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U.S. Route 7 is a north-south United States highway in western New Englandmarker that runs for from Norwalk, Connecticutmarker to Highgate, Vermontmarker. The highway's northern terminus is at Interstate 89 (Exit 22) near the village of Highgate Springs, Vermontmarker, immediately south of the Canadian border. Its southern terminus is at Interstate 95 (Exit 15) in Norwalk, Connecticutmarker.

Route description

Connecticut

US 7 in Connecticut (also known as the Ethan Allen Highway and Super 7) is mostly a surface road but has two short expressway sections in the Norwalkmarker and Danburymarker areas. US 7 begins in Norwalk with a four-mile (6 km) expressway to nearly the Wiltonmarker town line. There are three exits on this short section, signed as "The Forty Third Infantry Division Memorial Highway". Exit 1, just past Interstate 95 (the southern terminus) leads to the Central Norwalk Business District and US 1. Exit 2 leads to Route 123 which extends from US 1 in Norwalk to the New York State line, passing through the town of New Canaanmarker. After Exit 2, the expressway reduces to four lanes from six. Exit 3 leads to Route 15 South. (known as the Merritt Parkway). This interchange was half built and only allows southbound access from the expressway; northbound access is gained via CT Route 123 at Exit 2. The expressway section ends at Grist Mill Road in Norwalk, about a half mile past Exit 3.

Near Danbury, another expressway section was built beginning south of Interstate 84 near the Danbury Airportmarker. This section is also signed as "The Forty Third Infantry Division Memorial Highway". Through Danbury proper, Route 7 overlaps with I-84 for about . Through this section of expressway, Routes I-84, U.S. 7, U.S 6 and U.S. 202 are co-signed. U.S. 7 and 202 then leave I-84 and travel on their own expressway for approximately to just south of the New Milford, Connecticutmarker Line. On this section there are two exits, Exit 11 -- Federal Road and where U.S. 202 exits the expressway, and Exit 12, where Route 202 crosses back over Route 7. On southbound Route 7, the exit for Interstate 84 Eastbound is signed as exit 13. There is no exit number for I-84 West because of cosigning. The Route 7 expressway then bypasses Brookfieldmarker to the west and terminates at an intersection with Route 202 at the Fairfield/Litchfield county line. Construction on the section between I-84 and Exit 12 began in 1974 and opened in 1976. The Brookfield Bypass segment between Exit 12 and the current expressway terminus opened in November 2009, after 2 years of construction. The former US-7 route through Brookfield is now signed solely as US-202.

Route 7 is cosigned with U.S. 202 until central New Milford, where Route 202 turns east with Route 67 while Route 7 continues north. Recent construction has also made large parts of Route 7 between the terminus of the expressway and New Milford a 4-lane arterial highway with at-grade intersections. North of New Milford center, Route 7 remains a 2-lane road through the rest of Connecticut.

Massachusetts

Route 7 remains a two-lane road through southwestern Massachusetts until Lenox, MA. There, a four-lane bypass of Lenox was built in two pieces, and the old US 7 is now Route 7A. US 7 continues on as a four-lane road to Pittsfield, where it is then a three-lane road, narrowing to two lanes for a short time, then widening to four lanes in downtown Pittsfield. US 7 leaves downtown Pittsfield as a two-lane surface arterial, and continues as a rural highway with occasional three-lane stretches for climbing the grades along the Berkshires.

Like Connecticut, Massachusetts planned a US 7 expressway from the existing bypass in Lenox all the way to Lanesborough. This plan was never initiated, although land takings occurred. The highway was ultimately canceled due to environmental and community opposition.

In Massachusetts, Route 7 passes through the towns of Sheffieldmarker, Great Barringtonmarker, Stockbridgemarker, Leemarker, Lenoxmarker, Pittsfieldmarker, Lanesboroughmarker, New Ashfordmarker, and Williamstownmarker, before crossing into Pownal, VT.

Vermont

The road remains a rural 2-lane highway from the Massachusetts line to Bennington, Vermontmarker, where a freeway is being built to the north and east of Bennington. Once complete, U.S. 7 will utilize this new bypass while the existing 2-lane road into town will become part of Vermont Route 7A. North of town, the highway then again returns to expressway status. For it is a true expressway with divided carriageways and multiple lanes. Route 7 then narrows down to an undivided two-lane freeway. There are, however, many stretches with passing lanes. Just north of Manchester, Vermontmarker the expressway ends. From Manchester to Wallingford, Vermontmarker, the road is a two lane rural. North of Wallingford, US 7 becomes a four lane divided highway with at-grade intersections, up until its southern junction with US 4 south of the city of Rutlandmarker. From Rutland north, the road is either two-lane or 4-lane undivided, uncontrolled road all the way to the Canadian border (except between Shelburne and Burlington, known as Shelburne Road, which is a 4 lane divided highway). US 7 and US 2 are concurrent from Burlingtonmarker to Colchestermarker. It is known as the Ethan Allen Highway for much of the path through Vermont.

In Vermont it passes through the towns of Pownal, Bennington, Shaftsbury, Glastenbury, Arlington, Sunderland, Manchester, Dorset, Danby, Mt. Tabor, Wallingford, Clarendon, Rutland, the city of Rutland, the towns of Pittsford, Brandon, Leicester, Salisbury, Middlebury, New Haven, Waltham, Ferrisburg, Charlotte, Shelburne, the cities of South Burlington, Burlington, and Winooski, the towns of Colchester, Milton, Georgia, St. Albans, the city of St. Albans, and the towns of Swanton and Highgate before ending at a dead end (since the customs is on I-89 and there was no need for 2 customs offices at one location).

Image:East7south2.jpg|Incorrectly installed shields in Burlington, corrected after three weeks on December 22nd, 2006.

History

Prior to the U.S. Highway system, the alignment of US 7 from Great Barrington, Massachusettsmarker to the Canadian border north of Highgate Springs, Vermontmarker was part of New England Interstate Route 4 (NE-4). When first commissioned in 1927, US 7 ran along the entire length of NE-4, continuing south from Great Barrington along current Route 41. Route 41 continues into Connecticut up to the town of Sharonmarker. NE-4 then went west along Route 343 to the New York state line, where the road continues along New York State Route 343 to Ameniamarker. US 7 originally extended further south of Amenia all the way to New York City along New York State Route 22 but was never signed within the city. By 1929, the southern terminus had been shifted to Norwalk, Connecticutmarker. The previous designations of the new alignment south of Great Barrington were: New England Route 17 to North Canaanmarker, State Highway 134 to New Milfordmarker, State Highway 128 to Danbury, New England Route 3 to Ridgefieldmarker, and State Highway 126 to Norwalk.

Exit list

Connecticut

County Town Mile Exit # Destinations Notes
Fairfieldmarker Norwalkmarker US 7 begins at I-95
0.8 1 US 1 (Belden Avenue)
1.5 2 Route 123 (New Canaan Avenue)
2.5 3 Route 15marker (Merritt Parkway)
3.6 Freeway ends, continues as surface road through Wiltonmarker and Ridgefieldmarker
Danburymarker 20.1 Unnumbered Wooster Heights Road/Miry Brook Road Danbury Municipal Airportmarker
20.6 Unnumbered Backus Avenue/Park Avenue Danbury Fair Mallmarker
21.1 I-84 #3 Beginning of concurrency with I-84
US 7 uses I-84 exit numbers
25.2 I-84 #7 End of concurrency with I-84
Brookfieldmarker 26.2 11 Federal Road US 202 leaves expressway
29.5 12 US 202 (Federal Road)
31.8 Freeway ends, Route 202 Merges with US 7


Vermont

See also



Bannered routes



References




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