Tag: I-95


General Routing

RI line in Attleboro to NH line in Salisbury via Waltham.

Upgrades and Multiplexes

Expressway full length. Brief wrong-way multiplex with US 1 / MA 1A north of Canton. Multiplexed with MA 128 from Canton to Peabody. [1]


In December 1957, Massachusetts proposed creating a state route 95 to connect the southern end of the US 1 highway in Danvers to MA 128 in Canton. This 5-1/2 mile road would have used a square marker but with the red, white and blue of the Interstate shield. AASHO quickly rejected that suggestion, in order to not dilute the Interstate brand. [3]

First appears in 1958 on the highway up to the New Hampshire border. Between 1959 and 1961, was listed as under construction from the RI line to North Attleboro, proposed to 128 and proposed north of Boston to near Danvers. By 1966, the section south of Boston was completed.

Inside 128, though, it is unclear what was and wasn’t 95. It definitely was on north of the Harbor tunnels and up the Northeast Expressway. The highway was proposed to head more or less directly into the heart of Boston from the Canton interchange with 128, roughly paralleling Hyde Park Ave to Washington St and then up Washington to the infamous Inner Belt. North of town, 95 was proposed to run through southern Saugus, through Lynn Woods and into Peabody. It would have crossed 128 west of the current interchange and paralleled US 1 to the east. It appears construction actually began on the section north of Revere to Ballard St in Saugus.

In 1972, the southern highway proposal (the Southwest Expressway) was abandoned [2] and I-95 was routed onto MA 128 & MA 3 from Canton to Boston. This was a short-lived proposal; by 1975 I-95 was cosigned with 128 from Canton to Peabody. 95 was built to the east of US 1 through Peabody to Danvers. The final piece of the puzzle, the interchange in Peabody between 128 and 95 north, was opened between 1986 and 1995.

[flickr-gallery mode=”search” tags=”i 95″ user_id=”80252055@N02″]


[1] Yes, I know that 128 technically exists only from Peabody to Gloucester. But the signs show it multiplexed with 95 and everyone calls it 128 anyways. Want to know the gory details? Go to the MA 128 page.

[2] Planning the City Upon a Hill by Lawrence W. Kennedy.

[3] Correspondence between Edward McCarthy, Mass DPW and A.E. Johnson, Executive Secretary of AASHO. 

Effect of Southwest Expressway cancellation?

From Flickr, regarding this image:

sds70has posted a comment:

Looking back now, do you think folks wish I-95 was run thru downtown Boston vs. around it? Yesssss, I understand folks houses were saved but in the long term, do you think not fully completing the Interstate plan around Boston is what caused the traffic mess that is in place today ?

This is just my opinion, but no. Building more highways doesn’t seem to fix traffic problems. There’s two sets of traffic problems that this cancellation could conceivably have made worse. One is Rt 128; the other is the Southeast Expressway.

I’ll take the second one first, because it’s easier – adding another route for vehicles to get into the city would have made central Boston’s traffic problems much much worse. It’s not like the highway would have added capacity to the rest of the roads. It certainly could have delayed the traffic on the Expressway, but really it would have just moved it further into the city.

As for 128, I believe that even with 95 signed through the city, folks just passing through would go around Boston as they do with New York. The traffic on 128 suggests a need for better options connecting the suburban towns rather than improved options into the city.