New England road marking system

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1922 list

The New England road marking system was an interstate system of marked numbered routes in New England, United States. The routes were marked by a yellow rectangular shield with black numbers and border. Many shields were painted on telephone poles. The routes were approved by the highway departments of the six New England states in April 1922.[1]

Prior to the New England road marking system, through routes were mainly marked with colored bands on telephone poles. These were assigned by direction (red for east-west, blue for north-south and yellow for intermediate or diagonal routes). The Massachusetts Highway Commission convinced the rest of southern New England and New York to use this system in 1915 (New Hampshire and Vermont already had their own schemes, and Maine also opted out), and it was the main system until 1922.[2]

The New England road marking system, while limited to New England, was designed for expansion to the whole country. One- and two-digit numbers were assigned to major interstate routes, with three-digit routes for state routes (marked in a rectangle, with the state abbreviation below the number). In general, odd numbers ran east-west and even numbers ran north-south. The main exception was Route 1, which was to run along the Atlantic coast from Florida to Calais, Maine. A few of the major auto trails were not to be assigned numbers, instead being marked with letters—for instance, L for the Lincoln Highway and R for the Roosevelt International Highway.[1]

In 1926, several of the routes were supplanted by the national United States Numbered Highways. Except for Route 1, which became U.S. Route 1, the old numbers were not used, since the U.S. Highway system uses odd numbers for north-south routes and even numbers for east-west routes. While some of the routes that did not become U.S. Routes were disbanded in the 1930s, many of these other routes still have their numbers today, although the unified signage is no longer used.

Route 1[edit]

New England Route 1
Location: Greenwich, CTCalais, ME

Route 1, or the Atlantic Highway, began in Greenwich, Connecticut, from which the main highway of the Atlantic Coast continued to New York City. The highway followed the coast of Long Island Sound through Stamford, Norwalk, and Bridgeport to Stratford, where the highway met the southern end of Route 8. Route 1 continued through Milford and had a junction with Route 2 in New Haven. The highway continued east to Old Saybrook, where it met the southern terminus of Route 10 and crossed the Connecticut River. Route 1 met the southern ends of Route 12 and Route 32 in New London and Groton, respectively. The highway intersected the eastern end of Route 17 in Stonington immediately before entering Westerly, Rhode Island.

Route 1 immediately intersected the southern end of Route 1A on entering Rhode Island. Route 1A followed a shorter, more inland route between Westerly and Providence. The highway paralleled the Block Island Sound coast to Narragansett, where the highway turned north along Narragansett Bay toward Warwick and Providence. In the state capital, Route 1 collected the other end of Route 1A and intersected Route 3. The highway passed through Pawtucket and entered Massachusetts. Route 1 went straight toward Boston, where the route met the eastern ends of Route 5 and Route 7 and intersected the north–south Route 6 and Route 28. The highway left Boston for the North Shore of Massachusetts, then passed through the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire to Portsmouth, where the route met the southern end of Route 16.

Route 1 continued along the Southern Maine Coast, where the highway had junctions with Route 9 and Route 11 in Wells and Biddeford, respectively. The highway met three route termini in Portland: Route 18, Route 25, and Route 26. Route 1 continued northeast to Brunswick, where the highway intersected the eastern and southern ends of Route 19 and Route 20, respectively. The route continued through the Down East cities of Belfast and Ellsworth before turning north to its terminus in Calais, where the highway met the southern end of Route 24 before entering New Brunswick.

The general course of Route 1 is today followed by US 1, which served as the main highway of the Atlantic coast of not just New England but the United States until it was eclipsed by I-95. Route 1A was replaced with Rhode Island Route 3.

List of routes[edit]

New England Route Current routes Endpoints
Route 1 U.S. Route 1 NY/CT border (NY 1) to Calais, Maine
Route 1A RI Route 3 Westerly to Providence, Rhode Island
Route 2 U.S. Route 5 New Haven, CT (Route 1) to Derby Line, VT (becomes Quebec Route 143)
Route 2A VT Route 5A West Burke, VT to Derby, VT
Route 3 U.S. Route 6 NY/CT border to Provincetown, MA
Route 4 U.S. Route 7 NY/CT border to Highgate Springs, VT (became Quebec Route 7)
Route 5 U.S. Route 20 NY/MA border to Boston, MA (Routes 1/6/7/28)
Route 6 U.S. Route 3
MA Route 3
Orleans, MA (Route 3) to Colebrook, NH (Route 26)
Route 6A MA Route 3A Kingston to Quincy, MA
Route 6A NH Route 3A Franklin, NH to Plymouth, NH
Route 6B MA Route 38 Cambridge to Lowell, MA
Route 7 MA Route 2 NY/MA border to Boston (Routes 1/5/6/28)
Route 8 CT Route 8
MA Route 8
VT Route 8
Stratford, CT (Route 1) to Wilmington, VT (Route 9)
Route 9 VT Route 9
NH Route 9
ME Route 9
NY/VT border to Wells, ME (Route 1)
Route 10 CT Route 9
CT Route 10
MA Route 10
NH Route 10
Old Saybrook, CT (Route 1) to Littleton, NH (Route 18)
Route 11 VT Route 11
NH Route 11
State Route 11
ME Route 111
Manchester, VT (Route 4) to Biddeford, ME (Route 1)
Route 12 CT Route 32
CT Route 12
MA Route 12
NH Route 12
VT Route 12
Groton, CT (Route 1) to Morrisville, VT (Route 2)
Route 12A VT Route 12A Randolph, VT to Northfield, VT
Route 12B VT Route 14 Hardwick, VT to Coventry, VT
Route 13 U.S. Route 4 Whitehall, NY to White River Junction, VT (Routes 14/2)
Route 14 U.S. Route 2
VT Route 14
Burlington, VT (Routes 4/15/30) to White River Junction, VT (Routes 2/13)
Route 15 VT Route 15
U.S. Route 2
Burlington, VT (Routes 4/14/30) to Houlton, ME
Route 16 NH Route 16 Portsmouth, NH (Route 1) to Errol, NH (Route 26)
Route 17 MA Route 23
U.S. Route 7
U.S. Route 44
CT Route 2
NY/MA border to Pawcatuck, CT (Route 1)
Route 18 U.S. Route 2
VT Route 18
NH Route 18
U.S. Route 302
Montpelier, VT (Routes 12/14/25) to Portland, ME (Routes 1/25/26)
Route 19 U.S. Route 302
State Route 11
State Route 196
Bethlehem, NH (Route 10/18) to Brunswick, ME (Route 1)
In the 1922 plan but was never signed.[citation needed]
Route 20 U.S. Route 201 Brunswick, ME (Route 1) to Jackman, ME
Route 24 U.S. Route 1 Calais, ME to Madawaska, ME
1922 plan was routed Portland, ME to Greenville, ME
Route 25 U.S. Route 302
NH Route 25
State Route 25
Montpelier, VT (Routes 12/14/18) to Portland, ME (Routes 1/18/26)
Route 25A VT Route 25 West Topsham, VT to Bradford, VT
Route 26 State Route 26
NH Route 26
VT Route 26
Portland, ME (Routes 1/18/25) to Colebrook, NH (Route 6)
Route 28 MA Route 28
NH Route 28
Buzzards Bay, MA (Route 3) to Ossipee, NH (Route 16)
Route 30 VT Route 30
U.S. Route 7
U.S. Route 2
NY/VT border to Alburgh, VT
Route 30A VT Route 22A Fair Haven, VT to Vergennes, VT
Route 32 CT Route 12
CT Route 32
MA Route 32
NH Route 32
Groton, CT (Route 1) to Newport, NH (Route 11)
Route 32A[citation needed] U.S. Route 202
NH Route 103
Bradford, NH to Hopkinton, NH


  1. ^ a b "Motor Sign Uniformity". The New York Times. April 16, 1922. [page needed]
  2. ^ Strycharz, Robb (2006) [1996]. US 5: A Highway to History. Chronos Historical Services. 

External links[edit]