When we think of Route 18, we often think of the stretch of highway that connects Coggeshall Street in New Bedford's North End to Cove Street in the South End – but it is much more than that.

That section of Route 18 was made possible by the Urban Renewal of the 1960s and '70s, which saw hundreds of homes and businesses demolished.

The modernization of Route 18 in that area created a more efficient traffic flow from north to south and quicker access to the recently-completed Interstate 195 for shipping the city's fresh seafood to outside marketplaces.

Route 18 Is More Than Just A New Bedford Highway
Spinner Publications E. Milton Silvia Collections

A portion of Route 18, through Downtown New Bedford, is also known as the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway.

Massachusetts Route 18 is a 41.561-mile-long north-south state highway in Southeastern Massachusetts. It begins in the South End of New Bedford and continues as a freeway for about two miles.

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North of Cogeshall Street, Route 18 is a "surface street" to Weymouth. Route 18 was once the road to Boston from New Bedford before Routes 24 and 140 from Route 6 to Taunton.

Route 18 Is More Than Just A New Bedford Highway
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Route 18's origins date back to 1933, long before Routes 195, 140 and 24. There have been additions and adjustments over the years.

Just recently, state and federal highway funds were used to redesign the portion of the highway from Downtown New Bedford to the South End to reconnect neighborhoods to the waterfront. New traffic lights and intersections also act to slow traffic in an area that had become, according to some, a "speedway."

Route 18 traverses portions of Bristol, Plymouth and Norfolk Counties in Massachusetts. The highway ends at Route 53 in Weymouth.

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