Interstate 72

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Interstate 72

I-72 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by MoDOT and IDOT
Length179.29 mi[1] (288.54 km)
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
West end

US 36 / US 36 Bus. / US 61 (Avenue of the Saints) / Route 110 (CKC) in Hannibal, MO
Major intersections
East endCountry Fair Drive in Champaign, IL
CountryUnited States
StatesMissouri, Illinois
CountiesMO: Marion
IL: Pike, Scott, Morgan, Sangamon, Macon, Piatt, Champaign
Highway system
US 71MO Route 72
IL 71IL IL 72

Interstate 72 (I-72) is an Interstate Highway in the midwestern United States. Its western terminus is in Hannibal, Missouri, at an intersection with U.S. Route 61 (US 61); its eastern terminus is at Country Fair Drive in Champaign, Illinois. The route runs through the major cities of Decatur, Illinois, and Springfield, Illinois. In 2006, the Illinois General Assembly dedicated all of I-72 as Purple Heart Memorial Highway. The stretch between Springfield and Decatur is also called Penny Severns Memorial Expressway, and the section between mile 35 and the Mississippi River is known as the Free Frank McWorter Historic Highway.

Route description

  mi[1] km
MO 2.04 3.28
IL 177.25 285.26
Total 179.29 288.54


I-72 runs for just over two miles (3.2 km) in the state of Missouri. Its western terminus is an interchange with US 61 to the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River. This bridge connects the city of Hannibal with Illinois. Presently, there are only two exits for I-72 in Missouri.


I-72 parallels the old Wabash Railroad from Hannibal, east through Illinois to Champaign, Illinois. The Norfolk Southern Railway operates this railroad route today.

In Illinois, I-72 runs for 182 miles (293 km). The portion of I-72 and I-172 from Springfield to Quincy is commonly referred to as the Central Illinois Expressway (CIE). As of 2007, I-72 has one business route; I-72 Business (I-72 Bus.) in Jacksonville.

Near Valley City at mile-marker 42 are the Valley City Eagle Bridges. These two individual two-lane spans bridge the Illinois River in rural west-central Illinois. Near milemarker 78, a sign marks 90 degrees longitude.

At its eastern terminus in Champaign, I-72 continues as Church Street (westbound) and University Avenue (eastbound), which stay as one-way streets for an additional three miles (4.8 km) into downtown Champaign.


A section of I-72, north of Seymour, Illinois, looking west

First constructed in 1971, I-72 ran from Springfield at I-55 to Champaign at I-57 until the 1990's. On June 9, 1991, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved the establishment of I-172 from the western terminus of I-72 at Springfield to Fall Creek, four miles (6.4 km) east of Hannibal, Missouri, though it was contingent on Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approval. The FHWA preferred to designate the route I-72.[2][3]

After discussions regarding extending an Interstate Highway through the state of Missouri, on April 22, 1995, AASHTO approved another renumbering. I-172 was renumbered in its entirety as I-72. The US 36 extension west of Fall Creek was also given the I-72 designation. The Illinois Route 336 (IL 336) expressway was renumbered to I-172 from Fall Creek to Fowler.[3][4]

The bridge of Interstate 72 and U.S. Route 36 over the Illinois River, near Valley City, Illinois.

Prior to September 2000, Mark Twain Avenue (old US 36) was composed of the current Mark Twain Avenue (now Route 79) and the portion of I-72 and US 36 west of exit 157 to the Hannibal city limits. Route 79 terminated at the foot of the old Mark Twain Memorial Bridge at the corner of Third Street and Mark Twain Avenue. Signs along the four-lane expressway portion of Mark Twain Avenue marked the route as "Future I-72", while signs along what is now Route 79 had I-72 trailblazers to direct drivers to the temporary terminus at Fall Creek, Illinois. When the new Mark Twain Memorial Bridge was completed in September 2000, I-72 was routed over the new bridge, along with US 36. Route 79 was extended along Mark Twain Avenue to terminate at exit 157.

Chicago–Kansas City Expressway

The concept of I-72 across Missouri was to create the Chicago–Kansas City Expressway, a rural four-lane highway across northern Missouri and west central Illinois from Cameron, Missouri, at I-35 to Springfield, Illinois, at I-55. This would provide a series of rural four-lane highways (I-35, US 36, I-72, and I-55) connecting Chicago to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Corridor (High Priority Corridor 23). This would reduce the amount of through traffic, primarily truck traffic, in the St. Louis, Des Moines, and Quad Cities metropolitan areas by serving as an alternate route for I-70 and I-80. The Missouri portion of this route is designated as part of High Priority Corridor 61.

Based on the 157-mile (253 km) marker at Route 79, if/when US 36 is upgraded to Interstate standards across Missouri, the future western terminus of I-72 would be at Cameron at the intersection with I-35. Currently, the west end of I-72 route is west of US 61 and flows concurrent with US 36 into Illinois. In 2004, US 36 was upgraded to a four-lane expressway between US 61 and US 24 at the Rocket Junction (seven miles (11 km)). There are three exits along this expressway: Veterans Road, Shinn Lane (Hannibal Regional Hospital), and US 24 east at the Rocket Junction. Also, an interchange with Route 15 was installed in Shelbina.

Due to funding priorities, upgrading US 36 between Macon and Hannibal was a low-priority project and was shelved. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) committed to constructing the four-lane highway as an at-grade expressway only if the five counties served by US 36 east of Macon would contribute half of the $100 million (equivalent to $136 million in 2023[5]) cost. Road construction to complete the 52.4 miles (84.3 km) between Hannibal and Macon began in 2007. In August 2010, the four-lane expressway was completed from Macon to Hannibal, completing Missouri's portion of the Chicago–Kansas City Expressway.[6]


Plans exist to extend I-72 from Hannibal to St. Joseph. It would follow the existing US 36. It was renewed in 2023 after being shelved for years.[7]

Exit list


US 36 / Route 110 (CKC) west – Monroe City, Kansas City
Continuation beyond US 36 Bus. / US 61

US 36 Bus. east / US 61 (McMasters Avenue / Avenue of the Saints) / Great River Road – New London, Palmyra
West end of US 61 Bus. overlap

US 36 Bus. west / US 61 Bus. south / Route 79 south / Route N north / Great River Road – Downtown Hannibal, Louisiana
East end of US 61 Bus. overlap; exit number based on possible future western terminus at I-35 in Cameron.
Mississippi River2.056
Mark Twain Memorial Bridge
IllinoisPikeLevee Township1.201.931 IL 106 – Hull

I-172 north / IL 110 (CKC) east – Quincy, Chicago
Left exit from both directions; I-172 exit 0.
Kinderhook Township10.3116.5910 IL 96 / IL 106 – Payson, Hull
To IL 106 – Barry
New Salem Township31.3550.4531Pittsfield, New Salem
Griggsville Township35.0756.4435
US 54 west – Pittsfield

IL 107 north – Griggsville
Eastern terminus of US 54
ScottBloomfield Precinct45.9073.8746 IL 100 – Bluffs, DetroitDetroit signed westbound only
Winchester No. 2 Precinct51.9783.6452
To IL 106 – Winchester
MorganLynnville Precinct60.5797.4860
I-72 BL east / US 67 – Alton, Beardstown, Jacksonville
Signed as exits 60A (south) and 60B (north)
South Jacksonville64.15103.2464 IL 267 (Main Street) – Alton, Jacksonville
Pisgah Precinct68.56110.3468

I-72 BL west to IL 104 (Morton Avenue) – Jacksonville
Alexander Precinct75.69121.8176Ashland, Alexander
SangamonIsland GroveNew Berlin
township line
81.99131.9582New Berlin
Springfield91.35147.0191Wabash Avenue
93.86151.0593 IL 4 (Veterans Parkway) – Chatham
95.67153.9796MacArthur Boulevard

I-55 south / I-55 BL north (6th Street) – Springfield, St. Louis
West end of I-55 overlap; signed as exit 97A (south) and 97B (north) eastbound. Signed as exit 92A (north) westbound. Westbound I-72 exits southbound I-55 via exit 92B; access to Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
99.61160.3194Stevenson Drive, East Lake Drive
101.56163.4496 IL 29 (South Grand Avenue) – TaylorvilleSigned as exits 96A (south) and 96B (north); access to Illinois State Museum

I-55 north – Chicago

IL 97 west (Clear Lake Avenue)
East end of I-55 overlap; I-72 eastbound exits I-55 via exit 98A, I-72 westbound exits itself via exit 103A. IL 97 signed as exit 98B eastbound. Northbound I-55 signed as exit 103B westbound; access to Illinois World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam Veterans Memorials; Capitol Complex, Tuskegee Airman Exhibit; Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, SIU School of Medicine, and Illinois Corrections Academy
Clear Lake Township103.58166.70104Camp ButlerAccess to Camp Butler National Cemetery
107.75173.41108Riverton, DawsonDawson signed eastbound only
Mechanicsburg Township113.82183.18114Buffalo, Mechanicsburg, DawsonDawson signed westbound only
Illiopolis Township121.88196.15122Mt. Auburn, Illiopolis
MaconNiantic Township127.11204.56128Niantic

US 36 east / US 51 south – Decatur, Pana
East end of US 36 overlap; west end of US 51 overlap; signed as exits 133A (east) and 133B (south)
Decatur137.51221.30138 IL 121 – Decatur, Lincoln
US 51 north – Bloomington, Decatur
East end of US 51 overlap, signed as exit 141A (south) and 141B (north)
Whitmore Township143.81231.44144 IL 48 – Oreana, Decatur
county line
Friends CreekWillow Branch
township line
155.33249.98156 IL 48 – Cisco, Weldon
PiattMonticello Township163.40262.97164Monticello
township line
IL 105 west – Monticello
Sangamon Township168.39271.00169White Heath Road
170.95275.12172 IL 10 – Clinton
ChampaignScott Township175.72282.79176 IL 47 – Mahomet
I-57 to I-74 – Memphis, Chicago
Signed as exits 182A (south) and 182B (north). I-57 exit 235.
University Avenue, Church StreetContinuation beyond I-57.
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related routes

Auxiliary routes

I-72 currently has one auxiliary route, I-172, that serves as a freeway spur for Quincy.

Business route

Interstate 72 Business

Length9.5 mi[9] (15.3 km)

Interstate 72 Business (I-72) is a business loop of I-72 in Jacksonville. It runs from the I-72/US 36/US 67 interchange southwest of Jacksonville north along the US 67 bypass of Jacksonville to the former alignment of US 36 (Morton Avenue). On Morton Avenue, I-72 Bus. runs east through downtown Jacksonville until it reaches I-72 at exit 68. This is a distance of 9.5 miles (15.3 km).[9]


  1. ^ a b Federal Highway Administration (December 31, 2016). "FHWA Route Log and Finder List: Table 1". Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  2. ^ American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (June 9, 1991). "Report of the Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering to the Executive Committee" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 13, 2006. Retrieved December 19, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Interstate 172 Illinois".
  4. ^ American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (April 23, 1995). "Report of the Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering to the Standing Committee on Highways" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 4, 2007. Retrieved December 19, 2007.
  5. ^ Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 30, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the MeasuringWorth series.
  6. ^ Missouri Department of Transportation, North Central District (2007), U.S. 36 4-Laning Project: Contract Awarded for Route 36 Four-lane Project from Shelbina to Macon, MoDOT
  7. ^ "State lawmakers approve $2.5M study on new Missouri interstate". FOX 2. 2023-05-24. Retrieved 2023-05-26.
  8. ^ Missouri Department of Transportation (November 13, 2012). MoDOT HPMAPS (Map). Missouri Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  9. ^ a b Google maps estimate.

External links