.

The turnpike was maintained by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority until the department was replaced by the Highway Division of MassDOT in 2009. The implementation and removal of tolls in some stretches of the turnpike have been controversial; travel between most, but not all, exits requires payment. The Fast Lane electronic toll collection system was introduced alongside cash payment in 1998; it was later folded into the E-ZPass branding in 2012. The original toll booths were demolished and replaced by toll gantries with the transition to open road tolling in 2016, which replaced cash payment with "pay-by-plate" billing.

Route description[edit]

The Massachusetts Turnpike is informally divided into two sections by MassDOT: the original 123-mile (198 km) "Western Turnpike" extending from the New York state border through the interchange with I-95 and Route 128 at exits 14 and 15 in Weston, and the 15-mile (24 km) "Boston Extension" that continues beyond exits 14 and 15 through Boston.[4] It is a four-lane highway from the New York state border through its interchange with I-84 at exit 9 in Sturbridge; it expands to six lanes beyond this interchange, and briefly travels with eight lanes from exit 17 in Newton through exit 22 by the Prudential Center in Boston.[4] The .75-mile (1.21 km) underwater section of the Ted Williams Tunnel, which carries the turnpike under Boston Harbor to its eastern terminus at Route 1A by Logan International Airport, reduces to four lanes.[5]

Western Turnpike[edit]

Approaching the former West Stockbridge toll plaza traveling eastbound, January 2008
The "Weston tolls" that separated the Western Turnpike from the Boston Extension, October 2006

In the west, the turnpike begins in Berkshire County at the Massachusetts state line in West Stockbridge, where I-90 (routed through the Berkshire Connector portion of the New York State Thruway) enters from Canaan, New York.[6] Most toll plazas were located on the entrance/exit ramps before entering the turnpike itself. An exception was the mainline West Stockbridge toll plaza, designed for toll collection from inbound traffic from New York; it existed shortly after exit 1, an eastbound-only entrance and westbound-only exit in Massachusetts.[7] The turnpike crosses the Williams River later in West Stockbridge, and passes over the Housatonic River in Lee.[8] The 30-mile (48 km) gap between exit 2 to US 20 in Lee and exit 3 to US 202 and Route 10 in Westfield (the first in Hampden County) is the longest gap between exits on the turnpike,[9] and the seventh-longest gap between exits in the entire Interstate Highway System.[10] The highest elevation on the turnpike exists in The Berkshires, reaching 1,724 feet (525 m) above sea level in Becket; this point is also the highest elevation on I-90 east of South Dakota.[11] Beyond the peak elevation and between the exits, an eastbound runaway truck ramp exists in Russell.[12]

The turnpike has an interchange with I-91 and US 5 at exit 4 in West Springfield;[7] it passes over the Connecticut River before reaching Route 33 at exit 5 and I-291 at exit 6, both in Chicopee. The turnpike passes through Ludlow at exit 7 before crossing the Quaboag River to exit 8 in Palmer.[7][8] The turnpike first exits into Worcester County in Sturbridge, where exit 9 is the eastern terminus of I-84.[13] In Auburn, exit 10 deposits traffic into the route transition of I-395 traveling southbound and I-290 traveling eastbound.[13] The Blackstone River flows underneath the turnpike in Millbury,[8] where it has an interchange with Route 146 and a second direct connection to US 20 at exit 10A.[7] Entering Middlesex County in Hopkinton, it intersects with I-495 at exit 11A.[7] The turnpike crosses the Sudbury River between exit 12 at Route 9 and exit 13 at Route 30, all located within Framingham.[8][7] The last connection with another Interstate Highway on the Western Turnpike is located in Weston, at the I-95 and Route 128 concurrency.[7] This multi-piece interchange is collectively referred to as the "Weston tolls".[14] Exit 14 is an eastbound exit and westbound entrance, and exit 15 is a westbound exit and eastbound entrance; prior to demolition, a mainline toll plaza existed for through traffic.[7] Following the removal of the toll plazas, exit 15 was reconfigured into exit 15A for I-95 and Route 128, and exit 15B towards Route 30.[15] At this junction, the turnpike crosses over the Charles River.[8]

Boston Extension[edit]

The eastern terminus of the turnpike in the state, and I-90 nationally, at Route 1A in Boston

The first exit of the Boston Extension, exit 16 is an eastbound entrance and westbound exit at Route 16 in Newton.[16] The turnpike enters Suffolk County in Boston before reaching the "Allston–Brighton tolls", depositing traffic towards the Boston neighborhoods of Allston and Brighton, and the nearby city of Cambridge.[4] Exit 18 is a left-hand eastbound exit and westbound entrance, and exit 20 is a westbound exit and eastbound entrance; a mainline toll plaza was previously placed in between them for through traffic, and was classified as "exit 19".[16] Compensating for the sparsity of eastbound entrances and westbound exits in Back Bay and Downtown Boston, a westbound U-turn ramp heading eastbound was opened in Allston in 2007;[17] while unsigned with an exit number, it is recognized as exit 20A for administrative purposes.[4] The turnpike crosses over the Muddy River past the Allston–Brighton tolls.[8]

Exit 22 and the closed Clarendon Street on-ramp are located within the Prudential Tunnel, which takes the turnpike underneath the Prudential Center;[18] the former is an eastbound exit towards the Prudential Center and Copley Square, while the latter is a westbound-only entrance from Clarendon Street.[16] Beyond the Prudential Tunnel, exit 24 is labeled as a singular exit traveling westbound, but splits into three ramps for eastbound travel; exit 24A is a left-hand exit towards South Station, while exits 24B and 24C are directed towards I-93 northbound and southbound, respectively.[16] The turnpike travels under the Fort Point Channel before reaching South Boston at exit 25,[16] after which it enters the Ted Williams Tunnel to pass beneath Boston Harbor.[19] Exit 26 to Logan International Airport is the sole exit within the Ted Williams Tunnel, before the turnpike exits the tunnel and merges into Route 1A northbound toward Revere.[16]

Air rights[edit]

Star Market (briefly Shaw's Supermarket) built over the turnpike in Newton, August 2009

Much of the air space ("air rights") over the Boston Extension has been leased to third parties for commercial development. This concept was originally designed to "knit together communities" that were divided by the new highway,[20] since the turnpike had been described as "wider and more divisive to the city" than the original Central Artery.[21] More recently, the income received from the leased air rights have been used for paying off the Big Dig.[21] There are 23 parcels of air space over the highway, the majority of which have not been developed.[22] Among other objectives, guidelines established by the "Civic Vision for Turnpike Air Rights in Boston" in 2000 recommend that the proposed use of the parcels "[foster] increased use and capacity of public transportation" and "[reinforce] the vitality and quality of life in adjacent neighborhoods".[23]

The Star Market (briefly renamed Shaw's Supermarket) in Newton is the earliest example of commercial construction over the turnpike. In the 1960s, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority intended to route the highway through the parking lot of the supermarket's previous location in the city; this alignment that was ultimately approved by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, under the condition that a replacement Star Market was allowed to be built over the turnpike.[24] Other projects developed through air rights include the Newton Plaza Hotel in Newton,[25][26] the Copley Place shopping mall in Boston,[26][27] and the Prudential Center in Boston.[26][28] Proposals for future air rights projects include the mixed-use Fenway Center,[29] and an extension of the Boston University campus near Boston University Bridge.[30]

Service plazas[edit]

Ludlow Service Plaza westbound
Lee Service Plaza eastbound
Location Direction mi (km) Services[31]
Lee Eastbound 8.5 miles (13.7 km)
  • EV charging stations
  • Gulf
  • Gulf Express
  • McDonald's
Blandford Eastbound 29 miles (47 km)
  • Gulf
  • Gulf Express
  • McDonald's
  • Gifford's Famous Ice Cream
  • Gulf
  • Gulf Express
  • Honey Dew Donuts
  • McDonald's
  • Original Pizza of Boston
Ludlow Eastbound 55.6 miles (89.5 km)
  • Gulf
  • Gulf Express
  • McDonald's
  • Original Pizza of Boston
Charlton Eastbound 80.2 miles (129.1 km)
  • D'Angelo
  • Fresh City
  • Gifford's Famous Ice Cream
  • Gulf
  • Gulf Express
  • Izone
  • McDonald's
  • Papa Gino's
Westbound 84.8 miles (136.5 km)
  • Auntie Anne's
  • D'Angelo
  • Fresh City
  • Gulf
  • Gulf Express
  • Izone
  • McDonald's
  • Papa Gino's
Westborough Westbound 104.6 miles (168.3 km)
  • Auntie Anne's
  • Boston Market
  • Cheesy Street Grill
  • D'Angelo
  • Dunkin' Donuts
  • Fresh City
  • Gulf
  • Gulf Express
  • Papa Gino's
Framingham Westbound 114.4 miles (184.1 km)
  • Boston Market
  • Edy's Ice Cream
  • Fresh City
  • Gulf
  • Gulf Express
  • Honey Dew Donuts
  • Izone
  • McDonald's
  • Original Pizza of Boston
  • Starbucks
Natick Eastbound 117.6 miles (189.3 km)
  • Cheesy Street Grill
  • D'Angelo
  • Dunkin' Donuts
  • EV charging stations
  • E-ZPass MA walk-in service center
  • Gulf
  • Gulf Express
  • Izone
  • McDonald's
  • Papa Gino's
  • Registry of Motor Vehicles Express


As of 2009, toll revenue generated from the Massachusetts Turnpike is to be spent in the section in which it was collected, either the Western Turnpike or the Boston Extension (alternatively named the "Metropolitan Highway System" for administrative purposes).[32] Tolls from exit 1 in West Stockbridge through exit 6 in Chicopee were removed by then-Governor Bill Weld in 1996, following complaints that the tolls collected in Western Massachusetts were financing the Big Dig in Boston;[33] they were ultimately reinstated in October 2013.[34]

At the recommendation of former Secretary of Administration and Finance Eric Kriss, who recommended that tolls be eliminated along the entire turnpike with the exception of the tunnels leading to Logan International Airport,[35] the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority voted to remove all tolls west of Route 128 in Weston in October 2006.[36] Members of the Massachusetts Legislature Transportation Committee cited the potential need to amend state law and the uncertainty of how the turnpike would be maintained as setbacks to the toll removal, which ultimately never came to fruition.[37]

The issue of the removal of the tolls is highly charged politically. Several members of the state Democratic Party declared this as a political maneuver to bolster the gubernatorial campaign of Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, a Republican, who was behind in the polls at the time of the announcement. Also, because the MTA Board is composed of Romney appointees, Kriss's former association with the Romney administration and the ongoing election at the time, the issue was clouded by accusations of partiality and political agendas from both sides of the aisle.

In the November 9, 2006, edition of The Boston Globe, Romney announced his intention to try to remove the tolls before Governor-elect Deval Patrick, a Democrat, was inaugurated in January 2007, but this did not occur. As of November 2008, Patrick's plan was to remove all tolls west of Interstate 95, except at the West Stockbridge and Sturbridge tolls,[38] but this also did not occur before the end of his term in January 2015. State law requires tolls to be removed west of Route 128 when its debt is paid and the road is in "good condition", but MassDOT plans to continue tolls after the bonds are paid off in January 2017, because the road will still need $135 million per year for repairs and maintenance.[39][needs update]

At a January 22, 2009, board meeting, the Turnpike decided to stop charging a one-time $25.95 fee for the acquisition of a Fast Lane toll transponder, replacing it with a 50-cent monthly recurring service fee.[40] The implementation of the 50-cent monthly fee was canceled after long delays at toll plazas on Easter Sunday.[41][42]

Toll plazas[edit]

Now-demolished toll plaza on an exit ramp, January 2016
Toll ticket used prior to conversion to open road tolling

The turnpike traditionally utilized the ticket system for toll collection; a driver would obtain a ticket from an on-ramp, which they would surrender to an off-ramp and pay a toll based on traveled distance.[43] While most toll plazas were located on the entrance/exit ramps by the turnpike, exceptions included the mainline toll plazas in West Stockbridge, Weston, and Allston–Brighton.[4] Electronic toll collection was introduced as an alternative to cash payment with Fast Lane transponders in 1998; when installed in the inner windshield of a vehicle, the equipment would be recognized automatically in special lanes at toll plazas, and would withdraw the toll amount from the motorist's account.[44] It was first sponsored by BankBoston, and later FleetBoston Financial, before sponsorship was assumed by Citizens Bank in 2003.[45] Motorists were previously charged $27.50 for the hardware itself,[45] although this fee has since been removed.[46] Citing federal highway regulations that prohibit sponsorship of toll plaza signage, the contract with Citizens Bank was not renewed upon expiration; the Fast Lane name was replaced with the E-ZPass branding, with which Fast Lane was interoperable, in 2012.[47]

Open road tolling[edit]

Fare collection gantry in Newton

In 2014, Raytheon won a $130 million contract to convert the Massachusetts Turnpike to all-electronic open road tolling.[48] The stated goal of the change was to "make vehicle travel safer and more efficient".[49] Additional changes included the elimination of toll booth operators, as well as the demolition of existing toll plazas and reconfiguration of surrounding roadways.[39][50][51] Overhead gantries between most exits read E-ZPass transponders. Drivers without a transponder use pay-by-plate, having their license plate photographed and an invoice sent to the registered owner. This method of payment adds a $0.60 surcharge per invoice, with payment made online, or in cash at a local retail location.[52][53] Installation of gantries began in January 2016, and open road tolling began on October 28, 2016.[50] The inner segments of the toll booths were demolished 30 days after this date, which allowed traffic speeds to be raised. Complete demolition of toll booths and reconstruction was completed by the end of 2017.[50][54]

As there are no gantries between exits 4 and 7, or between exits 10 and 11, the Massachusetts Turnpike is essentially free between those pairs of exits. Otherwise the transition to open road tolling is revenue neutral, meaning the tolls between any other pair of exits only saw small adjustments. Tolls are slightly higher for out-of-state residents without an E-ZPassMA transponder, and no-transponder tolls are higher.[55]

When all-electronic tolling went live on the Mass Pike, the Tobin Bridge, Callahan Tunnel, Sumner Tunnel, and Ted Williams Tunnel joined the system and were converted to charging a single toll in both directions, rather than a double toll in one direction. The Tobin Bridge was converted to all-electronic tolling for southbound only in July 2014.[50]

In addition to license plate information, the gantries also collect vehicle speed data, which a MassDOT spokesperson said "will not be using the AET system to issue speeding violations".[56] Toll data is not a public record that must be disclosed by Freedom of Information Act requests, and MassDOT "All data collected will remain secure and kept confidential."[50] Toll data can be obtained by subpoena, and law enforcement will be able to specify license-plate numbers that will generate an immediate e-mail if detected by the system.[57]


Background and construction[edit]

Early plans for the Massachusetts Turnpike date back to the proposal of the "Western Expressway" in 1948. The original section of the expressway would have connected the then-proposed "Inner Belt" in Boston westward to Newton, with connections to US 20 and Route 30 for outbound traffic. Later extensions of the expressway would continue westward to and through Worcester. Plans for the original expressway included the "Springfield Bypass" of US 20 around the Springfield area. Part of this bypass, and the eventual turnpike, used the grading from the never-opened Hampden Railroad. Similarly, the "West Stockbridge Bypass" rerouted Route 102 from Route 183 in Stockbridge west to Route 102 east by the New York state line in West Stockbridge; the latter was built before the turnpike itself.

The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority was created in 1952 by a special act (1952 Acts and Resolves chapter 354; 1952 Senate Doc. 1) of the Massachusetts General Court (legislature)) upon the recommendation of Governor Dever and his Commissioner of Public Works, William F. Callahan. The enabling act was modeled upon that of the Mystic River Bridge Authority (1946 Acts and Resolves chapter 562), but several changes were made that would prove of great importance fifty years later. Callahan served as chairman of the Authority until his death in April 1964.

External video
Building the Massachusetts Turnpike, documentary by Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, 1957

Construction began in 1955, and the whole four-lane road from Route 102 at the state line to Route 128 (also Interstate 95 in Weston) opened on May 15, 1957.

Expansion into Boston[edit]

An aerial photograph of the Boston Extension in the New York Central Railroad employee magazine Headlights, February 1965

Early considerations for the Interstate Highway System included routing the transcontinental Interstate 90 along Route 2 within Massachusetts, although this alignment in the northern part of the state was too costly. Ultimately, the turnpike in the southern part of the state was approved for Interstate designation, and became concurrent with I-90 in 1959. The Berkshire Connector opened on May 26, 1959, connecting the west end to the New York State Thruway mainline south of Albany. Prior to its opening, traffic used NY Route 22 and US 20. At the Massachusetts/New York state line, one can see where the Turnpike made an abrupt right turn before terminating at Route 102 before the late-May 1959 connection into New York State, as the old pavement still exists for Turnpike Authority and State Police vehicles to access this remote stretch of highway.[58]

After political and legal battles related to the Boston Extension inside Route 128, construction began on March 5, 1962, with the chosen alignment running next to the Boston and Albany Railroad and reducing that line from four to two tracks. In September 1964 the part from Route 128 east to exit 18 (Allston) opened, and the rest was finished on February 18, 1965, taking it to the Central Artery. With the completion of the Boston Extension, that too was designated as I-90.

In the 1990s, then-Governor William Weld took the decision to turn over the assets of Boston's Big Dig project to the Turnpike Authority.[59][60][61] During this time he appointed James Kerasiotes to the Turnpike Authority to continue the authority's oversight of the Big Dig project.[62]

Big Dig[edit]

Diagram of the highway system in downtown Boston before and after completion of the Big Dig

The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority managed the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (the "Big Dig"), which rerouted the elevated Central Artery into the O'Neill Tunnel through downtown Boston, and extended the turnpike beyond its terminus at the Central Artery into the Ted Williams Tunnel and connected it to Route 1A beyond Logan International Airport. Construction began in 1991, and the final extension of the turnpike was opened in 2003.

It was for the financial needs of the project that the "Metropolitan Highway System" was created with the turnpike east of Route 128; the Ted Williams, Sumner, and Callahan tunnels under Boston Harbor; and I-93 from Southampton Street through the O'Neill Tunnel and the Zakim Bridge to the foot of the Tobin Bridge.[63] Finances for the Western Turnpike and the Boston Extension continue to be handled separately with this reorganization.

Ceiling collapse[edit]

Boston traffic crawling over the closed Ted Williams Tunnel entrance during rush hour, one day after the ceiling collapse

In response to a fatality caused by the collapse of the ceiling of the eastbound I-90 connector tunnel approaching the Ted Williams Tunnel on July 10, 2006, and in response to Turnpike Authority Chairman Matthew J. Amorello's refusal (at the time) to resign, Romney took legal steps to have Amorello forcibly removed as head of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.[64] This effort culminated in Amorello's resignation on August 15, 2006. The next day, John Cogliano was sworn in as the new Chairman of the Turnpike Authority by Romney.[65] On November 27, 2006, departing Attorney General Tom Reilly (Democrat) announced the state will launch a civil suit over the collapse of the ceiling in the Ted Williams Tunnel. The Commonwealth will be seeking over $150 million from project manager Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, builder Modern Continental Construction Co. and the manufacturer of the epoxy used to hold the ceiling bolts.[66][67][68][69]

Infill exits[edit]

With the exception of exits opened during construction of the Boston Extension, two infill exits were opened between existing interchanges on the Western Turnpike. Exit 11A in Hopkinton connects the turnpike with I-495 and enables transit between northern New England and Cape Cod; it was opened in 1969.[70] Exit 10A in Millbury connects the turnpike to Route 146 and US 20 via the Route 20 Connector, which in turn facilitates movement between Worcester and Providence, Rhode Island; construction began in 1996 and was opened in 1998 before being completed in 1999.[71]


Proposed exits[edit]

The construction of an exit between exit 2 in Lee and exit 3 in Westfield, separated by a 30-mile (48 km) gap, has been controversial since the 1960s.[72] The state conducted a study to determine the feasibility of such a project in 2018;[72] land occupied by a service plaza and a maintenance facility (both in Blandford) and Algerie Road in Otis have been suggested as locations for a potential exit.[73]

Allston interchange[edit]

The "I-90 Allston Multimodal Project" is a plan to replace a deteriorating viaduct in Allston by straightening the turnpike through the land of the former Beacon Park Yard, which is owned by Harvard University, along with improvements to the MBTA's Framingham/Worcester Line.[74][75] The preliminary design plan calls for the turnpike to be realigned at-grade and off of the existing viaduct, and for the adjacent Soldiers Field Road to be partially realigned onto a new viaduct above the turnpike and off of the existing at-grade roadbed. The design is of a considerably smaller footprint than the existing configuration; this would facilitate the construction of the proposed West Station and the expansion of Harvard University on land where the existing viaduct is located.[76] The design phase was expected to be completed in 2019, and with a planned ground breaking in 2020.[77] A 2019 timeline of the project proposed by MassDOT has the design phase now running through 2020-2021, with a proposed start in 2022 with construction lasting 8-10 years.[78]

I-495 interchange[edit]

The "I-495/I-90 Interchange Improvements Project" is intended to realign exit 11A in Hopkinton, where the existing interchange (designed for the now-demolished toll plazas) is notoriously congested and accident-prone during rush hour and holiday travel times.[79] As of 2018, MassDOT is examining three design proposals, which have raised the suggestions of separate northbound/southbound I-495 exits and the extension of acceleration lanes through exit 12 in Framingham. The project initially was estimated to cost between $296–413 million, and the design phase expected to be 25-percent complete by 2020.[80]} In July 2019, MassDOT announced that the state would be moving ahead with preferred design for overhaul of I-495-Mass Pike interchange consisting of a series of "flyover ramps" that would eliminate the interweaving of traffic that causes bottlenecks and crashes at the interchange. The state expects that the construction would begin in 2022 and run through 2026 at an estimated cost of approximately $296.4 million.[81]

Milepost-based exit numbering[edit]

While Massachusetts has used sequential exit numbers since 1964,[82] the 2009 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices required that all U.S. states submit plans to transition to milepost-based exit numbering by 2012.[83] All exits on the turnpike were expected to be renumbered following this convention with two sign replacement projects scheduled for completion by 2018; the contractors were ultimately instructed to install the new signs with the existing numbers, albeit with wider exit tabs that would accommodate larger two- and three-digit exit numbers should the conversion take place in the future.[84] In November 2019, MassDOT announced that statewide milepost-based exit renumbering would begin in Western Massachusetts in summer 2020.[85]

Government oversight[edit]

The Massachusetts Turnpike near the Chicopee exit

Since 2001, the Turnpike Authority had come under fire from state politicians in a fight for control of the quasi-state agency. Beginning in 2001, former Massachusetts acting Governor Jane Swift (Republican) attempted to fire Christy Mihos, a former Turnpike board member and Jordan Levy, the Vice Chairman of the board.

Mihos and Levy had cast votes on the board to postpone a toll hike. Swift objected, saying such a delay was "fiscally irresponsible" and saying the two men "interfered with the effective daily management of the Authority."[86] Mihos and Levy refused to step down and sued Swift to retain their positions. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled that the Turnpike was "not part of the machinery of the government" and therefore not subject to Swift's decisions.[87]

Governor Mitt Romney, elected in 2002 during a fiscal crisis, ran on a political platform of streamlining state government and eliminating waste. Part of this was the elimination of the Turnpike Authority. Romney wanted to fold the Turnpike into MassHighway, the state highway department, operated under the Executive Office of Transportation. A first step to this was to replace the Chairman of the Board, Matthew J. Amorello with someone loyal to the Governor. The Governor has the power to appoint members to the board, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) advised in an advisory opinion that "nothing in G. L. c. 81A explicitly provides for the removal and reassignment of the chairperson to the position of "member."[88][89]

Romney put pressure on Amorello to step down. Amorello announced he would do so in 2007, after Romney would have left office. Romney continued to press the legislature to give him the power to remove members from the board, specifically the chairman, pointing to a series of financial and construction mishaps over the last several years. However, the legislature instead sought to keep Amorello on board by extending the terms of various board members to prevent Romney from removing Amorello.[90]

Under a plan to save state funds, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) announced plans to close eleven of its branches in leased locations and move the operations into facilities owned by MassHighway and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority located in toll plazas, visitor centers, and offices. RMV branch closings were planned for Framingham, Lowell, North Attleboro, Cambridgeside Galleria Mall in Cambridge, New Bedford, Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Southbridge, Falmouth, Eastham, Beverly, and Boston.[91] Also, a portion of the newly increased sales tax in the state averted a planned toll increase. The MTA will receive approximately $100 million from the state general fund over the next few years, alleviating the need for the toll hike.[92]

Under legislation signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick on June 26, 2009, the turnpike was folded into a new super-agency that controls all surface transportation in the state. The new agency, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), operates all highways formerly under MassHighway and the Turnpike Authority as well as eight urban roadways formerly owned and maintained by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).[93] In addition, MassDOT oversees the RMV, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), regional transit authorities, and the state aeronautics commission.[94] The new Transportation Department began operations on November 1, 2009.[95]

The Turnpike Authority also owned the Callahan Tunnel and the Sumner Tunnel, the other two road connections between downtown Boston and East Boston under Boston Harbor.[96] Upon completion of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, all tunnels constructed as part of the Big Dig, including the O'Neill Tunnel segment of I-93, were transferred to its control.[97] The Authority received no state or federal government funding. Its revenues came from tolls, leases on air rights and service areas, and advertising. Its assets were all transferred to the new MassDOT agency as part of the restructuring of agencies.[98]

Highway shield[edit]

Original logo
Previous incarnation of the pilgrim hat, seen on a shield for the Sumner Tunnel

The original logo depicted Paul Revere on horseback with the words "Massachusetts Turnpike Authority" in a circle around him. One incarnation of the pilgrim hat shield had a Native American arrow sticking through the pilgrim hat. It was replaced with a plain hat and the words "Mass Pike" in 1989. It has been reported variously that the sign was changed due to confusion among motorists who sometimes mistakenly turned in the direction the arrow pointed (right) when attempting to enter the turnpike,[99] or that it was the result of a letter campaign describing the signs as offensive to Native Americans.[100]

According to MTA board member Mary Z. Connaughton's blog entry for the Boston Herald, all of the pilgrim-hat signage unique to the Turnpike will be eliminated.[101] However, in a personal correspondence with's road blog, a MassDOT official said that usage of the hat would actually increase. When guide signs on I-95 and I-495 are replaced, the "Mass Pike" signage will be replaced with pilgrim hat shields.[102]

Exit list[edit]

MassDOT is scheduled to replace sequential exit numbers with milepost-based exit numbers beginning in mid-2020.[85]

CountyLocation[103]mi[103]kmOld exit[104]New exit[105]DestinationsNotes
BerkshireWest Stockbridge0.0000.000 I-90 west / Berkshire Connector west to New York Thruway – AlbanyContinuation into New York
2.7364.40313 Route 41 to Route 102 – West StockbridgeWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
Lee8.513.7Lee Service Plaza
10.0116.11Electronic toll gantry[50]
10.59217.046210 US 20 – Lee, Pittsfield
HampdenBlandford26.2542.25Electronic toll gantry[50]
29.046.7Blandford Service Plaza
Westfield40.43465.072341 US 202 / Route 10 – Westfield, Northampton
40.8665.76Electronic toll gantry[50]
West Springfield45.74073.611445 I‑91 / US 5 – Holyoke, SpringfieldExit 14 on I-91 (scheduled to be exit 11[106])
Chicopee49.04178.924549 Route 33 – Chicopee
51.15482.324651 I‑291 west – Springfield, Hartford, CTExit 7 on I-291
Ludlow54.78088.160754 Route 21 – Ludlow, Belchertown
55.689.5Ludlow Service Plaza
57.6892.83Electronic toll gantry[50]
Palmer62.641100.811863 Route 32 – Palmer, Ware
WorcesterWarren69.78112.30Electronic toll gantry[50]
Sturbridge78.300126.012978 I‑84 west – Hartford, CT, New York CityEastern terminus of I-84
Charlton80.2129.1Charlton Service Plaza
89.10143.39Electronic toll gantry[50]
Auburn90.049144.9201090 I‑290 east / Route 12 (US 20) / I‑395 south – Worcester, New London, CTExit 7 on I-290 (scheduled to be exit 12 eastbound and exit 12A westbound[107])
Millbury93.642150.70210A94 Route 146 (Route 122A) / US 20 – Worcester, Providence, RIExit 10 on Route 146 (scheduled to be exit 18[108])
96.343155.0491196 Route 122 – Millbury, WorcesterTo Route 30 and Route 140
Westborough104.6168.3Westborough Service Plaza (westbound only)
MiddlesexHopkinton104.86168.76Electronic toll gantry[50]
106.236170.97011A107 I‑495 – Portsmouth, NH, TauntonExit 22 on I-495 (scheduled to be exit 58[109])
WorcesterSouthborough109.07175.53Electronic toll gantry[50]
MiddlesexFramingham111.181178.92812111 Route 9 – Framingham, Southborough
113.92183.34Electronic toll gantry[50]
114.4184.1Framingham Service Plaza (westbound only)
116.600187.65013117 Route 30 – Natick, Framingham
Natick117.6189.3Natick Service Plaza / E-ZPass Service Center (eastbound only)
Weston120.21193.46Electronic toll gantry[50]
122.600197.30614123 I‑95 – Portsmouth, NH, Providence, RIEastbound exit and westbound entrance; exit 25 on I-95 (scheduled to be exit 39B[110])
123.458198.68615A123A I‑95 – Waltham, Providence, RIWestbound exit and eastbound entrance; exit 25 on I-95 (scheduled to be exit 39B[110])
15B123B Route 30 – WestonWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
Newton125.207201.50116125 Route 16 – West Newton, WellesleyWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
126.18203.07Electronic toll gantry[50]
127.553205.27717128Washington Street / Centre Street – Newton, Watertown
SuffolkBoston130.04209.28Electronic toll gantry[50]
130.991210.81018131Cambridge Street / Storrow Drive – Allston, Brighton, CambridgeLeft-hand eastbound exit and westbound entrance
131.000210.82420131Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
U-turn to BostonWestbound U-turn only; shares ramp with exit 131 westbound
131.15211.07Electronic toll gantry[50]
132.863213.822 Route 2A (Massachusetts Avenue)Westbound entrance only
132.889213.864West end of Prudential Tunnel
133.344214.59622133Dartmouth Street – Prudential Center, Copley SquareEastbound exit and westbound entrance
133.586214.986Clarendon StreetFormer westbound entrance only; permanently closed on September 3, 2019[111]
133.576214.970East end of Prudential Tunnel
133.876215.453Arlington StreetWestbound entrance only
134.315216.15924A134ASouth StationEastbound exit only
24B134B I‑93 north – Concord, NHEastbound exit only; exit 20B on I-93 (scheduled to be exit 16A[112])
24C134C I‑93 south – QuincyEastbound exit and westbound entrance; exit 20 on I-93 (scheduled to be exit 16[112])
24134 I‑93 – Concord, NH, QuincyWestbound exit and entrance only
134.275216.095Fort Point Tunnel under Fort Point Channel
134.773216.89625135South BostonAccess via Congress Street
Ted Williams Tunnel under Boston Harbor
Electronic toll gantry[50]
137.239220.86526137 Logan AirportEastbound exit only
138.15222.33 Route 1A north – RevereEastern terminus of turnpike within state and I-90 nationally
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata
Interstate 90
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