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U.S. Route 2 shield
U.S. Route 2
Length: 2579 mi[1] (4,150 km)
Western segment: 2,119 miles (3,410 km)
Eastern segment: 460 miles (740 km)
Formed: 1926[1]
West end: I-5 (big).svgWA-529.svg I-5/SR 529 in Everett, WA
Major
junctions:
US 395 in Spokane, WA
I-15 in Shelby, MT
US 87 near Havre, MT
US 83 in Minot, ND
I-29 / US 81 in Grand Forks, ND
I-35 in Duluth, MN
I-75 / BL I-75 in St. Ignace, MI

US 11 in Rouses Point, NY
US 7 in Burlington, VT
I-91 in St. Johnsbury, VT

East end: I-95 in Houlton, ME
United States Numbered Highways
ListBanneredDividedReplaced

U.S. Route 2 is an east–west U.S. Highway spanning 2,579 miles (4,150 km) across the northern continental United States. U.S. 2 consists of two segments connected by roadways in southern Canada. Unlike some routes, which are disconnected into segments because of encroaching Interstate Highways, the two portions of U.S. 2 were designed to be separate in the original 1926 highway plan.

The western segment of U.S. 2 has its western terminus at State Route 529 (Maple Street) in Everett, Washington and its eastern terminus at Interstate 75 in St. Ignace, Michigan. The eastern segment of U.S. 2 has its western terminus at U.S. Route 11 in Rouses Point, New York and its eastern terminus at Interstate 95 in Houlton, Maine.

As its number indicates, it is the northernmost east–west U.S. Route in the country. It is the lowest primary-numbered east–west U.S. Route, whose numbers otherwise end in zero, and was so numbered to avoid a U.S. Route 0.[2]

Contents

Route description

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Western segment

Lengths
  mi km
WA 331 533
ID 80 129
MT 664 1068
ND 354 570
MN 264 425
WI 120 193
MI 306 492
Total 2119 3410

The western segment of U.S. 2 extends from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan across the northern tier of the lower 48 states. Most of the western route was built roughly paralleling the Great Northern Railway. U.S. 2 adopted the railway's route nickname "The Highline" as the most northern crossing in the U.S.

The Adventure Cycling Association's Northern Tier Bicycle Route is a bicycle touring route which follows or parallels U.S. 2 for over 600 miles (970 km), most notably a 550 miles (890 km) stretch between Columbia Falls, Montana and Williston, North Dakota.

Washington

Within Washington state, U.S. 2 is the northernmost all-season highway through the Cascade Mountains. It begins at Interstate 5 and State Route 529 in Everett, and travels east via Stevens Pass, Wenatchee, and Spokane to the border in Newport.

Idaho

Shortly after entering Idaho from the east, U.S. 2 Crosses Priest River. U.S. 2 follows Pend Oreille River until it empties into Lake Pend Oreille. U.S. 2 intersects Idaho Route 57 in the town of Priest River at mile 5.8. U.S. 2 intersects U.S. 95 at mile 28.4 in the town of Sandpoint. The two routes are duplexed for 36.2 miles (58.3 km). At Three Mile Corner, U.S. Route 2 continues southeast for 15.8 miles (25.4 km) where it crosses into Montana.

Montana

U.S. Highway 2 is a vital northern corridor for Montana. The road travels through some of the most beautiful land in the state, especially in its western half, and has more of its mileage within Montana than in any other state. It passes through three Indian reservations, comes very close to two others, and skirts the southern border of Glacier National Park. Most of the Montana segment of U.S. 2 runs close to the northern BNSF Railway main line, and parts of the highway show up in the Microsoft Train Simulator depiction of the Marias Pass route.

The Mountains

U.S. 2 passes into Montana 10 miles (16 km) from Troy, a small city. It is also near the lowest point in Montana, where the Kootenai River leaves the state. The first large city the highway comes to is Libby. After this it meanders south and east towards Kalispell, a city of about 20,000 residents north of Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. From there the highway passes through the southern end of Glacier National Park and follows the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. After crossing the continental divide at Marias Pass west of East Glacier, the highway exits the Rocky Mountains and begins its trek through the northern plains. Just before entering East Glacier, it crosses the boundary of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of northern Montana.

The Plains

As the highway enters the Great Plains, the first town it encounters is Browning, the largest settlement on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. From here to the North Dakota border, the surrounding area is also known as "The Hi-Line" to Montanans from the early GN railway route. It next travels through Cut Bank to Shelby, where it becomes the northern border of the area known as the "Golden Triangle" in Montana. This area is one of the most productive farming regions in the country. From Shelby it hits a string of small towns before it goes on to Havre, near the geographical center of the road in the state. Just south of Havre and off the highway about fifteen miles (24 km) is the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation. The highway continues east to Malta, before which it travels through the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. From Malta, the highway continues on to Glasgow, just north of Fort Peck Dam, and then into the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The highway stays within the reservation for much of its remaining trip through Montana. On the reservation it goes through Wolf Point and Poplar, and then exits the reservation a short distance before leaving the state. The final town of Bainville says goodbye to the highway as it leaves the state, near the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers.

North Dakota

U.S. 2 is an east–west highway that runs through North Dakota’s northern tier of larger cities: Williston, Minot, Devils Lake, and Grand Forks. These cities are about 75 to 100 miles (121 to 161 km) north of North Dakota’s southern tier of larger cities located on Interstate 94: Dickinson, Bismarck/Mandan, Jamestown, and Fargo/West Fargo. Each city (or pair) in each tier is separated by about 75 to 125 miles (121 to 201 km). This alignment is probably the reason that two major east–west four-lane highways have developed in North Dakota.

U.S. 2 intersects with two north–south four-lane highways in North Dakota: U.S. 83 at Minot and Interstate 29 at Grand Forks. In addition, it junctions with three other U.S. Highways that, except for shorter stretches that are four-laned, are mostly two-lane highways in North Dakota: U.S. 85 at Williston, U.S. 52 at Minot, U.S. 281 at Churchs Ferry (west of Devils Lake), and U.S. 81 at Grand Forks. All six of these highways provide routes either to the border at Mexico or deep into southern USA.

North Dakota has been converting sections of U.S. 2 from two lanes to four lanes for many years. The section from Grand Forks to Minot was completed several years ago. The section from Minot to Williston was completed in the summer of 2008 in a campaign that began a few years ago and was labeled “Across the State in Two Thousand Eight”. Actually, U.S. 2 is four-laned from North Dakota’s eastern edge to just past Williston, a stretch of about 343 miles (552 km), leaving the remaining 12 miles (19 km) to the Montana border as a two-lane highway. North Dakota’s governor has said that North Dakota will four-lane the remaining stretch if Montana is willing to continue the four lane project from the border into their state.

Between Williston and Minot, U.S. 2 provides several high points where you can view graceful and beautiful landscape for many miles in all directions. Between Minot and Grand Forks, U.S. 2 provides an ever changing mix of agricultural farm and pasture land, native wetlands, and small lakes set on a gently rolling landscape. U.S. 2 also passes near a large lake near Devils Lake.

In Rugby, North Dakota, the highway passes the location designated in 1931 as the geographical center of North America. The monument marking the geographic center had to be relocated in 1971 when U.S. 2 was converted from 2 lanes to 4 lanes.[3]

Exit list
Location Postmile Destinations Notes
Minot 16th Street
10th Street Eastbound Exit and Entrance
US 83 (Broadway) – Minot, Bismarck
6th Street SE At-grade
13th Street SE At-grade
US 52 (US 52 East) – Jamestown, HarveyFile:Business Loop 52.svg I-52 Bus. (Valley Street) – Minot
42nd Street SE At-grade
East end of freeway

Minnesota

The portion of U.S. 2 from Cass Lake to Bemidji is officially designated the Paul Bunyan Expressway. It also intersects U.S. Highway 169 and the Mississippi River in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. At the crossing between Duluth, Minn. and Superior, Wisc., the highway crosses the Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge, about 8,300 feet (2,500 m) in length—roughly 11,800 feet (3,600 m) in length when the above land approaches are included.

Of the 266 miles (428 km) of U.S. 2 in Minnesota, 146 miles (235 km) have four lanes, mostly located in the northwest part of the state.

Legally, the Minnesota section of U.S. 2 is defined as Routes 8 and 203 in Minnesota Statutes §§ 161.114(2) and 161.115(134).[4][5]

Wisconsin

After crossing the Bong Bridge and entering into the city of Superior, the highway joins Belknap Street. After crossing the midsection of Superior, U.S. 2 merges with U.S. 53 for a few miles following East 2nd Street out of the city. Ten miles outside of Superior, U.S. 53 and U.S. 2 part ways. U.S. 53 veers south toward Eau Claire, while U.S. 2 continues to the city of Ashland and ultimately to the Wisconsin–Michigan state line at the city of Ironwood.

Michigan

U.S. 2 enters Michigan at the city of Ironwood and runs east to the town of Crystal Falls, where it turns south and re-enters Wisconsin northwest of Florence. It re-enters Michigan north of Iron Mountain and continues through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the cities of Escanaba, Manistique, and St. Ignace. Along the way, it cuts through the Ottawa and Hiawatha National Forests and follows the northern shore of Lake Michigan. It ends at I-75, just north of the Mackinac Bridge in St. Ignace.

Eastern segment

Lengths
  mi km
NY 0.88 1.42
VT 150.60 242.37
NH 35.43 57.02
ME 273.64 440.38
Total 460.55 741.19

The eastern segment of U.S. 2 traverses the northern New England states.[6]

Into Vermont

U.S. Route 2 in Vermont

The road starts up at U.S. Route 11, just one mile (1.6 km) south of the Canadian border near Champlain, New York. From there it crosses Lake Champlain into Grand Isle County, Vermont, traversing the length of the county and crossing the lake over several bridges until it reaches the mainland in Milton and Chittenden County. From there it travels south to Burlington, where it begins to closely parallel Interstate 89 all the way to Montpelier and Washington County. At Montpelier, the road turns north-eastward, crossing into Caledonia County and passing through Saint Johnsbury. It then passes into Essex County, and eventually crosses the Connecticut River from Guildhall, Vermont into Lancaster, New Hampshire.

New Hampshire

Once into New Hampshire, the road continues southeastward, passing through Jefferson (home to several small amusement parks and roadside attractions, such as Santa's Village and Six Gun City) before heading more easterly, skirting the northern edge of the White Mountain National Forest into Gorham, where it meets Route 16, the major north–south roadway through the eastern half of the forest and past Mount Washington. From Gorham, the road travels east along the southern banks of the Androscoggin River to Shelburne and eventually crossing into Gilead, Maine. Throughout its entire 35-mile (56 km) stretch, the New Hampshire portion of Route 2 is exclusively in Coos County.

Maine

US 2 travels from Gilead to Houlton near the Houlton International Airport. US 2 ends just west of the Canadian border at Exit 305 of I-95.

History

A large portion of the western segment of U.S. 2, and a shorter piece of the eastern segment, follows the old Theodore Roosevelt International Highway. This auto trail, named in honor of recently-deceased ex-president and naturalist Theodore Roosevelt, was organized in February 1919 to connect Portland, Maine with Portland, Oregon.[7] The route taken by this highway left Portland, Maine to the northwest, crossing New England via Littleton and Montpelier to Burlington. It crossed Lake Champlain on the Burlington-Port Kent Ferry and headed west across upstate New York, through Watertown and Rochester to Buffalo. After crossing southern Ontario, the highway re-entered the U.S. in Detroit, running northwest and north via Saginaw and Alpena to the Upper Peninsula, where it turned west along the northern tier of the country. This portion took the route past Duluth, Minot, Havre, and Glacier National Park to Spokane. In order to reach Portland, Oregon, the highway turned south in Washington via Walla Walla to Pendleton, where it headed west again via the Columbia River Highway to Portland. The last piece of the highway to be completed was over Marias Pass through Glacier National Park; cars were carried through the park on the Great Northern Railway until 1930.[8][9][10]

The first inter-state numbering for the Roosevelt Highway was in New England, where the New England road marking system was established in 1922. Route 18 followed the auto trail from Portland northwest to Montpelier, where it continued to Burlington via Route 14. Many of the states along the route also assigned numbers to the highway; for instance, New York labeled their portion Route 3 in 1924.[9][11] The Joint Board on Interstate Highways distributed its preliminary plan in 1925, in which a long section of the highway was labeled U.S. 2, from St. Ignace, Michigan west to Bonners Ferry, Idaho. East of St. Ignace, instead of crossing to the Lower Peninsula like the Roosevelt Highway, the proposed Route 2 traveled north to the international border at Sault Ste. Marie. It reappeared at Rouses Point, New York, following Route 30 and then rejoining the auto trail between Burlington and Montpelier. U.S. 2 and the Roosevelt Highway both connected Montpelier to St. Johnsbury, but the latter took a direct path along Route 18, while the former was assigned to Route 25 to Wells River, where it overlapped proposed U.S. 5 north to St. Johnsbury. There, where the Roosevelt Highway turned southeast to Portland, Route 2 continued east along Route 15 to Bangor and Route 1 to Calais, then heading north on Route 24 to end in Houlton.[12]

By the time the U.S. Highway system was finalized in late 1926, one relatively minor change had been made to U.S. 2; it was swapped with U.S. 1 between Bangor and Houlton, Maine, placing U.S. 2 along the entire portion of Route 15 east of St. Johnsbury. Several other major parts of the auto trail received numbers, most notably U.S. 30 from Portland, Oregon east to Pendleton, U.S. Route 195 in eastern Washington, and U.S. 23 in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.[13][14] In the mid-1930s, much of New York's portion of the road became U.S. Route 104, and the part southeast of Littleton, New Hampshire to Portland, Maine became U.S. Route 302, but by far the longest piece was that followed by U.S. 2 between St. Ignace and Bonners Ferry. In 1946, U.S. 2 was extended west of its original western terminus in Bonners Ferry in Idaho to Everett in Washington via Spokane along what was then Alternate U.S. Route 10.

Michigan

U.S. 2 was in the original 1925 U.S. Highway Plan by the Bureau of Public Roads[15] and was first commissioned in Michigan in 1926.[16]

U.S. 2 originally ran in Michigan from Ironwood to St. Ignace, the same termini as today. The highway has undergone many realignments, mostly minor, between those cities since 1926. In 1933, the section between St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie was relocated along Mackinac Trail.[16]

In 1957, the first segment of a new freeway opened between St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie. It ran from Evergreen Shores, north of St. Ignace, to present-day M-123 and replaced the former route on State St. and Mackinac Trail. Over the next six years, U.S. 2 was moved from Mackinac Trail onto the new freeway as new sections opened. Beginning in 1961, the freeway was concurrently signed as an extension of I-75. The freeway was completed in 1963.[16]

The eastern terminus of U.S. 2 in Michigan was truncated back to St. Ignace in 1983, removing it entirely from the I-75 freeway.[16]

Eastern segment

New England 15.svg

Before being designated as U.S. 2, most of the current alignment was called New England Interstate Route 15 from Danville, Vermont eastward to Maine. The portion of the old Route 15 that did not become part of U.S. 2 was designated as Vermont Route 15.

Other sections of U.S. 2 in Vermont that were not part of New England Route 15 were parts of other former New England Interstate routes: Route 18 between Montpelier and Danville; Route 14 between Burlington and Montpelier; and Route 30 between Alburgh and Burlington.

Major intersections

See also

References

  1. ^ a b US Highways From US 1 to US 830 Robert V. Droz.
  2. ^ "Ask the Rambler: What Is The Longest Road in the United States?". Federal Highway Administration. last revision: 2008-12-29. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/longest.cfm. Retrieved 2009-04-14.  
  3. ^ Rugby Area Chamber of Commerce, Geographical Center of North America
  4. ^ Minnesota Statute § 161.114
  5. ^ Minnesota Statute § 161.115
  6. ^ Endpoints of US highways: Eastern Segment
  7. ^ Max J. Skidmore, Moose Crossing: Portland to Portland on the Theodore Roosevelt International Highway, Hamilton Books, 2006, ISBN 0761835105
  8. ^ Clason Map Company, Midget Map of the Transcontinental Trails of the United States, 1923
  9. ^ a b Rand McNally Auto Road Atlas, 1926, accessed via the Broer Map Library
  10. ^ Historical marker on U.S. 2 at Marias Pass: "A 56-mile (90 km) section of highway over Marias Pass was the last section of the Theodore Roosevelt International Highway to be completed. Prior to the completion of this section in 1930, automobiles were loaded onto railcars and transported from one side of the pass to the other. The Theodore Roosevelt International Highway extends 4,060 miles (6,530 km) from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, by way of Ontario, Canada."
  11. ^ New York Times, New York's Main Highways Designated by Numbers, December 21, 1924, p. XX9
  12. ^ Report of Joint Board on Interstate Highways, October 30, 1925, Approved by the Secretary of Agriculture, November 18, 1925
  13. ^ , November 11, 1926
  14. ^ United States Numbered Highways, American Highways ( AASHO), April 1927
  15. ^ Droz, Robert V. (2007). "U.S. Highways from U.S. 1 to (U.S. 830)". us-highways.com. http://www.us-highways.com/us1830.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-23.  
  16. ^ a b c d Bessert, Christopher J.. "Michigan Highways". http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/MichHwys01-09.html. Retrieved 2008-01-30.  

External links

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 - Portal
Browse numbered routes
< SR 971 WA SR 3 >
< SH-1 ID SH-3 >
< MT 1 MT MT 3 >
< ND 1 ND ND 3 >
< MN 1 MN MN 3 >
< I-894 WI US 8 >
< M-1 MI M-3 >
< NY 1X NY NY 2 >
< VT F-5 VT VT 2A >
< NH 1B NH US 3 >
< US 1A ME US 2A >
< New England 14.svg Route 14 N.E. Route 16 New England 16.svg >

Simple English

U.S. Route 2
File:US 2
Length: 2579 mi[1] (4,150 km)
Formed: November 11, 1926[2]
West end: I-5/SR 529 in Everett, WA
Major
junctions:
US 395 in Spokane, WA
I-15 in Shelby, MT
US 87 near Havre, MT
US 83 in Minot, ND
I-29/US 81 in Grand Forks, ND
I-35 in Duluth, MN
I-75/BL I-75 in St. Ignace, MI
US 11 in Rouses Point, NY
US 7 in Burlington, VT
I-91 in St. Johnsbury, VT
East end: I-95/NB 95 in Houlton, ME
United States Numbered Highways
List - Bannered - Divided - Replaced

U.S. Route 2 is a highway that has two parts. The western part begins in Everett, Washington and ends in St. Ignace, Michigan. The eastern part begins in Rouses Point, New York and ends in Houlton, Maine.

References

  1. Droz, Robert V. (June 1, 2010). "Sequential List with Termini and Lengths in Miles". US Highways From US 1 to US 830. http://www.us-highways.com/us1830.htm. Retrieved June 6, 2010. 
  2. Weingroff, Richard F. (January 9, 2009). "From Names to Numbers: The Origins of the U.S. Numbered Highway System". Federal Highway Administration. http://wwwcf.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/numbers.cfm. Retrieved April 21, 2009. 
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


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