60 Years Later, the Most Used US Highway Is Finally Done
Now boarding... nonstop service from Miami to Maine. Via asphalt, that is. Some six decades after construction began on I-95, the most used highway in the United States is finally nearing completion. The completion, of course, is a technicality, but notable nonetheless. If Interstate 95, known throughout the universe for its baffling traffic and teeth-rattling potholes, were a software download, it has been stuck at 99% for eons.
The culprit? Local lawmakers and land-owners in Mercer County, New Jersey, who put up a legendary fight to oppose the development.
In just a few weeks, the final touches will be put on an 8-mile stretch near Trenton, New Jersey that'll complete the highway, allowing intrepid motorists to road trip from South Florida to Maine's eastern border with Canada on a single road. President Dwight Eisenhower is credited for spearheading the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, and once this small, strange gap is closed, it'll become the last infrastructure project to be financed by the act. Some $25 billion was authorized to construct 40,000 miles of the Interstate Highway System in 1956 — a critical backbone that has enabled untold road trips across America's stunning landscapes and bustling cities.
Per a Bloomberg report, "I-95 is host to more than one-fifth of the nation’s road miles and serves 110 million people in the most densely populated region in the country. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, which oversees the I-95 Interchange Project, said the new infrastructure – which includes the creation of flyover ramps, toll plaza facilities, environmental mitigation sites, intersections, six overhead bridges, widened highways and new connections to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania turnpikes – will be open to the public by Sept. 24."
Despite the achievement, the I-95 completion isn't causing too much celebration; rather, it's drawing attention to the highway's issues. In regions in the Northeast, getting on I-95 requires a yoga session and a meditation soundtrack to maintain one's sanity. Beyond the overcrowding, its surfaces and bridges are becoming increasingly deficient from a structural standpoint.
While I-95 may be great for efficiency, we at TPG typically recommend the path less trodden. Proper road-tripping involves the scenic routes, which have lower speed limits but crisscross far more natural beauty. From Highway A1A in Florida to Highway 13 in Delaware to Highway 1 in Maine, there are loads of alternatives for those who don't mind the slower pace.
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