A century ago, autumn of 1923, a man named William Williams plotted a bunch of routes to help motorists navigate the region. Does the Burlington route look familiar?
. . . and eventually reaches Burlington, where it randomly alternates between two and four lanes, then suddenly one lane when you need to squeeze past the daily crash scene.
It ends in Tyngsboro at the New Hampshire border. On Google Earth, a New Hampshire representative in full uniform escorts you over the line.
So Route 3A is a 97-mile odyssey with an odd gap in the middle. That’s the stretch between Neponset and Burlington, where Route 3A goes incognito because it shares the same asphalt with its big brother, Route 3 without the A.
Big brother Route 3 has two sections:
- US Route 3 (Cambridge to Canada)
- Massachusetts Route 3 (Cambridge to Cape Cod)
Here’s US Route 3:
. . . and eventually zigzags through Burlington on its way north. Notice Route 3A comes out of hiding as soon as big brother hops on Route 128. Free at last!
US Route 3 ends at the Canadian border on the Daniel Webster Highway, where Daniel Webster himself decides whether you can cross.
The other part of big brother, Massachusetts Route 3, ever touches Burlington at all.
It starts at the same spot in Cambridge but heads the other way, toward the Museum Of Science.
It ends at the Sagamore Bridge to Cape Cod, with appropriate signage for anyone who drives the entire stretch.
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