Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

whighlander

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It's not as much work as it looks because the Crosby's Corner reconstruction added 2.3 miles of new expressway-quality grade separation, You only have a 1.8 mile gap to close to have a contiguous expressway from Alewife to MA 126 in Concord. Lincoln only needs Bedford Rd. grade separation into an interchange and tidy-up of the curb cuts within 2000 ft. of Lexington Rd. in each direction. It is on MassDOT's mind to tend to the Lincoln stretch, so that's likely to happen when funding comes available.

Eventually the long-delayed Concord rotary grade separation is going to get funded, putting total separation of 2A and Elm St. for another 2 miles of separation between MA 62 and the School St./Wetherbee St. curb cuts on the MA 111 concurrency. That leaves 1.5 miles and 3 curb cuts to dispose of on the 111 concurrency before West Concord-west is contiguous with the expressway to 495, and 2.2 miles from MA 62 to MA 126 before the expressway is contiguous to the east to 128 and Cambridge.

It really isn't very much work. And we're not talking a 6-lane Interstate...just the same minimalist 4-lane, 55 MPH speed limit, jersey-barriered job as the Crosby's Corner upgrade or the Acton-Littleton stretch between 111 and 495. Given how small the remaining gaps are, I think once the biggest project--the Rotary separation--and the Lincoln gap-closer are done the momentum is going to be on to gradually pick off the remaining 126-to-62 and 111 concurrency gaps. It'll happen in part because there is NOT much ritzy real estate direct-abutting the road, and zero required land-taking because the ROW already has a wide buffer on all signs. Forest, farmland, wetlands, prison, car auction lot, couple medical office building clusters set 250 ft. back from the road, and the Acton landfill. I'm sure there'll be NIMBY's, which is why "pick the remaining segments off in chunks and don't put a clock to it" is the operative plan...but there's only so much for people to scream about here. If 62, 2A, and 126 all flow better in/out of downtown Concord because they aren't ensnared in stoplight queues with the big highway, it'll be muted opposition at best.
OK I'll grant that if you are talking about a Rt-1 @ Saugus highway level of rebuild of Rt-2 it could and probably will eventually happen. Note that - It took nearly forever to get the project to Crosby [Ken Olsen was on the cover of Fortune standing up in a canoe*1 when this started] -- so I wouldn't hold my breath for the completion. However, I still think that the connection between Rt-2 W and Rt-2A is easier to do and more valuable.

*1
particularly relevant because he owned some of the land in Lincoln in question
https://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1986/10/27/68216/
COVER STORY AMERICA'S MOST SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR An engineer, Ken Olsen learned how to manage by running a Sunday school. His Digital Equipment Corp. changed the way people use computers, and grew to be IBM's most serious challenger. Here's how Olsen did it and what makes him tick.
(FORTUNE Magazine)
By Peter Petre RESEARCH ASSOCIATE Alan Farnham
October 27, 1986
(FORTUNE Magazine) – THOUGH he has not yet become a household name, Kenneth Harry Olsen is arguably the most successful entrepreneur in the history of American business. In 29 years he has taken Digital Equipment Corp. from nothing to $7.6 billion in annual revenues. DEC today is bigger, even adjusting for inflation, than Ford Motor Co. when death claimed Henry Ford, than U.S. Steel when Andrew Carnegie sold out, than Standard Oil when John D. Rockefeller stepped aside.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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OK I'll grant that if you are talking about a Rt-1 @ Saugus highway level of rebuild of Rt-2 it could and probably will eventually happen. Note that - It took nearly forever to get the project to Crosby [Ken Olsen was on the cover of Fortune standing up in a canoe*1 when this started] -- so I wouldn't hold my breath for the completion. However, I still think that the connection between Rt-2 W and Rt-2A is easier to do and more valuable.

To clarify: this would not remain turnpike-grade like Route 1. The Crosby's construction is at real expressway design standards. The design speed is just 55 MPH instead of 65 MPH. It's like the new Worcester segment of MA 146, itself a turnpike-to-expressway upgrade that went for the grade separation and standards compliance without adding any additional lane capacity.
 

FK4

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To clarify: this would not remain turnpike-grade like Route 1. The Crosby's construction is at real expressway design standards. The design speed is just 55 MPH instead of 65 MPH. It's like the new Worcester segment of MA 146, itself a turnpike-to-expressway upgrade that went for the grade separation and standards compliance without adding any additional lane capacity.
I could definitely see some opposition to anything that bypasses route 126… Because now you’re talking about an elevated highway next to Walden pond.
 

Roxxma

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I could definitely see some opposition to anything that bypasses route 126… Because now you’re talking about an elevated highway next to Walden pond.
I was a park ranger at Walden many years ago and at the time, there was talk of moving Route 126 to east of the current parking lot and tying into Route 2 around the eastern edge of the former dump. Pavement on the current Route 126 would have been removed, and the pedestrian crossing from between the parking lot and VC area would have been eliminated. This was around twenty years ago, needless to say, it never happened...
 

George_Apley

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Why couldn't they just do Soldiers Field Road-style underpasses for Route 2 at the Concord intersections? No need to elevate the highway.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Why couldn't they just do Soldiers Field Road-style underpasses for Route 2 at the Concord intersections? No need to elevate the highway.

Less dramatic than the kamikaze dips on SFR, but absolutely a half-and-half raise/drop can net an overpass with barely-changed grade and exit ramps that climb a retaining wall at low profile. Bedford Rd. will probably be instructive there because of abutting businesses.
 

FK4

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I was a park ranger at Walden many years ago and at the time, there was talk of moving Route 126 to east of the current parking lot and tying into Route 2 around the eastern edge of the former dump. Pavement on the current Route 126 would have been removed, and the pedestrian crossing from between the parking lot and VC area would have been eliminated. This was around twenty years ago, needless to say, it never happened...
That would definitely be a benefit if they did that.... and re: the intersection of 2 and 126, I suppose it will also depend on how elevated an overpass needs to get built. It probably would not really have any effect on Walden at all, but nonetheless I still can see, psychologically, the notion of expanding highway infrastructure in that area as causing controversy.
 

The EGE

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Not an unbuilt road, but the opposite: why in the world does Route 88 (Horseneck Beach Connector) exist? It was built early - 1957-65 - yet slightly after the state had acquired the hurricane-wrecked land; the southern section was complete well before I-195 even existed. It seems odd that an 11-mile expressway would exist solely to reach a state beach.
 

Charlie_mta

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Not an unbuilt road, but the opposite: why in the world does Route 88 (Horseneck Beach Connector) exist? It was built early - 1957-65 - yet slightly after the state had acquired the hurricane-wrecked land; the southern section was complete well before I-195 even existed. It seems odd that an 11-mile expressway would exist solely to reach a state beach.
It's not an expressway, but an access-controlled two-lane road with at grade intersections over most of its length. A background of the road is at http://www.bostonroads.com/roads/MA-88/.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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It's not an expressway, but an access-controlled two-lane road with at grade intersections over most of its length. A background of the road is at http://www.bostonroads.com/roads/MA-88/.
Uhhh...and that very same background page describes at length how it was prebuilt for eventual upgrade into complete expressway. Which does not contradict EGE's original question in the slightest about WHY the state envisioned it carrying expressway-level traffic volumes despite the lack of any tangible traffic-generating draw.
 

bigeman312

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It's not an expressway, but an access-controlled two-lane road with at grade intersections over most of its length. A background of the road is at http://www.bostonroads.com/roads/MA-88/.
MA-88 is an expressway, despite the lack of median, from Drift Rd to its northern terminus. This road is what's known as a two-lane expressway.

From its southern terminus to Drift Rd, MA-88 is no longer a limited-access road. Bike lanes and a sidewalk were added two years ago.
 

Lrfox

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MA-88 is an expressway, despite the lack of median, from Drift Rd to its northern terminus. This road is what's known as a two-lane expressway.

From its southern terminus to Drift Rd, MA-88 is no longer a limited-access road. Bike lanes and a sidewalk were added two years ago.
I guess it's been a while since I've driven down that way, but I didn't know about the bike lanes. I actually used to ride my bike along 88 between Drift Road and the beach quite a bit back between 2000-2010 (I was a lifeguard down there and rode from Assonet and the North End of Fall River as a workout). If that last leg was "limited access" back then, it wasn't enforced. The alternative means of accessing Horseneck from the Wesport Point area would be riding the length of drift road, a short stretch of Hixbridge, and the length of Horseneck road which is about 15 miles (vs. 1.5 miles). So most people would just do the short 88 stretch and cross the bridge (and a ton of people did it).
 

millerm277

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Not an unbuilt road, but the opposite: why in the world does Route 88 (Horseneck Beach Connector) exist? It was built early - 1957-65 - yet slightly after the state had acquired the hurricane-wrecked land; the southern section was complete well before I-195 even existed. It seems odd that an 11-mile expressway would exist solely to reach a state beach.
It's a large beach, beaches are popular (and in a pre-widespread cheap flights world, I think there was more political capital in expanding/improving access), there was apparently an easy right of way available. Seems like all the logic you need to lay 11mi of flat asphalt in the 1950s? It's not exactly a high-cost stretch of road in terms of complexity.

I could also see it having been done as some sort of fairness for FR/NB, given the big $ the state was spending to build highways to the beach in other parts of the state at that time. That's around when you had the modern forms of 25 + 3 to the Cape and 128 to the North Shore beaches getting built. I imagine plenty would have wanted the same for access to their closest beaches.
 

bigeman312

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I guess it's been a while since I've driven down that way, but I didn't know about the bike lanes. I actually used to ride my bike along 88 between Drift Road and the beach quite a bit back between 2000-2010 (I was a lifeguard down there and rode from Assonet and the North End of Fall River as a workout). If that last leg was "limited access" back then, it wasn't enforced. The alternative means of accessing Horseneck from the Wesport Point area would be riding the length of drift road, a short stretch of Hixbridge, and the length of Horseneck road which is about 15 miles (vs. 1.5 miles). So most people would just do the short 88 stretch and cross the bridge (and a ton of people did it).
It was technically limited-access until two years ago, as you can see from this signage from 2018. That signage denoting the limited-access still exists for points north of Drift Rd. I'm glad they've rectified this issue for points south. It would be ridiculous to expect pedestrians and cyclists to take an 11+ mile detour.
 

Charlie_mta

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MA-88 is an expressway, despite the lack of median, from Drift Rd to its northern terminus. This road is what's known as a two-lane expressway.

From its southern terminus to Drift Rd, MA-88 is no longer a limited-access road. Bike lanes and a sidewalk were added two years ago.
A road that has cross-traffic and at-grade intersections is not an expressway. A part of this road does have grade separated interchanges, so that portion is an expressway, but the rest of it isn't.
 

Charlie_mta

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Uhhh...and that very same background page describes at length how it was prebuilt for eventual upgrade into complete expressway. Which does not contradict EGE's original question in the slightest about WHY the state envisioned it carrying expressway-level traffic volumes despite the lack of any tangible traffic-generating draw.
I would say Mass DPW in the 1950s was indirectly influenced by Robert Moses who pushed through the expressways/parkways to beaches in the Long Island NY area.
 

Equilibria

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It was technically limited-access until two years ago, as you can see from this signage from 2018. That signage denoting the limited-access still exists for points north of Drift Rd. I'm glad they've rectified this issue for points south. It would be ridiculous to expect pedestrians and cyclists to take an 11+ mile detour.
That doesn't have to be an either/or - a two-lane expressway can be paralleled by a multi-use path, especially when they have four lanes landbanked.

Uhhh...and that very same background page describes at length how it was prebuilt for eventual upgrade into complete expressway. Which does not contradict EGE's original question in the slightest about WHY the state envisioned it carrying expressway-level traffic volumes despite the lack of any tangible traffic-generating draw.
It also doesn't explain why Steve Anderson thought it should get all grade-separated intersections...
 

bigeman312

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A road that has cross-traffic and at-grade intersections is not an expressway. A part of this road does have grade separated interchanges, so that portion is an expressway, but the rest of it isn't.
You'll notice in the link I provided that a super-2 expressway is by definition "a high-speed surface (limited-access) road with at-grade intersections." In fact, MA-88 is specifically listed as an example of a "two-lane expressway" on the wiki page for "two-lane expressway."

Our disagreement is just simply a difference in how we're using the terminology. I'm using the actual definition of the terminology as evidenced by the links provided. You are clearly using a different definition. That's fine. It really isn't important.
 

bigeman312

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That doesn't have to be an either/or - a two-lane expressway can be paralleled by a multi-use path, especially when they have four lanes landbanked.
Nobody said had to be an either/or (a limited access road versus one in which there are cycling and pedestrian infrastructure).

I was simply pointing out that south of Drift Rd, MA-88 used to be a limited-access road (without any cycling and pedestrian infrastructure) and now it isn't a limited-access road, and it has cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
 
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