Instead of giving recent events the attention the media desperately wants us to give them by feeding into the frenzy, I will writing some Interstate Highway Fun Facts/Rants. I’m feeling super nerdy, and wanted to share my knowledge.
*I’m not down playing the issues at hand by any means, I’m just tired of talking about it. I’ve said all I’ve had to say about gun violence, and the bullshit notion that violent video games caused this.*
Every so often, I see this meme that jokes about I-95, 128, and I-93 kind of sharing the same road. This is partly true, but there’s more to the story. You’re probably wondering why people call the highway “128” instead of its interstate route (I-95).
Before the Interstate Highway system was established, many states already had roads built for automobile travel. 128 (the loop on the outer edge of Boston) was one of these roads.
When the Interstate Highway system was established, it sought to leverage preexisting roads.
The original plan for I-95 was to build it through Boston alongside I-93. Boston would’ve had two North/South highways that would travel parallel to each other. The residents of Roslindale, Hyde Park, Dedham, etc were not having it. I-95 was then routed along what was known as just State Route 128. This is why the road consists of two different numbers, a phenomenon known as a concurrency.
I-290 in Worcester was supposed to travel further than it did. The highway would’ve terminated in Waltham along I-95 thus creating a toll free highway link between the two towns. This was cancelled due to pressure from towns along the proposed route, thus why I-290 terminates at I-495.
For those not from Boston, The Mass Pike originally terminated at I-93 pre-Big Dig.
You’ve seen a phenomenon in states outside of New England where there are gaps in exit numbering; for example: 1, 2, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 21, 28, 41, 43, 52, etc.
The united states has two exit numbering systems. One borrowed from the UK, and the rest borrowed from most of Europe.
Sequential numbering: The exits are numbered literally based on the physical interchange number. All of Massachusetts uses this system. There is just one problem. If you regularly traverse I-93 then you know there are a bunch of exits missing. For example, you’ve got exits 1-16, 18, 20, 23, 26, 27 with a similar phenomenon existing southbound.
A couple of exits were eliminated when the expressway was put underground as part of the Big Dig. Generally when you remove or add exits, they need to be renumbered. This is quite expensive thus establishing the mileage based numbering system: Many states further south and west of New England use this system. 85% of the country uses this system. In a millage-based numbering system, the exit numbers are based on the mile marker where the exit is built. Exit 1 would be built on mile marker 1, exit 5 would be built on mile marker 5, exit 11 would be built on mile marker 11, and so on.
This makes it really easy to add and remove exits with out substantial renumbering. This can be confusing to people who aren’t used to the numbering system. This can create the illusion that there are more exits physical exits.
If you’ve driven through multiple states, particularly on I-95, and I-90, you’ll notice that multiple states have a I-195, 295, 395, etc; I-190, 290, etc. These roads are known as spurs, and Auxiliary routes.
Spurs: Roads that deviate from the main highway, and terminate on another road separate from the highway (I-195 in RI, I-190 in MA.
Auxiliary Routes: Roads that deviate from the main highway, go around the outer edge of a city and reconvene at the highway it originally deviated from (example, I-495 in MA, I-295 in Maine, I-295 in RI, I-890 in Schenectady NY, I-490 in Rochester, I-290 in MA is an incomplete auxiliary route due to its prior history mentioned above). Auxiliary routes were designed with trucks and RVs in mind as they have to avoid city roads that may bring them to lower clearance bridges, and tunnels.
I-95 in New Jersey was an incomplete highway until 2018. Part of the highway travels around the northern portion of the Jersey Turnpike. The highway was supposed to spur from the turnpike onto a highway known as the Somerset Freeway, which would reconnect with I-95 in Pennsylvania.
After the freeway was cancelled, they originally thought about routing I-95 along the rest of the Turnpike. Ordinances prevented this as a certain percentage of the highway had to be free access. Eventually the built an interchange in Philadelphia that l-95 was rerouted a long, This completing the connection.
You’re probably wondering how I know all of this. I’m just a huge nerd. Some Autistics are obsessed with trains, others trucks, some are obsessed with WW2 history. I really enjoy interstate highways, I thing they are a work of art.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.