Interstate 80 in Nebraska

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This article is about the section of Interstate 80 in Nebraska. For the entire length of the highway, see Interstate 80.

Interstate 80 marker

Interstate 80
I-80 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by NDOR
Length: 455.32 mi[2] (732.77 km)
Existed: 1957[1] – present
Major junctions
West end: I‑80 at Wyoming state line
 
East end: I-80 at Iowa state line
Location
Counties: Kimball, Cheyenne, Deuel, Keith, Lincoln, Dawson, Buffalo, Hall, Hamilton, York, Seward, Lancaster, Cass, Sarpy, Douglas
Highway system
N-79 US 81

Interstate 80 (I-80) in the U.S. state of Nebraska runs east from the Wyoming state border across the state to Omaha. When it completed construction of the stretch of I-80 spanning the state on October 19, 1974, Nebraska was the first state in the nation to complete its mainline Interstate Highway System.[3]

Nebraska has over 80 exits along Interstate 80.[4] According to The New York Times there are several notable tourist attractions along Nebraska's section of I-80.[5] It is the only Interstate Highway to go from one end of the state to another, as Nebraska has no major north–south interstate route. Except for a 3-mile-long (4.8 km) portion of I-76 near the Colorado state line, I-80 is the only primary (two-digit) Interstate Highway in Nebraska.

History[edit]

Interstate 80 in May 1973

Built along the pathway of the Great Platte River Road, I-80 in Nebraska follows the same route as many historic trails, including the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Mormon Trail.[5] Starting in 1957 after federal funding was allotted, Nebraskans began planning their Interstate construction. Led by the Nebraska State Highway Commission, there were hearings across the state to decide where the route was going to be. Aside from the federally mandated "control points" in Omaha and Scottsbluff, the route could vary across the state. Dozens of meetings were held in Grand Island, Kearney, and North Platte, among other locations. The commission addressed issues of whether the highway would be north or south of the Platte River or whether it would follow U.S. Highway 30 US-30. The South Platte Chamber of Commerce and various cities were very active in these sessions, and debate over where the Interstate would be constructed continued into the 1960s.[1]

I-80 in Omaha, Nebraska looking west at its interchange with I-680

After the first contract for building the Interstate was awarded in 1957, a 6.5-mile (10.5 km) section near Gretna was the first section to be completed that year.[6] The first long segment to be opened was a 50-mile (80 km) section between Dodge Street in Omaha and the West Lincoln interchange in Lincoln in 1961.[7] During a "Golden Link" ceremony, the last section of I-80 in Nebraska was completed when a brass connector was inserted in the roadway near Sidney on April 1, 1974.[3] This was designed to keep in tradition with the golden spike on the railroads in 1869.[8]

The total length of the Nebraska section is 455.27 miles (732.69 km) long, and was completed at a cost of $435 million.[3]

Legacy[edit]

The beginning of the I-80 construction in Nebraska in 1957 led the Nebraska Legislature to split the Department of Roads and Irrigation in order to create three separate agencies in the state, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Water Resources and the Department of Roads, which was the first Nebraska agency solely responsible for highway planning, construction, and maintenance in Nebraska history.[9]

Interstate construction led the state to focus on other highways in Nebraska, as well. Surfaced shoulders, new safety sections beyond shoulders and other developments across the state were attributed to the influence of the Interstate.[10] The 1965 state legislature also authorized a study of the needs of every public road in Nebraska, including state highways, county roads, and city streets.[11]

Speeds[edit]

1955 map showing the future routes of Interstates in Lincoln, including I-80 and its child route, I-180

The following are speed limits that have existed on I-80 in Nebraska since it was opened in 1957.[12]

Rural speed limits on I-80
Year Speed limit(s)
1960 70 mph (115 km/h)
1964 75 mph (120 km/h) for cars and 65 mph (105 km/h) for trucks
1974 55 mph (90 km/h) national speed limit, effective March 3, 1974
1987 65 mph (105 km/h)
1995 75 mph (120 km/h)


Route description[edit]

Designated sections[edit]

The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Kearney, which spans Interstate 80

The entirety of the Interstate Highway System was named the "Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways" in 1990, and the first signage in Nebraska was posted in 1993.[13] Several sections of I-80 in Nebraska have special designations. The I-80 intersection with US-34 has been designated a "Purple Heart Memorial Highway", and South 108th Street bridge over I-80 in Omaha has been designated the "Purple Heart Bridge", both in honor of all recipients of the Purple Heart.[14] A section of I-80 in Nebraska is also designated as a Blue Star Memorial Highway.

Details[edit]

In Nebraska, I-80 has 82 interchanges, 442 bridges on or over the roadway, 25 rest areas, and one scenic overlook, each spaced 35–50 miles (56–80 km) apart for convenience. The I-80 rights-of-way in Nebraska feature 28 types of grasses and forbs, 31 types of shrubs, 12 varieties of coniferous trees, and 39 types of deciduous trees are planted on the median of I-80 in Nebraska. There are also 570 informational and directional signs along the way.[15] Mile markers with the interstate shield are posted every 210 mile (0.32 km) beginning at mile 379.0 going east.

Exit list[edit]

County Location Mile[16] km Exit Destinations Notes
Kimball   0.00 0.00 I‑80 west – Cheyenne Continuation into Wyoming
Pine Bluffs 0.48 0.77 1 L-53B (I-80 Bus. west) to US 30 – Pine Bluffs
Bushnell 8.46 13.62 8 L-53C – Bushnell
Kimball 20.70 33.31 20 N-71 – Scottsbluff, Kimball
22.69 36.52 22 L-53E – Kimball
Dix 29.76 47.89 29 L-53A – Dix
Cheyenne Potter 38.96 62.70 38 L-17B – Potter
  48.92 78.73 48 L-17C
  51.40 82.72 Sidney Rest Area (eastbound); location of the Golden Link[17]
Sidney 55.37 89.11 55 I-80 Bus. east / N-19 – Sidney
59.92 96.43 59 I-80 Bus. west / L-17J to US 385 – Sidney, Bridgeport
Sunol 69.63 112.06 69 L-17E – Sunol
Lodgepole 76.61 123.29 76 L-17F – Lodgepole
Deuel Chappell 85.22 137.15 85 L-25A to US 385 – Chappell There is no interchange where US 385 crosses I-80 (between Exits 85 and 95)
Julesburg 95.02 152.92 95 N-27 – Julesburg, Oshkosh
101.19 162.85 101 US 138 – Big Springs, Julesburg
  102.59 165.10 102 I-76 west – Denver
Big Springs 107.36 172.78 107 L-25B – Big Springs
Keith Brule 117.25 188.70 117 L-51A – Brule
Ogallala 126.69 203.89 126 US 26 / N-61 – Ogallala, Grant
Roscoe 133.96 215.59 133 L-51B – Roscoe
Paxton 145.65 234.40 145 L-51C – Paxton
Lincoln Sutherland 158.01 254.29 158 N-25 – Sutherland, Wallace
Hershey 164.52 264.77 164 L-56C – Hershey
North Platte 177.16 285.11 177 US 83 – North Platte, McCook
179.22 288.43 179 L-56G to US 30 – North Platte
Maxwell 190.45 306.50 190 S-56A – Maxwell
Brady 198.98 320.23 199 L-56D – Brady
Dawson Gothenburg 211.79 340.84 211 N-47 – Gothenburg
Cozad 222.46 358.01 222 N-21 – Cozad
  231.10 371.92 231 L-24A – Darr
Lexington 237.20 381.74 237 US 283 – Arapahoe, Lexington, Elwood
Overton 248.53 399.97 248 L-24B – Overton
Buffalo Elm Creek 257.00 413.60 257 US 183 – Holdrege, Elm Creek
Odessa 263.67 424.34 263 L-10B – Odessa
Kearney 272.60 438.71 272 N-44 – Kearney, Archway Monument
  275.54 443.44 275 N-10
  279.90 450.46 279 N-10 – Minden
Gibbon 285.63 459.68 285 L-10C – Gibbon
Shelton 291.36 468.90 291 L-10D – Shelton, Kenesaw
Hall Wood River 300.10 482.96 300 N-11 north / S-40D south – Wood River
  305.66 491.91 305 L-40C – Alda
Grand Island 312.07 502.23 312 US 34 / US 281 – Hastings, Grand Island
314.11 505.51 314 Locust Street – Grand Island
Hamilton   318.16 512.03 318 N-2 – Phillips, Grand Island
Giltner 324.16 521.68 324 S-41B – Giltner
Aurora 332.17 534.58 332 N-14 – Aurora
Hampton 338.14 544.18 338 L-41D – Hampton
York Henderson 342.13 550.60 342 S-93A – Henderson
  348.11 560.23 348 L-93E – Bradshaw
York 353.10 568.26 353 US 81 – Geneva, York
  360.13 579.57 360 L-93B – Waco
Seward   366.15 589.26 366 L-80F – Utica
Beaver Crossing 369.14 594.07 369 L-80E – Beaver Crossing
Goehner 373.11 600.46 373 L-80G – Goehner
  379.11 610.12 379 N-15 – Seward, Fairbury
Milford 382.11 614.95 382 L-80H – Milford
  388.13 624.63 388 N-103 – Crete
Lancaster Lincoln 395.61 636.67 395 L-55K to US 6 / Northwest 48th Street – Lincoln
396.36 637.88 396 US 6 / West O Street – Lincoln Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; westbound exit is via exit 397
397.27 639.34 397 US 77 south – Lincoln, Beatrice West end of US-77 overlap
399.03 642.18 399 NW 12th St., Cornhusker Hwy., Adams St. – Lincoln Municipal Airport
401.04 645.41 401 I-180 / US 34 / 9th Street – Downtown Lincoln Signed as exits 401A (south/east) and 401B (west)
403.49 649.35 403 27th Street – State Fair Park
405.76 653.01 405 US 77 north / L-55X south / North 56th Street – Lincoln, Fremont, Wahoo East end of US-77 overlap
409.76 659.44 409 US 6 – East Lincoln, Waverly
Cass Ashland 420.94 677.44 420 N-63 – Ashland, Greenwood
426.07 685.69 426 N-66 – Mahoney State Park, Ashland, South Bend Strategic Air and Space Museum
Sarpy Gretna 432.95 696.77 432 N-31 to US 6 – Gretna, Louisville
439.20 706.82 439 N-370 – Bellevue, Papillion, Gretna Werner Park (stadium), Offutt Air Force Base
  440.65 709.16 440 N-50 – Springfield, Millard, Louisville
  442.90 712.78 442 Giles Road, Harrison Street
Douglas Omaha 444 Q Street – Omaha Westbound exit only
445 US 275 / N-92 / L Street – Omaha
445 I Street – Omaha Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
445.98 717.74 446 I-680 north – Omaha
448.30 721.47 448 84th Street – Omaha
449.31 723.09 449 72nd Street – Omaha
450.32 724.72 450 60th Street – Omaha
451.84 727.17 451 42nd Street – Omaha
452.86 728.81 452 I-480 north / US 75 (Kennedy Freeway) – Downtown Omaha Eppley Airfield (north), Bellevue (south)
453.05 729.11 453 24th Street – Omaha Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
454.15 730.88 454 13th Street – Lauritzen Gardens, Henry Doorly Zoo
455.32 732.77 I-80 east – Des Moines Continuation into Iowa
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routes[edit]

Interstate 80 has three auxiliary routes in Nebraska. One is a loop around the city of Omaha, one is a loop through the city of Omaha, and the other is a spur into Lincoln.

  • I-180 is a spur into downtown Lincoln, co-signed with US-34 for its entire length.
  • I-480 is a loop route in Omaha extending from I-29 in Council Bluffs west towards I-80. It serves as the inner of two loops in Omaha. It is cosigned with US-75 for approximately 2.5 miles (4.0 km) and with US-6 for less than one mile (1.6 km) as it crosses the Missouri River into Iowa.
  • I-680 is a loop around the northwest of Omaha. It serves as the outer of the two Omaha loops. The section from I-80 in Omaha to I-29 in Crescent was originally designated as I-280, but because it extended into Iowa, and because it conflicted with I-280 in the Quad Cities area of Iowa, the route was renumbered I-680.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Koster, p. 64.
  2. ^ Staff (October 31, 2002). "Table 1: Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002". Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. OCLC 47914009. 
  3. ^ a b c Staff. "Interstate Construction in Nebraska". Nebraska Department of Roads. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  4. ^ Geelhart, Chris (July 11, 2006). "Highways 61-100". Nebraska Highways Page. Self-published. Retrieved October 14, 2007. [unreliable source]
  5. ^ a b Winckler, Suzanne (July 22, 1990). "I-80's Exits To History In Nebraska". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  6. ^ Koster, p. 66.
  7. ^ Nebraska Interstate 80 Lincoln–Omaha (PDF). Nebraska Department of Roads. August 11, 1961. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  8. ^ Koster, p. 87.
  9. ^ Koster, p. 67.
  10. ^ Koster, p. 73.
  11. ^ Koster, p. 75.
  12. ^ Koster, p. 94.
  13. ^ Koster, p. 100.
  14. ^ Staff. "Purple Heart Trail". Nebraska Department of Roads. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  15. ^ Staff. Today's I-80 in Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Roads. Retrieved December 20, 2013. 
  16. ^ Materials & Research Division (2007). Nebraska Highway Reference Log Book (PDF). Nebraska Department of Roads. 
  17. ^ "The Golden Link historical marker/historic landmark in Sidney, Cheyenne, NE, US". Annwn Web Creations LLC. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 

Works cited[edit]

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing


Interstate 80
Previous state:
Wyoming
Nebraska Next state:
Iowa