The "road to Nowhere" opensThe second piece of William Callahan's new highway opened from Wakefield to Wellesley on August 23, 1951, and was an instant success.
The new Route 128 in Reading, shortly after the opening (Courtesy of the Reading Historical Commission)
Anticipating the demand, William Callahan acquired enough land on either side of Route 128 to expand the highway, something that was begun in the northern portion (Peabody to Wellesley) even before the southern portion to Braintree was completed in 1958! (Courtesy of the Reading Historical Commission)
A rare moment of calm, looking north on Route 128 in Lexington on March 28, 1954 (Courtesy of the Lexington Historical Society)
By 1957 the daily volume on Route 128 was up to 25,000, with up to 50,000 cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles squeezing onto the four lane road during holiday weekends. Accidents, like this one in Lexington, often occurred as motorists "opened her up" on the new highway. (Courtesy of the Lexington Historical Society)
When Route 128 was widened many of the short off ramps (which, like the one here in Lexington at the interchange with Route 4 and 25) were extended to help prevent accidents, like the one above, involving a Studebaker in 1949, whose driver couldn't quite make the turn at the exit. (Courtesy of the Lexington Historical Society)
What no one predicted - not even Bill Callahan - was the tremendous growth that would ensue even before the completion of Route 128. Above, land near the Route 128 / Route 109 interchange is being prepared for another in a series of industrial parks that were sited alongside the highway. Building Route 128 has an entire chapter devoted to the growth around the highway, and how it has affected the Boston metropolitan region.
(Courtesy Massacusetts Highway Department)