HOW MUCH WORSE CAN 2020 GET? HOW ABOUT RENUMBERING ALL OUR ROADS?

If you don’t live in Massachusetts, nonetheless, every state is doing this. Despite understanding — in theory — why they are doing it, it is going to be a real mess. Because MapQuest, Google, and every single GPS isn’t going to know where they are. Owen said they made these changes more than two years ago in Rhode Island. The GPS’s have yet to get the exit numbers corrected in their maps. It’s okay because they have a second sign under the new sign in which the show the previous numbers. I suspect they will never remove them.

Effectively, they are changing every exit number on any road bigger than 2-lanes. Out here, that’s just our section of the Mass Pike and Route 146, 140, 290, and 395. Route 16 — a  major highway of just two lanes meanders through every small town from here to somewhere past Boston (Chelsea?), doesn’t have numbers and we can only be grateful for that. In any case, Route 16 isn’t a road. It’s a route that is made up of hundreds of roads that form a pathway from here to there. It’s already a nightmare to drive and sadly, is the only road that goes to a lot of towns, most of which you’ve never heard of.

I don’t think they missed a single exit. It’s going to be real hell in and around Boston.

In a nation with crumbling interstate highways, no functional railways, collapsing bridges — all of which desperately need attention — we are spending a few casual millions on new and confusing road signs that are going to make a lot of us crazy. It’s always good to see that we put our money on the really important stuff. Well, it IS cheaper to put up signs than to fix the highway. Besides, if they crumble even more, we won’t be able to drive there. That’ll solve the problem.

This message showed up in my email this morning.

I-90 Exit Number Conversion Advisory

Dear EZDriveMA Customer,

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is in the process of converting all exit numbers on freeways to a milepost-based numbering system, per Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requirements. Currently, interstates and freeways in Massachusetts utilize a sequential exit numbering method. Construction began in the Fall of 2020 and is anticipated to be completed in the Summer of 2021.

This notice is to inform you that exit numbering conversion will begin on Interstate 90 on December 13, 2020. Construction details are as follows:

•       Corridor: Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike)
•       Location: Boston to West Stockbridge
•       Approximate start date: Dec. 13
•       Approximate construction duration: 4 weeks
•       Hours of operation: 8:00 PM – 5:00 AM

Please note that all work is weather dependent and construction dates may be adjusted accordingly. This work will not impact the tolls on this roadway.

For more information on the project and construction status, to leave a comment or sign up for project updates, please visit: https://www.newmassexits.com/

My head started to spin. We didn’t even have an exit number until last year when finally, they got around to giving us “Exit 2” which made giving direction nominally easier. The thing is, they are renumbering all the roads or at least any road that isn’t a local 2-lane road. For all I know, they are renumbering two-lane roads too. I gather they renumber Rt. 140 which is mostly a 2-lane road so anything is possible.

The Mass Pike will look like this:

Me and Garry get lost all the time, but now I can guarantee we will get lost at least twice as often — should we ever drive anywhere again. Which, considering the news we just got about how local pharmacies aren’t going to have the right freezers for the vaccines, probably for months because every pharmacy needs them  and there’s a three-month waiting list. I’m losing hope. Maybe this won’t matter because we’re never going anywhere. Ever. Again.

We are not good at road repairs in this state. We are slow, we do things in the wrong order. They fix the road, put fresh asphalt on it, and then they remember they need to do some wiring, so they dig up the beautiful new paving and dig a lot of trenches and holes and when they are done, the road is just like it was before they paved it.

To get a better grip on why this is such a dreadful idea, “the Big Dig” was supposed to last four years and cost something like $37 billion. The basic project took more than 15-years and cost so much money, I’m not sure anyone even knows the figures. They aren’t finished yet. Now all the repairs to the poorly installed sections, the sections that are actually falling down (like the roof of the tunnel) are being redone and probably by the time they finish, there will be more pieces which need repair.

It is officially more than 20-years since the Big Dig began. Like the repairs on the Mystic River Bridge, it will never be completed. They were restoring that bridge when I moved to Massachusetts in 1987. Garry said it was under construction when he moved here in 1970. It is still under construction.

There’s a lot more to this story. But if you live in Massachusetts, you’ll get your own notification of trauma to come and you can follow the explanations of what a complete disaster it’s going to be, especially in and around Boston. New York is going to be a tragedy, too. All the older east coast states will be horrendous because so many of our roads are old, twisting, and basically are paved over cattle paths or the mail routes from 1770.

We actually moved here to escape from “the Big Dig.”

So, despite knowing I was going to hate this, I figured I might as well see what they are planning to do. I got this map which is for “our” area of Massachusetts and involves our improved Route 146. I probably should point out that the renovation of 146 isn’t finished because the day after they completed it (last year some time, but I don’t remember when except that I remember saying “Oh, look. They finished the exit!” The next day they started tearing it up to widen it by one lane. They could have done that in the first place.

Someone wanted to know the “benefits” of doing this. It is supposed to make it easier to figure out the distance between exits and is becoming the national standard. So if they haven’t done it in your state yet, don’t worry. They will. Here, since we are a small state, it will cost a mere 3 million dollars. Most of that money will come from the Feds — in theory, anyway. I hate when they do this. It means all our GPS information — already pathetic — will get much worse. MapQuest will get it right eventually, but it could be a long time before eventually gets to our part of the state.

Without getting complicated, that’s pretty much every exit on every major road in the state. You think this is likely to confuse some of us? And don’t forget, ALL the maps in your GPS devices will be wrong.

According to the letter, it says: “This work will not impact the tolls on this roadway.That means that no matter how bad the road is, the tolls won’t be reduced. Won’t this be fun?



Categories: Anecdote, construction, New England, Roads

Tags: , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. They picked a fine time to do this….NOT.
    Leslie

    Like

  2. Oh heavens. We so got lost when driving in and out of Boston. What a nightmare!

    Like

  3. I hope it won’t make getting your parcels delivered harder than it already is.

    Like

  4. Florida did this change a long time ago, but I think everyone always said you get off the **insert town/road here** exit instead of the numbers, so it wasn’t a super big deal. What was confusing was the little sign under the new number telling you this exit was the old number. Trying to read that going 70 mph was nuts!!

    Like

  5. This seems ridiculous. Who decided this???

    Like

    • The Feds, of course. It’s the new national standard. Never mind that the roads are falling apart and the bridges are collapsing. What we REALLY need are new exit numbers. It’s going to be a national thing, so wherever you are going, your maps will be wrong, your GPS won’t know which exit is which. My hope is that they keep the same exit descriptions, so you know if this is route 9 east or west, or Lincoln Street northbound or the cutoff to New Hampshire. If they change THOSE descriptions, we’ll leave home and never find our way back.

      Like

  6. Anybody from New Jersey here.., where direction signs often appear after you’ve passed your turn. I love NJ ’cause my sister lives there, and I love my sister, but getting to her house is a trip all its own.

    Liked by 1 person

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