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New Hampshire Highway System

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Title: New Hampshire Highway System  
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Subject: Interstate 95 in New Hampshire, New Hampshire Route 129, New Hampshire Route 102, New Hampshire Route 128, New Hampshire Route 28
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New Hampshire Highway System

The New Hampshire Highway System is the public roads system of the U.S. state of New Hampshire containing approximately 17,029 miles (27,406 km) maintained by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT). All public roads in the state are called "highways", thus there is no technical distinction between a "road" or a "highway" in New Hampshire.


The state maintains 4,814 miles (7,747 km) of roads, of which 2,567 miles (4,131 km) are numbered routes and 1,465 miles (2,358 km) are unnumbered roadways making up the state's secondary roadway system. The state has 557 miles (896 km) of primary highways, which it defines as highways that "connect population centers, other NHS routes within the state, and other NHS routes in the surrounding states: Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts." The remaining 12,215 miles (19,658 km) of roads are maintained typically by the towns and cities traversed by these roads.

Highways assigned a number by the NHDOT are officially known as "New Hampshire Route X", often abbreviated "NH Route X" or simply "NH X".

Many minor state highways are not assigned numbers, only local names.

Interstate Highways

A total of 224.2 miles (360.8 km) of roadway in New Hampshire are part of the Interstate Highway system.

Turnpike system

The NHDOT Bureau of Turnpikes is responsible for maintenance of the public toll roads in New Hampshire:

  • The Frederick E. Everett Turnpike (also known as the Central Turnpike) runs from the Massachusetts state line in Nashua north to Concord. It is routed along parts of U.S. Route 3, Interstate 293, and Interstate 93. It runs by itself between US 3 in Nashua and I-293 in Manchester and is the only turnpike in New Hampshire not completely overlapped with at least one numbered route. The Everett Turnpike is unsigned along its concurrency with I-93. The northern terminus is at I-93's exit 14 in Concord.
  • The Eastern Turnpike is composed of the following two connecting turnpikes:
    • The Blue Star Turnpike (unsigned - also known as the New Hampshire Turnpike) runs 14.3 miles (23.0 km) from the Massachusetts border in Seabrook north to the Portsmouth Traffic Circle, where it connects with the southern end of the Spaulding Turnpike. The Blue Star Turnpike comprises most of Interstate 95's length in New Hampshire (minus the extension north into Maine) and is signed solely as I-95.
    • The Spaulding Turnpike, which begins at an interchange with I-95 in Portsmouth and runs northward along the Maine state line to Milton. Formerly a lone route, NH 16 was routed over all but the southernmost 0.8 miles (1.3 km) of the turnpike. US 4's easternmost stretch is also routed over the southern section of the Spaulding Turnpike, between I-95 and exit 6.

National Highway System

782 miles (1,259 km) of state-maintained roads are a part of the National Highway System (NHS). Of the NHS roads in the state, 225 miles (362 km) are Interstate highways (35 miles (56 km) of which are also on the New Hampshire Turnpike System; 52 miles (84 km) of non-interstate turnpike highways; and 505 miles (813 km) of non-interstate and non-turnpike highways.

Classification of state highways

New Hampshire RSA 229:5 Classification. sets out the seven different classes of highways in the state:

  • Class I – all portions of the turnpikes and the national system of interstate and defense highways, and all existing or proposed highways on the primary state highway system, excepting all portions of highways within the compact sections of the cities and towns listed in RSA 229:5, V., which aren't part of the state or national turnpike system or are defense highways
  • Class II – all existing or proposed highways on the secondary state highway system, excepting all portions of such highways within the compact sections of the cities and towns listed in RSA 229:5, V.
  • Class III – all recreational roads leading to, and within, state reservations designated by the General Court
  • Class III-a – boating access highways from any existing highway to any public water in this state.
  • Class IV – all highways within the compact sections of cities and towns listed in RSA 229:5, V., which are not Class I or II highways
  • Class V – all other traveled highways which a town has the duty to maintain regularly and shall be known as town roads
  • Class VI – all other existing public ways, including all highways discontinued as open highways and made subject to gates and bars, except Class III-a roads, and all highways which have not been maintained and repaired by the town for travel thereon for 5 or more successive years
Under RSA 229:5, V. the Commissioner of Transportation may establish compact sections in the following cities and towns:

Routes crossing state lines

Two New Hampshire state routes actually cross state lines while retaining their designations:

In addition, Maine State Route 113 crosses in and out of New Hampshire along two short stretches. It remains under MaineDOT maintenance along these stretches.

Signage practices

Shield for NH 28 Bypass

State highways

State highways in New Hampshire are marked using square route shields depicting the Old Man of the Mountain. Unlike its neighboring states, New Hampshire does not use elongated shields for route markers, but uses condensed fonts for three-digit routes instead.

Alternates of two- and three- digit routes (e.g. NH 113B) are signed with the parent highway's number over the letter of the alternate.

New Hampshire also has one "bypass" state route, NH 28 Bypass, which is marked with a standard NH 28 shield, except with the word "BYPASS" over the numeral. NH 101 has its own business route, but is very poorly signed.

U.S. Routes

Shield for US 1 Bypass

New Hampshire uses the standard issue U.S. Route shield, a six-point white shield over a black square background. New Hampshire contains parts of the four lowest-numbered primary US highways: US 1, US 2, US 3 and US 4.

New Hampshire does not use elongated route shields for U.S Routes, except on the occasional guide sign from a freeway. Condensed fonts are used instead. US 2 is the only primary US highway in New Hampshire with any child routes, of which two are present: US 202 and US 302.

Alternates of U.S. Routes in New Hampshire are signed as state routes, with two exceptions: US 1 Bypass and US 3 Business. US 1 Bypass is signed in a similar fashion to NH 28 Bypass: a standard US 1 shield with the word "BY-PASS" over the numeral. US 3 Business is unsigned, as it is completely overlapped by other routes. US 302 also has a business route but it is unsigned - it is entirely overlapped by NH 16A.

Interstate highways

New Hampshire uses standard-issue Interstate shields for its two-digit Interstate highways, of which there are three - I-89, I-93 and I-95.

Elongated shields were not initially used for auxiliary Interstates, but such shields are appearing on newer signage. New Hampshire no longer uses its state name on Interstate shields, but older signs with the state name are still prevalent. New Hampshire contains the only two auxiliaries of I-93: I-293 and I-393.

Exit numbering

New Hampshire is one of the few states that still uses sequential exit numbering on its freeways, including all Interstate highways, the Turnpike routes, as well as the NH 101 freeway between Manchester and Hampton. Exits to Interstate Highways are not assigned numbers, with the exception of I-93 to I-393 in Concord. The only numbering anomaly is the absence of exit 21 on I-93.

Major junctions and route concurrencies

New Hampshire, in contrast to most other states, normally signs route junctions using green guide signs (similar to those found on freeways) instead of individual sign and shield assemblies. New Hampshire also signs nearly all route concurrencies in the same way. The exceptions tend to be in urban areas, where signage is generally lacking (and outdated) to begin with, and many cities tend to use the more traditional signage due to space constraints. Outside of the cities, New Hampshire's routes are generally signed well.

Unnumbered state highways

Several unnumbered roads also are maintained by the state, including:

See also


External links

  • Granite State Roads
  • Road Signs of New Hampshire
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