United States Numbered Highways

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U.S. Highways have signs like this one to tell people which road they are on.

The United States Numbered Highways is a national system of roads in the United States. These roads connect to places across the country. Some of the roads are freeways, which means cars must use ramps in order to get on or off the road, but others are surface roads. Many U.S. Highways, such as U.S. Route 66, have had their numbers removed because of the creation of the Interstate Highway System.[1]

Numbering[change | edit source]

Map of U.S. Highways

U.S. highways have a special way to figure out their numbers. The main U.S. Highways usually have numbers with 1 or 2 digits. An exception is U.S. Route 101, which is a 3-digit route that is treated like a 2-digit route with a first digit of "10". U.S. Highways that run east/west are even numbers (2, 4, 6, 8, or 0), and north/south U.S. Highways are odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, or 9). For east/west U.S. Highways, the small numbers are in the east and the big numbers are in the west. For north/south U.S. Highways, the small numbers are in the north and the big numbers are in the south. The important east/west U.S. Highways usually have numbers ending in "0" and the important north/south U.S. Highways have numbers ending in "1". Many of the routes ending in "0" or "1" used to go across the country, but no longer do because of the Interstate Highway System.[2]

Examples[change | edit source]

Three-digit U.S. Highways[change | edit source]

U.S. Highways that have 3-digit numbers are spurs of a 1 or 2 digit highway. For example, U.S. Route 201 is a spur of U.S. Route 1.[3]

Exceptions[change | edit source]

U.S. Route 2 is considered a major U.S. Highway even though it does not end in "0". U.S. Route 163, U.S. Route 400, U.S. Route 412, and U.S. Route 425 have 3-digit numbers that do not act as a spur of a 1 or 2 digit route.

References[change | edit source]

  1. California Highways and Public Works, March-April 1964, Route Renumbering (PDF)
  2. McNichol, Dan. The Roads that Built America: The Incredible Story of the U.S. Interstate System. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2006. ISBN 1-4027-3468-9
  3. Rand McNally. United States-Canada-Mexico Road Atlas [map]. (2009)

Other websites[change | edit source]

US blank.svg Main U.S. Routes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38
40 41 42 43 44 45 46 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59
60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79
80 81 82 83 84 85 87 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99
101 163 400 412 425
Lists  U.S. Routes - Bannered - Divided - Bypassed