Route 128, also known as the Yankee Division Highway (for the 26th Infantry Division), and originally the Circumferential Highway, is a partial beltway around Boston, Massachusetts, United States. The majority of the highway is built to freeway standards, and about 3/5 of it is part of the Interstate Highway System. With the rapid growth of high-technology industry in the suburban areas along Route 128 from the 1960s to the 1980s, Route 128 came to symbolize the Boston high-tech community itself. However, today the industry has expanded significantly onto Interstate 495 as well, the next beltway out. In local culture, Route 128 is seen as something of a dividing line between the inner municipalities of Greater Boston and the more far-flung suburbs. The road’s roughly 10-mile (16 km) radius, for example, also delimits most of the area accessible by the MBTA rapid transit system. Much of the area within Route 128 was developed before World War II, while the area outside it was developed more recently.
The south end of Route 128 is in Canton, where Interstate 95 heads south toward Providence, Rhode Island, just east of the Northeast Corridor’s Route 128 Station. Common usage, as well as signs until 1997, continues Route 128 east along the first 7 miles (11 km) of Interstate 93 to the Braintree Split in Braintree, where I-93 turns north with Route 3 toward downtown Boston. This section of former Route 128 serves as the north end of Route 24 to Fall River. (Until 1965, Route 128 continued further, southeast along Route 3 and roughly north on Route 228 to Hull.)