Massachusetts Highway Department Layout Web Page
The Massachusetts Highway Department (MHD) Layout Section is providing this web site as a service to the Massachusetts Survey and Civil Engineering Industries. Access is available to over 30,000 downloadable image files of State Highway Layout (SHLO) Plans and Easement Plans throughout Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Highway Department Layout Section
The Layout Section of the MHD prepares and reviews plans and instruments for State Highway Layouts, Layout Alterations, Layout Discontinuances, Layout Abandonments, Sales and Leases for MHD owned land, Drainage takings, and easements associated with MHD roadways.
The Layout Section also responds to requests to provide the current Layout and Easement information in regard to MHD roadways. Update of Layout and Easement records is a continuous process.
Some State Highway Layout Facts
The first State Highway laid out (Layout No. 1) was Main Street in the Town of Ashby. The Massachusetts Highway Commission on August 15, 1894 executed this plan. The layout commenced at the Post Office and extended southerly to the Fitchburg City line. To date, this layout has not been altered and still exists 66 feet wide.
Also in 1894 and 1895 the Massachusetts Highway Commission laid out as State Highway sections of Beach Road in Cottage City. (Cottage City is now known as Oak Bluffs).
Route 9 between Shrewsbury and Brookline was the first major divided highway in the country. It was laid out as State highway between 1930 and 1932.
During the period of time when the railroad companies were in bankruptcy, the bridges carrying roads over railroads were in serious disrepair. Concern over the safety of the motoring public led Massachusetts Department of Public Works personnel to sponsor legislation to accept the transfer of all vehicular bridges carrying public ways over railroads to the Department (Chapter 634, Acts of 1971).