U.S. Route 95 in Idaho

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U.S. Route 95 marker

U.S. Route 95
North and South Highway[1]
Route information
Maintained by ITD
Length538.562 mi[2] (866.732 km)
Existed1926[citation needed]–present
Part of the
International Selkirk Loop
Major junctions
South end US 95 at the Oregon state line
North end Hwy 95 in Eastport, ID
into British Columbia, Canada
CountiesOwyhee, Canyon, Payette, Washington, Adams, Idaho, Lewis, Nez Perce, Latah, Benewah, Kootenai, Bonner, Boundary
Highway system
US 93SH 97

In the U.S. state of Idaho, U.S. Route 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]

Route description[edit]

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[edit]

US 95 departs Malheur County, Oregon, and enters Idaho in the high desert of Owyhee County,[6] 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[edit]

US 95 continues north through Meadows Valley north of the junction (roadcam), 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 and enters the Pacific Time Zone.[7][8] US 95 northbound gradually descends with the widening river until White Bird, where it climbs 2,700 feet (820 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) (roadcam) 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.[9] 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.[10] The arcs, if combined, would form 37 full 360° circles, an average of 950° per mile (590° per km).[11] Following the completion of the new steel bridge over White Bird Creek,[12] the new routing opened in June 1975, ending a decade of construction.[9] The new Lewiston grade to the north was finished in just over two years.[13]

North of the summit, US 95 descends in a steep but relatively short descent (roadcam) 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,[14] then enters the Nez Perce Indian Reservation.[15] New route construction in the early 1990s bypassed the main streets of Ferdinand and Craigmont.[16][17] The new routing is now above, rather than in, the curvy Lawyers Creek Canyon between the cities, crossing the canyon on an elevated bridge (photo) constructed in 1991.[18][19] 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.[20] 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 (photos), passing Culdesac, Lapwai, and Spalding at 807 feet (246 m).

Until 1960, US 95 was routed through Winchester and descended Culdesac Hill (46°19′55″N 116°37′59″W / 46.332°N 116.633°W / 46.332; -116.633), considered the worst of the three major grades (White Bird, Lewiston), all of which were extremely twisty.[21] 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.[22][23] 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;[24][25][26][27][28][29] ice jams on the river a decade earlier shifted it.[26][30]

After crossing the Clearwater on the new Spalding bridge (1962), 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[edit]

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. The multi-lane grade (averaging over 7%) was opened on October 28, 1977, after 27 months of construction and two decades of planning.[13][31] 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.[32] 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.[33]

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 (46°37′41″N 116°59′46″W / 46.628°N 116.996°W / 46.628; -116.996), midway between Genesee and Moscow.[34] 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.[35][36]

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[37][38] 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,[39][40][41] the south end in 2000.[42] The construction on the northeast couplet forced the demolition of a noted Moscow watering hole's original west end in January 1991,[43][44][45] after staving off its elimination for over a decade.[46]

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 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,[47][48][49] 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 Canada–US border at Eastport. At the border, US 95 meets BC 95, which continues northeastward in British Columbia to Cranbrook.


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.[50][51] Prior to the designation, the north–south highway was part of State Highway 24 (the number has since re-purposed for another highway).[52]

A proposal to extend the highway 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.[53] 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.[54]

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.[55]

Major intersections[edit]

Owyhee0.0000.000 US 95 south – Jordan ValleyContinuation into Oregon
26.26642.271 SH 55 north – Boise, Nampa
Homedale34.16654.985 SH 19 west
CanyonWilder38.42961.845 SH 19 east to I-84 – Caldwell
45.50973.240 US 20 east / US 26 east – BoiseSouthern end of US 20 / US 26 overlap
53.55786.192 US 20 west / US 26 west – Nyssa, OntarioNorthern end of US 20 / US 26 overlap
I-84 – Boise, Ontario, PortlandI-84 exit 3; interchange.
61.07898.296 US 30 east – BoiseSouthern end of US 30 overlap
Fruitland65.035104.664 US 30 west to I-84 – Ontario, PortlandNorthern 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)
Cambridge113.300182.339 SH 71 north (Hells Canyon Scenic Byway) – Brownlee Dam
AdamsNew Meadows160.934258.998 SH 55 south (Payette River Scenic Byway) – Cascade Dam
No major junctions
No major junctions
No major junctions
No major junctions
IdahoGrangeville239.782385.892 SH 13 north – Kooskia
Nez Perce304.388–
US 12 east – Orofino, MissoulaInterchange; southern end of US 12 overlap
US 12 west – Lewiston, Clarkston, Walla WallaInterchange; northern end of US 12 overlap
US 195 north – Pullman, Colfax, SpokaneNorthbound exit and southbound entrance only
US 195 Spur south – Pullman, Colfax, Spokane
LatahMoscow344.885555.039 SH 8 east – TroySouthern end of SH-8 overlap
345.349555.785 SH 8 west – PullmanNorthern end of SH-8 overlap
354.634570.728 SH 66 west – Palouse
360.554580.255 SH 6 west – PalouseSouthern end of SH-6 overlap
361.724582.138 SH 6 east – PotlatchNorthern end of SH-6 overlap
Benewah387.502623.624 SH 60 west – Willard, Tekoa
Plummer395.877637.102 SH 5 south to SH 3 – St. Maries
SH 58 west – RockfordInterchange
Coeur d'Alene429.612–
I-90 Business Loop – Downtown Coeur d'AleneInterchange, former US-10
I-90 – Spokane, MissoulaI-90 exit 12; interchange.
438.880706.309 SH 53 south – Rathdrum, Spokane
449.099722.755 SH 54 west – Spirit Lake, Farragut State ParkInterchange
US 2 west / SH 200 east (Pend Oreille Scenic Byway) – Priest River, Cabinet Gorge DamInterchange; southern end of US 2 overlap
BoundaryBonners Ferry507.375816.541Kootenai Street - City Center
510.370821.361 US 2 east – Kalispell, Glacier National ParkNorthern end of US 2 overlap
521.862839.855 SH 1 north to Hwy 21 / Hwy 3 – Porthill, Creston
Eastport538.562866.732 Hwy 95 to Hwy 3 – CranbrookContinuation into British Columbia
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

Special routes[edit]

Related routes[edit]


  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. ^ "Average of 400 autos daily uses North & South Highway". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). December 19, 1937. p. 1.
  4. ^ "Idaho: scenic road knits north and south". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (progress edition). January 26, 1947. p. 4.
  5. ^ "North and South Highway helped bind state together". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). October 6, 1955. p. 2, sec.2.
  6. ^ Idaho Historical Markers - Owyhee Country
  7. ^ "Time Zone Bridge over Salmon River heading west". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. May 19, 1997. p. A7.
  8. ^ Johnson, David (June 21, 1997). "Time (zone) marches on". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1A.
  9. ^ a b Roche, Kevin (June 17, 1975). "'Goat trail' symbol breaks as Whitebird route opens". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 12A.
  10. ^ "New Idaho road will rival Lewiston hill". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). November 27, 1918. p. 8.
  11. ^ Idaho Historical Markers - White Bird
  12. ^ Woods, Roy C. (June 15, 1975). "New Whitebird bridge". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). (photo). p. 1.
  13. ^ a b Harrell, Sylvia (October 27, 1977). "The new hill route: $12 million and two decades in the making". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1D.
  14. ^ "Cottonwood bypass open to U.S. traffic". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). July 13, 1976. p. 7A.
  15. ^ "The Nez Perce Reservation with a Map Insert of Idaho" (PDF). Nez Perce Tribe. Geographic Information Systems. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  16. ^ "Highway work underway in Lawyer's Canyon". Idahonian. (Moscow). June 1, 1988. p. 7A.
  17. ^ "Opposition heard on U.S. 95 work". Idahonian. (Moscow). Associated Press. November 10, 1988. p. 5A.
  18. ^ Pettit, Diane (July 16, 1989). "Lawyers Canyon road construction enters second phase this month". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1D.
  19. ^ Idaho Transportation Dept. - Bridge deck rehabilitation - 2010-08-06 - accessed 2011-09-25
  20. ^ Ruark, Janice (February 23, 1977). "Lawyer lead Nez Perce in peace before war". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). p. 3.
  21. ^ Carter, Jack (July 4, 1960). "Winding Winchester grade won't bother much longer". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 10.
  22. ^ "Culdesac cutoff finished in 1960". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). January 2, 1961. p. 5.
  23. ^ Hughes, John B. (June 29, 1958). "New Culdesac cutoff to be scenic wonder". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1-sec.2.
  24. ^ "Bridge opens". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). February 21, 1973. p. 5.
  25. ^ "New bridge will open today". Lewiston Morning Tribune. February 21, 1973. p. 12.
  26. ^ a b Harrell, Sylvia (February 22, 1973). "First cars move across highway bridge at Arrow". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 17.
  27. ^ Watkins, Clint G. (March 12, 1973). "Idaho bridge comes down". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). (photo). p. 1.
  28. ^ Lyons, Shirley (March 23, 1973). "Poof and it comes down". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). (photos). p. b3.
  29. ^ Swank, Gladys Rae (July 10, 1967). "Highway building pushed in Idaho". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). p. 5.
  30. ^ "Idaho bridge shifts". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). (photo). February 5, 1963. p. 1.
  31. ^ "Highway replaces 'goat trail'". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. October 17, 1977. p. 3.
  32. ^ "Lewiston Spiral Highway". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). October 27, 1977. p. 6D.
  33. ^ "Truck escape". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). (AP photo). October 17, 1977. p. 3.
  34. ^ "U.S. 95 widening will be celebrated". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). October 18, 2007. p. B3.
  35. ^ Matson, Malia (May 15, 2004). "More work on U.S. Highway 95 planned for spring 2005". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. (Idaho-Washington). p. 3A.
  36. ^ Doyle, Megan (January 19, 2006). "Path of least resistance". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. (Idaho-Washington). p. 1A.
  37. ^ "Which way do I go?". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. Spring 1982. p. 34.
  38. ^ "One way or another". Argonaut. (Moscow, Idaho). (University of Idaho). August 25, 1981. p. 4.
  39. ^ Long, Ben (June 4, 1991). "Crews start rerouting Moscow street". Idahonian. (Moscow). p. 12A.
  40. ^ Goetsch, Lara (July 10, 1991). "1st traffic flow through Moscow couplet". Idahonian. (Moscow). p. 12A.
  41. ^ "Clarkston firm wins Moscow project". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. (Idaho-Washington). March 27, 1992. p. 12A.
  42. ^ "Moscow work will divert traffic". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). July 27, 2000. p. 7A.
  43. ^ Long, Ben (December 7, 1990). "Roadwork ends party in half of Corner Club". Idahonian. (Moscow). p. 1A.
  44. ^ Long, Ben (January 9, 1991). "A real bar bash: Corner Club demolished". Idahonian. (Moscow). p. 1A.
  45. ^ Bartlett, Maureen (January 15, 1991). "Local "watering hole" torn down". Argonaut. (Moscow, Idaho). (University of Idaho). p. 17.
  46. ^ Johnson, David (September 2, 1979). "To the Club for a tub!". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  47. ^ "Dedication set today for Sandpoint bridge but opening doubtful". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). June 22, 1956. p. 1.
  48. ^ "Sandpoint span due next year". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). October 23, 1980. p. 5.
  49. ^ Jensen, Janet (August 5, 1981). "Bridge almost finished". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. c4.
  50. ^ 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 February 17, 2017 – via University of North Texas Libraries.
  51. ^ Rand McNally Official 1926 Auto Trails Map: Idaho-Montana-Wyoming (Map). Rand McNally. OCLC 289456074.
  52. ^ Pulvers' Auto Highway Map, State of Idaho Including Western Montana (Map). Seattle: Edward W. Pulver. June 6, 1925. OCLC 696620763.
  53. ^ Weingroff, Richard (October 17, 2008). "U.S. 95 and Idaho's North and South Highway". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  54. ^ 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.
  55. ^ 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[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata

U.S. Route 95
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