New exit numbers are coming to highways and routes across Massachusetts beginning next month, state Department of Transportation officials said Monday.
The switch to mileage-based numbering rather than the current sequential numbering system emblazoned on green road signs around the commonwealth comes under a mandate from the Federal Highway Administration, an initiative MassDOT announced last year.
“We had started a public conversation about that before the (coronavirus) pandemic hit but had not completed the public meetings and we paused those,” state Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack said during a MassDOT Board of Directors meeting Monday. “We wanted to make sure we did have public information meetings in all the corridors that will be affected by the new exit numbers.”
According to Pollack, MassDOT will hold a virtual meeting Thursday to update the public on the revised construction schedule that’s set to kick off in mid-October, which was initially scheduled to begin late this summer and finish next spring. Officials have also launched www.newmassexits.com, where drivers can check out which exits will be renumbered, what those new numbers will be, and provide feedback, Pollack said.
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Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said crews will begin the process in Taunton and Wareham, specifically on routes 140, 195, and 25. Workers will replace the number signs affixed atop roadway signs and will install signs at ground level to inform motorists of each exit’s former number, he said.
The department has signed three construction contracts for the work, which will “run concurrently across the state,” Gulliver’s presentation said.
“For individual routes, exit numbering conversion will take place east to west or north to south,” the presentation said.
Ultimately, crews will change exit numbers on I-90, I-91, I-93, I-95, Route 128, Route 24 & Route 25, Route 3, Route 2, Route 6, U.S. 3, Route 146 & I-84, I-495, I-395 & I-290, Route 140 & I-295, I-195, and I-190, according to the project’s website.
Look at how each exit will change with this interactive map from MassDOT:
Work is expected to wrap up during summer 2021. MassDOT officials have said traffic impacts from the project are anticipated to be minimal.
Last year, Neil Boudreau, the department’s assistant administrator for traffic and safety, said the switch will help drivers determine mileage more easily and quickly, and can help improve how emergency incidents are reported on roadways, while also bringing Massachusetts into uniformity with the vast majority of other states that have already made the shift.
Additionally, the new system will allow crews to create new exits without the need for renumbering entire roadways in the future, he said. Should the commonwealth fail to comply with the mandate, the state risks losing federal funding.
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