U.S. Route 6 in Massachusetts

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For the Route 6 that existed in the early 1920s, see Massachusetts Route 3 and U.S. Route 3.
This article is about the section of U.S. Route 6 in Massachusetts. For the entire route, see U.S. Route 6.

U.S. Route 6 marker

U.S. Route 6
Mid-Cape Highway
Route information
Maintained by MassDOT
Length: 118.0 mi (189.9 km)
Existed: 1926 – present
Major junctions
West end: US 6 in East Providence, RI
  I‑195 in Swansea
Route 24 in Fall River
Route 140 in New Bedford
Route 25 / Route 28 in Bourne
Route 3 in Bourne
East end: Route 6A in Provincetown
Highway system
Route 5A Route 6A
Route 5 N.E. Route 6A

Route 6 is the portion of the cross-country U.S. Route 6 highway in the state of Massachusetts. Route 6 runs 117.46 miles (189.03 km) in the state connecting Providence, Rhode Island to Fall River, New Bedford, and Cape Cod. In the Fall River and New Bedford areas, Route 6 is a secondary highway paralleling Interstate 195. Within Cape Cod, Route 6 is the primary highway interconnecting the towns of the area.

Route description[edit]

Seekonk to the Sagamore Bridge[edit]

Route 6 is a 4-lane arterial road for approximately its first 54 miles (87 km) from the Rhode Island line (crossing into Massachusetts from East Providence to Seekonk) to the Cape Cod Canal, except for sections in New Bedford (where it runs along Mill and Kempton Streets, two one-way city streets) and Fall River (where it runs along a two-lane President Avenue).

Route 6 enters Massachusetts into Seekonk, just south of Interstate 195. The first mile and a quarter passes through the busy Seekonk retail area. The route passes through Rehoboth and the western half of Swansea, with access to Interstate 195 at Massachusetts Route 136, which heads southward into Bristol County, Rhode Island. The road then crosses over I-195 at the latter's Exit 3, just east of the terminus of Massachusetts Route 118. The road heads through the southern end of Somerset before crossing the Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Taunton River into the city of Fall River. On the Somerset end of the bridge, Massachusetts Route 103 ends and Massachusetts Route 138 joins Route 6 to cross the bridge. (Prior to late 2011, Routes 6 and 138 followed a previous alignment over the Brightman Street Bridge, which has since closed.)

Once Route 6 enters Fall River, Route 138 leaves its concurrency and Route 6 follows the two halves of Davol Street on either side of Massachusetts Route 79 before turning east on two-lane President Avenue, following up the Seven Hills to the Highlands neighborhood. At the end of President Avenue the road turns southward at a rotary (which also provides access to Massachusetts Route 24) onto four-lane Eastern Avenue. The road crosses over Interstate 195 one last time before turning eastward along Martine Street onto the "Narrows," the thin strip of land between the Watuppa Ponds that also carries the interstate between Fall River and Westport. Once over the Narrows, the road turns southeast, travelling on a straight line through the town. Interstate 195 can be accessed from Route 6 in Westport via Massachusetts Route 88, which crosses over Route 6 shortly before ending at the interstate. At the Dartmouth line, the road turns due east at the eastern end of Massachusetts Route 177. After passing through the Dartmouth retail area and two roads (Reed Road and Faunce Corner Road) that provide access to Interstate 195, the route the route passes into the city of New Bedford.

In New Bedford, the route splits just east of the terminus of Massachusetts Route 140 onto Kempton Street (eastbound) and Mill Street (westbound), two one-lane, one-way streets. The two halves join again to cross over Massachusetts Route 18 just before crossing the New Bedford – Fairhaven Bridge into the town of Fairhaven. After passing the terminus of Massachusetts Route 240 the route continues east into Mattapoisett and Marion along a four-lane road. (There is access between Interstate 195 in both towns, along short stretches of North Street in Mattapoisett and Massachusetts Route 105 in Marion.) Route 6 then crosses the Weweantic River into Wareham. In the central part of town the route turns southeast along Main Street, then east-northeast along Sandwich Road before beginning a concurrency with Massachusetts Route 28, with the first three-quarters of a mile being split one-way between east and west, just south of Massachusetts Route 25, the major connecting highway between Cape Cod and Interstates 195 and 495. The route passes through busy retail area of East Wareham before passing into the Buzzards Bay section of Bourne. The two routes split into east and west one-way sections again before Route 28 leaves the concurrency to cross the Bourne Bridge across the Cape Cod Canal. Route 6 then follows the western side of the canal before turning onto the highway right-of-way for Massachusetts Route 3 that ends at the Sagamore Bridge, which Route 6 crosses onto Cape Cod proper.

Cape Cod[edit]

After crossing the canal via the Sagamore Bridge, it becomes a freeway, known as the Mid-Cape Highway. From Bourne to Dennis at the Exit 9A/B cloverleaf, the freeway is 4 lanes. The bridges from the Cape Cod Canal, to Oak Street in Barnstable Village (a half-mile west of Route 132), are unique in their construction since they are made out of concrete and granite. The road then reduces to a two-lane freeway with plastic stanchions posted on a small asphalt median. The two-lane freeway section has a secondary, less-formal name of "Suicide Alley", due to the high number of fatalities from head-on collisions before the median improvements were constructed. (When the two-lane freeway stretch was first built, it was marked with passing zones like any other two-lane highway. The small asphalt/stanchion median was built in stages beginning in 1989 and finishing in 1992.) The Mid-Cape Highway carries a speed limit of 55 on the standard freeway and 50 on the two-lane freeway. It remains like this until Orleans, where the freeway ends at a large rotary (Mile 90.6).

Through Eastham and North Truro, U.S. 6 is a 4-lane surface street. Through Wellfleet and southern Truro, U.S. 6 is a former 3-lane road converted to 2 lanes with shoulders. In Provincetown, U.S. 6 is locally maintained, and ends as it started in the state, as a surface expressway once again before meeting Route 6A at the Cape Cod National Seashore. For the last several miles of its existence near Provincetown Route 6 east is actually heading west-southwest.


New England Interstate Route 3[edit]

New England 3.svg

Before the U.S. Highway system, the route from Rhode Island to Bourne, and from Orleans to Provincetown, was part of New England Interstate Route 3 (NE-3). Within the Upper Cape, however, NE-3 went along what is now Route 28 between Bourne and Orleans. The U.S. 6 designation was instead applied to the route on the north shore of Cape Cod, which was known as New England Interstate Route 6 before 1926 (now Route 6A).

Prior to the building of Interstate 195, the Fall River portion of Route 6 followed a different alignment. After entering the city via the Brightman Street Bridge, the route followed Davol Street to Turner Street, where it split to Durfee Street, a short portion of South Main Street and Pleasant Street (eastbound) and North Main Street to Bedford Street to Eastern Avenue (westbound, in reverse order). Both routes then took Pleasant Street east of Eastern Avenue to McGowan Street, which crossed into Westport and joined the current alignment of Route 6. The current alignment of these streets would be impossible now, as Turner Street's connection to Durfee Street is blocked, and both Pleasant Street and McGowan Street end just before the ramps between Interstate 195 and Route 24. Their former pathway into Westport is also gone, replaced by the path of the interstate. The only remnants of the old path is the odd turn Old Bedford Road takes before intersecting, having once been a separate street; the original alignment would have extended straight to Route 6.

U.S. Route 6 Bypass[edit]

When U.S. 6 was first routed through Provincetown in 1926, the highway was signed along the rather narrow Commercial Street. After the Provincetown U.S. 6 bypass was built, congestion and the increasing size of automobiles forced the town to post most of Commercial Street (all but the easternmost mile that hits the Truro line) as one-way westbound. Route 6A, when signed, was placed along the paralleling Bradford Street instead. There was an alternate plan at the time to make Bradford one-way westbound and Commercial one-way eastbound (which would have made both roads Route 6A), but this was rejected, as the town decided instead to let incoming traffic through the heavy Commercial Street (almost entirely pedestrian) business district.

By-pass plate.svg
US 6.svg

U.S. 6 was briefly signed on current I-195 between Route 105 and Route 28; however, when I-195 was completed, and the I-195 designation took over that section of freeway, U.S. 6 reverted to its older route.

Formerly, U.S. 6 took both sides along the Cape Cod Canal (and was signed as "BYPASS 6"), but is now routed only on the north side (The south side is now signed "TO 6" from the Sagamore Bridge to the Bourne Bridge). However, a single "BYPASS 6" sign still exists along Sandwich Road just north of the Bourne Bridge rotary.

Major intersections[edit]

County Location mi[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
Bristol Seekonk 0.0 0.0 US 6 west – East Providence Continuation into Rhode Island
0.8 1.3 Route 114A to I‑195 / RI 114
Swansea 4.7 7.6 Route 136 to I‑195 – Rehoboth, Seekonk
7.4 11.9 I‑195 – Providence, RI, Fall River, Cape Cod Exit 3 on I-195
7.8 12.6 Route 118 north – Swansea Mall, Attleboro Southern terminus of Route 118
Somerset 11.1 17.9 Route 103 north / Route 138 Eastern terminus of Route 103; Western terminus of concurrency with Route 138
Fall River 11.4 18.3 Route 79 / Route 138 south – Fall River, Boston Interchange; Eastern terminus of concurrency with Route 138
13.5 21.7 Route 24 to I‑195 – Boston, Newport, RI Rotary; Exit 5 on Route 24
Westport 17.7 28.5 Route 88 to I‑195 – Horseneck Beach Interchange
20.9 33.6 Route 177 west – Tiverton, RI Eastern terminus of Route 177
Dartmouth I-195.svg Reed Road to I-195
I-195.svg Faunce Corner Road to I-195
New Bedford 25.6 41.2 Route 140 north to I‑195 – Taunton, Boston Southern terminus of Route 140; Exit 1 on Route 140
27.5 44.3 Route 18 north to I‑195 Southern terminus of Route 18; Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Acushnet River Fish Island Bridge
Fairhaven Bridge
Fairhaven 29.8 48.0 Route 240 north to I‑195 – Fall River, Cape Cod Southern terminus of Route 240
Plymouth Marion 39.2 63.1 Route 105 north to I‑195 – Rochester Southern terminus of Route 105
Wareham 45.7 73.5 Route 28 north (Cranberry Highway) / Maple Springs Road to Route 25 west Western terminus of concurrency with Route 28
Glen Charlie Road to Route 25 east
Barnstable Bourne 50.4 81.1 Route 25 west / Route 28 south (Bourne Bridge) to I‑195 / I‑495 – Falmouth, The Islands Buzzards Bay Rotary; Eastern terminus of concurrency with Route 28; Exit 3 on Route 25
54.0 86.9 Route 3 north / Scusset Beach Road – Boston Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; exits 1A-B on Route 3
54.2 87.2 1B Route 3 north – Plymouth, Boston Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; southern terminus of Route 3
54.4 87.5 1A Scusset Beach Road – Sagamore Beach Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
54.6 87.9 Sagamore Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal
54.8 88.2 1C Route 6A / Mid-Cape Connector – Sagamore Westbound ramps feed into old Sagamore Bridge approach (old US 6)
Sandwich 58.3 93.8 2 Route 130 – Sandwich, Mashpee
60.2 96.9 3 Quaker Meetinghouse Road – East Sandwich
62.4 100.4 4 Chase Road – East Sandwich, West Barnstable
Barnstable 64.8 104.3 5 Route 149 – Marstons Mills, West Barnstable
67.6 108.8 6 Route 132 – West Barnstable, Hyannis Serves Cape Cod Community College; Nantucket Island ferries
70.9 114.1 6B Mary Dunn Road – Hyannis, Barnstable Proposed to relieve congestion on exits 6 and 7
Yarmouth 71.7 115.4 7 Willow Street – Yarmouth Port, West Yarmouth
74.0 119.1 8 Union Street – Yarmouth, Dennis
Dennis 77.2 124.2 9 Route 134 – Dennis Port, West Harwich, Dennis Split into exits 9A (south) and 9B (north)
Harwich 81.3 130.8 10 Route 124 – Harwich, Brewster
83.8 134.9 11 Route 137 – Brewster, Chatham
Orleans 88.3 142.1 12 Route 6A – Orleans, East Brewster
90.3 145.3 13 Route 6A west to Route 28 south / Rock Harbor Road – Orleans, Eastham Orleans Rotary; exit number signage was removed in 1985
90.6 145.8 Route 6A west to Route 28 south – Orleans Southern terminus of silent concurrency with Route 6A
Truro 106.0 170.6 Pamet Roads— Truro Center Interchange
109.4 176.1 Route 6A north (Shore Road) – North Truro, Beach Point Northern terminus of silent concurrency with Route 6A
110.0 177.0 Highland Road – North Truro, Highland Light Interchange
Provincetown 116.3 187.2 Race Point Road – Race Point, Provincetown Airport
118.0 189.9 Route 6A south / Province Lands Road – Provincetown Northern terminus of Route 6A; Eastern terminus of US 6
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi



  1. ^ Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation. 2007. Interchange Lists (US 6). Downloaded from http://www.eot.state.ma.us/default.asp?pgid=planning/disc/interchanges&sid=dtable , August 7, 2011.

See also[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google

Suffixed routes[edit]

Related routes[edit]

U.S. Route 6
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Rhode Island
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