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Interstate 80 shield
Interstate 80
Main route of the Interstate Highway System
Maintained by NDOR
Length: 455.32 mi[1] (732.77 km)
Formed: 1957[2]
West end: I-80 at Wyoming state line
N-71 in Kimball
I-76 near Big Springs
US 83 in North Platte
US 281 in Grand Island
US 81 near York
US 77 in Lincoln
I-180 in Lincoln
I-680 in Omaha
I-480 / US 75 in Omaha
East end: I-80 at Iowa state line
Nebraska Highways
< N-79 US 81 >

In the U.S. state of Nebraska, Interstate 80 runs west from Omaha to the Wyoming state border, ultimately terminating in San Francisco, California. When it completed construction of the stretch of Interstate 80 spanning the state on October 19, 1974, Nebraska was the first state in the nation to complete its mainline Interstate Highway System.[3 ]

Nebraska has more than fifty exits along Interstate 80.[4] According to the New York Times there are several notable tourist attractions along Nebraska's section of I-80.[5]



Built along the pathway of the Great Platte River Road, I-80 in Nebraska follows the same route as many historic trails, including the Oregon Trail, the California Trail and the Mormon Trail.[6] Starting in 1957 after federal funding was allotted, Nebraskans began planning their interstate construction. Led by the Nebraska State Highway Commission, there were hearings across the state to decide where the route was going to be. Aside from the federally-mandated "control points" in Omaha and Scottsbluff, the route could vary across the state. Dozens of meetings were held in Grand Island, Kearney and North Platte, among other locations. The commission addressed issues of whether the highway would be north or south of the Platte River or whether it would follow U.S. 30. The South Platte Chamber of Commerce and various cities were very active in these sessions, and debate over where the Interstate would be constructed continued into the 1960s.[7]

After the first contract for building the interstate was awarded in 1957, a 6.5-mile (10.5 km) section near Gretna was the first section to be completed that year.[8] The first long segment to be opened was a fifty mile section between Dodge Street in Omaha and the West Lincoln interchange in Lincoln in 1961.[9] During a "Golden Link" ceremony, the last section of I-80 in Nebraska was completed when a brass connector was inserted in the roadway near Sidney on April 1, 1974.[3 ] This was designed to keep in tradition with the golden spike on the railroads in 1869.[10]

The total length of the Nebraska section is 455.27 miles (732.69 km) long, and was completed at a cost of $435 million.[3 ]

The Interstate passes through 15 counties in the state: Kimball, Cheyenne, Deuel, Keith, Lincoln, Dawson, Buffalo, Hall, Hamilton, York, Seward, Lancaster, Cass, Sarpy, and Douglas.[11]

Designated sections

1955 map showing the future routes of Interstates in Lincoln, including I-80.

The entirety of the Interstate Highway System was named the "Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways" in 1990, and the first signage in Nebraska was posted in 1993.[12] Several sections of I-80 in Nebraska have special designations. The I-80 intersection with US-34 has been designated a "Purple Heart Memorial Highway", and South 108th Street bridge over I-80 in Omaha has been designated the "Purple Heart Bridge", both in honor of all recipients of the Purple Heart.[13] A section of I-80 in Nebraska is also designated as a Blue Star Memorial Highway.


The beginning of the I-80 construction in Nebraska in 1957 led the Nebraska Legislature to split the Department of Roads and Irrigation in order to create three separate agencies in the state, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Water Resources and the Department of Roads, which was the first Nebraska agency solely responsible for highway planning, construction, and maintenance in Nebraska history.[14]

Interstate construction led the state to focus on other highways in Nebraska, as well. Surfaced shoulders, new safety sections beyond shoulders and other developments across the state were attributed to the influence of the Interstate.[15] The 1965 state Legislature also authorized a study of the needs of every public road in Nebraska, including state highways, county roads, and city streets.[16]


In Nebraska, I-80 has 81 interchanges, 442 bridges are on or over the roadway and 25 rest areas and one scenic overlook, each spaced 35-50 miles apart for convenience. The I-80 rights-of-way in Nebraska feature 28 types of grasses and forbs, 31 types of shrubs, 12 varieties of coniferous trees, and 39 types of deciduous trees are planted on the of I-80 in Nebraska. There are also 570 informational and directional signs along the way.[17]


The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Kearney, which spans Interstate 80.

The following are speed limits that have existed on I-80 in Nebraska since it was opened in 1957.[18]

Speed limits on I-80 in Nebraska
Year Speed limit(s)
1960 70 mph (110 km/h) on the rural interstate.
1964 75 mph (121 km/h) for cars and 65 mph (105 km/h) for trucks in rural areas.
1980 55 mph (89 km/h) national speed limit, effective December 31, 1980.
1987 65 mph (105 km/h) on the rural interstate.
1995 75 mph (121 km/h) on the rural interstate.

Exit list

County Location Mile[19] # Destinations Notes
Kimball 0.48 1 L-53B (I-80 Bus. west) to US 30 - Pine Bluffs
8.46 8 L-53CBushnell
20.70 20 N-71Scottsbluff, Kimball
22.69 22 Kimball (L-53E)
29.76 29 L-53ADix
Cheyenne 38.96 38 L-17BPotter
48.92 48 L-17C
55.37 55 I-80 Bus. east / N-19Sidney
Sidney 59.92 59 I-80 Bus. west / L-17J to US 385Sidney, Bridgeport
69.63 69 L-17ESunol
76.61 76 L-17FLodgepole
Deuel 85.22 85 L-25AChappell
95.02 95 N-27 - Julesburg, Oshkosh
101.19 101 US 138Big Springs, Julesburg
102.59 102 I-76 west  – Denver
107.36 107 L-25BBig Springs
Keith 117.25 117 L-51ABrule
Ogallala 126.69 126 US 26 / N-61Ogallala, Grant
133.96 133 L-51BRoscoe
145.65 145 L-51CPaxton
Lincoln 158.01 158 N-25Sutherland, Wallace
164.52 164 L-56CHershey
North Platte 177.16 177 US 83North Platte, McCook
179.22 179 L-56G to US 30North Platte
190.45 190 S-56AMaxwell
198.98 199 L-56DBrady
Dawson Gothenburg 211.79 211 N-47Gothenburg
Cozad 222.46 222 N-21Cozad
231.10 231 L-24ADarr
237.20 237 US 283Arapahoe, Lexington, Elwood
248.53 248 L-24BOverton
Buffalo 257.00 257 US 183Holdrege, Elm Creek
263.67 263 L-10BOdessa
Kearney 272.60 272 N-44Kearney, Archway Monument
279.90 279 N-10Minden
285.63 285 L-10CGibbon
291.36 291 L-10DShelton, Kenesaw
Hall 300.10 300 N-11 (S-40D) – Wood River
305.66 305 L-40CAlda
312.07 312 US 34 / US 281Hastings, Grand Island
314.11 314 Locust Street – Grand Island
Hamilton 318.16 318 N-2Phillips, Grand Island
324.16 324 S-41BGiltner
332.17 332 N-14Aurora
338.14 338 L-41DHampton
York 342.13 342 S-93AHenderson
348.11 348 L-93EBradshaw
York 353.10 353 US 81Geneva, York
360.13 360 L-93BWaco
Seward 366.15 366 L-80FUtica
369.14 369 L-80EBeaver Crossing
373.11 373 L-80GGoehner
379.11 379 N-15Seward, Fairbury
382.11 382 Milford (L-80H)
388.13 388 N-103Crete
Lancaster Lincoln 395.61 395 To US 6 / Northwest 48th Street (L-55K)
396.36 396 US 6 (West O Street) Westbound exit is via exit 397
397.27 397 US 77 south – Beatrice West end of US 77 overlap
399.03 399 Lincoln Municipal Airport
401.04 401 I-180 / US 34 (9th Street) – Downtown Lincoln Signed as exits 401A (south/east) and 401B (west)
403.49 403 27th Street – State Fair Park
405.76 405 US 77 north (North 56th Street, L-55X) – Fremont, Wahoo East end of US 77 overlap
409.76 409 US 6East Lincoln, Waverly
Cass 420.94 420 N-63Ashland, Greenwood
426.07 426 N-66  – Mahoney State Park, Ashland, South Bend
Sarpy 432.95 432 N-31 to US 6Gretna, Louisville
439.20 439 N-370Bellevue, Papillion, Gretna
440.65 440 N-50Springfield, Millard, Louisville
442.90 442 Giles Road, Harrison Street
Douglas Omaha 444 Q Street Westbound exit only
445.05 445 US 275 / N-92 (L Street)
445 I Street Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
445.98 446 I-680 north
448.30 448 84th Street
449.31 449 72nd Street
450.32 450 60th Street
451.84 451 42nd Street
452.86 452 I-480 north / US 75 (Kennedy Freeway) – Downtown Omaha, Eppley Airfield, Bellevue
453.05 453 24th Street Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
454.15 454 13th Street

Auxiliary routes

Interstate 80 has three auxiliary routes in Nebraska. One is a loop around the city of Omaha, one is a loop through the city of Omaha, and the other is a spur into Lincoln.

I-480.svg - Interstate 480 is a 4.9-mile (7.9 km) loop route in Omaha extending from Interstate 29 in Council Bluffs west towards I-80. It serves as the inner of two loops in Omaha. Signed as US 6 for a mile across the Missouri River, when the Interstate meets with the North Freeway and turns south it becomes US 75.

I-680.svg - Interstate 680 is a 42.86-mile (68.98 km) loop around the city of Omaha. It serves as the outer of the two Omaha loops.

I-180.svg - Interstate 180 is a 3.47-mile (5.58 km) spur into the city of Lincoln.

See also


  • Mattes, M.J. (1969) The Great Platte River Road. University of Nebraska Press.
  • Frazier, I. (1989) Great Plains. Knopf.
  • Nebraska State Historical Society. Historic Places: The National Register for Nebraska. Published by Nebraskaland Magazine.


  1. ^ Federal Highway Administration Route Log and Finder List, Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002
  2. ^ Koster, G. (1997) A Story of Highway Development in Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Roads. p 64. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  3. ^ a b c "Interstate construction in Nebraska." Nebraska Department of Roads. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  4. ^ "Highways 61-100", Nebraska Highways Page. Retrieved 10/14/07.
  5. ^ Winckler, S. (1990) "I-80's Exits To History In Nebraska," New York Times. July 22, 1990. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  6. ^ Winckler, S. (1990) "I-80's Exits To History In Nebraska," New York Times. July 22, 1990. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  7. ^ Koster, G. (1997) A Story of Highway Development in Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Roads. p 64. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  8. ^ Koster, G. (1997) A Story of Highway Development in Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Roads. p 66. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  9. ^ (1961) Nebraska Interstate 80 Lincoln - Omaha. Nebraska Department of Roads. Retrieved 9/23/07
  10. ^ Koster, G. (1997) A Story of Highway Development in Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Roads. p 87. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  11. ^ "Nebraska Interstate 80" Nebraska Roads. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  12. ^ Koster, G. (1997) A Story of Highway Development in Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Roads. p 100. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  13. ^ "Purple Heart Trail," Nebraska Department of Roads. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  14. ^ Koster, G. (1997) A Story of Highway Development in Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Roads. p 67. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  15. ^ Koster, G. (1997) A Story of Highway Development in Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Roads. p 73. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  16. ^ Koster, G. (1997) A Story of Highway Development in Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Roads. p 75. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  17. ^ "Fact Sheet: The Interstate in Nebraska." Nebraska Department of Roads. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  18. ^ Koster, G. (1997) A Story of Highway Development in Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Roads. p 94. Retrieved 9/23/07.
  19. ^ Nebraska Department of Roads, Nebraska Highway Reference Log Book, 2007

External links

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