A new on-ramp to I-495 in Haverhill is scheduled to open Friday, placing southbound access from River Street in a new lane, while giving Broadway—Route 97—its own direct access to the interstate.
Since I-495 opened, a southbound on-ramp joined Broadway and River Street collector roads. The configuration was designed to handle traffic for a widened Route 97 connector to downtown that would terminate at Bailey Boulevard. Disputes over the exact route of the downtown connector meant it was never built even as the Haverhill Housing Authority opened Bailey and Ginty Boulevards.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says the new on-ramp improves southbound traffic and safety.
As part of the opening of the new ramp, traffic entering I-495 southbound from Route 97/Broadway will use the new on-ramp on the left side of the collector road. Southbound traffic from Routes 110/113/River Street will continue to use the existing on-ramp, but drivers will no longer need to first merge with traffic travelling on the access road.
Traffic leaving the interstate southbound via either Route 97/Broadway or Routes 110/113/River Street continue to use the existing exit ramps.
The southerly end of the collector road will no longer connect to I-495 southbound, rather it will follow the exit off-ramp, connecting to Routes 110/113/River Street.