Route 128 traces its origins to the late 1920s, when the Massachusetts Department of Public Works cobbled together a makeshift network of existing roads through Boston's suburbs. Between 1947 and 1956, during a statewide push to build new highways, Route 128 was reconstructed as a major regional expressway. The new highway immediately fueled explosive growth in many of the region's once bucolic suburbs.
What was once "the road to nowhere" quickly became a major commercial nexus for eastern Massachusetts and a critical link in the region's highway network. The visionary highway project vigorously promoted by William F. Callahan permanently altered the character of the two dozen towns through which it passed. Building Route 128 vividly documents the highway's construction and its impact on towns such as Waltham, Dedham, Lynnfield, and Gloucester. Drawing on previously unpublished images from the Massachusetts Department of Public Works and archives from many of the cities and towns affected, Building Route 128 tells the story of a region forever changed by the highway's construction.