SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation began the process of renumbering highway signs along I-91 Wednesday night.
The project will cost approximately $2.8 million, and 90 percent of it will be paid for through Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds. The remaining 10 percent will be funded through state highway funds.
MassDOT announced the renumbering of the interstate exits North and South will take place for the next two weeks. Crews will begin replacing signs for all the exits from the Vermont border to the Connecticut state line.
22News spoke with one driver who said the new exit numbers will force drivers to pay closer attention, but overall it will be a good thing.
“Like anything, where there’s a learning curve we’re always gonna look at it and say that’s a pain,” said Bill Zing of West Springfield. “I think ultimately for safety reasons and for location reasons, especially with things that are happening in the world today, it’s probably a good idea to be able to identify those thing quicker.”
Assistant Administrator for Traffic and Safety told 22News once the federally mandated project is complete, I-91 will be in uniform with the rest of the country’s highways.
The new signs will coincide with mile markers rather than being in sequential order. Exits will be renumbered based on their mile marker.
Here are the new exit numbers for I-91 in Massachusetts:
- Exit 1 (SB) becomes 1 (SB)
- Exit 2 (NB) becomes 2 (NB)
- Exit 3 becomes 3
- Exit 4 (SB) becomes 4 (SB)
- Exit 5 (NB) becomes 4 (NB)
- Exit 6 becomes 5 (E. Columbus Ave.)
- Exit 7 (SB) becomes 5B (SB) (W. Columbus Ave.)
- Exit 8 becomes 6
- Exit 9A/B (NB) becomes 7A/B (NB)
- Exit 10 (NB) becomes 8 (NB)
- Exit 11 (SB) becomes 8 (SB)
- Exit 12 becomes 9
- Exit 13A/B becomes 10A/B
- Exit 14 becomes 11
- Exit 15 becomes 12
- Exit 16 becomes 14
- Exit 17A/B (NB) becomes 15A/B (NB)
- Exit 17 (SB) becomes 15 (SB)
- Exit 18 becomes 23
- Exit 19 (NB) becomes 25 (NB)
- Exit 20 (SB) becomes 26 (SB)
- Exit 21 becomes 27
- Exit 22 (NB) becomes 30 (NB)
- Exit 23 (SB) becomes 32 (SB)
- Exit 24 becomes 35
- Exit 25 (SB) becomes 36 (SB)
- Exit 26 becomes 43
- Exit 27 becomes 46
- Exit 28A/B (NB) becomes 50A/B (NB)
- Exit 28 (SB) becomes 50 (SB)
MassDOT says a benefit of the new system is it allows drivers to quickly determine the distance between exits and will help with a more accurate emergency response. They also say the change will make it easier to add future exits without renumbering an entire section.
The new signs will also have a sign with the old number and will be up for about two years while we get used to it.
Keep in mind, if you are driving in that area and you are using your GPS, it may not be updated and will tell you to take the old exit number.
The renumbering project will run from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the next two weeks. Crews will also be taking up a lane of traffic while working.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO A MILEPOST-BASED EXIT NUMBERING SYSTEM?
This new system provides several advantages to the existing sequential numbering system:
- Driver friendly navigation
- Allows drivers to quickly determine distances to destinations
- Miles traveled can be calculated more easily
- More accurate emergency response
- Improves reporting of highway incidents, resulting in better navigation of emergency services
- National uniformity
- Same exit numbering scheme as almost all other states
- Easier to add future exits without renumbering entire corridor
HOW WILL THE PROGRAM BE PAID FOR?
The project, which is estimated to cost $2.8 million, will be paid for through Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds. HSIP funding carries a 90/10 split, which means that 90% of the project will be funded through federal funds and the remaining 10% will be funded through state highway funds.
WILL THERE BE ANY TRAFFIC IMPACTS?
We anticipate only minimal impacts to traffic during construction. The public will be notified in advance of construction start and MassDOT will use electronic changeable message signs to alert motorists along the route of the pending changes.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH RECREATIONAL AND CULTURAL INTEREST AREA SIGNS?
MassDOT will update all recreational and cultural interest signage to reflect the new exit numbering system.
WHAT IS MASSDOT DOING TO NOTIFY THE PUBLIC OF THIS CONVERSION?
MassDOT is conducting an extensive public outreach campaign to notify the public of the new numbering system. Outreach includes in-person and online communication strategies that will give the public ample opportunity to learn about the project and ask questions prior to construction.
WHICH HIGHWAYS WILL GET NEW EXIT NUMBERS?
The requirement to use milepost-based exit numbers applies to all highways with exits, such as Interstates and other freeways. In Massachusetts, all of these highways are owned by MassDOT.
WHAT WILL THE NEW EXIT SIGNS LOOK LIKE?
Exit signage panels will remain the same, just the numbers themselves will change. “Old Exit #” signs, which will have a yellow background with black lettering, will be installed at key locations for a minimum of 2 years.
WHEN WILL NEW SIGNS BE INSTALLED AND HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN CONSTRUCTION ON MY ROUTE IS BEGINNING?
Conversion of exit numbers is anticipated to begin in the Fall of 2020. The calendar on this site will remain up-to-date during construction with dates and times of signage installation. Use the Comment Form to sign-up for regular project updates.
HOW WILL THE PROJECT IMPACT BUSINESSES?
Businesses that reference existing exit numbers in their advertising or marketing materials (i.e. flyers, brochures, signs, tec.) will need to revise these materials. “Old Exit #” signs will be installed under this program and will remain in place for a minimum of 2 years, giving businesses time to adjust to the new exit numbers and during this transition period.
HOW CAN I SUBMIT MY QUESTIONS?
Use the below link to submit questions and sign up for the project’s mailing list.
WHY ARE ROUTE 213, I-291, I-391 AND THE LOWELL CONNECTOR BEING EXCLUDED FROM THIS PROJECT?
Route 213, I-291, and I-391 exit numbers will not be changing as those corridors are short and have exits that are generally spaced in 1-mile increments. The Lowell Connector exit numbers will not be changing as there are no mile markers currently posted along the corridor.
WHY ARE THE EXIT NUMBERS CONTINUING FROM I-395 THROUGH I-290?
MassDOT is continuing the I-395 numbering along I-290 to replicate the present exit numbering, which is continuous from Webster to Marlborough. As part of this project, the existing mileposts on I-290 will be replaced with ‘dual’ mile markers showing mileage for both I-395 and I-290.
WHY DO ROUTE 128 MILE MARKERS NOT BEGIN AT ZERO IN PEABODY?
While I-95 is the primary designation for the highway between Canton and Peabody, Route 128 continues to be carried as a secondary designation on this road. This is why the mileposts for Route 128 begin in Canton and not Peabody. Although removing the Route 128 designation south of Peabody would allow the ‘zero’ milepost for 128 to be at I-95 in Peabody, such a change would require an outreach effort and changes to highway signs that is beyond the scope of the current exit renumbering project.
WHY ARE ROUTE 6’S NEW EXITS GOING FROM 1A, 1B TO 55?
At the Sagamore Bridge, New Exits 1A and 1B are based on the Route 3 mileposts. Because MassDOT is not adopting the Exit 0 designation for exits, these exit numbers will stay the same. New Exits 55 and 82 are based on the Route 6 mileposts, which begin at the Rhode Island border in Seekonk and ascend from west to east to the end of Route 6 in Provincetown.