Interstate 495 or I -495, also known as the Blue Star Memorial Highway, is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. The highway forms a very long semi-ring road around the city of Boston and serves the urbanized eastern part of the state. The route begins in the southeast of the state at Wareham, curves widely around Boston and ends in the northeast of the state at Salisbury at Interstate 95. The route is 194 kilometers long.
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I-495 at Lowell.
The highway begins at Wareham, a small town on the Buzzards Bay of the Atlantic Ocean. This is also where Interstate 195 coming from Providence ends. To the east, SR-25 runs as a highway to Sagamore Beach. I-495 then runs 2×2 lanes northwest through densely wooded areas, with occasional urban areas. At Raynham it follows an interchange with SR-24, the highway from Fall River to Boston. From there, the highway has 2×3 lanes. It passes through urbanized southeastern Massachusetts, and at Mansfield follows an interchange with Interstate 95, the highway fromProvidence and New York to Boston. The metropolitan area of Providence is closer here than Boston.
The highway then turns slowly in a northerly direction, coming west of Boston. At Westborough one crosses the Interstate 90 toll road, the highway from Albany, Springfield and Worcester to Boston. After this, the highway also has 2×3 lanes, and there are several industrial estates along the route. The area here is still heavily forested. At Marlborough one crosses Interstate 290, which leads to Worcester. After this, the highway slowly bends to the northeast. At Littleton, one crosses SR-2, a highway that runs from Boston toward Leominster in northern Massachusetts.
One then enters the urban area around the town of Lowell, of which Chelmsford is the first suburb. Here one crosses US 3, the highway from Boston to Lowell and Nashua in New Hampshire. The highway also has 2×3 lanes along Lowell, a city of 105,000 inhabitants. At Andover one crosses Interstate 93, the highway from Boston to Manchester. One then passes by the town of Lawrence, and to the north of this one crosses SR-213, an east-west route. The town of Haverhill follows immediately after. At Haverhill, I-495 comes to within 100 yards of the New Hampshire border. Not much further, at Salisbury, I-495 ends at Interstate 95, the highway from Boston to Portsmouth and Portland in Maine.
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The start of Interstate 495 at Wareham.
Shortly after the Second World War, plans were made for an ‘outer circumferential highway’ around the Boston region. The beltway was later included in the Interstate Highways plan, but it runs further outside the urban area than most of the other Interstate Highway plan beltways.
Construction on what would later become I-495 began in the mid-1950s around Middleboro, with the first section opened in 1959. The first section built under the Interstate Highway program opened in 1961 on the northwest side of Boston. Over the next six years, most of the highway was opened, with a long section on the west side being opened in 1969. Initially, I-495 was only planned between both branches of I-95, so the southern part from Wareham to Taunton was not opened until later in 1982.
I-495 originally had sequential exit numbering. From May 2021 this has been changed to and exit numbering according to distance.
|exit 8||Exit 15||10 km||1959|
|Exit 78||exit 80||6 km||1961|
|exit 80||Exit 89||13 km||1962|
|Exit 89||Exit 100||16 km||1963|
|Exit 15||Exit 19||6 km||1963|
|Exit 100||Exit 115||24 km||1964|
|exit 59||Exit 78||31 km||1964|
|Exit 115||Exit 119||5 km||1967|
|Exit 1||exit 8||12 km||1967|
|exit 33||exit 62||45 km||1969|
|Exit 19||exit 33||23 km||1982|
At Wareham there are only 37,000 vehicles and the highway is fairly quiet. This rises to 68,000 vehicles at Raynham, and 77,000 at Mansfield. I-90 has 92,000 vehicles per day, and at Marlborough there are 100,000 vehicles per day. 113,000 vehicles drive every 24 hours at Chelmsford. The busiest part is at Lowell with 131,000 vehicles per day. Because the route largely has 2×3 lanes, there are no major congestion problems.