I-695: The Boston Inner Beltway
Interstate 695 was the official designation of the proposed inner beltway to be built around Boston. It was originally proposed in 1948 and not officially cancelled until 1972 after construction had already begun. Huge public protests erupted when the full scale of its impact was finally understood.
I-695 would have:
- started at the Southeast Expressway’s Mass Ave/Roxbury interchange
- run along the current alignment of Melnea Cass Boulevard
- continued through or (probably) under the western part of the Fens along the current alignment of the Fenway and Park Drive
- crossed the Charles River near the current BU Bridge
- followed the alignment of Brookline Street through Cambridgeport, slicing through the middle of Central Square
- continued along the alignment of Elm Street in Cambridge nicking the edge of Inman Square
- met the Route 2 Extension in a big interchange near Union Square in Somerville (very likely obliterating much of that square)
- turned northeastward parallelling Washington Street in Somerville, probably running through what is now the Cobble Hill senior citizens’ housing, to meet the “ramps to nowhere” on I-93 in Charlestown
Had the highway actually been built, it would have had a devastating impact on the quality of life in the areas it bisected.