Massachusetts Roads - I-93 - Northern Expressway

I-93, Northern Expwy.

Northbound signage on the old artery - with a tremendous shot of the old bridge as well as the new Zake rising next to it! The first photo is courtesy HNTB Corp, and the others are courtesy Doug Kerr.

This was in the heart of Boston at Exit 26, what once was the Storrow Drive exit. Once the Leverett Circle Connector opened, the old SB ramp was dismantled, and associated Big Dig work required that SB traffic on the lower level of the Central Artery split in two.

NB out of Boston, this BGS is experiencing floating shield syndrome, like an I-495 BGS on MA 9.

The northern end of the last remaining double-deck section of I-93 in Somerville, looking southward at the convergence.

Views of the stubs intended for I-695 Inner Loop, taken from the Leverett Circle Connector northbound. The Connector up here is one lane each way, frequently backing up SB due to the traffic on Storrow Drive and the Leverett Circle traffic lights a mile to the south. It was the first opened roadway in the Big Dig, and enabled the clunky Storrow Drive (Exit 26) 3-Y ramps to be dismantled from the Central Artery. The I-695 Inner Loop would have circled through northern Cambridge and Somerville, spawned US 3 and MA 2, then taken out a few thousand people as it would have cut Cambridge in two and crossed the river near the BU Bridge, before taking out a few hundred more people in Boston and finally taking the path of Melnea Cass Blvd. It then would have spawned I-95 down the Southeast Corridor (now Amtrak and the Orange Line run there), before finally ending at I-93 Exit 16 (which would have been where I-95 turned from the Inner Loop, having taken over I-695 just to the west, and MA 3 would have continued south on the Southeast Expressway).
Anyway, what you need to know: In anticipation of the Inner Loop - and politicians thought it was a done deal until citizens fought back - ghost ramps were built south and north of the city. The southern ones connected into Melnea Cass Blvd. in a 3-Y, redone in 1995 to a more standard approximation of a diamond. The northern ones never connected into anything, and what you see here would have been the two northbound-southbound ramps. What's interesting is that US 1 was tunnelled through Charlestown in the late 1990's, so until the new Bunker Hill Bridge was opened, I-93 first weaved left at the old US 1 stubs (since there had been an elevated 3-Y junction there as well), and then weaved right at the old I-695 stubs. The other interesting point is that now the other half of the I-695 wye is useful - the Leverett Circle Connector (remember when I was talking about that?) comes into I-93 using the northern stubs.

Heading NB from Boston, the first sign can be compared to one on US 3 - this has a flat shield and, of course, different distances. The second is one of several left with the shield in tatters. The last one is just cool.

SB well north of Boston; note the straight-down arrow in the third picture. The Exit 37 signage just may be older than the rest because it lacks button copy (it feels strange to type that).

Like Rhode Island and Maine, Massachusetts experimented with mixed mileage and sequential exit numbers, but never figured out to combine the two and just use mile-based exit numbers. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, because the miles and exit numbers start in Boston at the US 1 split, which was supposed to be the beginning of I-93 at I-95. When I-95 was rerouted around MA 128, I-93 was extended all the way down MA 3 to the bottom of 128, then along a wrong-way duplex with 128 to end at the southern section of I-95. So either way, the exits had to be renumbered at that point, and that's when the dual-tabbed signage disappeared. This was taken in 1977 by Michael Summa.

Exit 47 C-D road SB, and a distance sign that still refuses to acknowledge that I-95 has superceded MA 128.

South on I-93/MA 3/US 1 through Boston
Back to I-93 main page

Follow I-93 into NH
Exit 26 to Storrow Drive
Exit 27 to US 1
Exit 29 to MA 28
Exit 29 to MA 38
Exit 37 to I-95
Exit 43 to MA 133
Exit 44 to I-495
Exit 46 (then 20) to MA 110
Exit 46 (then 20) to MA 113
Exit 48 (then 22) to MA 213
The Northern Expressway (I-93) on Steve Anderson's
Back to Massachusetts Roads
Back to Roads