A Little History About Highway 195 in New Bedford
I was working the table for the station at the Business Expo today at White’s of Westport, and on my way back to Fairhaven, I hopped on the good ol’ 195, which I expected would get me to the station in about 15 minutes. Much to my dismay, I ended up sitting there for awhile as I forget they have the highway down to one lane for construction and improvements. As I sat there, I kind drifted off into thinking how we completely take I-195 for granted. Before that highway was built we only had Route 6, and we know how crowded it is, even with 195 just to the North.
So I decided to take a deeper look into why 195 was built and when. The I-195 designation originally applied only to 25.8 miles of the route from the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border to New Bedford; the remainder of the route was still designated “Relocated US 6.”
It was not until 1968 when the I-195 designation applied to the then-proposed section east of New Bedford. Built in sections, the roadway took shape. EXIT 10 (MA 88) in Westport to EXIT 15 (MA 18) in New Bedford: This six-lane, 10.9-mile-long section was constructed between 1963 and 1966 and approximately 55,000 vehicles per day use it. Later on EXIT 15 (MA 18) in New Bedford to EXIT 22 in Wareham was built.
Narrowing down to four lanes leaving New Bedford, this 14.3-mile-long section, which was not part of the original I-195, was constructed between 1968 and 1974. It was not until the entire length opened that this section was signed “I-195.” In 1974, the entire highway was open and finally locals had a quick way between Rhode Island and Cape Cod.
So the next time your sitting in traffic frustrated with on going construction, take a moment and think that yes it may be inconvenient, but this roadway is vital to this region of Massachusetts and needs vital repair and improvement.