U.S. Route 45: Wikis


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U.S. Route 45 shield
U.S. Route 45
Length: 1,297[1] mi (2,087 km)
Formed: 1926[1]
South end: US-98 at Mobile, AL
I-65 at Prichard, AL

I-20 / I-59 at Meridian, MS
I-40 at Jackson, TN
I-24 at Paducah, KY
I-24 at Metropolis, IL
I-64 at Mill Shoals, IL
I-57 / I-70 at Effingham, IL
I-80 at Mokena, IL
I-90 at Rosemont, IL
I-43 / I-94 at Milwaukee, WI

North end: Ontonagon & River Streets in Ontonagon, MI[2]
United States Numbered Highways

U.S. Route 45 is a north–south United States highway. US 45 is a border-to-border route, from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Mexico. A sign at the highway's northern terminus notes the total distance as 1,300 miles (2,100 km).

As of 2006, the highway's northern terminus is in Ontonagon, Michigan, at the corner of Ontonagon and River Streets, a few blocks from Lake Superior. M-64 formerly terminated there as well until its rerouting in October 2006 to use the newly built Ontonagon River Bridge. Its southern terminus is in Mobile, Alabama, at an intersection with U.S. Route 98.


Route description



U.S. 45 is co-routed with unsigned State Route 17 between Mobile and Vinegar Bend in Washington County, Alabama. From Vinegar Bend until the Mississippi state line, U.S. 45 is paired with unsigned Alabama State Route 57.


Failure of the Mississippi Highway 25 N/U.S. Route 45 S bridge over the Tombigbee River relief (Big Nichols Creek)/Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in Aberdeen, Mississippi during the March 1955 floods.

U.S. 45 enters the state at State Line and continues northward around Waynesboro on the way to Meridian.

At Brooksville, U.S. 45 splits with U.S. 45 Alternate and goes through Columbus and Aberdeen before rejoining U.S. 45 Alternate south of Tupelo. U.S. 45 Alternate provides a more direct route between Meridian and Tupelo, bypassing Columbus to the west. US 45 Alternate passes just east of Starkville, home of Mississippi State University.

North of Tupelo, U.S. 45 crosses U.S. Route 78/future I-22 at exit 86. From Tupelo, the highway bypasses Booneville and Corinth before going into Tennessee.

U.S. 45 is designated as a hurricane evacuation route by the State of Mississippi, because of this, U.S. 45 is being transformed from two to four lanes throughout the state to enhance traffic flow on a route from Pascagoula on the Mississippi Gulf Coast northward across the entire state, through Tennessee and into Kentucky (see New Development below). West Point resident William Henry Harris had been calling for US 45 to be 4 lane across Mississippi from as early as the 1960s. His dream was realized in the 2000s, more than 30 years after his death. U.S. 45 originally went through Waynesboro, Quitman and Meridian, but was part of the early construction to make U.S. 45 a four-laned highway. The highway now goes to the East of these municipalities, bypassing them completely.

The Mississippi section of U.S. 45 is defined at Mississippi Code Annotated § 65-3-3.


U.S. 45 signage in Jackson, Tennessee

U.S. 45 and 45W are concurrent with unsigned Tennessee State Route 5 from the Mississippi state line to Union City and then with U.S. 51 (unsigned SR 3) to the Kentucky state line. U.S. 45E is concurrent with unsigned Tennessee State Route 43 for most of the route's length, except for short segments at Martin and South Fulton where it is cosigned with Tennessee State Route 216 and Tennessee State Route 215 respectively.


U.S. 45 enters Kentucky in Graves County, where it passes through Mayfield, KY and heads directly north into Paducah, KY as a four-lane highway. In Paducah, U.S. 45 serves as a major artery, intersecting with Interstate 24 at exit 7, and intersecting U.S. 60 and 62. U.S. 45 leaves Kentucky from Paducah's northern border across a two-lane, metal grate bridge into Illinois across the Ohio River.


In the state of Illinois, U.S. 45 runs from the bridge across the Ohio River east of Paducah, Kentucky, through Shawnee National Forest and north to the Wisconsin border east of Antioch, Illinois. With a length of 428.99 miles (690.39 km) in Illinois,[3] U.S. 45 is the longest numbered route in Illinois.


The highway near Oshkosh, Wisconsin

U.S. 45 enters the state in southeast Wisconsin. It runs concurrent with Interstate 894 and U.S. Route 41 through the west side of metro Milwaukee to form a major artery through the metropolitan area. It runs north to Fond du Lac. The highway routes near the west coast of Lake Winnebago through Oshkosh, Wisconsin. U.S. 45 then travels north through the state and national forests until it exits the state and enters Michigan at Land O' Lakes.


US 45 enters Michigan south of Watersmeet. From there, the highway crosses the Western Upper Peninsula through the Ottawa National Forest running north to Ontonagon. US 45 ends just south of Lake Superior in downtown Ontonagon.

New Development

Except for short sections near cities, U.S. 45 was still almost entirely a two-lane roadway though Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee well into the 1980s. In Mississippi, the highway is now completely divided and four-laned (using the 45A alignment, as described above), with the exception of a short four-laned but undivided section through West Point. There remains a mostly two-laned portion of the mainline U.S. 45 from Brooksville to the interchange with U.S. Route 82, but this section is paralled by four-laned 45A. The alternate alignment is in fact a shorter route than the mainline for through traffic.

A new routing for sections of Mississippi Highway 63 and Mississippi Highway 57 is planned and under construction to continue the divided highway southward from the point of Highway 45's Mississippi exit at Stateline to Leakesville, then on to the existing four-laned Mississippi Highway 63 from near Lucedale, Mississippi to Pascagoula, Mississippi on the Gulf Coast. When complete, the new sections of MS 57 and 63 will greatly enhance Highway 45's utility as a hurricane evacuation route.

US 45 bypasses around Corinth, Tupelo, and Meridian are limited-access highways. Except for two stretches of US 45W, which are currently in a survey-and-design stage, all of US 45 in Tennessee has been converted to or replaced by four-lane, often divided, expressways, most of which since the administration of Governor Ned McWherter, a native of West Tennessee who also launched numerous other highway projects, stiffened penalties for drunk driving, and raised the state speed limit to 65 mph (105 km/h). From Fulton to Mayfield, Kentucky, US 45 is paralleled by the Julian M. Carroll Purchase Parkway, built in the late 1960s. From Mayfield to Paducah, Kentucky and between Harrisburg and Eldorado, Illinois it is a four-lane divided expressway.

Historic termini

Until 1934, US 45's northern terminus was in the Chicago, Illinois area.

Prior to the construction of the Interstate Highway system, US 45 was the one of the main routes south out of Chicago toward New Orleans. Much of the traffic left US 45 at Effingham, Illinois, continuing on through Cairo, Illinois along Illinois Route 37.

See also

Bannered and suffixed routes


  1. ^ a b Droz, Robert V. U.S. Highways: From US 1 to (US 830). URL accessed 02:55, 4 July 2006 (UTC).
  2. ^ Bessert, Christopher J. Michigan Highways: Ontonagon State Trunkline Changes 2006. URL accessed 24 June 2007.
  3. ^ Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2007). "T2 GIS Data". http://www.dot.state.il.us/gist2/select.html. Retrieved 2007-11-08.  

External links

US blank.svg Main U.S. Routes
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Lists  U.S. Routes - Bannered - Divided - Bypassed - Portal
Browse numbered routes
< SR-44 AL SR-46 >
< MS 44 MS MS 46 >
< SR-44 TN SR-45 >
< KY 44 KY KY 46 >
< IL 43 IL IL 47 >
< WIS 44 WI WIS 46 >
< M-44 MI M-45 >


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