Massachusetts Roads - US 1/MA 1A - North of Boston

US 1 north of Boston
and US 1/MA 1A

The majestic, double-deck Tobin Bridge. See, stacked highways don't have to look clunky. The last photo is looking down Broadway in Chelsea (Chelsea is to the right in the second photo and to the left in the first).

This faces the wrong way on the NB US 1 offramp into Chelsea (there are two, this is the first). Any thoughts I had of traveling up the bridge for pictures were dashed by this sign - definitely don't want to be treated like a suicide threat.

NORTH should be on top of the US 1 shield, here on the Tobin bridge, and you see one of many target signs (with others by every other pillar into the background) whose purpose may never have been known.

Through the former lower-level NB tollbooth, which used to have some sort of neon warning afterward that will now sit blank forevermore.

A faraway shot (from Chelsea) of the SB entrance to the top of the bridge and warning of the upcoming toll that still sits on that level in midspan. The Tobin Bridge and the Triboro Bridge are the only two I know of with tolls on the spans instead of on land - but even the Triboro Bridge's two tollbooths are on an island.

Courtesy Doug Kerr, these snaps are of the BGS's on the lower level of the Tobin Bridge that are now gone. That's a tiny I-95 on the left BGS in the first picture; it probably dates from when I-95 was first taken off the Northeast Freeway (once doubts surfaced as to whether or not it would ever be completed). The second picture's signs are actually button-copy, something signifying extreme age when found in Massachusetts, so they probably date from I-95's occupation of this road.

EB and WB on Williams St., respectively, which is the road at the first US 1 interchange (first Doug Kerr photo immediately above these).

Scary! NB as US 1 comes out onto the freeway from the bridge - i.e. MassHighway maintenance picks up from MassPort maintenance

NB US 1 at MA 60, where I-95 would have diverged. It is possible that US 1 would have followed MA 1A to MA 60 to the rotary underneath 1 here (as it once briefly ran), truncating 60 to the rotary (or perhaps keeping it on its original Revere St. alignment east to the beach from the current 60 intersection - thanks Chris Commans) and eliminating a 1/95 multiplex, but we will never know. Follow the I-95 link at the bottom of the page to see the Lynn stub here.

Chris Commans explains that this was once a rotary. Even though MA 99 was once US 1, that condition was over by the time the current interchange was constructed to replace it. That means the fact that the only movements for 99 are NB-NB and SB-SB is unrelated to its heritage. NB US 1 must follow these old signs to a U-turn to go south on 99.

This isn't MA 129. Well, it really is, but it's primarily US 1, which doesn't show up at all. There is no assembly with both 129 and 1 on it for the duration of the multiplex, which could spook you into thinking you're on the wrong route suddenly.

Traffic to the Circumferential Loop from US 1 must use the service road to access the exit. Most of the signs are new, and don't show MA 128 to the south, which is odd because it still multiplexes with I-95 down to I-93 by Quincy. The old sign, however, shows 128 as continuing along I-95; the sign is old enough to predate MA's practice of putting button-copy into Interstate shields. Anyway, this sign is incorrect. Technically, I-95 continues to the north for one more exit before leaving, so when you take the NB 128 exit you're actually just following NB 95 to get there. Why isn't I-95 NB signed here? It makes much more sense for traffic to continue straight on US 1, through one traffic light, and onto I-95 at Exit 46, which is where the northern freeway section began until it was decided to just bring it in to MA 128 and forget about the rest of the Northeast Expressway.

The first of two very old signs at the MA 62 interchange, which I believe date from 1962. These are on Maple Street between US 1 NB and MA 62 EB; for reference, I-95 Exit 49 is just to the east on MA 62, and I-95 Exit 50 is just to the north on US 1. This style of sign did not exist for very long in MA's transition from black-on-white cut-corner guide signs to white-on-green rectangular signs. Note the old font, the wooden construction, the arrow through the number, and the fact that something else was once written beneath NEXT LEFT. Before I-95 was constructed, the sign may have read "STRAIGHT", since Maple was originally used for the NB-EB movement from US 1 before it was cut off. Whatever it was, it didn't last for long, because the wooden overlay is also in the old font. (I-95 was constructed in the early '70s here.)

The other old sign, at the turn itself. I guess MA will just let the signs stay until they fall down, since there's no real reason to sign the turn - you can see Maple end a few dozen feet to the east.

Heading SB on Newburyport Tpk. (US 1, of course), signs getting progressively older (and more correct) past Ipswich Rd. in Topsfield until I get to MA 97, High St. I would estimate this sign as being original to New England Route 1 in the 1910's or 1920's.

A NB view at MA 97.

Speaking of old signs, this one has the date right on it. You know what defines old? This sign uses RODS as a legitimate measurement. This may be the only instance of rods on a highway sign, by Glen St./Central St. near Rowley. I hope my velocipede has enough hogsheads of leaded to get us there.

Northbound in Newburyport on a brief and ancient freeway.

SB through the same depressed freeway, with a new windmill on top. At the end you're greeted by one of those pesky signal errors at Hill St. I mean, so many traffic lights have green on top, it's such an easy mistake. Better yet, it was still there 3 years later when I returned.

Button copy! Crossing the river NB and SB on US 1/MA 1A, the only time the routes multiplex. There are two non-multiplexed gaps in MA 1A that de facto run along 1.

Looking west at the US 1 bridge and the abandoned railroad bridge behind it.

While the routes are together, they get some nice old SB shields pointing down MA 110.

The first two are at the end of 1st Street WB in Salisbury (just north of Newburyport), and the last is at the end of Fredenfels St. EB in the same town. Just so happen those two roads end at each other, and at US 1/MA 1A. I guess since the two routes were multiplexed, contractors combined the simple square of 1A with the simple number of 1.

The Salisbury East Parish United Methodist Church. What time is it? When I got here it was about F or I till R o'clock. A little while ago it was striking M. And whoa, just two hours later, it's M again! I hope I don't miss my M:I appointment... I have four choices as to when it is.

US 1/MA 60/unbuilt I-95
Southward to I-93/MA 3/US 1 (Central Artery)
Back to the US 1 main page
Onto MA 1A alone

Into New Hampshire on US 1
Into Chelsea
To Boston
Onto MA 60
Onto MA 99
Onto MA 129
Onto I-95
Onto MA 128
Onto MA 62
Onto MA 133
Onto Ipswich Rd.
Onto MA 97
To I-495
Into Essex County
The Northeast Expwy. on Steve Anderson's
Back to Massachusetts Roads
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