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Interstate 70
Main route of the Interstate Highway System
Maintained by MDSHA, Baltimore DOT
Length: 93.62 mi[1] (150.67 km)
Formed: 1956 (completed 1992)
West end: I-70 at Pennsylvania state line
I-68 / US 40 / US 522 in Hancock

I-81 / US 40 / US 40 Alt. in Hagerstown

I-270 / US 15 / US 40 Alt. / US 340 in Frederick
US 40 near West Friendship
US 29 near Ellicott City
I-695 near Baltimore
East end: MD 122 in Woodlawn
Highways in Maryland
< MD 69 MD 70 >
State highways - Minor - Former - Turnpikes

In the U.S. state of Maryland, Interstate 70 is a major east–west highway that runs from the Pennsylvania state line near Hancock east across the central portion of the state towards Baltimore, following the route of the National Road (now known as U.S. 40). It is the major east–west highway in the state and serves (along with Interstate 68) as a major route into the Midwest.


Counties traversed

Route description


Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway

An old Maryland-specific interstate shield

I-70 enters Maryland near the town of Hancock concurrent with U.S. 522. The route immediately encounters Interstate 68 and U.S. 40 at a directional stack interchange; I-68 reaches its eastern terminus at this interchange, while U.S. 40 merges with I-70 and U.S. 522 diverges. From Hancock east to Frederick, the route is known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway, a name it gained by an act of Congress in 1973.[2]

Bypassing Hancock to the north, U.S. 40 soon departs from I-70 and continues parallel to the former, which follows the National Road. I-70 continues east and soon reaches Hagerstown, interchanging with Interstate 81 and U.S. 40. Beyond Hagerstown, the route continues east past Greenbrier State Park, crossing South Mountain (elevation 1,220 feet) and Catoctin Mountain (signed as Braddock Mountain), at an elevation of 985 feet (300 m) above sea level. Between the two ridges, I-70 runs east through a wide corridor bordered on the north by U.S. 40 and on the south by Alt U.S. 40. Near the midpoint between the two mountains, I-70 passes to the south of Myersville, interchanging with MD 17 just beyond the town's southern boundary.

During the highway's descent from the mountains it encounters U.S. 40 for the third time as it enters the city of Frederick. Continuing east the route enters the Frederick Triangle, a triplet of closely spaced interchanges in the shape of a triangle. In the space of a few miles, I-70 interchanges with U.S. 15, U.S. 340, Interstate 270 (which terminates at I-70 and directly connects to U.S. 15 at the third interchange of the Triangle) and U.S. 40, which merges with I-70 again within the interchange complex. The site of the I-270 split (originally a partial interchange, later upgraded by MDOT SHA) was originally the site of I-70's division into I-70N (now I-70) and I-70S (now I-270). Beyond I-270, I-70 now follows the Frederick Bypass, a 1950s-era freeway bypass built for U.S. 15/U.S. 40 through traffic that was and is being reconstructed to increase its capacity.

Korean War Veterans Highway

I-70 westbound in a snowstorm that killed one person as the result of a 23-car pile up.[3]

The entire 40 miles (64 km) of Interstate 70 in Frederick County was recently designated the Korean War Veterans Highway.[4] The designation was sought by a local resident named Charles R. "Buck" Wisner, who wished to create a lasting memorial of the 26 local citizens who died during the Korean War. Initially he sought to designate all 93.62 miles (150.67 km) of I-70 as the Korean War Veterans Highway, but in 2002 the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill applying the designation to the Frederick County section only. Nine other highways in Maryland are also dedicated to Korean War veterans.

The two monuments, which display the new name and a granite geographical representation of Korea, are placed at the county borders near Myersville and Mount Airy; the eastern monument lies within the MD 27 interchange.

Baltimore National Pike

Beyond Frederick at Exit 56, I-70 soon reaches the newest portion of the Interstate, built in the 1980s to bypass an old expressway portion of U.S. 40 (now part of MD 144). At Exit 59, I-70 returns to this alignment, built in the 1950s for U.S. 40 as a four-lane divided expressway and fully upgraded by the mid-1970s east of Exit 59. This segment of the Interstate is known as the Baltimore National Pike. Following this alignment, I-70 passes close to the towns of New Market, Mount Airy, Lisbon, Cooksville, and West Friendship. This segment is closely paralleled by one of the incarnations of MD 144, known locally as Frederick Road.

The route into Baltimore

Near West Friendship, U.S. 40 diverges from I-70 for the final time, with I-70 turning onto a new alignment constructed in the mid-1960s, and U.S. 40 continuing as the Baltimore National Pike (it later becomes Edmondson Avenue in southwest Baltimore). Continuing east past the Turf Valley Country Club, the Interstate bypasses the built-up portions of U.S. 40 within Ellicott City, interchanging with U.S. 29 north of the city. Despite this segment's proximity to many suburban neighborhoods, it remains at its original width of four lanes (six lanes east of US-29).

After crossing the Patapsco River within the Patapsco Valley State Park, the route eventually reaches Interstate 695, the Baltimore Beltway.

I-70 meets the Beltway in a four-level stack interchange, which does not receive significant traffic, except for the ramp connecting east bound I-70 to the northbound Beltway. This ramp was a serious bottleneck for inbound traffic, particularly in the evening rush hour, causing backups that sometimes reached as far back as the Patapsco River crossing. In 2006, this ramp was widened to two lanes, but due to the narrowness of the ramps and the location of bridge piers on either side of this ramp, the second lane is very short, which causes backups to persist because everyone must merge into one lane before the ramp crosses the Beltway.

After the Beltway interchange I-70 only runs for another three miles (5 km) before coming to an end at MD 122, having never been completed to its planned terminus at I-95. Just beyond the MD-122 interchange, the highway crosses the Baltimore city line at the western border of Leakin Park and terminates. At this point, the originally planned mainline lanes are now used as a Park and Ride. A reversing loop, built originally for buses serving the Park and Ride, allows travelers to reverse direction and return to I-695, or exit at Cooks Lane to head directly into Baltimore City via Edmondson Avenue (U.S. 40). Signage on I-70 west of Exit 91 proclaims that the Interstate ends at I-695.[5]

Near I-70's eastern end in Baltimore, Maryland, a sign announcing the distances to Columbus, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; Denver, Colorado; and Cove Fort, Utah near the freeway's western terminus appears in the highway's median. This sign was intended as a test of the Clearview typeface,[6] which is used as an alternate to FHWA Series E-Modified, the font currently used on most American highway signs.

Service areas

I-70 has two service areas on South Mountain, one per direction, near the summit.[7] The service area is located at milepost 39 and offers restrooms, phones, picnic tables, vending machines, an RV dumping station at the eastbound service area, and facilities for the handicapped.[8] Both are maintained by the Maryland State Highway Administration and can be reached by telephone.[9] "Beltway snipers" Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Mohammed were apprehended while sleeping in their converted car in the westbound Braddock rest area.[10] These rest areas are currently closed, because their facilities are being torn down and rebuilt entirely. They are scheduled to reopen in 2010.[11]

Points of interest


The first sections of I-70 to appear in Maryland were a segment near Hancock and the original Frederick Bypass, both completed in 1961. By the mid-1960s, I-70 had been completed between Frederick and Hagerstown.



I-70 east of Frederick was originally designated I-70N. At Frederick, Maryland, I-70 split into two branches: I-70N, which led into Baltimore, and I-70S (now I-270), which took a path into the Washington, D.C. area. I-70N never existed as a complete Frederick-Baltimore route; the eastern two miles (3 km) of the old Frederick Bypass and the ten miles (16 km) between the U.S. 40 wye near West Friendship (Exit 82) and Interstate 695 (Exit 91), completed in 1968 (and extended to MD 122 in 1970) were the only portions of I-70N that ever existed. I-70N was changed to I-70 in 1975, during the upgrade of the 1950s era Baltimore National Pike between Exit 59 and Exit 82.[12]

Scott Kozel, the noted highway historian, believes that the state of Maryland chose to change I-70N to I-70 because the former was an east–west through route that served central Maryland and Baltimore, while I-70S was more of a northwest-southeast route better suited as a commuter route for travelers headed for the Capital Beltway and Washington D.C.[12]

There are signs along U.S. 40 in Baltimore that still depict the I-70 freeway as I-70N. Trucks are directed onto it via I-695.

I-70 in Baltimore

I-70 was originally supposed to continue to downtown Baltimore. Due to opposition from communities, the plan was modified for the highway to run through Leakin Park and Gwynns Falls Park to reach Interstate 95 near Caton Avenue, with a spur route, designated Interstate 170, leading into downtown. Further opposition led to the cancellation of the route in 1982, truncating the Interstate at the Baltimore City line, just beyond MD 122. Today, only 0.14 miles (0.23 km) of I-70 exists within the city, and US 40 is routed on the already-completed portion of I-170.

US 1 Alternate's interchange with I-95 is part of a ghost interchange built to connect I-95 with I-70 in Baltimore. The collector/distributor ramps on I-95 that provide access to Caton Avenue are built to provide access to the flyovers that would connect to I-70.

Current and future road works

Patuxent Freeway

The interchange between I-70 and MD 32 is due to be improved within the next five years, as part of a major widening of the latter between the Interstate and MD 108. MD 32 already serves as a major connector between central Maryland, I-95, and Annapolis, acting as an outer bypass of both Baltimore and Washington; the improvement of the interchange will provide free-flowing access between I-70 and MD 32.

I-70 in Frederick

The entire length of I-70 in Frederick, from the western corporate limits near Exit 52 to MD 144 at Exit 56, has been the subject of a three-decade planning study that began in 1978. The study has so far resulted in the addition of ramps at the U.S. 15/U.S. 340 interchange and the I-270 interchange, the widening of the mainline bridges through the latter interchange to support three lanes per direction, and the ongoing reconstruction of the MD 85/MD 355 interchange at Exit 54. Further improvements are planned; these improvements include widening I-70 between Exit 53 and Exit 56 to six lanes, removing the westbound ramps at Exit 55, constructioning a westbound entrance ramp at Exit 56, and widening the mainline carriageway to six lanes between Exit 49 and Exit 52, west of Frederick.[13]

This massive project was required due to the aged and substandard infrastructure that I-70 made use of as it descended Braddock Mountain in the early 1960s and linked with the Frederick Freeway, an aged 1950s era bypass that carried U.S. 40 and U.S. 15 through downtown Frederick, with I-70N (as it was then) following the two miles (3 km) formerly used by U.S. 40 east of Exit 53 and I-70S turning south along the Washington National Pike freeway. With the completion of the works sometimes in the next 10 years, I-70 will be upgraded from a cramped, substandard four-lane urban bypass into a modern, six-lane urban Interstate; the route will be a minimum of six lanes for a distance of 33 miles (53 km), from Exit 49 to Exit 82.

Exit list

Exits are numbered from west to east, in accordance with AASHTO guidelines.

County Location Mile[1] # Destinations Notes
Washington Hancock 0.63 1A I-68 west (National Freeway) / US 40 west – Cumberland West end of US 40 overlap
1.16 1B US 522 south (Warfordsburg Road)  – Burnt Factory East end of US 522 overlap
3.51 3 MD 144 west (Main Street) – Downtown Hancock No westbound entrance
4.41 5 MD 615 (Milstone Road) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
5.86 5 MD 615 west (Milstone Road) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
9.18 9 US 40 east (National Pike) – Big Pool East end of US 40 overlap; eastbound exit and westbound entrance
11.97 12 MD 56 (Big Pool Road) – Big Pool, Indian Springs
17.62 18 MD 68 (Clear Spring Road) – Clear Spring, Lappans
24.11 24 MD 63 (Greencastle Pike) to US 11Williamsport, Huyett
Hagerstown 25.72 26 I-81  – Harrisburg, Roanoke
27.75 28 MD 632 (Downsville Pike) – Downsville
29.11 29A-B MD 65 (Sharpsburg Pike) – Sharpsburg
31.68 32A-B US 40 (National Pike) – Beaver Creek
34.27 35 MD 66 (Mapleville Road) – Boonsboro, Smithsburg
South Mountain
Frederick 41.92 42 MD 17 (Myersville Road) – Myersville, Middletown Former MD 33
Braddock Mountain
48.38 48
US 40 east (National Pike) to US 40 Alt.Frederick
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
49.07 49
US 40 Alt. (Old National Pike) – Boonsboro
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Frederick 52.1 52A-B US 15 / US 340 / Jefferson Pike – Thurmont, Harpers Ferry
52.98 53B US 40 west (Frederick Freeway) – Thurmont West end of US 40 overlap
52.98 53A I-270 south – Gaithersburg, Rockville, Washington D.C.
53.81 54 MD 355 (Urbana Pike) – Urbana Former US 240
54.13 54 MD 85 south (Buckeystown Pike) / MD 475 north (East Street) Interchange under construction as of 2008
54.69 55 To MD 144 / E. South Street, Monocacy Boulevard
55.22 56 MD 144 (Patrick Street) – Bartonsville No westbound entrance; former US 40 east
58.58 59 MD 144 west (Baltimore National Pike via Old National Pike) – Frederick, New Market Former US 40 west
New Market 62.29 62 MD 75 (Green Valley Road) – Libertytown, Green Valley
Carroll Mount Airy 67.73 68 MD 27 (Ridge Road) – Damascus, Westminster
Howard Lisbon 73.12 73 MD 94 (Woodbine Road) to MD 108Woodbine, Great Seneca Park
Cooksville 76.29 76 MD 97 (Hoods Mill Road) – Westminster, Olney
West Friendship 79.96 80 MD 32 (Sykesville Road) to I-97Sykesville, Clarksville
82.08 82 US 40 east (Baltimore National Pike) – Ellicott City East end of US 40 overlap; eastbound exit and westbound entrance
82.9 83 To US 40 / MD 99 / Marriottsville RoadMarriottsville Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Ellicott City 86.99 87A-B US 29 (Columbia Pike) / MD 99Columbia, Washington D.C.
Baltimore Woodlawn 91.67 91 I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) to I-83 / I-95 / I-97Glen Burnie, Towson Signed as exits 91A (south) and 91B (north)
93.44 94 MD 122 west (Security Boulevard) to US 40 / Cooks Lane  – Security Square Mall, Leakin Park
Baltimore City 93.62 Park and Ride Eastbound exit and westbound entrance

Auxiliary routes

I-70 has two auxiliary routes in Maryland:


  1. ^ a b "Maryland State Highway Administration Highway Location Reference". Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  2. ^ Federal Highway Administration. Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway URL accessed 12:56, 21 January 2007.
  3. ^ "I-70 pileup involves up to 23 cars and trucks; one or more killed". Topix. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  4. ^ Dishneau, David. The Washington Times: I-70 tribute to Korean War vets URL accessed 15:15, 20 January 2007.
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  6. ^ "Why Does I-70 End in Cove Fort, Utah?". Ask the Rambler — Highway History. Federal Highway Administration. 2008-12-29. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  7. ^ "Google Maps". 1970-01-01.,-77.602186&spn=0.017511,0.038238&t=h. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  8. ^ RoadNotes - Rest Areas and Welcome Centers in Maryland URL accessed 07:40, 26 January 2007
  9. ^ MDSHA: Maryland Welcome Centers and Rest Areas URL accessed 07:45, 26 January 2007
  10. ^ BBC News (2002-10-24). "Police arrest sniper suspects". Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  11. ^ "Maryland Welcome Centers and Rest Areas". Maryland State Highway Administration. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  12. ^ a b Kozel, Scott M. I-270 and I-370 in Maryland URL accessed 13:35, 17 January 2007.
  13. ^ Final Design of I-70 in Frederick URL accessed 19:38, 23 June 2008.

External links

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