Interstate 70 begins its westerly journey just west of Baltimore, Maryland. Immediately after the Interstate 695 interchange is this mileage sign (replaced by 2010), which provides the distance to several major points of interest along the route, including the cities of Columbus, St. Louis, and Denver. Cove Fort, a small outpost in central Utah, is the point where Interstate 70 merges into Interstate 15 and is the freeway's western terminus. Photo taken 06/01/04.
Interstate 70 bisects the country, serving cities such as Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Breezewood and Baltimore. The freeway begins at Interstate 15 at Cove Fort. There are no plans to extend Interstate 70 west of this point, and most westbound traffic is funneled via Interstate 15 to Southern California and via U.S. 50 to Northern California.
Much of the western section of Interstate 70 passes through scenic high desert and mountain scenery. A two-lane section of Interstate 70 was expanded to four lanes in the 1990s across the central portion of Utah. Interstate 70 through Colorado was also completed later, including the expensive section through Glenwood Canyon by 1993. Interstate 70 generally parallels U.S. 50 through Utah and U.S. 6 through western Colorado. Just west of Denver, Interstate 70 picks up U.S. 40, and it generally follows this highway east with some local exceptions.
Interstate 70 at Silt, Colorado. The freeway straddles the Roan Cliffs west to Rifle. Photo taken 08/11/16.
Through the Great Plains and Midwest, Interstate 70 bisects Eastern Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Several derivative routes from Interstate 70 may be found in the larger cities of Kansas City and St. Louis. Notably, two Interstate 470s (Kansas and Missouri) exist within 60 miles of each other.
Interstate 70 passes through six tunnels between Grand Junction and Denver, Colorado. The Hanging Lake Tunnels here are located at Shoshone in Glenwood Canyon. Photo taken 08/11/16.
Through Ohio, Interstate 70 crosses Dayton and Columbus, then briefly enters West Virginia at Wheeling. Entering Pennsylvania, Interstate 70 merges with the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) and separates at Breezewood. Interstate 70 traffic must follow U.S. 30 through the business district in Breezewood to connect between Interstate 76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) and the Interstate 70 freeway heading south from Breezewood. There are no plans currently to create a direct connection between Interstates 70 and 76 at this time.
Interstate 70 ends rather ignobly at a Park and Ride less than a mile east of its interchange with Interstate 695 in Baltimore. The continuation of the freeway to Interstate 95 was removed from the city's freeway plan and was never constructed.
Looking west across Vail Pass (elevation 10,666 feet above sea level) in Colorado, Interstate 70 leaves Summit County and enters Eagle County. Even in autumn and spring, snow is a frequent occurrence here. Photo taken by Jeff Royston, 11/18/06.
High Priority Corridor
Between Denver and Limon in Colorado, Interstate 70 is part of High Priority Corridor 38: Ports to Plains Corridor. In addition, the section of Interstate 70 through Missouri is part of High Priority Corridor 61: Missouri Corridors.
Interstate 70 is one of the few Interstate Highways that has traffic signals on its mainline. The series of traffic signals is located on the connection between the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) and Interstate 70 through Breezewood, Pennsylvania via U.S. 30 through town. The reason why this connection is not direct hearkens back to the requirements of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. Under Section 113(c), interchange connections between a toll road and the Interstate Highway System could be constructed with either Federal-Aid highway funds or toll revenue; however, if Federal-Aid funds were used, the tolling authority and state department of transportation would have to enter into an agreement with the Federal Highway Authority to cease collecting tolls upon retirement of the bonds.
Since the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) did not wish to stop collecting tolls after retiring bonds, the PTC decided against using the State of Pennsylvania's Federal-Aid funds for the Interstate 70 connection. In addition, the PTC decided not to use its own revenue for constructing other direct interchanges, such as Interstate 81 in Carlisle and Interstate 99 in Bedford. There are no immediate plans to construct an Interstate 70 Breezewood bypass, so the strip of fast food, gas stations, and motels will remain a busy route for Interstate 70 motorists for some time to come.3
Interstate 70 east and U.S. 30 west through Breezewood
Westbound U.S. 30/Lincoln Highway approaches the overpass that carries Interstate 70 on a spur ramp from the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) mainline into Breezewood. Eastbound Interstate 70 merges onto westbound U.S. 30/Lincoln Highway for the next mile, since there is no direct connection from Interstate 76/Pennsylvania Turnpike to Interstate 70 without passing through the town of Breezewood. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/12/05).
After passing under the spur from the turnpike, eastbound Interstate 70 and westbound U.S. 30 pass by a wide variety of motorist services in Breezewood: restaurants, gas stations, and motels line the strip. The two routes follow this for a short distance, but they separate at the guide signs in the distance. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/12/05).
Use the left two lanes to continue east on Interstate 70 toward Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/12/05).
Eastbound Interstate 70 and westbound U.S. 30 split at this traffic signal, near the end of the business strip that makes up much of Breezewood. For this brief section, Interstate 70 is an at-grade boulevard with traffic signals and no access control. However, the freeway resumes after turning left at this intersection. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/12/05).
Eastbound Interstate 70 Leaving Breezewood
This is the first shield on eastbound Interstate 70 after the U.S. 30/Lincoln Highway traffic signal in Breezewood. This section of Interstate 70 will cross over the spur ramp from the turnpike as well as the turnpike itself on its way south toward Maryland. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/12/05).
Shortly after the South Breezewood interchange, this mileage sign provides the distance to Baltimore and Washington via Interstate 70 and Interstate 270, respectively. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/12/05).
Not necessarily an improvement for the Interstate, but an improvement for Baltimore area commuters was the planned Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Red Line along the 1.95-mile long I-70 spur within the Beltway (I-695). The proposed subway line was to utilize a portion of the I-70 right of way, with the existing six-lane freeway converted into a two-lane parkway. Additionally the interchange (Exit 94) between the I-70 east end and Maryland 122 (Security Boulevard) was slated for removal and replacement with an at-grade intersection. Cooks Boulevard, a Maryland State Highway Administration-maintained roadway, would overtake former I-70 west to the symmetrical stack interchange with I-695. Truncation of I-70 was approved by the AASHTO U.S. Route Numbering Committee on May 29, 2014. However funding for the Red Line project was ultimately withdrawn.
In Columbus, the Ohio DOT studied several options to deal with worsening congestion in downtown in the early 2000s. Some of the options include converting portions of Interstate 70 into a surface boulevard, adding various collector-distributor lanes parallel to the freeway, adding lanes, or doing nothing.
One of the options considered was to reroute Interstate 70 south of its current alignment between Exit 98/U.S. 42 and near Milepost 106. In this plan, Interstate 70 would take a new alignment at Exit 98, connecting to Interstate 71 and Ohio 104 south of downtown and southeast of Cooper Stadium. From there, Interstate 70 would take over Ohio 104, and a new connection would be constructed in the vicinity of U.S. 33 (Exit 105) that would link the new Interstate 70 to the existing Interstate 70. In exchange, the existing route of Interstate 70 between Exits 98 and 105A, including the notorious interchange with Interstate 71, would be replaced with a 35 mph boulevard.17
Another option, presented in November 2003, the Ohio DOT proposed separating through traffic on Interstates 70/71 from Downtown-bound traffic possibly through the use of collector-distributor lanes. According to the Columbus Dispatch article, "the plan would eliminate highway lane changes by dedicating three lanes of traffic to I-70, two lanes to I-71 and creating collector-distributor streets above the highway for motorists getting to and from two sets of Downtown ramps."
As the study progressed between 2002 and 2004, various options were considered, eliminated, or adopted for further consideration. According to the ODOT I-70/I-71 South Innerbelt Corridor Study, construction of one of three possible alternatives (involving the location and layout of the collector distributor lanes) would have begun in 2008 and end in late 2010. Design of the project began in 2005.6
A multi-year project addresses congestion along the Interstates 70 and 71 overlap through central Columbus. Known as Columbus Crossroads, the six phase project kicked off with a revamp of the I-71/670 interchange between 2011-2013. Phase 2 entails redesigning the eastern junction of I-70/71 to eliminate left-hand ramps and ultimately separate the two routes into separate carriageways. Construction underway in summer 2017 adds an additional lane for both directions of Interstates 70 and 71. A new ramp will be constructed from I-70 east at Parsons Avenue to replace the exit at 18th Street.
Columbus Crossroads Phases and Funding schedule as of March 2016.
On December 29, 2004, a new section of Interstate 70 between Indiana 267 and Interstate 465 was opened south of the Indianapolis International Airport at a cost of $170 million. This realignment pushed a 4.5-mile section of Interstate 70 south a bit, which allowed for expansion of the airport's runway system and new interchange ramps.4
St. Louis and East St. Louis
Meanwhile, in the St. Louis metropolitan area, Interstate 70 was realigned to cross the Mississippi River via the new 4-lane Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. Located north of both the existing Martin Luther King Bridge and the Poplar Street Bridge (which is now designated as just Interstate 55 and Interstate 64), the new cable-stayed bridge stems east from an extended Interstate 44 at a new interchange with Tucker Boulevard to arc southward to East St. Louis, Illinois at the tri-level interchange where Interstates 55 and 64 part ways.
The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge accommodates four overall lanes with full right-hand shoulders. The span can be restriped for six lanes, but without shoulders. Photo taken by Chris Kalina (03/08/14).
Realignment onto the new freeway, which opened February 9, 2014, was approved by AASHTO on October 21, 2013. This coincided with the redesignation of I-70 between the Poplar Street Bridge and Tucker Boulevard as an extended Interstate 44. Approval for the $1.8 to $2.2-billion project by Illinois and Missouri occurred in 2001, though funding slowed progress and focuses were directed on the $667-million bridge, new freeway south from the bridge to I-64 and 55, and interchange upgrades at each end. Future work will add new roadway from the bridge east end to Interstates 55 & 70 east of IL 203.12
A 12.69-mile section of Interstate 70/Kansas Turnpike between Topeka and Lawrence was widened to six lanes. At a cost of $75 million, the project began in Spring 2005 and included drainage improvements and a higher median barrier (51 inches). This project was coupled with a reconstruction of the 3,000-foot Kansas River bridge near Lawrence, which was estimated to cost $130 million and scheduled to begin in 2009.7New spans over the Kansas River were opened in October 2009 and November 29, 2010 respectively.14
Central 70 - Denver
Long term proposals to reconstruct, replace or realign Interstate 70 east through the Elyria and Swansea community in Denver continued beyond the 2006 completion of the T-REX reconstruction of the Mousetrap Interchange (where I-70 and I-25 meet at Globeville in Denver). The section of I-70 east of Brighton Boulevard (Colorado 265) consists of an elevated roadway completed in 1964. Several options proposed for the freeway between Interstate 25 and Tower Road in Aurora, included:2
Construct more general travel lanes to existing Interstate 70
Construct four car-pool lanes along existing Interstate 70
Construct a four-lane express toll facility along the center of the free lanes.
Construct a new alignment for Interstate 70 between Washington Street and Quebec Street and add more free lanes to existing Interstate 70 from Quebec Street to Tower Road
Construct a new alignment of Interstate 70 between Washington Street and Quebec Street with four car-pool lanes; extend the four carpool lanes along existing I-70 from Quebec Street to Tower Road
Construct new alignment of Interstate 70 between Washington Street and Quebec Street with a four-lane express toll facility; extend the toll facility down the center of the free lanes from Quebec Street to Tower Road
In Options 4, 5, and 6, the new path of Interstate 70 would extend from the Denver Coliseum east to Quebec Street (former Colorado 35) via industrial land in Commerce City. I-70 would depart its existing alignment at Washington Street, follow the BNSF Railroad tracks northeast to the defunct Rock Island Railroad right of way, then curve southeast back to I-70 near Quebec Street. These three options would have pushed the freeway through the home of the National Western Stock Show to a point nearly one mile north of the original alignment. Under these scenarios, existing Interstate 70 would revert back to a surface street (East 46th Avenue).
These options were considered as part of an Environmental Impact Statement jointly prepared by the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) and the city of Denver. Preliminary estimates indicated that realigning Interstate 70 was the most cost effective option versus reconstructing the old freeway.2.
Public hearings took place in September 2014 for the I-70 East Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Estimated at $1.8 billion, the preferred alternative was the reconstruction of Interstate 70, calling for replacing the aging viaduct with a below grade freeway coupled with an express toll lane in each direction. Support for this option included the Denver Chamber of Commerce, the National Western Stock Show, the Elyria-Swansea Business Association among other groups.19
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the $1.2 billion reconstruction of Interstate 70 in January 2017. The approval allows CDOT to move forward with design work on the five-year Central 70 project. Construction anticipated for 2018 will rebuild the ten mile stretch of I-70 from I-25 at Globeville to Chambers Road in Aurora. The elevated lanes between SH 265 (Brighton Boulevard) and SH 2 (Colorado Boulevard) will be lowered to travel 30 feet below grade. Toll lanes will be added in each direction.20 The new freeway at Elyria and Swansea will include a lid supporting a four acre landscaped park by Swansea Elementary School.19 56 residences and 17 businesses will displaced by the project.21
I-70 Mountain Express Lanes
The I-70 Peak Period Shoulder Lane project upgraded 13 miles of Interstate 70 eastbound from the merge with U.S. 40 at Empire to the split with U.S. 6 east of the Veterans Memorial (Twin) Tunnels in Clear Creek County. The expansion project added a full left-hand shoulder for use as a third, optional lane during peak travel periods. When open to traffic, the Mountain Express Lane charges a tolls electronically through ExpressToll transponders or toll by plate. Congestion pricing is implemented to keep the toll lane moving at highway speeds, with rates adjusted upward during heavier traffic.
A dynamic message sign for the I-70 Mountain Express Lane on Interstate 70 eastbound at Dumont. Photo taken 08/11/16.
Interstate 70 was one of the first Interstate Highways to be built on many different levels, according to the Federal Highway Administration article "Three States Claim First Interstate Highway" by Richard F. Weingroff that appeared in Public Roads. Three sections of Interstate 70 in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Kansas could each claim to be the "first" section of Interstate Highway to be built.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike today incorporates portions of both Interstate 70 and Interstate 76. The section between Irwin (Exit 67, near the junction U.S. 30 southeast of Pittsburgh) and Carlisle (Exit 226, near the junction with Interstate 81) opened to traffic on October 1, 1940. Although the Turnpike did not have Interstate 70 shields on it when it opened, this portion of Interstate 70 (and Interstate 76) could be considered the first Interstate highway. However, this toll facility was not built with Interstate Highway Funds. The Interstate designation was added to the Turnpike well after the roadway opened.
The other two instances of "first Interstate highway" claims are directly related to the freeways built with Interstate Highway Funds. In Missouri, the section of Interstate 70 (Mark Twain Expressway) in St. Charles County was the first Interstate Highway project to be awarded and to start construction (contract awarded on August 2, 1956, and construction began on August 13, 1956). In Kansas, a two-lane section of Interstate 70 (U.S. 40) several miles west of Topeka also could claim "first Interstate highway" because it was the first segment to be completed with federal Interstate Highway funds, even though construction had begun prior to that point. This section of Interstate 70 opened on November 14, 1956. Signs along the route at the time stated that this section of Interstate 70 was the "first project in the United States completed under the provisions of the new Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956."
A sign in St. Charles County reminds motorists of Missouri's claim of the "First Interstate Highway" with this sign posted on westbound Interstate 70 northwest of St. Louis. Photo taken by Joe Balsarotti, 10/17/05.
Interstate 70 begins in sparsely populated central Utah at its junction with Interstate 15 at Cove Fort. Interstate 70 followed former Utah 4 between Interstate 15 and U.S. 89, then parallels old U.S. 89 from Sevier north to Salina via Richfield through the Sevier Valley. Originally, Interstate 70 was programmed to begin in Denver; however, a later addition (made public on October 18, 1957) extended the route west to Cove Fort to allow for greater access to Southern California.10 Some would have preferred that Interstate 70 turn northwest at Green River toward Spanish Fork, thus offering a freeway route to Salt Lake City; however, the federal plan preferred sending the freeway southwest to provide access to Southern California via Interstate 15.
At Salina, Interstate 70 leaves U.S. 89 and gains U.S. 50. Interstate 70 and U.S. 50 cross 110 miles of sparsely populated land between Salina and Green River. U.S. 50 was rerouted onto Interstate 70 in 1976 from its former alignment it used to share with U.S. 6 between Delta and Green River. From Salina, the freeway ascends to Salina Canyon Summit/Emigrant Pass (elevation 7,923 feet) in the Fishlake National Forest, then crosses the Wasatch Plateau. After the Utah 10 interchange, Interstate 70 enters the San Rafael Swell. The freeway through this rural area was mostly built as a two-lane freeway and was the last section of Interstate 70 to see four lanes. Through the swell, freeway construction required removal of 3.5 million yards of excavation at Spotted Wolf Canyon and construction of two steel arch bridges over deep Eagle Canyon (near Milepost 120) in 1965 (eastbound) and 1990 (westbound; constructed by OlsenBeal).11
The 70-mile section of two-lane Interstate 70 opened to traffic on November 5, 1970, and it is still the longest section of Interstate Highway to open at one time.10 Four-laning was completed in stages, with the route completely up to Interstate standards with the opening of the second Eagle Canyon bridge on September 28, 1990. The freeway runs through such unpopulated territory that Interstate 70 still has no motorist services between Salina and Green River for 110 miles. The freeway was not preceded by any kind of two-lane highway due to the rugged natures of the scenic San Rafael Swell in Emery County -- neither U.S. 50 nor Utah 4 were routed on the location of today's freeway alignment.10 This segment cost $183.5 million to complete. Interstate 70 through proceeds east over the Green River and passes by the southern end of the Book Cliffs through the Grand Valley before entering Colorado.
This view of Interstate 70 looks east through the San Rafael Swell toward Green River in central Utah from Ghost Rock Summit. The freeway occupies a narrow footprint as it ascends toward the top of the swell. Photo taken by Jeff Royston, 09/16/06.
Interstate 70 across Colorado was completed when a 12-mile stretch of scenic freeway opened to traffic through Glenwood Canyon along the Colorado River. 1,500 attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 14, 1992 at one of the two new tunnels along the route. The $490 million Glenwood Canyon project included the construction of the 4,000 foot long tunnels and 40 bridges. Work started in 1985 and relegated traffic to one direction at a time, with up to a half hour delays.16 For a history of the completion of Interstate 70 in Colorado, visit Interstate 70 @ AARoads.
North from Copper Mountain, Colorado, Interstate 70 winds through a canyon along Tenmile Range through to the town of Frisco. Photo taken 08/11/16.
Interstate 70 traverses the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains via the Eisenhower and Johnson Tunnels, visible in this late autumn scene in the high country of Colorado. U.S. 6, which travels over Loveland Pass, follows the contours of the mountain to climb over the divide to provide an alternative to the tunnels. Photo taken by Jeff Royston, 11/18/06.
Between May 1987 and December 2003, the Interstate 70/25 interchange (locally known as the "Mousetrap") was reconstructed to its current configuration at a cost of $269 million. This project provided for the reconstruction of several segments of Interstate 70 in its approaches to Interstate 25. The last section that was completed was the Interstate 70 viaduct from Brighton Boulevard west to Interstate 25. Built in 1951 when Interstate 70 was known as East 46th Avenue, the Mousetrap grew to connect to Interstate 70 in the mid-1960s and later became a source of traffic delays due to a design that was inadequate to handle traffic volumes in excess of 416,000 vehicles annually through the interchange.1
Within Kansas, the following are highlights of the history of Interstate 70:7
U.S. 24, 40, 69, 75 (Topeka to Nebraska), and 81 were first considered as potential Interstate routes by Kansas on June 5, 1945. A subsequent submission by the Kansas State Highway Commission on May 22, 1946, resulted in three primary routes to be considered by the federal government: Route 1 (today's Interstate 70), Route 2 (today's Interstate 35), and Route 3 (today's Kansas 66; Interstate 44 avoids the Sunflower State).
The section of Interstate 70 that overlays the Kansas Turnpike was constructed in 1955 and 1956, with the entire turnpike opening on October 21, 1956.
On November 29, 1956, proposed Interstate 70 was rerouted away from Ellsworth, thus allowing for a more direct path between Russell and Salina. The old road (U.S. 40) is partially designated as Kansas 140 (Ellsworth to Salina) and the remainder (west of Ellsworth) is under local control.
The portions of the Kansas Turnpike that carry Interstate 35, Interstate 70, and Interstate 470 were approved as part of the Interstate Highway System by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 1957. Interstate 335 was designated for the remaining unnumbered section of the Kansas Turnpike in 1987.
Interstate 70 was designated by AASHTO on August 14, 1957, as an original Interstate Highway from Denver east to Baltimore.
On April 22, 1958, the first "interstate" connection between two states (Kansas and Missouri) was opened along Interstate 70 in Kansas City.
On October 9, 1959, Interstate 70 between Abilene and Junction City opened.
During 1964, a large section of Interstate 70 around Salina (through Ellsworth, Lincoln, and Saline Counties) was under construction. Also during 1964, Interstate 70 opened between Colby and Oakley.
On November 16, 1966,15 Interstate 70 opened through Russell County, thus creating a continuous freeway from Colby east through Kansas City to St. Louis, Missouri.
Interstate 70 was completed in Kansas on June 17, 1970 with the opening of the segment at Goodland.
The completion of the 424-mile, border-to-border stretch of Interstate 70 was the longest continuous section of Interstate highway to be completed by any state as of 1970. In Kansas, the 370-mile section of Interstate 70 (excluding the Kansas Turnpike) cost $155.6 million to construct.
Between 1992 and August 2001, the East Topeka Interchange (junction Interstate 70, Interstate 470, U.S. 40, and Kansas 4 east of Topeka) was reconfigured, realigned, and reconstructed.
Interstate 70 enters Kansas City, Missouri along a 1.3-mile long viaduct east from the Kansas River bridge to Quality Hill. This view looks west at the elevated roadway from the Interstate 35 flyover ramp at the Alphabet Loop. Photo taken 06/18/15.
Within Missouri, much of existing U.S. 40 expressway was upgraded to Interstate 70 in the late 1950s and 1960s as part of the process to construct Interstate 70 across the Show Me State. Urban sections of Interstate 70 were largely constructed through the 1960s and 1970s. The Poplar Street Bridge, which carries Interstate 55, Interstate 64 and formerly Interstate 70 over the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Missouri, and East St. Louis, Illinois, opened on November 9, 1967. It consists of two, 2,165-foot long bridges, one for each direction of traffic. Excluding the bridge approaches, the main bridge cost $13.2 million. This bridge was the first orthotropic bridge, which is a type of plate-girder bridge.9
The section of Interstate 70 across Ohio was completed and fully opened to traffic by 1976.5
Parallel/Historic U.S. Routes
From Cove Fort east to Green River, Interstate 70 largely follows U.S. 50, although prior to the construction of the freeway, U.S. 50 opted instead to follow the current route of U.S. 6 west to Delta. Between Green River and Grand Junction, Interstate 70 remains merged with U.S. 6-50. U.S. 50 splits south at Grand Junction, leaving Interstate 70 to follow U.S. 6 from Grand Junction east to Denver. U.S. 40 meets Interstate 70 for the first time at Empire, and these two routes interplay from there east to Baltimore. Interstate 70 follows U.S. 40 out of Denver all the way to Limon, and then picks up the U.S. 24 corridor from Limon to Colby. At Colby, Interstate 70 swings south to rejoin U.S. 40 at Oakley. From there, Interstate 70 and U.S. 40 are generally merged all the way to St. Louis, with a few exceptions. East of St. Louis, Interstate 70 and U.S. 40 follow each other closely, with a deviation from Washington, Pennsylvania, to Hancock, Maryland. However, once in Maryland, Interstate 70 again closely follows U.S. 40 all the way into Baltimore.
From time to time, proposals appear on the Internet or older planning maps to extend Interstate 70 either west to Nevada and California (via U.S. 50) or east to Delaware or even New Jersey. Neither of these extensions are being actively pursued by the affected state departments of transportation, and they would likely require significant outlays to make either extension possible.
Western Terminus - Interstate 15 - Cove Fort, Utah
Perspective from Interstate 15 north
Interstate 15 travels two miles north from Sulphurdale to junction Interstate 70 in southern Millard County. I-70 stems east from Exit 132 to Richfield, Salina, and Green River on its 232.15-mile journey through the state of Utah. Photo taken 08/09/14.
One mile south of the trumpet interchange (Exit 132) with Interstate 70 east. I-70 provides the main connection from Southern California and Las Vegas to Denver, Colorado. The freeway reaches the Mile High City in 505 miles. Photo taken 08/09/14.
The eastbound beginning of Interstate 70 departs I-15 north. Interstate 70 travels between Cove Fort, Utah and Baltimore, Maryland. The freeway serves such cities as Denver, Topeka, Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Wheeling and Pittsburgh along the 2,153.13 mile journey. This interchange was completed during the mid-1980s. Photo taken 08/09/14.
Original signage for Interstate 15 north at I-70 east. The town of Richfield represents the first population center along Interstate 70. The Sevier County seat is located to the south of Interstate 70 at Exit 40. Photo taken by Michael Summa (1986).
Perspective from Interstate 15 south
Two miles north of Interstate 70 east along I-15 south near Cove Fort. I-70 crosses the Pahvant Range nearby between Cove Fort and Sevier. The freeway turns northeast toward Richfield and Salina before crossing the Fish Lake Mountains en route to Green River. Photo taken 07/12/15.
One mile out from the trumpet interchange (Exit 132) with I-70 east on I-15 south. Interstate 70 serves a vastly unpopulated swath of eastern Utah on the 232.15 mile drive to the Colorado state line. The freeway reaches Grand Junction, Colorado in 257 miles on the drive to Denver. Photo taken 07/12/15.
The eastbound beginning of Interstate 70 leaves I-15 south at Exit 132. I-70 ends 2,151 miles to the east at the Baltimore Beltway (I-695). The freeway follows the U.S. 50 corridor from Richland east to Grand Junction and the U.S. 40 corridor from Denver east to Baltimore. Photo taken 07/12/15.
Historic perspective from Interstate 15 south
Original button copy signs posted at the then-unnumbered loop ramp to I-70 east from I-15 south. The pull-through panel, including the secondary control point of Beaver, remained in use until 2005. Photo taken by Michael Summa (1983).
Perspective from Interstate 70 west
Utah 161 links Interstate 70 and Interstate 15 with historic Cove Fort. The state highway follows old U.S. 91. The fort originated in 1867 as an outpost for weary pioneers traveling between Beaver and Fillmore. Created by Ira Hinckley at the request of Brigham Young, the settlement remained an attraction long after its duties came to an end. Photo taken 08/17/13.
I-15 meets Interstate 70 near the Millard and Beaver County line southwest of Cove Fort. The freeway replaced all of U.S. 91 from San Bernardino, California northward to Brigham City, Utah. The freeway joins Las Vegas with Salt Lake City along that stretch. Photo taken 08/17/13.
A look at the final Interstate 70 westbound reassurance marker, posted over 2,200 miles west of its beginning in Baltimore, Maryland. The Mineral Mountains rise above the western landscape giving the highway a much different look than that of the urban eastern terminus. Photo taken 08/17/13.
Interstate 70 reaches its western terminus at the trumpet interchange with Interstate 15 near Cove Fort. An unnumbered ramp carries traffic onto Interstate 15 north en route to Provo and Salt Lake City, while the left lane defaults onto southbound Interstate 15. Photo taken 08/17/13.
Milepost zero is posted along the westbound on-ramp to Interstate 15 south. Interstate 15 carries motorists 19 miles to Beaver, 73 miles to Cedar City, and 124 miles to St. George. Photo taken 08/17/13.
Historic perspective from Interstate 70 west
With the Mineral Mountains onlooking, the final mile of Interstate 70 as seen from the eastbound shoulder within the diamond interchange (Exit 1) with Utah 161. Photo taken by Chris P (1990).
Vintage button copy overheads posted at the partition of Interstate 70 west into north and southbound ramps for Interstate 15. Local control points, the Millard County Seat of Fillmore to the north and the Beaver County Seat by the same name to the south, were used in addition to the regional destinations of Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Photo taken by Michael Summa (1984).
Perspective from Interstate 70 east
The zero milepost for Interstate 70 in Utah is located on the connecting ramp from northbound Interstate 15 onto eastbound Interstate 70. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/31/05).
This is the first shield for Interstate 70 east after the I-15 interchange by Cove Fort. I-70 continues east through Utah toward Grand Junction, Denver, Topeka, Kansas City, and St. Louis en route to the East Coast. Through this trip, the freeway leaves the Great Basin, traverses the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains, crosses the Mississippi River, and travels through the Appalachian Mountains before entering the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the state of Maryland. Photo taken 08/09/14.
A 2000-installed sign on Interstate 70 east indicates that the designation discontinues at the Interstate 695 symmetrical stack interchange. This distinction is accurate now, but was not until 2014 when I-70 was formerly dropped east of the Beltway. Photo taken 08/04/13.
One mile ahead of the symmetrical stack interchange with Interstate 695 on I-70 east. Photo taken 08/04/13.
The right-hand two lanes of Interstate 70 default onto Exits 91A/B for the Baltimore Beltway. New York appears here for I-95 north along the JFK Memorial Highway. Photo taken 08/04/13.
The mainline for I-70 reduced to a single lane for the final 1.95 miles leading to Maryland 122 (Security Boulevard) and the Park and Ride lot. Photo taken 08/04/13.
Exit 91 splits for I-695 north (inner) and south (outer) from Interstate 70 east. I-695 encircles the city of Baltimore through such suburbs as Towson, Pikesville, Essex, Glen Burnie, and Dundalk. Photo taken 08/04/13.
Heading west from the Ingleside Avenue on-ramp, traffic partitions into two lanes for the Baltimore Beltway and a single through lane for the I-70 westbound beginning. Originally three through lanes were striped here. Photo taken 06/17/00.
Replaced overhead signs posted at the Exit 91 off-ramp for Interstate 695 along I-70 west. Only 48 miles separate this junction with the city of Frederick. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (09/01/02).
Leading away from Exit 91, I-70 travels the top level of symmetrical stack interchange with Interstate 695. A three-lane on-ramp follows from the Beltway. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (09/01/02).
Historic Eastern Terminus - Park and Ride east of Interstate 695 - Baltimore, Maryland.
The eastern terminus originally was intended to end at Interstate 95 in southwestern Baltimore. Adamant neighborhood opposition in the city resulted in the cancellation of the majority of I-70 through the city, leaving the current stub end east of Interstate 695 and Security Blvd at a park and ride lot.
This will change with the planned removal of the 1.95-mile section of I-70 between the stack interchange at I-695 and the park and ride lot above MD-122.
Eric from Baltimore writes that Interstate 70 was supposed to run "through Baltimore City and have it meet up with Interstate 95 just south of the Russell Street exit. This would be its ending point, thereby providing those of us living on the western end of the Baltimore Metro Area easy access to downtown. This would ease congestion on the western beltway along with The Jones Falls Expressway (JFX/Interstate 83) and Interstate 95. The plan was ultimately dropped because it would have cause so much destruction and would have caused immense amounts of horribly twisted local roads in Western Baltimore City."
Perspective from Interstate 70 east
Interstate 70 extended 1.95 miles east of the Baltimore Beltway. Three eastbound lanes tapered down to two beyond the 1.25-mile freeway ends sign. Photo taken 06/01/04.
The final exit along eastbound transcontinental Interstate 70 was Exit 94, Security Boulevard (Maryland 122) west and Cooks Lane east to U.S. 40 (Edmondson Avenue). Photo taken 06/01/04.
A second end sign preceded the freeway end by one half mile. Photo taken 06/01/04.
Traffic reduced to a single lane ahead of the loop ramp onto Maryland 122 (Security Boulevard) west. No ramp was built for Cooks Lane east into the city of Baltimore. Photo taken 06/01/04.
The park and ride lot comes into view as Exit 94 loops away from the ending I-70 onto Security Boulevard north. Trees of Gwynns Falls Park front the abandoned bus loop in the background. Photo taken 06/01/04.
Beyond Exit 94, drivers looped through the park and ride area and onto the former westbound beginning of Interstate 70. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (02/24/02).
A second loop, barricaded in this photo, was used for a bus stop. It is where the Gwynn Falls Trailhead is located. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (02/24/02).
The eastern end of pavement for Interstate 70 at Gwynns Falls Park visible from the park and ride lot. First photo taken 06/17/00 and second by Tim Reichard (02/24/02).
The park and ride lot also doubled as a resting point for truckers and storage area for trailers. Photos taken by Tim Reichard (02/24/02).
Perspective from Interstate 70 west
Looking west from a bus-lane turn around at the very east edge of pavement for Interstate 70 by Leakin Park. The six-lane mainline of I-70 was converted to a parking area while single lane collector distributor roadways served movements to and from Maryland 122 (Security Boulevard) and Ingleside Avenue. Photo taken 06/17/00.
A pair of shields directed motorists u-turning from the east end of the freeway onto I-70 west for the Baltimore beltway. Off-ramps followed for MD-122 west and east. Photo taken 06/17/00.
Perspective from Maryland 122 (Security Boulevard)
Approaching the signalized intersection with Ingleside Avenue west and Forest Park Avenue east along Maryland 122 (Security Boulevard) east. Maryland 122 and Interstate 70 both ended at their mutual interchange, but part of that interchange (Maryland 122 east to Interstate 70 west) uses ramps from Ingleside Avenue. The park and ride lot extended over the overpass. Photo taken 07/02/10.
Turning onto Ingleside Avenue west for I-70 west from MD-122 east. Security Boulevard and Maryland 122 end at forthcoming Forest Park Avenue west, with Cooks Lane taking over en route to U.S. 40 in Baltimore city. Photo taken 07/02/10.
A loop ramp provided access from MD-122 east onto the I-70 park and ride lot. Photo taken 07/02/10.
A parting shot of the loop for unbuilt Interstate 70 east. The park and ride lot utilized the freeway mainline. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (09/01/02).
A portion of the planned I-70 east to I-95 southbound flyover was constructed above Desoto Road along side Interstate 95. Vidcap taken 07/04/93.
Another look at the partially built ramp from I-70 east to I-95 south. Other unused ramp stubs hinted at connections to the adjacent collector distributor roadway for Caton Avenue. Vidcap taken 07/04/93.
Interstate 695 button copy overhead (since replaced), adjacent to the ghost ramp. The flyover segment was removed by the mid-1990s. Vidcap taken 7/93.
The northbound c/d roadway from Caton Avenue stays separated from the I-95 mainline through to Washington Boulevard. The single-lane viaduct includes an unused slip ramp to a stub ramp meant for unconstructed I-70 west from I-95 north. Photos taken 10/01.
Following the c/d roadway from Caton Avenue, a second stub appears beside the Exit 51 off-ramp to Washington Avenue. This piece of pavement is leftover from the planned ramp between unbuilt I-70 east to I-95 north. Photos taken 10/01.
"This Mousetrap wasn't a snap, but after 17 years, project at I-70, I-25 has reached a close," by Kevin Flynn, Rocky Mountain News, December 16, 2003.
"I-70 shift gains support: Rerouting interstate hailed as efficient way to move traffic," by Kevin Flynn, Rocky Mountain News, September 28, 2004.
Source: December 31, 2016 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
* - 2.13 miles on I-65, # - 87.22 miles on I-76
Interstate 70 Annual Average Daily Traffic
West Terre Haute
Source: Utah Department of Transportation - Traffic on Utah's Highways 2001
INDOT 2000 Annual Average Daily Traffic Volumes Map
Pennsylvania Traffic Volumes 2002 (Penndot)
2002 AADTS Report (Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration - Highway Information
Complete Interstate 70 AADT data.
Western Colorado - 1972.
West of Denver in 1972, only four portions of Interstate 70 were open to traffic: Fruita to Colorado 65 east of Grand Junction (opened between 1964 and 1970), between New Castle and Glenwood Springs (1971), from Wolcott east to Vail (1970 and 1972) and Silver Plume east into Denver (1960 through 1968).13
Undated map showing the Stapleton International Airport runway system spanning I-70 and the original directional T interchange with Interstate 225 south.
The oldest sections of Interstate 70 in Colorado included the viaduct from Brighton Boulevard east to Colorado 2 (Colorado Boulevard) constructed from 1961 to September 12, 1964. The stretch east to Peoria Street was completed in 1965, and from there to U.S. 36-40-287 (Colfax Avenue) in 1966.19
The scenic stretch through Glenwood Canyon in Colorado is an engineering marvel, with the freeway often partitioning with I-70 westbound traveling on elevated viaduct and I-70 eastbound staying closer to grade level over old U.S. 6. Photo taken 08/11/16.
The Eisenhower Tunnel takes Interstate 70 across the Continental Divide between Silverthorne and Silver Plume in Colorado. The west portal of the 8,941 foot long bore sits at 11,158 feet above sea level. The tunnel represents the highest elevation on the Interstate Highway System.13 Photos taken 08/11/16.
Interstate 70 and U.S. 6-40 separate east of Idaho Springs. U.S. 6 traverses Clear Creek Canyon into Golden while I-70 and parallel U.S. 40 take a more southerly course across Flint Hill and through Mount Vernon Canyon to the Denver metropolitan area. Photo taken 08/11/16.
Interstate 70 east at Interstate 435 in Kansas City, Missouri. The two freeways meet to the northwest of Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums. Photo taken 06/19/15.