Skip to main content

Road Trip to the Future

I took a few hours this past Saturday (2/27) to check out the progress on several projects that will help shape the future of driving in Massachusetts and beyond. Most notably, wider roads, electronic tolling, and milepost-based exit numbers.

1. Wider Roads
The longest construction project going on in the Metro Boston area is the '128-Add-A-Lane' Project, to create a fourth travel lane on I-93 and I-95 from MA 24 in Randolph to MA 9 in Wellesley. The work is now concentrated on the last section north of Great Plain Avenue in Needham. The work includes adding a fourth lane to the median:

Replacing bridges over the highway, such as this one for Kendrick Street, now completed:

Building a new off-ramp from Kendrick Street, in progress:

And, revising the interchange with MA 9:

The whole project is due to be completed by 2019.

2. Electronic Tolling
MassDOT having instituted electronic tolls on the Tobin Bridge in 2014, is now in the process of doing the same for the Massachusetts Turnpike. New electronic toll gantries have been going up across the roadway in the past several months. The first to go up was in Weston near the State Police Barracks:

This is to capture the EZ-Pass tags or license plate of vehicles traveling between the I-95/128 and the MA 30 exits. Other more recently placed gantries include one just after the Framingham Service Plaza Westbound:

That will capture traffic between the MA 30 and MA 9 exits, and this next one:

That is placed between the exits for MA 9 and I-495. There were also a couple supports placed for future gantries between the I-495 exit and MA 122 and this one approaching the Charlton Service Plaza between the interchanges for I-395/I-290/MA 12 and I-84 in Sturbridge:

MassDOT plans to have the electronic tolling system up and running by October 2016.

3. Milepost Based Exit Numbering
MassDOT recently awarded a contract to revise the exit numbers along the state's interstates and other route expressways from consecutive numbers to those based on mileposts. The work is suppose to be complete by early 2018. One of the first routes rumored to be revised is I-84 due to its short length. I exited the Mass Turnpike (under a separate contract that will replace all the exit signs and change the exit numbers, nothing was seen in the first project's work zone west of Auburn) at what will be future Exit 78:

But only saw the new exit signage put up a few years ago, not new numbers. I took a few photos anyway for historical purposes. Here's the signage for future Exits 6A and 6B:

Here's a future 1-Mile overhead advance sign for Future Exit 5:

And here's the signage for Future Exit 3:

Although Massachusetts has not started its renumbering yet, Connecticut has completed its work renumbering its portion of I-395. Since the first exit on I-395 South in Connecticut is actually 2/10's of a mile north of the border. This sign has the claim to be the first sign in Massachusetts with a milepost-based exit number:
It appears that a Connecticut exit tab was place over the existing 'Exit 100' tab on the Massachusetts sign. If you haven't checked it out yet, feel free to visit My List of Current and Future Massachusetts Exit Numbers

Since I was heading across the border, I thought I'd try to capture some of the newer signs placed since my Last Visit in November . This is the first sign in Connecticut for Exit 53, notice the Old Exit # tab is on the 1/2 mile advance sign, rather than the I-Mile sign elsewhere:

Unfortunately, signs southbound will suffer from some glare from the February sun. Here's the next sign in the series at the exit ramp:

And the new gore sign with the Old Exit # Tab, the only former 3-digit exit on the route:

The next new exit number is 50 for the CT 200 exit in Thompson, the 1-Mile Advance:

Followed by new 1/2 Mile advance, with a Service logo tab on the bottom, but in green, not blue   :

Just after the exit, here's the I-395 Mile 50 marker:

And the new version of the South I-395 Reassurance Marker:

The next new exit number is 47 for US 44 in Putnam:

The exit is almost immediately followed by an exit that leads to CT 12 which parallels I-395:

The next sign for New Exit 46, again featuring a service logo tab on the sign:

The next exit sign is for Kennedy Drive, New Exit 45, however:

It is before the Exit 46 off-ramp:

The first exit south of Putnam is New Exit 43 for Attawaugan / Ballouville:

Followed by signs for CT 101, New Exit 41 in Dayville:

Here's the one mile advance for CT 101 after I turned around at US 6:

And the 1/2 mile advance, this exit has separate blue service logo signs:

Here's the gore sign at the exit:

Between CT 101 and US 6 there is an exit for S.Killingly/Danielson, New Exit 38:

Followed by the US 6 Exit in Danielson, New Exit 37:

The 1-Mile advance being for the US 6 West Exit. This is followed by new overhead signage on the old sign gantry, the first appearance of US 6 East:

This is followed by more overheads approaching the US 6 West exit:

While ground-mounted signage follows for US 6 East follows:

This is where I got off and turned around to head back to CT 101:
The gore sign seems a little too wide here.

Here's some Exit 37 and Exit 38 signage heading back northbound:

Hopefully, I'll have photos of new exit number signs in Massachusetts soon.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Small Towns of Virginia Series - Charlotte Court House

This sleepy little rural town in Central Virginia can easily be overlooked.  Located miles from the Interstate or four lane US and Virginia Highways, Charlotte Court House in many ways is easily forgotten.  However, this tiny town of slightly over 400 residents holds a lot of Virginia and American History.

In 1799, Charlotte Court House saw the passing of the torch from an aging Patrick Henry and a young John Randolph.  The great debate over states' rights was the last for the fiery Henry and the first in public for Randolph.  Randolph would go on to serve in the US House of Representatives and U.S. Minister to Russia.  Henry, who was serving in the Virginia General Assembly representing Charlotte County at the time of the debate, died three months later.

Charlotte Court House is not the original name of the town.  Originally named The Magazine, then Daltonsburgh, followed by Marysville (which was the town's name at the time of the Henry-Randolph debate), Smithfield, and finally…

History of the Wawona Road (Yosemite National Park)

Recently I located a portion of the Old Wawona Road that was the original alignment used by wagons and early cars to get to Yosemite Valley from the south before the Wawona Tunnel was built.  Locating the Old Wawona Road was the primary driving force to head to a very dry Yosemite National Park this winter.






Generally I don't talk about the history of a route first, but in the case of the Wawona Road I thought it was particularly important to do so first.  The modern Wawona Road is approximately 28 miles in length from the north terminus of California State Route 41 at the boundary of Yosemite National Park to South Side Drive near Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite Valley.  A good chunk of people entering Yosemite Valley use the Wawona Road which generally is considered to be the easiest route...that certainly was not always the case.

The origins of the Wawona Road are tied to the Wawona Hotel.  The first structure in the Wawona Hotel complex dates back to 1876 which was built by the Wa…

Old California State Route 41 on Road 425B

While researching the history of the Lanes Bridge crossing of the San Joaquin River I noticed an oddity on the 1935 California Division of Highways map of Madera County.  Today California State Route 41 takes a crossing of the Fresno River west of the confluence with China Creek.  Back on the 1935 Map of Madera County the crossing is very clearly east of the confluence crossing on what are now Road 425B and Road 426 in Oakhurst.   CA 41 can be seen traversing southbound from Oakhurst on Road 425B towards Coarsegold on the 1935 Madera County Map.

1935 Madera County Highway Map

After viewing Road 425B on the Google Street Vehicle it was clear that the path downhill from the top of Deadwood Gulch was substantially more haggard than the modern alignment of CA 41.  I finally had occasion to visit Oakhurst today so I pulled off of modern CA 41 at Road 425B.   Immediately I was greeted by this warning sign.






Road 425B ahead was clearly a narrow road but barely wide enough for two vehicles.  T…