SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Starting this summer you’ll start to see new numbers on exit signs on Massachusetts highways.
Exits in Massachusetts are currently sequential but a federal mandate is now requiring states to number their exits on a mileage-based system.
Numbering will begin at the western-most or southern-most end of the interstate highway. For example, exit 4 westbound on the Mass Pike is at the 45-mile mark so under this mandate exit 4 would become exit 45.
Transportation officials said the new exit numbers will allow drivers to determine the number of miles they have traveled more easily and to determine the distances to destinations quickly.
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Delaware are the only three states that do not comply with the federal mandate at this time.
“I know many states already have that system I know there is a cost to adapt to it but I think for safety sake and logistics it’s a better idea to have the mile markers associated with the exit,” Chicopee resident James Reiley said.
Construction will begin in western Massachusetts and move to the eastern part of the state. Old exit signs will be up beneath the new ones for at least two years after the new exits are designated.
The mileage-based exit numbering system should be completed on or before January 1, 2021. The change applies to all Massachusetts interstate highways except I-291 and I-391.
Chapter 85 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following:
The exit numbers along all interstate highways within Massachusetts shall be converted to a mileage-based system. The plan will include the following provisions:
(a) As closely as practicable, follow the Federal Highway Administration mileage-based exit numbering system
(b) Follow the convention that the numbering shall start at the southernmost or westernmost terminus of the interstate highway
(c) Minimize costs by using existing roadside and overhead signs whenever possible
(d) For a period of two years the exit number of each exit prior to such conversion shall also be displayed at each exit
(e) The mileage-based exit numbering system shall be completed on or before January 1, 2021.
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