The numbering plan for US Highways, Road links, and Web site credits
Numbering convention for
United States Numbered Highways
The U.S. Numbered Highway System is not a true Federal program for roadways, but a series of interconnected state highways with a unified numbering plan for the purpose of aiding navigation. They were chosen initially from higher traffic roads that had previously identified by the states as deserving of Federal Aid. Not every Federal Aid route was given a US number. US highways are built and maintained by the individual states and funded in the same manner as any other state highway. In most states, they are simply a state highway with a different shield. Numbering and signing of US routes is approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officers (AASHTO). Participation the the US Route System is voluntary. States are not bound by Federal Law to comply with US route designations.
New US highways approved by AASHTO must meet with current design standards. The original routes were laid out with trip continuity in mind, but no firm design standards. In fact, paving of the US route system was not completed until the 1960's.
The routes initially planned in 1925 . . . . . The routes agreed upon Nov-11-1926
Additionally, auxilliary signs further define the US highways,
these are listed at Alternate US highways:
Sometimes these banners are signed as suffixes, like US 89A = Alternate US 89 in Arizona.
Cardinal directions, such as WEST are placed above the shield.
Other banners indicate additions to the US highway system
ALTERNATE ALT OPTIONAL OPT : a longer or less well constructed loop along the main route, but would have been suitable as the mainline if a better route was not available. Optional is a old name for this type.
BUSINESS BUS CITY : a loop leading through the heart of a city's commercial area, generally the original route though town. City is the older name for the type.
BYPASS BYP RELIEF BELT LINE : a loop leading around the heart of a city's commercial / most congested area, generally recently built.
DETOUR : an interim route used while the main route is under construction. Usually used for mainline traffic. Uses an Orange banner.
HISTORIC OLD FORMER : previous alignments, not acknowledged by AASHTO as banner types.
SCENIC : a little used subset of Alternate.
SPUR CONNECTOR CONN : a branch route connecting to a specific location along the road. Connector Routes, a subset of the type, have been appearing recently in SC and other states.
TEMPORARY TEMP: an interim route used while the main route is under initial construction, or when the proposed route is not yet finalized. Used for mainline traffic.
TOLL : an alternate-type route loop you have to pay to drive on. Rarely used with US routes.
TRUCK : a subset of Bypass meant for trucks and other big vehicles.
These are a few of my favorite Road Links
The official offramp from this site - links mostly focused on roads, history, and art
Throughout this website I linked to various state-specific websites. This page has the complete list of them with authors
Looking for even older roads? Before U.S. Highways? Dave Schul lists a multitude of the named Auto Trails that criss-crossed North America and still grace many city streets, highways and backroads today. Click here for information on the Lincoln Highway, the Dixie Highway and many others.
Are all these lists and tables boring you? Do you want to see photographs of the ends of US routes? Dale Sanderson maintains a collection of these on his website.
Kurumi's site has information on Connceticut, three digit interstates and there are nifty Java programs to play with like the ever-popular Signmaker.
The International House of ZZYZX has loads of information on the two digit interstates
Run by Alex Nitzman and Andrew Field, this omnibus site covers Business Interstates, Lost Highways, Road Pictures, Future Interstate Corridors, and has one of the more complete collection of road site links.
James Lin's highway site. His extensive link list emphasizes road-fan sites. He maintains a picture or graphic of just about every type of route maker. This is also a major source of information on the Lincoln Highway.
The data from the former "Information Superhighways" links site maintained by J.P. Kirby has been incorporated to the DMOZ online directory project under the Recreation: Roads and Highways Category, includes many official and road-fan sites.
This is the host of the misc.transport.road "Frequently Asked Questions". This site may have the answer to every question you ever had about highways, and a few you did not know you had. It also hosts the popular online links to Driver's manuals.
FHWA's Office of Infrastructure hosts this series of in depth articles by W. Lee Mertz and Richard F. Weingroff on the birth and growth of the United States highway systems from the Federal point of view. It is a facinating read, well worth your time.
Kim Russell's US Highways Website - A concise and easy to understand overview of each US numbered highway in existence and a few he'd like to see added.
Michelle Skinner's Interstate Website - A concise and easy to understand overview of each Interstate in existence and a few she'd like to see added.
If you can't find what you are looking for at or from one of these sites, it probably does not exist yet.
Report of Joint Board on Interstate Highways, Appendix VI, Oct. 30, 1925; American Highways, Vol VI. No. 2, April 1927; United States Numbered Highways 1989 ed. - AASHTO (with Revisions); Rand McNally and Gallup Road Atlases were used to confirm information, supplemented by other road atlases and maps including those made by AAA. I also utilized oil company and official state maps, too numerous to mention here. Visit your local public library, you will be astounded at the maps they keep.
Helpful information was also found in an article in AASHTO Quarterly, Spring 1997, From Names to Numbers: The Origins of the U.S. Numbered Highway System by Richard Weingroff, FHWA.
My grandfather, Perley Vaughn Droz (1915-1999), died September 22nd in Ft. Myers, Florida following an extended illness. More information about him and my family is here.
Dr. James P. G. Sterbenz's web site and text file were important sources of initial data and the primary inspiration for this site. I learned how to code HTML by studying it. I believe it to be the original road fan website dedicated to US highways. Much thanks to him and Jim Lindsay, for his site on the 1961 US highway system.
Thanks also go out to following people and contless others
for their assistance, information, and comments: James Allen,
Steve Anderson, David Backlin, Thomas Baird, Mike Ballard, Edward
Barfield, Chris Bessert, Ian Beverly, Russell Blau, Mark
Bozanich, Tim "Bandit" Brown, Rich Carlson, Hollis
Carroll, Bob Chessick, Casey Cooper, Mark J. Cuccia, Jeremy
Dailey, H.B. Elkins, Jon Enslin, Marc Fannin, Andrew Field, Adam
Froehlig, Chris Geelhart, Joe Gillis, Brandon Gorte, Alan
Hamilton, Jason Hancock, Landry Heaton, Austin Hellwig, Richard
Helms, Paul Henry, Stephen Hill, John Hobson, Pete Jenior, Kevin
Johnson, Chris Kelly, Mike Kendricks, Richie Kennedy, J.P. Kirby,
Jeff Kitsko, Dr. Joe Knetch, Chris Knight, Jeremy Lance, John
Lansford P.E., Jeff Leadbetter, Zachary Maillard, Chris Martin,
Chris Marysz, Merle McClelland, Dan Mengel, Dan "Spui"
Moraseski, Mike Moroney, Alex Nitzman, Cheryl Nowka, Scott
"Kurumi" Ogelsby, Brian Powell, Mike Pruett II, William
Riddle IV, Steve Riner, Mark Roberts, Matt Roberts, James
Rumbarger, Jim Russell, Chris "Calvin" Sampang, Matthew
Salek, Paul Schlichtman, Dave Schul, James Schul, John Simpson,
Richard Simpson III, C.C. Slater, Larry Smith, David Stanek, Mark
Stauter, Matt "J. Vincent" Steffora, Dan Stober, David
Strong, David Sturm, Steven Taylor, James Watts, Richard
Weingroff, Mike Wiley, Steve Williams, J.P. Wing, and William
Yurasko. I also would like to thank the folks who post on misc.transport.road,
my favorite usenet newsgroup, dedicated to highway travel. If you
belong on this list, please remind me. I don't want to forget
Some Animated Graphics from: http://www.clipartconnection.com/ and http://www.animfactory.com/, others I made myself with WWW Gif animator.
A definition of the abbreivations used on this site as well as some of the more obscure termini can be found here.
E-mail me with comments, suggestions, additions, broken links, and omissions
Last update to this page on Monday, May 23, 2005. Any original work or research on this page (c) R . Droz