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MMA Safety Alert: MA Highway Exit Numbers Changing

Doc D'Errico | Published on 10/20/2020
Massachusetts Motorcycle Association

Safety Alert

Massachusetts Highway Exit Numbers Changing
Anyone who's ridden their motorcycles across the Massachusetts Border has probably noticed that different states employ different numbering schemes for highway exits. This was historically confusing if you didn't know what the rhyme or reason was for the numbering scheme. Federal Highway Requirements have, for some time, been encouraging States to adopt a mileage based system whereby numbers on Federal Highways denote the mileage from the starting point of the highway, as opposed to the older, sequential system of numbering.

Somewhat resistant to change, residents of the Commonwealth have fought this change claiming that confusion will cause accidents as drivers miss exits and attempt to make late lane changes, apply their brakes to avoid missing an exit, or backing up on the highway. Massachusetts drivers should also realize that these behaviors have nothing to do with exit numbering in the Commonwealth and are more a reflection of the extremely aggressive driving behavior native to the Northeast. Further, modern GPS and smartphone applications like Waze and Google Maps make confusion an excuse, not a reality.

The benefits of the new system include not only the ability to know the distance to the next exit, but also to improve emergency response, and allow new exits to be built, or exits to be removed, without renumbering.

As announced across various forms of news media, the change in exit numbering was first announced last year to bring Massachusetts in line with federal highway requirements created in 2009. A failure to implement the mandated mileage-based system could result in a loss of federal funding. Massachusetts is one of the last States to make the change.

To avoid confusion and give Massachusetts drivers a chance to get used to the new system, the original sequential exit numbers will continue to be displayed as "Old Exit #" in black lettering on yellow signage for 2 years.

Beginning this past weekend, the project is expected to take until mid-2021 while construction hopes to minimize the impact to traffic.

Work began on Route 140 between Taunton and New Bedford, with I-195 planned for later this Month or early November. The entire project schedule is available on and will include the following State and Interstate roadways:
  • Interstate 90
  • Interstate 93
  • Interstate 95
  • Interstate 195
  • Interstate 295
  • State Route 3
  • State Route 24
  • State Route 25
  • State Route 128
  • State Route 140
  • U.S. Route 3
  • U.S. Route 6
©2020 Massachusetts Motorcycle Association &©MRF Reprinted with Permission
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