U.S. Route 3 is a north-south United States highway that runs from its southern terminus in Cambridge, Massachusetts through New Hampshire to its terminus near Third Connecticut Lake at the Canadian border, where the road continues north as Quebec Route 257.
In New Hampshire parts of US 3 are known as the Daniel Webster Highway. From Burlington, Massachusetts to Nashua, New Hampshire, US 3 is a freeway (the in New Hampshire are a free portion of the Everett Turnpike). A second freeway portion exists in northern New Hampshire, where US 3 utilizes the Franconia Notch Parkway and a short segment of Interstate 93, before proceeding on two-lane roads north to the border with Canada. While the southern terminus has not changed there have been different northern termini to this route.
The "old" Route 3 runs south from I95/Route 128 Exit 33, through portions of Burlington, Woburn, and Winchester without intersecting any other numbered routes. In Arlington, it joins with Massachusetts Routes 60 and 2A in Arlington Center. It is only briefly joined with Route 60, as that route goes south, while the joined Routes 3 and 2A go east along Massachusetts Avenue, until it intersects the Alewife Brook Parkway and Massachusetts Route 16, at which point Route 3 joins those routes heading south. At the Alewife MBTA Station, Route 3 joins Massachusetts Route 2 and the Fresh Pond Parkway bearing south and east to Memorial Drive in Cambridge. US Route 3 ends on Memorial Drive at the point where it meets Massachusetts Route 3.
In Suncook, New Hampshire, Route 28 leaves to the northeast, and Route 3 proceeds northwest towards Concord on Pembroke Street, becoming Manchester Street when it enters the Concord city limits. Route 3 traverses downtown Concord, where it is known as North and South Main Street, then follows North State Street to Fisherville Road to Village Street in Penacook before crossing the Contoocook River into Boscawen. Route 3 travels north through Boscawen, briefly joining U.S. Route 4. Route 3 parallels the Merrimack River north into Franklin. In Franklin, the route joins New Hampshire Route 11 and turns east, briefly coinciding with New Hampshire Route 127, and passing through Tilton, where it crosses NH 132 and passes the western end of NH 140. Continuing northeast past Winnisquam Lake, Routes 3 and 11 reach Laconia and turn onto the Laconia-Gilford Bypass, passing interchanges with New Hampshire Routes 106, 107, and 11A. At the north end of the bypass, Routes 3 and 11 diverge, with Route 3 continuing north on Lake Street to Weirs Beach and an intersection with 11B. Route 3 continues north as the Daniel Webster Highway to Meredith at the north end of Meredith Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee. In Meredith, after passing the northern terminus of NH 106, Route 3 joins NH 25 and continues north past Squam Lake into Holderness, passing the west ends of NH 25B and NH 113. Through Holderness, Routes 3 and 25 gradually turn west, then southwest, passing the southern end of NH 175, and then reaching the northern end of NH 132 in Ashland.
From Ashland to North Woodstock, Route 3 proceeds north, roughly paralleling I-93 in the Pemigewasset River valley. Along this stretch it passes through the towns of Plymouth (where NH 25 diverges to the west), West Campton (where it meets the western end of NH 49, the principal access road to Waterville Valley), Thornton, and Woodstock. In North Woodstock, Route 3 crosses NH 112 (also known as the Kancamagus Highway to the east). Continuing north, Route 3 joins with I-93 as it passes through Franconia Notch State Park, one of the more scenic drives in the White Mountains. It separates from I-93 shortly north of the northern park boundary in Franconia, about 1.5 mile north of the exit with NH 18. From there, after NH 141 branches northwest, Route 3 heads north and east toward Twin Mountain and a junction with US Route 302. This portion of the road is noted for fairly frequent moose sightings, especially during sunrise and sunset when moose are particularly active.
Heading north from Twin Mountain, Route 3 passes through the village of Carroll, where NH 115 branches to the northeast, and Route 3 bears to the northwest and the town of Whitefield. In the center of Whitefield, NH 142 branches to the northwest, and NH 116 crosses, running roughly southwest to northeast. Route 3 continues north to Lancaster, where it joins US Route 2 in the town center, and where NH 135 branches left. After US 2 leaves to the west, Route 3 continues north, roughly paralleling the course of the Connecticut River (which also forms the border with Vermont), through Northumberland and Groveton, where NH 110 ends. North of Groveton Route 3 continues to follow the river, through Stratford, North Stratford, and Columbia, until it reaches Colebrook, where New Hampshire Routes 145 and 26 begin. Still following the Connecticut River north, Route 3 passes through portions of Stewartstown and Clarksville. In Stewartstown, the road turns more directly east (still following the Connecticut River, which is no longer a boundary), before resuming a northeasterly direction through Pittsburg, where it meets the northern end of NH 145, eventually heading directly north to the Canadian border crossing at Chartierville, Quebec, where it becomes Quebec Route 257.
Prior to the U.S. Highway system, the section of US 3 from Orleans, Massachusetts to Colebrook, New Hampshire was part of New England Interstate Route 6 (NE-6). It was replaced in its entirety with the establishment of US 3 in 1926.
The modern expressway was begun around Massachusetts Route 110 at Lowell before World War II. In the 1950s, it was extended south to Route 128, and by the 1960s, it was completed north from Chelmsford to New Hampshire. In the first half of the first decade of the 21st century, the chronically congested four-lane road, largely with antiquated ramps around Lowell, was widened to six lanes (as it had been in Nashua, New Hampshire a few years previously), and many interchanges were modernized in what was comically known as "The Big Wide," in reference to Massachusetts' other "Big" construction project.
|freeway begins at , Exit 32A.|
I-95/Route 128 North/U.S. Route 3 South
|Southbound exit/northbound entrance only.US-3 runs concurrently with I-95/Route 128 until Exit 33A.|
I-95/Route 128 South
|Southbound exit/northbound entrance only.|
|28||Billerica||Treble Cove Road|
|30A-B-C||Chelmsford||Lowell ConnectorInterstate 495 NORTH (via Connector NB)Interstate 495 SOUTH||Lowell Connector is Exit 30A northbound, no access southbound.I-495 North is Exit 30B northbound, and 30A southbound.I-495 South is Exit 30C northbound, and 30B southbound.Exits 30A-B share collector ramps northbound.Exits 30C-31 share collector ramps northbound.|
|31||Chelmsford||Exits 30C-31 share collector ramps northbound.|
|34||Tyngsboro||Westford Road/Dunstable Road|
|36||Tyngsboro||Middlesex Road||Northbound exit only.|
|continues into New Hampshire as the Everett Turnpike.|