U.S. Route 95 in Idaho

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U.S. Highway 95

North and South Highway[1]
US-95 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by ITD
Length538.562 mi[2] (866.732 km)
Part of the
International Selkirk Loop
Major junctions
South end US 95 at the Oregon state line
Major intersections
North end Hwy 95 in Eastport, ID
into British Columbia, Canada
CountryUnited States
CountiesOwyhee, Canyon, Payette, Washington, Adams, Idaho, Lewis, Nez Perce, Latah, Benewah, Kootenai, Bonner, Boundary
Highway system
  • Idaho State Highway System
US 93 SH-97

In the U.S. state of Idaho, U.S. Route 95 (US-95) is a north–south highway near the western border of the state, stretching from Oregon to British Columbia for over 538 miles (866 km); it was earlier known in the state as the North and South Highway.[1][3][4][5][6]

As indicated by its original name, it is the primary north-south highway in Idaho; US 95 connects the Boise metropolitan area in southwestern Idaho with the small cities of Fruitland, Payette, Weiser, and New Meadows within the Mountain Time Zone portion of the state. North of the Salmon River, where it enters the Pacific Time Zone, US 95 provides an important link to the cities of Grangeville (via SH 13), Lewiston (via US 12), and directly serves Moscow, Coeur d'Alene, Sandpoint, and Bonners Ferry, before reaching the Canadian border at its northern terminus and continuing into the province of British Columbia as Highway 95. It is also the only road to connect the Idaho Panhandle with the rest of the state.

Route description

US-95 continues into Idaho from southeastern Oregon as an undivided two-lane highway for the majority of its length. As it is the state's primary north–south highway, Idaho is in the process of widening US-95 to an Interstate-style divided four-lane highway, from the Oregon state line in the southwest to Eastport at the northern border with Canada at Kingsgate, British Columbia.

In Oregon, US-95 continues south, crosses into Nevada at McDermitt, and meets Interstate 80 at Winnemucca.

Oregon border to New Meadows

US-95 between Jordan Valley, Oregon and Marsing, Idaho

US-95 departs Malheur County, Oregon, and enters Idaho in the high desert of Owyhee County,[7] about fifty miles (80 km) southwest of Boise. It progresses north-northeast to just west of Marsing, where it meets with the southern terminus of State Highway 55. US-95 then turns briefly west, then north to Homedale, and crosses the Snake River before a junction with concurrent US-20 and US-26 as it passes through Parma. US-95 runs north concurrent with US-20/26 for eight miles (13 km).

As it proceeds north near Idaho's western border, US-95 crosses Interstate 84 (exit 3) and US-30 before proceeding north through Payette and Weiser. It continues on to Midvale, Cambridge, and Council, then climbs into the Payette National Forest, passing the Tamarack sawmill site, and turns east to New Meadows. Here, US-95 joins with Highway 55, the two-lane undivided route that connects to Boise through McCall, Cascade, and Horseshoe Bend. The elevation at the junction in New Meadows is 3,865 feet (1,178 m) above sea level.

Meadows Valley to Lewiston

A geographical information site on Hwy 95 between Riggins and White Bird. The Salmon River is on the left as we face north.

US-95 continues north through Meadows Valley north of the junction, then descends 2,000 feet (610 m) with the Little Salmon River to Riggins, tree-sparse but surrounded by mile-high mountains (vertical drop). Immediately after Riggins, the highway crosses the main Salmon River, crossing from the Mountain Time Zone to the Pacific Time Zone;[8][9] the current tied-arch Goff Bridge was completed in 1999, replacing the truss edition of 1936; the original bridge was built in 1911 and moved to Stites in 1936.[9]

Northbound US-95 gradually descends with the widening river, crossing it two more times (re-entering the Mountain Time Zone and leaving it within a half-mile), until White Bird, where it climbs 2,700 vertical feet (825 m) in seven miles (11 km) to the cut at the top of White Bird Hill, peaking at an elevation of 4,245 feet (1,294 m) with an average gradient of over 7%. The steeper, straighter, and faster multi-lane grade was opened in 1975, after ten challenging years of construction.[10] The two-lane road of 1921 to the east was first paved in 1938; it left the Salmon River at White Bird Creek following it up through the town of White Bird, and then gradually climbed the grade in twice the distance, with multiple switchback curves.[11] The arcs, if combined, would form 37 full 360° circles, an average of 950° per mile (590° per km).[12] Following the completion of the new steel bridge over White Bird Creek,[13][14] the new routing opened in June 1975, ending a decade of construction.[10] The new Lewiston grade to the north was finished in just over two years.[15]

North of the summit, US-95 descends in a steep but relatively short descent to the Camas Prairie and Grangeville at 3,390 feet (1,030 m). The highway then travels northwest towards Cottonwood, whose bypass was finished in 1976,[16] then enters the Nez Perce Indian Reservation.[17] New route construction in the early 1990s bypassed the main streets of Ferdinand and Craigmont.[18][19][20] The new routing is now above, rather than in, the curvy Lawyers Creek Canyon between the cities, crossing the canyon on an elevated bridge constructed in 1991.[21][22][23] Lawyers Canyon is named after Chief Lawyer (c.1801–76) of the Nez Perce, nicknamed for his skill in dealing with the encroaching whites; he is buried in Kamiah.[24] US-95 winds its way westward across the high prairie, near the many timber railroad trestles of the Camas Prairie Railroad, to just east of Winchester. Here, at just under 4,000 feet (1,220 m), the highway turns northward and descends over 3,000 vertical feet (900 m), mostly in the Lapwai Canyon, passing Culdesac, Lapwai, and Spalding at 807 feet (246 m).

Until 1960, US-95 was routed through Winchester and descended Culdesac Hill, considered the worst of the three major grades (White Bird, Lewiston), all of which were extremely twisty.[25] The new route through Lapwai Canyon was built in three years and reduced the distance by over four miles (6 km) and saved 25 minutes of driving time.[26][27] After Spalding, it then proceeds towards the bridge over the Clearwater River to join with US-12 and depart the reservation. The current bridge for US-12 upstream at Arrow replaced the old Spalding bridge in 1973;[28][29][30][31] ice jams on the river a decade earlier shifted it.[30][32]

After crossing the Clearwater on the new Spalding bridge (1962),[33] US-95 joins with US-12 for seven miles (11 km) along its north bank, heading westward, adding lanes, and gradually descending toward Lewiston. About midway along the co-sign, the reservation is departed; the highways split several miles later at Lewiston's northeast edge. US-12 briefly turns south to re-cross the river into the city center, and then west to cross the Snake River into Clarkston, Washington.

Lewiston grade to Canada

Lewiston and Clarkston, WA
(old grade in foreground)

US-95 turns northeast, then westward to climb a steep grade, gaining over 1,900 feet (580 m) in five miles (8 km), ascending to the southern edge of the rolling Palouse region, referred to by many locals as the "Lewiston Hill". The multi-lane grade (averaging over 7%) was opened on October 28, 1977, after 27 months of construction and two decades of planning.[15][34] It replaced the Lewiston Spiral Highway, a narrow and switchback-laden 1917 route to the west with 64 spiral curves and about twice the length; it is visible from a scenic overlook.[35] Similar to the White Bird Hill grade, the descending southbound lanes on the new route have three "runaway truck ramps" to halt any vehicles that experience brake failure.[36]

Just north of the Lewiston grade is a junction with US-195, which proceeds north in Washington to Pullman and Spokane. US-95 continues north in Idaho on the Palouse as a four-lane divided highway (roadcam), completed in October 2007 to Thorn Creek Road, midway between Genesee and Moscow.[37] It then reverts to a two-lane undivided roadway for several miles until Moscow, home of the University of Idaho. Scheduled to be completed first, the divided highway construction between Thorn Creek and Moscow was put on hold, due to new right-of-way and environmental impact concerns.[38][39]

In Moscow, US-95 is diverted a block to either side of Main Street onto multi-lane one-way arterials: northbound on Washington Street, southbound on Jackson Street. The original couplets of 1981[40][41] used existing streets and were later modified to eliminate sharp right angle turns which were difficult for large trucks to safely manage. The north end couplets were completed in the early 1990s,[42][43][44] the south end in 2000.[45] The construction on the northeast couplet forced the demolition of a noted Moscow watering hole's original west end in January 1991,[46][47][48] after staving off its elimination for over a decade.[49]

North of Moscow, US-95 resumes as an undivided two-lane highway. As it leaves Latah County, it gradually departs the Palouse and enters the lake country region of the north Panhandle. As it enters Benewah County, US-95 enters the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation. US-95 intersects State Highway 5 in Plummer. US-95 becomes a four-lane divided highway as it leaves Worley and has an interchange with State Highway 58. This recently completed section bypasses the tribal casino and its Circling Raven golf course. US-95 continues north as a divided highway until just south of the Spokane River, where US-95 enters downtown Coeur d'Alene.

US 95 looking northbound at mile marker 419.9 south of Coeur d'Alene

US-95 becomes an arterial street and crosses over Interstate 90 Business (Northwest Boulevard) at an interchange. US-95 crosses Interstate 90 at exit 12 and becomes a divided highway north to Hayden, then as an undivided highway past State Highway 54 and Farragut State Park. After crossing Lake Pend Oreille on the 1.1-mile (1.8 km) Sandpoint Long Bridge,[50][51][52] US-95 enters Sandpoint and has a junction with US-2. The two routes run concurrent for 35 miles (56 km), until a few miles after Bonners Ferry, where US-2 heads east into Montana and southeast to Libby, while US-95 continues north for 29 miles (47 km) to the Canadian border at Eastport. At the border, US-95 meets BC 95, which continues northeastward in British Columbia to Cranbrook.

As of 2019, ITD had started a construction project at US-95's intersection with State Route 53 to reconfigure the intersection, replacing the current signalized intersection with a Single Point Urban Interchange. The project will straighten out ID 53 over the nearby train tracks, remove an intersection with Garwood Rd with a new bridge, and extend the frontage road on the east side to Garwood Rd.


US-95 was established in 1926 as one of the original routes in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) system of national highways. It originally terminated at U.S. Route 30 north of Parma, near the Oregon state line, and was wholly located within Idaho except for a small segment in Washington state northwest of Lewiston.[53][54] Prior to the designation, the north–south highway was part of State Highway 24 (the number has since re-purposed for another highway).[55]

An auxiliary route, numbered US 95E, was established in 1927 between Potlatch and Coeur d'Alene and later replaced by US 95 Alternate.[56] A proposal to extend US 95 south was considered by the AASHTO in 1937, but deferred until 1940 while routes in Oregon were improved. US-95 then was extended through Oregon and Nevada to California, terminating near Blythe.[57] A proposal to expand the newly-constructed expressway sections of US 95 into a full-fledged Interstate Highway was considered by the state government in the late 1980s.[58]

Since the 1990s, sections of the highway between Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint have been widened to four lanes and gained limited-access grade separation.[59]

Major intersections

US 95 south – Jordan Valley
Continuation into Oregon
SH-55 north – Boise, Nampa
SH-19 west

SH-19 east to I-84 – Caldwell

US 20 east / US 26 east – Boise
Southern end of US 20 / US 26 overlap

US 20 west / US 26 west – Nyssa, Ontario
Northern end of US 20 / US 26 overlap
I-84 – Boise, Ontario, PortlandI-84 exit 3
US 30 east – Boise
Southern end of US-30 overlap

US 30 west to I-84 – Ontario, Portland
Northern end of US-30 overlap

Main Street (US 95 Spur north) to SH-52 west
Former alignment of US-95
68.372110.034 SH-52 – Emmett
E. Main Street (US 95 Spur)
SH-71 north (Hells Canyon Scenic Byway) – Brownlee Dam
AdamsNew Meadows160.934258.998
SH-55 south (Payette River Scenic Byway) – Cascade Dam
Mountain Time Zone
SH-13 north – Kooskia
crosses the time zone boundary three times in Idaho County (between Riggins and White Bird); Grangeville is in Pacific Time Zone
Nez Perce304.388–

US 12 east – Orofino, Missoula
Interchange; southern end of US 12 overlap

US 12 west – Lewiston, Clarkston, Walla Walla
Interchange; northern end of US 12 overlap

US 195 north – Pullman, Spokane
Interchange; northbound exit and southbound entrance; former US-95 north
US 95 Spur to US 195 – Pullman, Spokane, Uniontown
US-95 Spur unsigned; former US-95 south
SH-8 east – Troy
Southern end of SH-8 overlap
SH-8 west – Pullman
Northern end of SH-8 overlap
SH-66 west – Palouse
SH-6 west – Palouse
Southern end of SH-6 overlap
SH-6 east – Potlatch
Northern end of SH-6 overlap
SH-60 west – Willard, Tekoa

SH-5 south to SH-3 – St. Maries

SH-58 west – Rockford
Coeur d'Alene429.612–
I-90 BL – Downtown Coeur d'AleneInterchange, former US-10
I-90 – Spokane, MissoulaI-90 exit 12; interchange.
SH-53 south – Rathdrum, Spokane
SH-54 west – Spirit Lake, Farragut State Park

US 2 west / SH-200 east (Pend Oreille Scenic Byway) – Priest River, Cabinet Gorge Dam
Interchange; southern end of US-2 overlap
US 2 east – Kalispell, Glacier National Park
Northern end of US-2 overlap
SH-1 north – Porthill, Creston
Eastport-Kingsgate Border Crossing538.562866.732 Hwy 95 north – CranbrookContinuation into Canada
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Special routes

Related routes


  1. ^ a b "North & South Highway bringing to reality old dreams of united Idaho". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). May 3, 1936. p. 1.
  2. ^ a b Idaho Transportation Department. "Milepost Log, US 95" (PDF). Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  3. ^ "Highway plans". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). March 5, 1920. p. 12.
  4. ^ "Average of 400 autos daily uses North & South Highway". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). December 19, 1937. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Idaho: scenic road knits north and south". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (progress edition). January 26, 1947. p. 4.
  6. ^ "North and South Highway helped bind state together". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). October 6, 1955. p. 2, sec.2.
  7. ^ Idaho Historical Markers - Owyhee Country
  8. ^ "Time Zone Bridge over Salmon River heading west". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. May 19, 1997. p. A7.
  9. ^ a b Johnson, David (June 21, 1997). "Time (zone) marches on". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 1A.
  10. ^ a b Roche, Kevin (June 17, 1975). "'Goat trail' symbol breaks as Whitebird route opens". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 12A.
  11. ^ "New Idaho road will rival Lewiston hill". Spokane Daily Chronicle. November 27, 1918. p. 8.
  12. ^ Idaho Historical Markers - White Bird
  13. ^ Woods, Roy C. (June 15, 1975). "New Whitebird bridge". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (photo). p. 1.
  14. ^ "Whitebird bridge abutment repairs planned". Lewiston Morning Tribune. July 29, 1976. p. 18A.
  15. ^ a b Harrell, Sylvia (October 27, 1977). "The new hill route: $12 million and two decades in the making". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 1D.
  16. ^ "Cottonwood bypass open to U.S. traffic". Lewiston Morning Tribune. July 13, 1976. p. 7A.
  17. ^ "The Nez Perce Reservation with a Map Insert of Idaho" (PDF). Nez Perce Tribe. Geographic Information Systems. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  18. ^ "Highway work underway in Lawyer's Canyon". Idahonian. (Moscow). June 1, 1988. p. 7A.
  19. ^ Hedberg, Kathy (November 10, 1988). "Citizenry unhappy with reborn U.S. 95 proposal". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 1C.
  20. ^ "Opposition heard on U.S. 95 work". Idahonian. (Moscow). Associated Press. November 10, 1988. p. 5A.
  21. ^ Pettit, Diane (July 16, 1989). "Lawyers Canyon road construction enters second phase this month". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 1D.
  22. ^ "Lawyers Canyon Bridge set to open today". Lewiston Morning Tribune. October 8, 1991. p. 8A.
  23. ^ Idaho Transportation Dept. - Bridge deck rehabilitation - 2010-08-06 - accessed 2011-09-25
  24. ^ Ruark, Janice (February 23, 1977). "Lawyer lead Nez Perce in peace before war". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 3.
  25. ^ Carter, Jack (July 4, 1960). "Winding Winchester grade won't bother much longer". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 10.
  26. ^ "Culdesac cutoff finished in 1960". Lewiston Morning Tribune. January 2, 1961. p. 5.
  27. ^ Hughes, John B. (June 29, 1958). "New Culdesac cutoff to be scenic wonder". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 1-sec.2.
  28. ^ "Bridge opens". Spokane Daily Chronicle. February 21, 1973. p. 5.
  29. ^ "New bridge will open today". Lewiston Morning Tribune. February 21, 1973. p. 12.
  30. ^ a b Harrell, Sylvia (February 22, 1973). "First cars move across highway bridge at Arrow". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 17.
  31. ^ Swank, Gladys Rae (July 10, 1967). "Highway building pushed in Idaho". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 5.
  32. ^ "Idaho bridge shifts". Spokane Daily Chronicle. February 5, 1963. p. 1.
  33. ^ "Highway bridge stands ready to carry traffic to nowhere". Lewiston Morning Tribune. December 6, 1962. p. 20.
  34. ^ "Highway replaces 'goat trail'". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. October 17, 1977. p. 3.
  35. ^ "Lewiston Spiral Highway". Lewiston Morning Tribune. October 27, 1977. p. 6D.
  36. ^ "Truck escape". Spokane Daily Chronicle. AP. October 17, 1977. p. 3.
  37. ^ "U.S. 95 widening will be celebrated". The Spokesman-Review. October 18, 2007. p. B3.
  38. ^ Matson, Malia (May 15, 2004). "More work on U.S. Highway 95 planned for spring 2005". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 3A.
  39. ^ Doyle, Megan (January 19, 2006). "Path of least resistance". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 1A.
  40. ^ "Which way do I go?". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. Spring 1982. p. 34.
  41. ^ "One way or another". Argonaut. August 25, 1981. p. 4.
  42. ^ Long, Ben (June 4, 1991). "Crews start rerouting Moscow street". Idahonian. p. 12A.
  43. ^ Goetsch, Lara (July 10, 1991). "1st traffic flow through Moscow couplet". Idahonian. p. 12A.
  44. ^ "Clarkston firm wins Moscow project". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. March 27, 1992. p. 12A.
  45. ^ "Moscow work will divert traffic". Lewiston Morning Tribune. July 27, 2000. p. 7A.
  46. ^ Long, Ben (December 7, 1990). "Roadwork ends party in half of Corner Club". Idahonian. p. 1A.
  47. ^ Long, Ben (January 9, 1991). "A real bar bash: Corner Club demolished". Idahonian. p. 1A.
  48. ^ Bartlett, Maureen (January 15, 1991). "Local "watering hole" torn down". Argonaut. p. 17.
  49. ^ Johnson, David (September 2, 1979). "To the Club for a tub!". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 1B.
  50. ^ "Dedication set today for Sandpoint bridge but opening doubtful". Spokane Daily Chronicle. June 22, 1956. p. 1.
  51. ^ "Sandpoint span due next year". Spokane Daily Chronicle. October 23, 1980. p. 5.
  52. ^ Jensen, Janet (August 5, 1981). "Bridge almost finished". The Spokesman-Review. p. c4.
  53. ^ Bureau of Public Roads & American Association of State Highway Officials (November 11, 1926). United States System of Highways Adopted for Uniform Marking by the American Association of State Highway Officials (Map). 1:7,000,000. Washington, DC: United States Geological Survey. OCLC 32889555. Retrieved November 7, 2013 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  54. ^ Rand McNally Official 1926 Auto Trails Map: Idaho-Montana-Wyoming (Map). Rand McNally. OCLC 289456074.
  55. ^ Pulvers' Auto Highway Map, State of Idaho Including Western Montana (Map). Seattle: Edward W. Pulver. June 6, 1925. OCLC 696620763.
  56. ^ Executive Committee (October 3, 1927). "Minutes of Executive Committee" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway Officials. p. 3. Retrieved February 11, 2023 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  57. ^ Weingroff, Richard (October 17, 2008). "U.S. 95 and Idaho's North and South Highway". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  58. ^ Trillhasse, Marty (December 14, 1987). "Idaho on road to north-south freeway". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 10A. Retrieved September 10, 2018 – via Google News Archive.
  59. ^ Russell, Betsy Z. (April 9, 2017). "Two major Highway 95 projects in North Idaho could be funded under transportation bill". Spokesman-Review. Retrieved March 18, 2019.

External links

U.S. Route 95
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