List of gaps in Interstate Highways

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Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways
System information
FormedJune 29, 1956[1]
Highway names
InterstatesInterstate X (I-X)
System links
I-70 briefly follows an at-grade portion of US 30 with traffic lights in Breezewood, Pennsylvania

There are gaps in the Interstate Highway system, where the roadway carrying an Interstate shield does not conform to the standards set by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the body that sets the regulations for the Interstate Highway System. For the most part, the Interstate Highway System in the United States is a connected system, with most freeways completed; however, some Interstates still have gaps. These gaps can be due to unconnected segments of the same route or from failure of the road to fully conform to Interstate standards by including such characteristics as at-grade crossings, traffic lights, undivided or narrow freeways, or movable bridges (lift bridges and drawbridges).

True gaps

True gaps are where multiple disjoint sections of road have the same Interstate highway number and can reasonably be considered part of "one highway" in theory, based on the directness of connections via other highways, or based on future plans to fill in the gap in the Interstate, or simply based on the shortness of the gap. The sections are either not physically connected at all, or they are connected but the connection is not signed as part of the highway. This list does not include different highways that share the same number, such as the two different I-76s, I-84s, I-86s, I-87s, and I-88s, which despite appearances, were always intended as distinct highways and were never intended as a contiguous route.

Interstate 26

In North Carolina, Interstate 26 has a gap from Forks of Ivy to Asheville at exit 4A of Interstate 240. This is because not all of the parts in the gap were built to Interstate standards. Right now, Interstate 26 is designated as Future I-26, US 19, and US 23. Construction on building this gap to Interstate Standards was scheduled to start in 2022.[2]

Interstate 49

Interstate 49 (I-49) currently has three sections: the original alignment from I-10 in Lafayette to I-20 in Shreveport, one from I-220 near Shreveport to Texarkana; and the third section from I-40 near Alma, Arkansas to I-470/I-435 south of Kansas City, Missouri. A bypass south of Bella Vista, Arkansas was completed in 2021, and existed initially as Arkansas Highway 549; the latter designation is now used on a short section southeast of Fort Smith that is several miles long. By the end of 2029, it is planned to be connected to an interstate. I-49 from Fort Smith to Texarkana is still unbuilt. These gaps are expected to be eventually closed.

Interstate 69

I-69 currently has several disconnected sections: the original alignment travels from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Port Huron, Michigan. A second section exists from near Evansville, Indiana, to Martinsville, Indiana south of Indianapolis. In stages from 2011 to 2018, sections of the Purchase Parkway, I-24, the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway, and the Pennyrile Parkway from Mayfield, to Henderson, Kentucky, became signed as I-69. On October 2, 2006, a segment of I-69 opened in Tunica and DeSoto counties in Mississippi; this segment has since been continued (but is not signed) through Memphis, Tennessee, to an intersection with U.S. Highway 51 on the north side. Between 2012 and 2015, a portion of U.S. Highway 59 (US 59) between Rosenberg and Cleveland, Texas, extending through Houston, became part of I-69.[3][4][5] In South Texas, I-69's route splits into three spurs to cities on the U.S.–Mexico border, on which four segments are complete: a short segment of I-69E in Corpus Christi and another from Raymondville to the border in Brownsville; a short segment of I-69C in Edinburg and McAllen; and a very short segment of I-69W adjacent to the border in Laredo.

As of 2021, projects to connect these segments are in varying stages of development. Indiana is currently working to connect the Port Huron–Indianapolis and Martinsville–Evansville sections by extending I-69 north from Martinsville to the I-465 Indianapolis loop, with construction planned to be complete in late 2024.[6] Kentucky and Indiana expect to begin construction of the eastern bypass of Henderson and new Ohio River crossing, connecting the Mayfield–Henderson and Martinsville–Evansville sections, in 2022.[7] Kentucky has plans to upgrade the remaining section of the Purchase Parkway and work with Tennessee to reconstruct the current interchange at the south end of the Purchase Parkway in South Fulton, Tennessee to provide a free-flow connection to the existing U.S. 51 freeway to Union City, while Tennessee is currently constructing the I-69 bypass of Union City.[8] A further bypass of Troy is proposed but not yet funded, which would complete a freeway-standard route from I-155 in Dyersburg to Henderson. Tennessee has deferred plans to complete the section between Dyersburg and Memphis to close the gap until the South Fulton–Dyersburg section is completed.[9] The section from Memphis to Houston is the least developed; as of 2021, Mississippi has no current plans to extend I-69 further south, and the states of Louisiana and Arkansas have not funded construction of their portion of the proposed route (via El Dorado and Shreveport) between Mississippi and Texas, other than a two-lane southern bypass of Monticello, Arkansas designed to be incorporated into I-69 at a later date. Texas has continued to fund projects to upgrade U.S. 59, U.S. 77, U.S. 281, and other routes that would eventually form parts of I-69 in South Texas and East Texas, including the I-69W/C/E spurs.

Interstate 74

I-74 currently has five sections,[10] the original segment heading northwest from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Davenport, Iowa; one from the VirginiaNorth Carolina line along I-77 south and east to a point southeast of Mount Airy, North Carolina; one traveling around High Point connecting with I-85 and reaching I-73, where the two are concurrent until Ellerbe; and from west of Laurinburg to south of Lumberton, North Carolina, at I-95. North Carolina is currently working on connecting all its sections of I-74.

Interstate 86

The eastern I-86 has had two sections since 2006. One travels for 197 miles (317 km) from I-90 in North East, Pennsylvania (which is a town in the northwestern part of the state) to exit 61 in Waverly, New York. The second section is a 9.9-mile (15.9 km) stretch outside of Binghamton traveling from I-81 in Kirkwood to exit 79 in Windsor. The gap is signed as Future 86. I-86 will eventually travel from North East, Pennsylvania, to the New York State Thruway (I-87) near Harriman, New York. All the designated sections and gaps in New York are part of New York State Route 17.

Interstate 99

I-99 currently has two sections: one from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to just south of I-80, concurrent with US 220, and one from the Pennsylvania–New York state line north to I-86 in Corning, New York, concurrent with US 15. Much of the intervening route, including the entire US 15 section between I-180 in Williamsport and the New York state line, has been constructed to freeway standards but as of yet is not signed as part of I-99.

The signing of the intervening route as I-99 will be completed when the route is upgraded to Interstate standards, connecting the two segments of I-99.

Freeway gaps

Freeway gaps occur where the Interstate is signed as a continuous route, but part, if not all of it, is not up to freeway standards. This includes drawbridges where traffic on the Interstate can be stopped for vessels. This does not include facilities such as tollbooths, toll plazas, agricultural inspection stations, or border stations.

At-grade intersections

Major at-grade intersections

Surface street section of I-78 in Jersey City, New Jersey

In urban and heavily developed areas, Interstates may travel along surface roads or have at-grade intersections with stop signs or traffic lights. This usually happens because the Interstate started construction after the land was heavily developed and buildings such as residences and businesses and other roads would have to be removed to allow a freeway to pass through. Additionally, more developed land would have to be cleared for space to build interchanges to connect the Interstate and surface streets. This situation is extremely uncommon as Interstates are usually built around cities or through them on pre- or lightly developed land.

Minor at-grade intersections

Several Interstates in rural areas of the U.S. have minor at-grade intersections (including median breaks) with farm access roads or authorized vehicle-only driveways used for highway maintenance or connection to nearby utility stations. This is usually due to the lack of an old highway, the need to provide access to property that was accessed via the road prior to its upgrade to an Interstate, and the high cost to construct an interchange for the small amount of traffic that would use such a connection or to build a frontage road parallel to the freeway to the nearest interchange.

  • I-10 in Hudspeth County, Texas has at least fifteen at-grade intersections containing median breaks with minor dirt or gravel roads.
  • I-11 in Boulder City, Nevada has an at-grade intersection with an authorized-vehicle-only service road giving access to Buchanan Boulevard and the WAPA Mead substation. An interchange replacing this has been considered.[13]
  • I-15 in Wheaton Springs, California (east of Mountain Pass) has several at-grade intersections with dirt roads, including one leading to a house.
  • I-15 west of Mesquite, Nevada has an at-grade intersection with Toquop Wash Road, a dirt road. Another access point to Toquop Wash Road passes under the I-15 southbound lanes and connects to the northbound lanes in the median.
  • I-15 southbound near Cove Fort, Utah has an at-grade intersection with Cinder Crater Road, an asphalt and gravel road that provides access for trucks to the Cinder Crater quarry.
  • I-520 in Augusta, Georgia has an at-grade intersection with a gravel and asphalt road that provides access to Lovers Lane.
  • I-40 in the mountains of western North Carolina has at-grade access to several dirt roads, as well as a partially grade-separated interchange that lacks ramps or RIROs where roads directly connect to the I-40 carriageways. (Example)
  • I-40 in western Texas has eight at-grade access points for cattle ranches with median breaks.
  • I-80 westbound in western Utah in the Great Salt Lake Desert has two gravel roads that directly connect to the freeway, one accessing the Metaphor: The Tree of Utah artwork and another towards Cobb Peak.
  • I-94 at Fort Custer west of Battle Creek, Michigan is the only instance of an Interstate freeway in Michigan to have a gated driveway (at 44th Street), which facilitates access of military vehicles.[14]

Other at-grade intersections

  • The northbound lanes of I-5 in Washington intersect with an at-level crosswalk approximately 100 feet (30 m) south of the border with Canada. This crosswalk allows pedestrians access to a monument that is part of Peace Arch Park.

Undivided and narrow freeways

Two-lane stretch of I-93 through Franconia Notch in New Hampshire
Two-lane stretch of I-81 on the Thousand Islands Bridge crossing part of the Saint Lawrence River
The Mackinac Bridge, which carries I-75, has no hard shoulders, and has only a 4-inch-tall (10 cm) divider between the opposing directions

This section addresses two-lane freeways and other narrow or undivided freeway sections of the Interstate, excepting instances of continuing routes using one-lane ramps and merge leads. Narrow gaps between opposing directions with jersey barriers taller than four feet (1.2 m) are excluded from this section; therefore the separation criterion is really either a 4-foot-tall (1.2 m) wall, or a 100-foot-wide (30 m) median, whichever is greater.

  • I-40's western 15 miles (24 km) in North Carolina in the Harmon Den Wildlife Management Area has several S-curves, a Jersey barrier with extremely narrow left shoulders and a few at-grade intersections albeit in RIRO style.
  • I-55 enters Tennessee from Arkansas on the Memphis and Arkansas Bridge, which itself merits mention as a narrow through truss bridge. Just east of the bridge I-55 transitions from its east–west river crossing to the north–south alignment heading toward Jackson, Mississippi. There is an interchange that forces through I-55 traffic to enter and exit in an old cloverleaf; in 2015 improvements were announced but are stalled. The improvements to the I-55 / Crump Boulevard interchange will be accomplished by constructing new through travel lanes for mainline I-55 traffic, which will eliminate the requirement for interstate traffic to use single-lane, low-speed ramps in order to continue on I-55. A new multi-lane roundabout intersection will be constructed to replace the existing cloverleaf interchange and provide improved access to and from I-55 and existing local roadways.[15]
  • I-555 at its southern terminus through the I-55/U.S. 61/AR 77 interchange becomes a two-lane undivided highway for 0.34 mi (0.55 km).
  • Interstate 70 is one-lane only in these following locations:
  • The Mackinac Bridge, which carries I-75 over the Straits of Mackinac between St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, Michigan, has no wide median or hard shoulders due to space constraints. Nor does it have a Jersey barrier; instead, it has either a 4-inch-tall (10 cm) yellow divider between the opposing directions (where the inner lanes are a metal grate) or a flat double-yellow line (where the inner lanes are paved). The speed limit is also reduced to 45 mph (70 km/h) for cars and 20 mph (30 km/h) for trucks. The highway returns to Interstate standard for about 50 miles until it reaches the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge, which carries undivided lanes to the Canada–US border in the middle of the bridge, where I-75 terminates.
  • The Thousand Islands Bridge, which carries I-81 over part of the Saint Lawrence River, is an undivided two-lane road.
  • I-93 is a two-lane divided parkway, or a "super two", through Franconia Notch in New Hampshire. A four-lane Interstate Highway was once proposed here, but the concept was abandoned because of environmental concerns, in part because of vibrations that could harm the Old Man of the Mountain rock formation (which collapsed in 2003 regardless). This section of highway was for many years marked as US 3 and "To I-93", but these have now been replaced with regular I-93 signs. The Federal Highway Act of 1973 exempts this 7.6-mile (12.2 km) stretch from the Interstate Highway standards that apply elsewhere, and this highway is considered to be I-93 for all practical purposes.[17] This section of I-93 in New Hampshire is now the only remaining multi-mile section of two-lane freeway on an Interstate Highway in the United States. In addition, parking along portions of I-93 through Franconia Notch was permitted until early 2019 when barriers and signage were posted due to safety concerns.[18]
  • Some stretches of Interstate highway use a barrier transfer machine on some bridges to convert inner lanes from one direction to the other, where it would be too costly to upgrade/rebuild to a higher-capacity bridge. In any case the traffic distribution is strongly asymmetric depending on the hour of the day. This kind of bridge typically contains undivided lanes without the flexible Jersey barrier that is manipulated by machines.

Movable bridges

A six lane freeway in an urban area with a vertical lift bridge in the distance. A green sign with flashing lights on the right side of the road reads Drawbridge ahead 700 feet.
I-280 westbound approaching the movable Stickel Bridge over the Passaic River in New Jersey

By Interstate standard, all bridges on the Interstate system must be fixed as to not interrupt the flow of traffic. Several bridges on the system, however, are movable:

Freeway-to-freeway crosspaths without direct connection


Connection gaps

Auxiliary Interstates (also known as three-digit Interstates) are intended to connect to their parent either directly or via a same-parented Interstate (like I-280 in California being connected to I-80 via I-680). Often, these connection gaps occur to eliminate concurrencies between other three-digit routes. Freeway gaps (signed or unsigned) that officially connect auxiliary routes to the parent are excluded.

Current examples

  • I-210 in California does not currently connect directly to I-10 or any of its spurs according to freeway signage. It was signed all the way to I-10 until 1998, when California State Route 57 replaced the portion of I-210 through Covina and San Dimas to provide a proper connection to current State Route 210. The former portion of I-210 now known as SR 57 still remains on the Interstate Highway System federally defined as Interstate 210[26] maintaining its connection to I-10, but it is not signed as per Caltrans tradition to sign state highways by their state definition over their federal definition. State Route 210, built as an extension to replace Route 30, connects to I-10 further east in Redlands, and California is petitioning to have that portion signed as I-210 as well. When that happens, this gap will close.
  • I-238 does not have a parent. It was previously a part of California State Route 238 that was built to Interstate standards, and it was added to the Interstate system using the same number it had as a state highway. The exit numbers continue the mileage from the state highway instead of starting over from 1.[27]
  • None of the spurs of I-78 in New York City (I-278, I-478, I-678, I-878) connect to the parent road I-78, nor is there any surface street with a state route designation with the same number that continues with a solid connection. I-78 was planned to extend southeast through New York City via the Lower Manhattan Expressway, Williamsburg Bridge and Bushwick Expressway, then east along what is now I-878 and north along what is now I-295. I-78 would have then split into two branches (the current I-295 and I-695), which would have both terminated at I-95.[28][29] I-478 comes the closest, and would have intersected I-78 as part of the Westway project;[30]:10 this project was later canceled.[31] I-278, the only I-78 spur to leave New York City, was planned to extend northwest to I-78 at Route 24.[32] Since all the spurs are interconnected, only one of them needs to be eventually connected to its parent route for all of them to conform to numbering standards.
  • I-585 in South Carolina currently does not connect directly to I-85. Until 1995, I-85 was routed along present-day I-85 Business. In that year, I-85 was moved to the north to bypass Spartanburg while I-85 Business took over its former route, leaving I-585 without a connection to its parent route until upgrades to the existing US 176 highway are complete.[33]
  • As of July 2022, I-587 in North Carolina does not connect with its parent route, I-87. Upgrades to the existing US 264 freeway from US 64 to I-95 to Interstate standards, as well as extending I-87 via upgrades to US 64, will connect I-587 with its parent route.
  • Numerous three-digit Interstate routes are unsigned on some portions, leading some to think there are connection gaps. These so-called connection gaps do not have internal unsigned concurrencies on other Interstate highway segments between the "parent route" and signed terminus.


  1. ^ Weingroff, Richard F. (Summer 1996). "Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, Creating the Interstate System". Public Roads. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. 60 (1). Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  2. ^ "NCDOT: Asheville I-26 Connector". North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 19, 2022.
  3. ^ Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (May 19, 2012). "Report to SCOH" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 3, 2019.
  4. ^ "Alliance for I-69 Texas: More Houston Areas Freeway Added to Interstate 69". Alliance for I-69 Texas. February 28, 2013.
  5. ^ "Texas Transportation Commission Minute Order" (PDF). Texas Transportation Commission. March 26, 2015.
  6. ^ "I-69 in Martinsville opens to through traffic in both directions". I-69 Finish Line. December 23, 2021. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  7. ^ "Ohio River Crossing: ORX Section 1". I-69 Ohio River Crossing. Indiana Department of Transportation and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved December 30, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Latham, Angele (July 15, 2021). "Interstate 69 Bypass, part of 'last great American highway,' kicks off paving in Obion County". The Jackson Sun. Retrieved December 31, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Irel, Jeff (January 19, 2021). "Updates on Interstate 69, Highway 14, an east-west corridor and the Megasite". The Leader. Covington, Tennessee. Retrieved December 31, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Malme, Bob. "I-74 North Carolina Progress Page". Archived from the original on July 25, 2010. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  11. ^ Roig-Franzia, Manuel (November 22, 2001). "The Town That Stops Traffic: Travelers Encounter Way Station as Way of Life in Breezewood". The Washington Post. p. B1.
  12. ^ Google (August 28, 2009). "Intersection of 14th St (ostensibly 78 West) and Erie St" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  13. ^ "Buchanan or bust. Proposal seems to lack supporters". Boulder City Review. May 24, 2017. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  14. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (n.d.). "Road & Highway Facts". Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  15. ^ "Interstate 55 Crump Boulevard Interchange". Tennessee Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  16. ^ Google (April 15, 2021). "North America to 870 I-70" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  17. ^ Weingroff, Richard (April 7, 2011). "Interstate System Conditions and Performance". Highway History. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  18. ^ Koziol, John (May 23, 2019). "Hikers warned not to park along Franconia Notch Parkway in multi-agency crackdown". Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  19. ^ Project staff. "Home". Columbia River Crossing. Oregon Department of Transportation and Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  20. ^ Read, Richard (July 5, 2013). "Bridge Funds to Nowhere: Some of the $175 million in work for the now-defunct Columbia River Crossing might be useful someday, but much of it is just gone". The Oregonian. Portland. p. A1. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  21. ^ Theen, Andrew (September 24, 2019). "Oregon and Washington: We'll start building a new Interstate Bridge by 2025". The Oregonian. Retrieved May 11, 2023.
  22. ^ "Groundbreaking on I-64 widening, High Rise Bridge project". January 12, 2018. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  23. ^ "I-64 High-Rise Bridge project could raise economic opportunities". December 4, 2018.
  24. ^ Highway Information Services Division (December 31, 2007). Highway Location Reference. Maryland State Highway Administration. Retrieved April 15, 2009.
  25. ^ Highway Services Division (2010). "Movable Bridges on State Maintained Highways" (PDF). Maryland State Highway Administration. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
  26. ^ Federal Highway Administration. National Highway System: Los Angeles, CA (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  27. ^ Cooper, Casey. "Indigestion 238". Casey's Roads and Highways Page. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  28. ^ New York City (Map). Rand McNally and Company. 1960. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
  29. ^ A Report on Airport Requirements and Sites in the Metropolitan New Jersey–New York Region. Port of New York Authority. 1961. p. 73. OCLC 2551801.
  30. ^ West Side Hwy Project, New York: Environmental Impact Statement. West Side Hwy Project, New York: Environmental Impact Statement. New York State Department of Transportation; Federal Highway Administration. 1977. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  31. ^ Roberts, Sam (October 7, 1985). "The Legacy of Westway: Lessons from Its Demise". The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  32. ^ * Union County Sheet 1 (Map). New Jersey Department of Transportation. 1967. Retrieved February 13, 2010.
    • Union County Sheet 2 (Map). New Jersey Department of Transportation. 1967. Retrieved February 13, 2010.
  33. ^ "Greenville Spartanburg Metro 2018" (PDF). SCDOT. April 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2021.

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