Interstate 90

Interstate 90

Infobox road

length_ref=Fact|date=July 2008
terminus_a=Jct|state=WA|SR|519 in Seattle, WA
junction=Jct|state=WA|I|5 in Seattle, WA
Jct|state=MT|I|15 near Butte, MT
Jct|state=WY|I|25 near Buffalo, WY
Jct|state=SD|I|29 in Sioux Falls, SD
Jct|state=WI|I|39 in Madison, WI
Jct|state=IL|I|55 in Chicago, IL
Jct|state=IN|I|65 in Gary, IN
Jct|state=OH|I|75 near Toledo, OH
Jct|state=NY|I|87 in Albany, NY
Jct|state=MA|I|95 near Boston, MA
terminus_b=Jct|state=MA|Route|1A in Boston, MA

Interstate 90 (I-90) is the longest interstate highway in the United States at nearly 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers). It is the northernmost coast-to-coast interstate. Its western terminus is in Seattle, Washington, at 4th Avenue S. next to Safeco Field and Qwest Field, and its eastern terminus is in Boston, Massachusetts, at Route 1A near Logan International Airport. It crosses the Continental Divide just east of Butte, Montana.

From the Wisconsin/Illinois border east, the majority of I-90 is tolled, along the following toll roads (several of which predate the Interstate system): the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, Chicago Skyway, Indiana Toll Road, Ohio Turnpike, New York State Thruway, and the Massachusetts Turnpike, including the Ted Williams Tunnel. It is free through downtown Chicago; Greater Cleveland and the rest of northeastern Ohio; Pennsylvania; and through brief sections near Buffalo, Albany, and Boston.

Route description



In 2003, the Seattle terminus was re-engineered to better accommodate traffic from the two nearby sports stadiums. I-90 westbound still ends at its previous location next to Qwest Field, but eastbound begins about 1/4 mile (0.4 km) south at Edgar Martínez Drive S. near the roof shed of Safeco Field at an interchange with 4th Avenue S.

The tunnel that carries Interstate 90 under the Mount Baker Ridge is on the National Register of Historic Places. The east portal of the tunnel (visible when entering Seattle from the east) is constructed as a "bas relief" concrete sculpture.

I-90 incorporates two of the longest floating bridges in the world, the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge and the Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge, which cross Lake Washington from Seattle to Mercer Island, Washington. They are the second and fifth longest such bridges, respectively.

Forty miles east of Bellevue I-90 traverses the Cascade Range's Snoqualmie Pass, elevation convert|3022|ft|m. At mile 137, it crosses the Columbia River on the Vantage Bridge, and after entering Spokane near mile 279, enters Idaho convert|20|mi|km later.

Since 1980, I-90 from Seattle to Thorp, WA, was designated the Mountains To Sound Greenway to protect its outstanding scenic and cultural resources. [cite web | url= | title= Mountains To Sound Greenway (Washington)]

Washington Law Defining Route

The Washington section of I-90 is defined in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW 47.17.140). [cite web |url= |title=RCW 47.17.140 State route No. 90 — American Veterans Memorial Highway |accessdate=2007-08-29 |publisher=Access Washington -- Official State Government Website ]


The small town of Wallace, Idaho still prides itself on having what was the last stop light on I-90. Its downtown has many historical buildings, which would have been wiped out by the original planned route of the freeway, so in 1976, city leaders had the downtown placed on the National Register of Historic Places. As a result, the federal government was forced at great expense to reroute the freeway to the northern edge of downtown and elevate it. That section of I-90 opened in September 1991. A bicycle path is routed beneath part of that segment.


Until 1995 in Montana near the Idaho border, I-90 was not a divided highway for a few stretches, having only a narrow paved median. From 1995 until 1999, the speed limit in Montana was "reasonable and prudent"; it is now 75 mph (120 km/h). On the I-90, at Exit 00 (right on the MT/ID border) is the Lookout Pass Ski Area, and one exit east of there is the Hiawatha Trail (rails-to-trails).


At the Montana border I-90 is a four-lane divided highway with a grass median. At Buffalo, Wyoming (if travelling eastward from the north) it diverges from I-25 with a more east-west orientation.

outh Dakota

The South Dakota section of I-90 is defined at South Dakota Codified Laws § 31-4-184. [cite web |url= |title=South Dakota Codified Laws |accessdate=2007-08-29 |publisher= [ South Dakota Legislature - Legislative Research Council] ]

Near Rapid City, South Dakota at the Wyoming border I-90 is a four lane divided highway with a grass median. In the Sioux Falls area, I-90 intersects I-29 and continues east a short distance to Minnesota. I-90 is the largest east-west thoroughfare in South Dakota.


The Minnesota section of I-90 is defined as Route 391 in Minnesota Statutes § 161.12(3). [cite web |url= |title=161.12, Minnesota Statutes 2006 |accessdate=2007-08-29 |year=2006 |publisher= [ Minnesota State Legislature, Office of the Revisor of Statutes] ]

I-90 crosses southern Minnesota from the South Dakota border near Sioux Falls to the Mississippi River near La Crosse, Wisconsin. On most of its length in the state, it is close to the Iowa border and fairly parallel with it. In southeast Minnesota, it curves north to Rochester.


I-90 crosses Wisconsin from Minnesota to Illinois in a generally southeasterly direction. It joins I-94 in Tomah and I-39 in Portage. I-94 separates from I-90 at Madison.

I-39/90/94 from just south of Portage to Madison is the longest concurrency of three interstate highways in the United States.


In the state of Illinois, Interstate 90 enters Illinois north of Rockford oriented north-south joined with Interstate 39. It then runs east-southeast directly to the city of Chicago. From Rockford to Interstate 294 the road is tolled and called the Northwest Tollway. In 2007, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority renamed the Northwest Tollway, the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. In the Chicago metropolitan area, I-90 is known by three names from O'Hare International Airport to the Indiana state line. The Kennedy Expressway runs from O'Hare to Interstate 290 and the Chicago Loop. I-90 continues running south of the Loop on part of the Dan Ryan Expressway, and then southeast onto the tolled Chicago Skyway into Indiana.


In the state of Indiana, Interstate 90 runs over the Indiana Toll Road. Interstate 90 enters from Illinois at the Chicago Skyway. It then runs to the concurrency of Interstates 80/94 east of Interstate 65, where I-80 leaves I-94 and joins with I-90. The combined I-80/90 route runs east across northern Indiana and near the southern border of Michigan to the Ohio state line.

As part of the Toll Road, I-80/90 passes to the north of South Bend and Elkhart. It also passes north of Angola at Interstate 69.


The Indiana Toll Road turns into the Ohio Turnpike as it crosses the border. I-90 follows the Ohio Turnpikeuntil Lorain (west of Cleveland), where it turns north to follow a route near the shores of Lake Erie.

In Cleveland, Interstate 90 serves as the Innerbelt at the confluence of the northern termini of Interstates 71 and 77. One of the most peculiar and hazardous stretches of Interstate 90 is the section of highway passing through downtown, known locally as Dead Man's Curve. Here, the road takes a nearly 90-degree turn. [cite web |url=,+OH&t=h&hl=en&ll=41.515872,-81.672256&spn=0.011809,0.029697&om=1 |title=Cleveland, Ohio Google Maps satellite view |accessdate=2007-08-29 ] While there are plenty of large signs, flashing lights, and rumble strips alerting motorists to this turn, there have still been a large number of accidents due to inattentive motorists. There are plans to realign the freeway along a shallower curve within the next decade, as part of a larger project to improve the highway system in Cleveland. [cite web |url= |title=Cleveland Urban Core Projects |accessdate=2007-08-29 |publisher=Ohio Department of Transportation ]

The Innerbelt in Cleveland also utilizes a steel-gusset bridge of the same design as the I35W bridge that failed in Minneapolis. Beginning September 30, two lanes in each direction of the 8 lane bridge were closed to reduce the weight load on the structure. The bridge is currently under close inspection as it has deteriorated greatly over the last few years. On Wednesday night, October 8 the bridge will be closed entirely to undergo a stress test. Many in the Cleveland area are beginning to question the safety of the bridge, and ODOT continues to stress that the bridge is safe and if there was any immenent danger it would be closed permanently.


I-90 goes from the Ohio state line through Erie, Pennsylvania, and then leaves Pennsylvania for New York.

While not an interstate, a portion of Pennsylvania Route 5 in Erie has recently been named Pennsylvania Route 290. The purpose is to encourage travelers to use this stretch of Erie's 12th Street as a loop, connecting Interstate 79 and 90 to the Bayfront Connector and downtown Erie.

New York

I-90 becomes the New York State Thruway upon entering New York. It follows the Lake Erie coast until Buffalo, where it joins the old Water Level Route until Albany. There, it takes a short detour before joining the New York State Thruway Berkshire Connector.

Almost all of the New York portion of the road is a toll road, comprising the east-west portion of the New York State Thruway mainline and part of the Berkshire Connector, operated by the New York State Thruway Authority. It was originally constructed as part of the Thruway project in the middle 1950s and received its current designation as Interstate 90 in 1958. "I-90" (operated by NYSDOT) carries Interstate 90 between the two; however, the Berkshire Section directly connects to the mainline (at Thruway interchange 21A) 6.5 miles (10.5 km) west of the point where I-90 joins it (at Thruway interchange B1).

The mileposts and exit numbers on the New York State Thruway mainline originate at the New York City line and increase northward along Interstate 87 and westward along Interstate 90. As a result, mileposts and exit numbers on the I-90 section of the Thruway mainline increase from east to west, contrary to modern practices where numbers increase from the west or south. The NYSDOT-maintained portion in between, known to locals as "Freebie 90," does number its mileage and exits in the traditional west-to-east method. (Ironically, "Freebie 90" is oriented geographically north-south for most of its length, so the exit numbers seem to increase from north to south.) Exit and milepost numbering starts over again when the Berkshire Section of the Thruway begins, with exit and mile numbers preceded by the letter B (Exit B1, Exit B2, Mile B1, Mile B2, and so on).

There once were two metric-only signs on the westbound New York State Thruway around Syracuse, which is about 100 miles (161 km) from Canada. The NYS Thruway Authority decided to test metric signage, which may have briefly included an 88 km/h speed limit sign, on the Thruway. There was also a sign displaying the distance to the Interstate 81 interchange in kilometers in Dewitt. These signs are now displayed in just miles.

I-90 is the only Interstate having a complete set of nine spur routes (190, 290, 390...890, 990) within one state, which is in New York. (Interstate 80 has a complete set in different states.) In addition, I-990, a short spur route near Buffalo, New York not directly connected to I-90, is the highest number given to an Interstate.

I-790 in Utica used to have a completely direct connection with the I-90 at Thruway interchange 31. Various road redesign projects over the years have eventually led to this direct connection being partially severed. Traffic "exiting" the Thruway must use two different surface streets to reach I-790. However, it is still possible to travel from I-790 directly "onto" the Thruway. I-790 has some other oddities: no exit numbers, no reassurance markers, and it runs concurrent with New York State Route 5 for its entire length.

The New York section of I-90 west of the Berkshire section of the New York Thruway is defined as Interstate Route 504 in New York Highway Law § 340-a. [cite web |url=$$HAY340-A$$@TXHAY0340-A+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=24884763+&TOKEN=38521156+&TARGET=VIEW |accessdate=2007-08-29 |title=(Title Forthcoming)]


I-90 in Massachusetts runs along the pre-Interstate era Massachusetts Turnpike, which opened on May 15, 1957 from West Stockbridge at the New York state border to Massachusetts Route 128.

The first section of the "Boston Extension" opened in September 1964 from the original terminus at Route 128 to the Allston/Brighton Tolls. The entire Boston Extension opened on February 18, 1965 continuing from the Allston/Brighton Tolls to I-93 in Downtown Boston. The new extension added convert|12|mi|km to the MassPike's original 123.

I-90 was extended again as part of the Big Dig from its terminus at I-93 to Boston's Logan International Airport and a terminus of Route 1A in January 2003 via tunnels under the Fort Point Channel and the Ted Williams Tunnel under Boston Harbor. This extended I-90 by an additional 1.3 miles (2.1 km), shifting the eastern terminus to Route 1A.

Turnpike Doubles are permitted to travel between exit 11 and through the New York state border.


I-90 made heavy use of existingroads. The Massachusetts Turnpike, New York State Thruway, Ohio Turnpike, Indiana Toll Road, Chicago Skyway, and Northwest Tollway all predate I-90 and were used for parts of its route. This also means that substantial portions of the route are not precisely to interstate standards, but they are usually close.

Major intersections

*Interstate 5 in Seattle, Washington
*Interstate 405 in Bellevue, Washington
*Interstate 82 in Ellensburg, Washington
*Interstate 15 in Butte, Montana; joined for 7.65 miles (12.31 km)
*Interstate 94 in Billings, Montana
*Interstate 25 in Buffalo, Wyoming
*Interstate 29 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
*Interstate 35 in Albert Lea, Minnesota
*Interstate 94 in Tomah, Wisconsin; joined for 91.76 miles (147.67 km) until Madison, Wisconsin.
*Interstate 39 in Portage, Wisconsin; joined for about 95 miles (152 km) until Rockford, Illinois.
*Interstate 43 in Beloit, Wisconsin
*Interstate 94 in Chicago, Illinois; joined for 16.71 miles (26.89 km)
*Interstate 55 in Chicago, Illinois
*Interstate 65 in Gary, Indiana
*Interstate 94 in Lake Station, Indiana
*Interstate 80 in Lake Station, Indiana; joined for 278.40 miles (448.04 km) until Lorain, Ohio.
*Interstate 69 in Fremont, Indiana
*Interstate 75 in Toledo, Ohio
*Interstate 71 in Cleveland, Ohio
*Interstate 77 in Cleveland, Ohio
*Interstate 271 in Willoughby, Ohio
*Interstate 79 in Erie, Pennsylvania
*Interstate 86 in Erie, Pennsylvania
*Interstate 81 in Syracuse, New York
*Interstate 88 in Rotterdam, New York
*Interstate 87 in Albany, New York
*Interstate 91 in West Springfield, Massachusetts
*Interstate 291 in Chicopee, Massachusetts
*Interstate 84 in Sturbridge, Massachusetts
*Interstate 395 in Auburn, Massachusetts
*Interstate 495 in Hopkinton, Massachusetts
*Interstate 95 in Weston, Massachusetts [ [,+MA&ll=42.337103,-71.261959&spn=0.028570,0.045010&hl=en Map] ]
*Interstate 93 in Boston, Massachusetts [ [,+MA&ll=42.343574,-71.065407&spn=0.114266,0.180038&hl=en Map] ]

Auxiliary routes

*Rapid City, South Dakota - I-190
*Chicago, Illinois - I-190 (provides a direct route to O'Hare International Airport), I-290
*Cleveland, Ohio - I-490
*Buffalo, New York - I-190, I-290, I-990
*Rochester, New York - I-390, I-490, I-590 (not directly connected)
*Syracuse, New York - I-690
*Utica, New York - I-790
*Schenectady, New York - I-890
*Spur to I-495 in Marlborough, Massachusetts - I-290
*Spur to Leominster, Massachusetts - I-190

I-90 is the only interstate to have a complete set of auxiliary routes within a single state, that being New York.


External links

* [ Illinois Highway Ends: I-90]
* [ Indiana Highway Ends: I-90]

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