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U.S. Route 20 shield
U.S. Route 20
Length: 3365 mi[1] (5,415 km)
Formed: 1926[1]
West end: US 101 in Newport, OR

I-5 at Albany, OR
I-15 at Idaho Falls, ID
I-25 at Casper, WY
I-29 at Sioux City, IA
I-35 near Williams, IA
I-55 near Chicago, IL
I-75 near Toledo, OH
I-79 in Erie, PA
I-81 near Syracuse, NY
I-87 near Albany, NY
I-91 in Springfield, MA
I-95 in Waltham, MA

East end: Route 2 in Boston, MA
United States Numbered Highways

U.S. Route 20 is an east–west United States highway. As the "0" in its route number implies, U.S. 20 is a coast-to-coast route; however, because national park roads do not have signage for U.S. numbered highways, a gap exists through Yellowstone National Park and splits the route into two sections. Spanning 3,365 miles (5,415 km), it is the longest road in the United States[2], and the route that sparsely parallels Interstate 90.

It and U.S. Route 30 break the general U.S. route numbering rules in Oregon, since U.S. 30 actually starts north of U.S. Route 20 and runs parallel to the north throughout the state. The two overlap and continue in the "correct" positioning near Caldwell, Idaho. This is because U.S. 20 was not a planned coast-to-coast route while U.S. 30 was. U.S. 20 originally ended at the eastern entrance of Yellowstone Park; it was extended in 1940.[2]

As of 2007, the highway's eastern terminus is in Boston, Massachusetts, at Kenmore Square, where it meets Route 2. Its western terminus is in Newport, Oregon, at an intersection with U.S. Route 101, within a mile of the Pacific Ocean.[3]


Route description

The highway passes through the following states:



US 20 origin at Newport, Oregon.

U.S. 20 begins at an intersection with U.S. 101 in Newport, Oregon, and runs generally eastward towards Idaho. On the way it goes over the Central Oregon Coast Range, through several Willamette Valley cities including Corvallis and Albany, climbs the Cascade Mountains over Santiam Pass, and traverses the Oregon High Desert. It eventually overlaps with U.S. 26 in Vale, and the two roads continue concurrently to the Idaho border.


In the state of Idaho, U.S. 20 crosses into Idaho from Oregon northwest of Parma. It begins concurrent with U.S. 26 and joins U.S. 95 through Parma. U.S. 20/26 leave U.S. 95 southeast of Parma and run to Caldwell where U.S. 20/26 joins with Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 for a short time. These four highways parallel each other (on two roadways) to Boise where U.S. 20/26 runs through downtown before joining with Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 again to Mountain Home, where it departs at exit 95 to head east, past Rattlesnake Station, Anderson Ranch Dam road, and cresting at Cat Creek summit at 5527 feet (1685 m) above sea level. It continues into and across Camas County through Fairfield to Timmerman Junction, the intersection in Blaine County with State Highway 75, the route to Sun Valley, Galena Summit, and Stanley. U.S. 20 continues east through Picabo and Carey, joined with U.S. 26 and U.S. 93, to Craters of the Moon and Arco, where U.S. 93 splits off and turns north-northwest to climb the Big Lost River Valley. U.S. 20/26 continues on through the Idaho National Laboratory, where the highways split just west of Atomic City; U.S. 26 heads to Blackfoot and U.S. 20 to Idaho Falls, where it turns north-northeast to pass near Rexburg. U.S. 20 then climbs through the communities of St. Anthony, Ashton, and Island Park, and crosses the Continental Divide at Targhee Pass at 7072 feet (2156 m), entering Montana west of West Yellowstone.


In the state of Montana, U.S. 20 runs for less than 10 miles (16 km). It runs from the Idaho state line to West Yellowstone, Montana, the western entrance to Yellowstone National Park. U.S. 20 is known as the Targhee Pass Highway in Montana.


In the state of Wyoming, the eastern segment of US 20 starts at the eastern entrance to Yellowstone National Park along with the western termini of U.S. Highway 14 and U.S. Highway 16. These three routes run east to Greybull, where US 14 continues east and US 16/20 turns south; at Worland, US 16 turns east while US 20 continues south. US 20 joins US 26 in Shoshoni, where it turns east. In Casper it joins Interstate 25 and U.S. Highway 87. These four routes stay combined to Orin, where US 20 turns east. At its intersection with I-25, U.S. Highway 18 begins. US 18 and US 20 are concurrent from Orin to Lusk. US 18 separates there and US 20 runs east into Nebraska.

US 20 enters Nebraska


In the state of Nebraska, U.S. 20 runs from west of Harrison to South Sioux City on the Missouri River. Portions overlap U.S. Route 385, U.S. Route 83, U.S. Route 183, Interstate 129, and U.S. Route 75.


U.S. Route 20 enters Iowa at Sioux City via the Missouri River crossing with Interstate 129 and U.S. Route 75. After skirting the southeast side of Sioux City as a freeway with US 75, US 20 continues east as an expressway to Moville. From Moville through Sac City to just east of Moorland, US 20 is a rural two-lane highway. At Moorland, US 20 becomes a four-lane road for the rest of its length in Iowa. US 20 passes to the south of Fort Dodge and Webster City before intersecting Interstate 35 near Williams.

US 20 at the Mississippi River

A new segment of freeway between U.S. Route 65 south of Iowa Falls and Iowa Highway 14 opened in 2003 creating a continuous four-lane route from Moorland to Dubuque. The new segment shaved 16 miles (26 km) off of US 20's length in Iowa. In the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area, the segment of US 20 overlapped by Iowa Highway 27 is designated as a part of the Avenue of the Saints. US 20 passes Independence, Manchester, and Dyersville before reaching Dubuque. At Dubuque, US 20 crosses into Illinois over the Julien Dubuque Bridge.


In the state of Illinois, U.S. 20 runs from the Mississippi River across from Dubuque east along the Mississippi and then continues into the Driftless Area of Illinois and the very hilly northwestern portion of Illinois through Galena. The highway then abruptly descends out of the Driftless Area into the flatness of Stockton, Illinois. The road then runs as a bypass north around Freeport, then runs along the southern fringe of Rockford. Between Rockford and Chicago, U.S. 20 is a mixture of four-lane expressway, four-lane limited access freeway, and winding two-lane surface road. It is signed as General U.S. Grant Highway after Ulysses S. Grant. U.S. 20 then leaves Illinois south of the Chicago Skyway with U.S. 12 and U.S. 41.

U.S. Route 20 meets State Road 127 in a traffic circle in Angola, Indiana. This panoramic view was shot from the west-bound U.S. 20 leaving the circle.


In the state of Indiana, U.S. 20 enters from the west beneath the Chicago Skyway with U.S. 12 and U.S. 41. U.S. 20 passes through heavily industrialized northwestern Indiana and is the main east–west artery through Gary. It then parallels U.S. 12 to just west of Michigan City before running due east to South Bend. U.S. 20 travels around South Bend and Elkhart on the St. Joseph Valley Parkway, a four-lane limited access freeway, then returns to surface road east of Elkhart. U.S. 20 then passes through LaGrange and Angola, intersecting with Interstate 69 before leaving Indiana just north of the eastern terminus of the Indiana Toll Road.

From Gary to South Bend, U.S. 20 was built as the Dunes Relief Road. During the 1930s and 1940s the Dunes Highway, U.S. Route 12, was becoming more crowded as housing lots and communities developed in the Indiana Dunes. Today, there are numerous communities along U.S. 20 and the lakefront, including Gary, Portage, Burns Harbor, Porter, Chesterton, Pines, and Michigan City.

Most notably, the route is one of the main access roads to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.


Sign for U.S. Route 20 along with the Sign for State Route 7 in Conneaut, Ohio

US 20 enters Ohio from Indiana just west of Columbia and traverses east through Pioneer and Alvordton to Fayette. It continues east through Oakshade, Assumption and Sylvania to Toledo, and then into the Toledo suburb of Maumee. After Maumee, US 20 continues east through Perrysburg to Woodville, where it becomes a 4 lane non-limited access highway. It bypasses Fremont while concurrent with U.S. 6, State Route 53, and State Route 19, goes through the downtown areas of Clyde and Bellevue, and then bypasses Norwalk, where it becomes a 2 lane highway again. Continuing east, US 20 traverses through Elyria, Westlake, Rocky River, Lakewood and Cleveland, where it goes right through Public Square. East of Cleveland US 20 follows the southern coast of Lake Erie, following Euclid Avenue from Public Square, and traverses Euclid, Wickliffe, where it intersects with I-90, Mentor,Painesville, Ashtabula and crosses into Pennsylvania just east of Conneaut.



U.S. 20 runs for nearly 50 miles (80 km) across Erie County, Pennsylvania, most of that time just south of the CSX Amtrak railroad tracks. U.S. 20 appears as West Ridge Road eastward from the Ohio border through Springfield Township, Girard Township, Fairview Township and Millcreek Township. At the intersection with Pennsylvania Route 832, just outside of the Erie city limits, it becomes West 26th Street. After it reaches city center at the intersection with State Street, it becomes East 26th Street. It turns sharply northward as Broad Street at the Bayfront Connector, then turns east again as Buffalo Road through Wesleyville and Harborcreek Township. Buffalo Road turns sharply northward at the town of Harborcreek. U.S. 20 intersects with Pennsylvania Route 955 and resumes its eastward journey. At North East Township, U.S. 20 becomes West Main Road. Within the town limits, it becomes West Main Street until it reaches the town center at its intersection with Pennsylvania Route 89, where it becomes East Main Street. Outside the town limits it becomes East Main Road until it reaches Pennsylvania's border with New York.

New York

U.S. 20 marker outside Skaneateles, New York

In New York, US 20 runs roughly parallel to the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) throughout the state. The route runs concurrent to New York State Route 5 twice, with the second overlap extending 68 miles (109 km) across Western and Central New York from Avon to Auburn. US 20 runs across the rural Cherry Valley Turnpike between Skaneateles and Albany.


Sign for the Eastern Terminus of Route 20 at Kenmore Square in Boston, MA

In Massachusetts, Route 20 runs near Interstate 90 ("Mass Pike"), intersecting it at exits 2 and 10A.

In part of Berkshire County, Route 20 runs north–south as it shares the roadway with U.S. Route 7. It is known as Jacob's Ladder as it crosses the Berkshire Hills between Lee in Berkshire County and Chester in Hampden County. From Chester to Westfield, Route 20 and the Boston and Albany Railroad follow the Westfield River down to the broad valley of the Connecticut River.

In Shrewsbury, Route 20 is called "Hartford Turnpike." In Northborough, it is called "Southwest Cutoff", then "Main St."

In parts of eastern Massachusetts, Route 20 follows the route of the old Boston Post Road and passes by Longfellow's Wayside Inn, in Sudbury, the oldest continually operated Inn in America. When Henry Ford purchased the Wayside Inn, he re-routed Route 20 to the south so that major traffic would bypass the inn. The original route of Route 20 is now called Wayside Inn Road.


New England 5.svg

Prior to the U.S. Highway system, the route in New England and New York was designated as New England Interstate Route 5 (NE-5), part of the New England Interstate Route system that existed between 1922 and 1927. Around 1923, from Springfield to Pittsfield, NE-5 was known as "Jacob's Ladder",[4] and from Boston to Albany, the "Hubway". When US 20 was first commissioned, it took over the entirety of NE-5.

Historic termini

Until 1940, the western endpoint of US 20 was the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

Historic routes

Between Fort Dodge, Iowa, and Dubuque, Iowa, the route has been upgraded to four lanes, the last link of this completed in 2003. Much of the old route is a few miles north of the present route except between Interstate 35 and Waterloo. There, the old route is farther north, going through Iowa Falls, Aplington, and the north side of Cedar Falls along what is now Iowa Highway 57.

From just west of South Bend, Indiana, to the Saint Joseph/Elkhart County line, the old route of US 20 through Saint Joseph County is now Business 20. In Elkhart County, its old route is now classified as a county road and is simply called Old US 20. The St. Joseph Valley Parkway is the present route of US 20 in the South Bend/Elkhart Area.

From 1930 to 1933, U.S. 20 followed what are now Massachusetts Route 67 and Massachusetts Route 9 from Worcester to Palmer via Shrewsbury and Northborough.[5]

The 1953 Massachusetts Department of Public Works Master Plan would have relocated U.S. 20 between Palmer, Massachusetts and either West Springfield, Massachusetts or Westfield, Massachusetts along the right-of-way now used by the Massachusetts Turnpike, but this was never implemented.[6]

Until 1970-72, [5] Route 20 followed an old route through downtown Springfield - Boston Road and State Street - crossing the Connecticut River via the older Memorial Bridge (now Massachusetts Route 147). The construction of Interstate 291 prompted a change. Route 20 now crosses from West Springfield at the North End Bridge, and is co-signed with I-291 until Page Boulevard, where it heads back to Boston Road via the former route of 20A.

Historic names

One of the 1842 milestones marking the original Western Reserve and Maumee Turnpike in Woodville, Ohio.
  • Between Fremont, Ohio and Perrysburg, Ohio, the road dates back to the late 1830s. It was known then as the Maumee and Western Reserve Road. Nicknamed "Mud Pike" and earned a reputation as "The worst road on the continent" for the mudholes that would trap wagon wheels and slow draft animals. Travelers sometimes would take 3 days to travel 1-mile (1.6 km).
  • Through western Indiana, US 20 was built as the Dunes Relief Road, as it bypassed the heavily-traveled Dunes Highway.
  • On the south side of Chicago it is 95th Street, through the west suburbs it is LaGrange Road and Mannheim Road (along with U.S. Route 12 and U.S. Route 45) and through the northwest suburbs of Chicago it is called Lake Street. Northwest of Chicago it is called Ulysses S. Grant Highway.

See also

Bannered and suffixed routes

Related routes


External links

Further reading

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
< SH-19 ID SH-21 >
< MT 19 MT MT 21 >
< US 18 WY WYO 22 >
< SR 19 OH SR 21 >
< New England 4.svg Route 4 N.E. Route 6 New England 6.svg >


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