Tour Locations | Interstate 55: St. Louis, MO to Springfield, IL
LOCATION 18 | Interstate 55: St. Louis, MO to Springfield, IL
It is time for us to bid farewell to Interstate 70, which has shared the road with us since National City. Interstate 70 was our country’s first federally funded Interstate, and like the National Road behind us, Interstate 70 begins in Maryland about 800 miles to our right. It ends in the middle of Utah, just under 1400 miles to our left.
The interstate system was created in the 1950s and it is officially called the “Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways,” named in honor of President Eisenhower who was a strong proponent for creating an Interstate system here in America after he was so impressed with the German highway system while serving as a General there during World War II. Currently, America has more than 47,000 miles of Interstate highway connecting every major American city.
In Illinois, Interstate 55 begins where it crosses the Mississippi River, about 20 miles behind us, as indicated by the green mile markers on the right side of the road, which always begin at zero at the southern or western most point where the highway enters the State. Construction on Interstate 55 began in the 1960s and was officially completed in 1979. Interstate 55 is 964 miles long, extending from just outside of New Orleans, about 694 miles behind us, to downtown Chicago, about 270 miles straight ahead.