Interstate 55


Interstate 55

Interstate 55 marker

Interstate 55
Route information
Length: 964.25 mi[1] (1,551.81 km)
Major junctions
South end: I-10 in Laplace, LA
  I-20 in Jackson, MS
I-40 near Memphis, TN
I-44 in St. Louis, MO
I-64 / I-70 in St. Louis, MO
I-80 near Joliet, IL
I-90 / I-94 in Chicago, IL
North end: US 41 in Chicago, IL
Highway system

Main route of the Interstate Highway System
Main • Auxiliary • Business

Interstate 55 (I-55) is an Interstate Highway in the central United States. Its odd number indicates that it is a north–south Interstate Highway. I-55 goes from LaPlace, Louisiana at Interstate 10 to Chicago at U.S. Route 41 (Lake Shore Drive), at McCormick Place. A common nickname for the highway is "double nickel."

The section of I-55 between Chicago and St. Louis was built as an alternate route for U.S. Highway 66. It crosses the Mississippi River twice: once at Memphis, Tennessee, and again at St. Louis, Missouri.

In 2009, officials in Green Bay, Wisconsin, began a campaign to have U.S. Route 41 in that area designated as I-55. A section of US 41 in Wisconsin is in the process of being rebuilt as an Interstate Highway. Some local officials in the Green Bay area think that designating US 41 as Interstate 55 would bring additional attention to that area. The main alternative is designating that highway as a spur of I-43.[2]

Contents

Route description

Lengths
  mi[1] km
LA 65.81 105.91
MS 290.41 467.37
TN 12.28 19.76
AR 72.22 116.22
MO 210.45 338.69
IL 313.08 503.85
Total 964.25 1,551.81

Louisiana

In Louisiana, I-55 runs nearly 66 miles (106 km) from south to north, from Interstate 10 near Laplace (25 miles (40 km) west of New Orleans) to the Mississippi state line near Kentwood, Louisiana. Approximately 1/3 of the distance consists of the Manchac Swamp bridge, supposedly the third-longest viaduct in the world.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, I-55 runs 290.5 miles (467.5 km) from the Louisiana border near Osyka, Mississippi to Southaven on the Tennessee border, just south of Memphis. Noteworthy cities and towns that I-55 passes through or close by to are McComb, Jackson, and Grenada. This highway parallels U.S. 51 in its path roughly through the center of Mississippi.

The Mississippean section of I-55 is defined in the Mississippi Code § 65-3-3.

I-44/55/64/70 on one highway sign in downtown St. Louis

I-55 in this area is sometimes called the Mississippi Delta Highway because of its proximity to the Mississippi River.[citation needed] The eight miles (13 km) from Hernando to the Tennessee state line coincide with the newer Interstate 69.

Tennessee

I-55 in Tennessee lies entirely within the city of Memphis, passing through the southern and western parts of the city and providing a bypass of downtown for motorists who do not want to take Interstates I-240 and I-40 through downtown to cross the Mississippi River. However, the western portion of this highway, which passes through an industrialized section of the city, contains numerous low-clearance bridges, and also a very tight 270 degree cloverleaf turn northbound at Crump Boulevard. The Tennessee Department of Transportation currently has an Interchange Improvement Project for this portion. Heavy truck traffic heading to and from Arkansas in this area is hence directed to detour via I-240 and I-40.

I-255 was the former numbering of I-240 between I-55 and I-40 through midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

I-55 splits from I-40 here in West Memphis and heads north toward Jonesboro and the Missouri border.

Arkansas

I-55 enters Arkansas from Tennessee as it crosses the Mississippi river. It overlaps I-40 for approximately 2.8 miles (4.5 km) in West Memphis. After separating from I-40, I-55 turns northward and runs to the Missouri border, via the intersection with the stretch of U.S. 63 that holds the future alignment of the new Arkansas Interstate 555.

I-55 parallels U.S. 61 in its path through Arkansas, which it continues to do after crossing into Missouri.

Missouri

In Missouri, I-55 runs from the southeastern part of the state, at the Arkansas border, to St. Louis. In this city, Interstate 44 merges in with I-55, and both join Interstate 64 and Interstate 70 (on the Poplar Street Bridge), then cross the Mississippi River into Illinois.

Among the cities and towns served by I-55 in Missouri are Sikeston, Cape Girardeau, and St. Louis.

As noted above, I-55 parallels US Highway 61 for most of its course through Missouri, from the Arkansas border to the Southern portion of St. Louis County.

Illinois

Northern terminus at Lake Shore Drive/U.S. Route 41 in Chicago.

I-55 largely follows the former U.S. 66 route through Illinois. Entering Illinois from the south, I-55, near the I-270/I-70 split, is referred to as the Paul Simon Freeway. This is in reference to the former U.S. Congressman Paul Simon from this region. Further north, between the St. Louis area and Springfield, I-55 is named The Vince Demuzio Expressway in reference to Illinois state politician Vince Demuzio. I-55 parallels the historic U.S. Route 66 from East St. Louis to Joliet, Illinois, passing around the state capital of Springfield, and also Bloomington.

When this expressway was being planned during the 1960s, the Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, Jr., made an effort to have the expressway routed close to the larger city of Peoria instead of the straighter route through the Bloomington-Normal area. This ultimately failed plan was ridiculed in the press as the "Kerner Curve". The transportation need of an expressway connection between Springfield and Peoria was later filled by the spur route Interstate 155. This also connects with nearby Lincoln and Morton and forms a triangle between the three population centers in Central Illinois.[3]

In the Chicago area, the expressway is referred to as the Adlai E. Stevenson Expressway in honor of Adlai E. Stevenson II.

Major intersections

Auxiliary routes

References

External links


Main Interstate Highways (major interstates highlighted)
4 5 8 10 12 15 16 17 19 20 22 24 25 26 27 29 30
35 37 39 40 43 44 45 49 55 57 59 64 65 66 68 69
70 71 72 73 74 75 76 (W) 76 (E) 77 78 79 80 81 82
83 84 (W) 84 (E) 85 86 (W) 86 (E) 87 88 (W) 88 (E) 89 90
91 93 94 95 96 97 99 H-1 H-2 H-3
Unsigned  A-1 A-2 A-3 A-4 PRI-1 PRI-2 PRI-3
Lists  Primary 
Auxiliary 
Other 
Browse numbered routes
MS 53 MS MS 57
US 54 MO US 56
IL 54 IL IL 56

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