Interstate 89

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Interstate 89 marker

Interstate 89
Route information
Length: 191.12 mi[1] (307.58 km)
Major junctions
South end: I-93 / NH 3A / Everett Tpke. near Concord, NH
  I-91 in White River Junction, VT
North end: Route 133 to A-35 at Canadian border near Highgate Springs, VT
Highway system

Interstate 89 (abbreviated I-89) is an interstate highway in the New England region of the United States travelling between Bow, New Hampshire and Highgate Springs, Vermont. As with all odd-numbered primary interstates, I-89 is signed as a north–south highway. However, the northwest-to-southeast path the road actually takes, serves in two capacities: as an east–west interstate highway north of Interstate 90 in New England, and as a substantial part of the main connection between the major cities of Montreal and Boston. The largest cities directly served by I-89 are Concord, New Hampshire and Burlington, Vermont. I-89 is one of three main Interstate highways whose entire route is located within the New England states, along with Interstate 91 and Interstate 93.

Interstate 89 connects smaller cities and rural areas within New Hampshire and Vermont, and maintains two lanes of traffic in each direction throughout the route. Unlike its neighboring Interstates (91 and 93), it does not intersect any even-numbered Interstates along its route. It does, however, parallel (and interchange multiple times with) portions of three U.S. routes: U.S. Route 4 from Enfield to White River Junction; U.S. Route 2 from Montpelier to Colchester, and U.S. Route 7 from Burlington to the Canadian border.

Route description[edit]

Lengths
  mi km
NH 60.80[2] 97.89
VT 130.25[3] 209.70
Total 191.05 307.59

New Hampshire[edit]

New Hampshire Exit 15 (Montcalm), looking south

Interstate 89 runs for about 60.6 miles (97.5 km) in the state of New Hampshire, and is the major freeway corridor through the western part of the state. Despite being signed as a north–south freeway, its first 8 miles (13 km) actually run east–west before shifting to the northwest. The two major population centers along I-89's length in New Hampshire are Concord, at its southern terminus, and Lebanon, on the Vermont border. Mileage signs along I-89 in each direction consistently list one of the two cities. Also located along I-89 in New Hampshire are the towns of Grantham, New London and Warner.

Starting at an intersection with Interstate 93 and New Hampshire Route 3A in the town of Bow, just south of the New Hampshire capital city of Concord, the highway runs a northwest path through the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region. One exit directly serves Concord (Exit 2) before the highway enters the neighboring town of Hopkinton. east–west New Hampshire Route 11 joins I-89 at Exit 11 and runs concurrently with it for about 3 miles (4.8 km) before departing at Exit 12. At Exit 13 in Grantham, New Hampshire Route 10 enters I-89, and the pair of highways form another concurrency, this one for about 15 miles (24 km).

Southeast of Lebanon, signs for Exit 15 display the name "Montcalm", while Exit 16 directs travelers to "Purmort". Neither place name existed at the time of construction of the interstate. Exits 15 and 16 were built to access portions of the town of Enfield that were otherwise cut off by the new highway. The names were chosen by Enfield's selectmen in 1960; the Purmorts were a prominent local family in the early history of Enfield, and Montcalm was a nearby settlement which had once had its own school and post office.[4]

The highway continues northwest, passing through Lebanon, in which the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is located. A few miles north of this point is Dartmouth College. U.S. Route 4 parallels I-89 through Lebanon. Exits 17 through 20 serve the city of Lebanon and are passed in quick succession. At Exit 19, northbound New Hampshire Route 10 separates from I-89 and joins westbound U.S. Route 4 to pass through West Lebanon. The final exit in New Hampshire is Exit 20, providing access to West Lebanon's large retail district along New Hampshire Route 12A. Just after this interchange, the highway crosses the Connecticut River and enters Vermont, where it remains for the rest of its run northwest to the Canadian border.

Vermont[edit]

Interstate 89 northbound in Vermont, approaching Exit 2 in Sharon

Interstate 89 is one of Vermont's most important roads, as it is the only Interstate highway to directly serve both Vermont's capital city (Montpelier) and largest city (Burlington). Other important cities and towns located along I-89 are Barre, Waterbury, and St. Albans. Williston, which has become Burlington's big-box retail center (and one of the fastest-growing towns in the state) over the past decade, also has an interchange along I-89.

Crossing the Connecticut River into Vermont, I-89 continues the northwesterly direction it carried in New Hampshire. The Interstate intersects I-91 at an unnumbered interchange immediately upon entering Vermont. Shortly afterward, another interchange with U.S. 4 occurs. The highway begins to enter the scenic rolling hills of Vermont, turning almost due northward about 20 miles (32 kilometres) from the New Hampshire state line, and continues through the high country of central Vermont. The Interstate passes through the towns of Sharon, Royalton, Bethel, Randolph, Brookfield, and Williamstown before reaching the "twin cities" of Barre and Montpelier in the middle of Vermont. The interstate's highest point was said to be in the town of Brookfield, although the sign that made the declaration was taken down in the late 1990s.

Another directional shift, again to the northwest, occurs while passing the interchange for Montpelier. For the next 40 miles (64 km), I-89's path is not so much chosen as it is logical: paralleling the Winooski River and U.S. Route 2, the highway cuts through the section of the Appalachians known as the Green Mountains, and is surrounded by peaks of over 4,000 feet (1,219 m), such as Camel's Hump. U.S. 2 crosses the Interstate frequently, and has several interchanges with it, en route to Burlington.

Interstate 89 was unique due to one instance of its signage. Between (Vermont) Exits 9 & 10, a sign showing the distance to the next control cities in each direction was completely in metric. While there are many instances of signs being in both miles and kilometres, this was the only case of solely metric in the entire Interstate System.[5] Both signs were replaced in 2010 and show distances in miles only. (Interstate 19 in Arizona used to be the other "only signed in metric" interstate in the U.S., but has been changed over in recent years as the last 2 km have been changed.) Speed limit signs have always been posted in mph.

After Exit 11 in Richmond, I-89 leaves the Green Mountains to enter the Champlain Valley and a notable shift in the landscape is visible. Here, just outside of Burlington, the highway turns northward once again. Also, at this turn is where the only official auxiliary highway starts, Interstate 189. A second highway, Interstate 289, was proposed as a beltway through Burlington's northeastern suburbs in the 1980s; amidst controversy, the highway has only been partially completed as Vermont Route 289, a Super two roadway. It has yet to directly meet its parent.

Passing I-189, I-89 sees the busiest freeway interchange in the entire state, Exit 14. A full cloverleaf interchange at this exit provides access to downtown Burlington, the University of Vermont, and the retail-heavy Dorset Street, via U.S. 2. Heading north from Burlington, the landscape quickly fades from suburban development into rolling hills more characteristic of northern New England, providing a vista overlooking Lake Champlain. I-89 passes through Milton, Georgia, St. Albans, Swanton, and finally the border town of Highgate Springs. The highway ends at the Canadian border at the Highgate Springs-St. Armand/Philipsburg Border Crossing in Highgate Springs. Its final exit, which northbound motorists can use to reverse direction onto I-89 south without crossing the border, is Exit 22 - the highest exit number along the route. U.S. Route 7 has its northern terminus at this interchange as well.

Although the divided highway continues about five miles (eight km) into Phillipsburg, Quebec as Route 133, this changes back to a two-lane road, until Autoroute 35 starts outside of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and continues to Montreal. The I-89 border crossing is the only instance where an Interstate entering Quebec does not become an Autoroute upon entry. There are plans to extend Autoroute 35 in the next few years, creating a freeway-to-freeway connection.[6]

Exit list[edit]

State County Location Mile km Exit Destinations Notes
New Hampshire Merrimack Bow 0.00 0.00 NH 3A – Bow
I-93 to I-393 / US 4 – Concord, Seacoast, Manchester
Southern terminus
At-grade intersection with NH 3A
0.20 0.32 1 Logging Hill Road – Bow Signed for local traffic only
Concord 2.10 3.38 2 NH 13 (Clinton Street) – Concord
3.80 6.12 3 Stickney Hill Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Hopkinton 6.6 10.6 4 US 202 / NH 9 to NH 103 – Hopkinton Northbound exit and southbound entrance
8.50 13.68 5 US 202 / NH 9 – Henniker, Keene, Hopkinton Northbound exit serves US 202 / NH 9 west only
10.40 16.74 6 NH 127 – Contoocook, West Hopkinton
Warner 14.20 22.85 7 NH 103 – Davisville, Contoocook To New Hampshire Route 127
17.40 28.00 8 NH 103 – Warner Northbound exit and southbound entrance
20.00 32.19 9 NH 103 – Warner, Bradford
Sutton 27.20 43.77 10 North Road To NH 114
New London 31.20 50.21 11 NH 11 east (King Hill Road) – New London Southern terminus of concurrency with NH 11
34.90 56.17 12 NH 11 west to NH 103A – New London, Sunapee Northern terminus of concurrency with NH 11
Sullivan Sunapee 37.00 59.55 12A To NH 114 – Georges Mills, Springfield To NH 11
Grantham 43.00 69.20 13 NH 10 south – Grantham, Croydon Southern terminus of concurrency with NH 10
48.20 77.57 14 North Grantham (via Old Route 10) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Grafton Enfield 50.20 80.79 15 Smith Pond Road / Old Route 10
52.00 83.69 16 Eastman Hill Road – Purmort To Whaleback Ski Area
Lebanon 54.10 87.07 17 US 4 to NH 4A – Enfield, Canaan
56.20 90.45 18 NH 120 – Lebanon, Hanover To Dartmouth College, US 4
58.20 93.66 19 US 4 / NH 10 north – Lebanon, West Lebanon Northern terminus of concurrency with NH 10
60.30 97.04 20 NH 12A – West Lebanon, Claremont
Connecticut River 60.80
0.00
97.85
0.00
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge
Vermont Windsor Hartford 0.60 0.97 I-91 – White River Junction, Brattleboro To US 5
Quechee 3.90 6.28 1 US 4 – Woodstock, Rutland, Quechee To Killington Ski Resort
Sharon 13.40 21.57 2 VT 132 to VT 14 – Sharon, South Royalton
Royalton 22.1 35.6 3 VT 107 to VT 14 – Bethel, Royalton, Rutland To VT 100
Orange Randolph 30.90 49.73 4 VT 66 to VT 12 – Randolph To Vermont Technical College
Williamstown 43.00 69.20 5 VT 64 to VT 12 / VT 14 – Northfield, Williamstown To Norwich University
Washington Berlin 46.90 75.48 6 VT 63 east to VT 14 – South Barre, Barre West end of VT 63
50.30 80.95 7 VT 62 east to US 302 – Berlin, Barre West end of VT 62
Montpelier 52.90 85.13 8 US 2 to VT 12 – Montpelier, St. Johnsbury
Middlesex 58.70 94.47 9 US 2 to VT 100B – Middlesex, Moretown To Sugarbush Resort and Mad River Glen
Waterbury 63.80 102.68 10 VT 100 to US 2 – Waterbury, Stowe To Bolton Valley
Chittenden Richmond 78.40 126.17 11 US 2 to VT 117 – Richmond, Williston, Bolton To VT 289
Williston 84.00 135.18 12 VT 2A to US 2 / VT 116 – Williston, Essex Junction To Burlington International Airport
South Burlington 87.50 140.82 13 I-189 west to US 7 – Burlington, Shelburne, Middlebury East end of I-189
88.70 142.75 14 US 2 – South Burlington, Burlington Split into exits 14E (east) and 14W (west)
Winooski 90.50 145.65 15 VT 15 – Essex Junction, Winooski, Colchester Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Colchester 91.50 147.25 16 US 2 to US 7 / VT 15 – Winooski, Colchester
97.90 157.55 17 US 2 / US 7 – Lake Champlain Islands, Milton, Colchester
Franklin Georgia 106.60 171.56 18 US 7 / VT 104A – Fairfax, Georgia Center, Milton
Town of St. Albans 113.80 183.14 19 US 7 / VT 36 / VT 104 – St. Albans
117.60 189.26 20 US 7 to VT 207 – St. Albans
Town of Swanton 123.40 198.59 21 US 7 / VT 78 – Swanton
Highgate 129.80 208.89 22 US 7 south – Highgate Springs North end of US 7, last U.S. exit
130.30 209.70 Route 133 north – Bedford Continuation into Quebec, Canada
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routes[edit]

  • Interstate 289 was originally slated to go around Burlington, but it was never completed. The lone completed section of the highway is signed as Vermont Route 289.

References[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing

  1. ^ "Route Log and Finder List - Interstate System: Table 1". FHWA. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  2. ^ New Hampshire Department of Transportation Route Log
  3. ^ Vermont Agency of Transportation 2004 State Highway Traffic Log
  4. ^ Janice Aitkin, "The towns that can't be found: Exits say Purmort and Montcalm -- but where are they?", The Nashua Telegraph, 5/22/82 p. 2
  5. ^ "Vermont Roads - I-89". Steve Alpert's Miscellanea. Retrieved 2006-09-12. 
  6. ^ [1]
Browse numbered routes
NH 88 NH I-93
VT 78 VT I-91