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Interstate 75

 

The Mackinac Bridge, which carries Interstate 75 over the Straits of Mackinac between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan, is a graceful suspension bridge. It was planned in the early 1950s and constructed over the course of three years. Construction beginning on May 7, 1954, and the bridge opened on November 1, 1957. The Mackinac Bridge has one of the longest suspension spans, with 3,800 feet between suspension towers; 8,614 feet between suspension bridge anchorages; and a total bridge length of 26,372 feet (approximately five miles). The bridge towers rise 552 feet above the surface of the lake, and the roadway is suspended 199 feet above the water. Photo taken in 2001 by Steve Hanudel.

Routing

Interstate 75 provides the major link between the Southeast and the Great Lakes, serving the cities of Miami, Naples, Fort Myers, Tampa, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Lexington, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Detroit. A sentimental favorite of AARoads, annual roadtrips from the Midwest south to sunny Florida makes Interstate 75 a most enjoyable journey.

A well-traveled route, Interstate 75 has enough traffic to justify six lanes in most spots. Plans already are in place to widen Interstate 75 to six lanes in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. Several U.S. routes find their termini on Interstate 75, including U.S. 2 in St. Ignace, Michigan; U.S. 23 and U.S. 31 in Mackinaw City, Michigan; U.S. 10 in Bay City, Michigan; U.S. 24 near Pontiac, Michigan; U.S. 68 near Findlay, Ohio; and U.S. 74 near Cleveland, Tennessee (although some maps show U.S. 74 merged with Interstate 75 west to junction Interstate 24). U.S. 150 and 441 find their termini close to Interstate 75, on U.S. 25. U.S. 129 ends on a stretch of Interstate 40 in Knoxville that at one time was also designated as Interstate 75. U.S. 17, 19 and 301 in Florida also end close to Interstate 75 at U.S. 41.

High Priority Corridor

Interstate 75 in Ohio is part of High Priority Corridor 76: Interstate 75 Ohio.

Parallel U.S. Routes

Interstate 75 parallels a variety of U.S. routes along its six-state journey. From Miami to Chattanooga, Interstate 75 closely parallels U.S. 41. From Chattanooga northeast to Knoxville, it follows U.S. 11 closely. From Knoxville north to Cincinnati, U.S. 25 remains in the shadow of Interstate 75. Interstate 75 replaced U.S. 25 between Cincinnati and Detroit, and it replaced U.S. 10 from Detroit to Bay City. North of Bay City, Interstate 75 followed a new alignment before meeting and replacing U.S. 27 near Grayling, U.S. 23-31 across the Straits of Mackinac near Mackinaw City, and U.S. 2 from St. Ignace north to Ste. St. Marie.

Interstate 75 Florida Guide and History

Interstate 75 begins its northerly journey at a relatively innocuous location, the interchange of Florida 826 (Palmetto Expressway) and Florida 924 (Gratigny Parkway) in Hialeah, just northwest of Miami. This was not the original planned southern terminus. When plans for extending Interstate 75 south of Tampa were first concocted, Interstate 75 was planned to begin at the current interchange between Interstate 95 and Interstate 395 in downtown Miami. Interstate 75 would have followed Florida 836 (Dolphin Expressway) west past Florida's Turnpike (Homestead Extension) and followed U.S. 41 northwest to Naples, then north along its current alignment to Tampa. At the time this was considered, Interstate 395 was still to remain as is; one would have thought that Interstate 75 would have continued east of Interstate 95 along with U.S. 41 to the beaches with the planned alignment, but it was not so. FDOT maps confirm that the southern spur to Miami Beach was to be Interstate 395.

However, with pressure to upgrade the tolled Alligator Alley (old Florida 84) to a superhighway, Interstate 75 was extended instead along that route. The route was changed sometime in the mid-1970s; it may have been as late as 1977 when Interstate 75 was relocated to the Alligator Alley/Florida 84. 6 This allowed the originally planned freeway corridor along the environmentally sensitive U.S. 41 corridor to remain a two-lane highway. As a result of using the Alligator Alley, Interstate 75 was too far north to meet Interstate 95 in downtown Miami, so Interstate 75 was rerouted to meet Interstate 95 in North Miami, near Interstate 95 Exit 9 (Junction Florida 924). Due to local opposition, Interstate 75 did not make it all the way southeast to Interstate 95; it was truncated at Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway. A portion of the freeway between Florida 826 and Interstate 95 was constructed; however, it was built as a toll road and not included in the Interstate highway system since it did not meet another Interstate at its end.

With a planned new freeway that would parallel Florida 953/LeJeune Road along a former railroad right-of-way to the east, Florida 924/Gratigny Parkway will ultimately connect to another freeway but not an Interstate. This freeway would extend south to meet Florida 112/Airport Expressway and Florida 836/Dolphin Expressway. Currently, there are no plans to extend Interstate 75 southeast along the Florida 924/Gratigny Parkway and Florida 953 corridor, but that may change once the new freeway is constructed.

Leaving South Florida, Interstate 75 follows Alligator Alley, a toll facility linking the Miami metropolitan area with Naples and Fort Myers. Yes, there really are alligators hanging out in the canals and waterways along Interstate 75, especially through the Big Cypress National Preserve. This is the only toll road along the entire length of Interstate 75 (there is a toll bridge in Michigan). Although the Alley is east-west, the Interstate 75 is signed north-south (with a few minor exceptions at Exit 80/Florida 29 and the rest area in Collier County). The project to widen the Alligator Alley from two to four lanes was completed in 1992, and tolls were slated to be removed at that time. Today, plans still call for tolls to be removed from the Alley, but it is not clear when that might occur. Ongoing mitigation for Everglades restoration, wildlife portals, fences, and other requirements have kept the tolls as a necessity for maintenance and monitoring that is not required on other sections of Interstate 75. Between Exit 48 (Big Cypress Indian Reservation) and Exit 80 (Florida 29), Interstate 75 passes through the Big Cypress National Preserve, a rare example of an Interstate highway passing through a national park.

From Miami north to Tampa, Interstate 75 parallels U.S. 41. U.S. 41 is a fast, toll-free, but somewhat congested alternative to Interstate 75 across the Everglades and through Big Cypress National Preserve. Upon reaching the turnoff to Marco Island at its junction with Florida 951, U.S. 41 becomes very congested and slow as it ascends the Gulf Coast of Florida. Since completion of Interstate 75 through Southwest Florida in the mid-1980s, through traffic has diverted from U.S. 41 to Interstate 75. With the inland suddenly open for development as never before, Interstate 75 has fostered the construction of housing, shopping, and entire communities within the shadow of the freeway. Previously empty interchanges have grown to include traveler services, malls, and condominiums. Traffic has increased between Naples and Tampa due to the explosive growth of this region, and now planners are considered a massive expansion of the freeway from its current four lane configuration to a much larger eight to ten lanes. To finance this widening, toll (HOT) lanes are under consideration for Interstate 75 in Collier and Lee Counties north of Florida 951. In 2005, state legislation approved the Southwest Florida Expressway Authority to oversee this eventual widing. And commonly known as the IROX project, the first 30 mile portion transformating Interstate 75 from four to six lanes is occurring between Collier County 846 (Immokalee Road) in North Naple to Florida 884 (Colonial Boulevard) in Ft. Myers, with a completion in early to mid-2010.

Until the completion of the freeway from Tampa to Naples in the mid-1980s south of the Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area, Interstate 75 reached its southern terminus at the interchange of Interstate 4 and Interstate 275 in downtown Tampa. Prior to its extension south of Tampa, Interstate 4 continued southwest on current Interstate 275 southeast to St Petersburg, where it ended near downtown. So when it came time to extend Interstate 75, planners had a decision: should Interstate 75 be routed through Tampa and St. Petersburg or keep it inland as a bypass of the metropolitan area? The initial decision was to route Interstate 75 along current alignment of Interstate 275 through both Tampa and St. Petersburg, while an Interstate 75E was proposed to take the current alignment of Interstate 75 east of town. This was changed to the current configuration when Interstate 75 opened in 1986. Even so, the secret Florida state road designations betray the original intention of this highway: Interstate 75 follows Florida 93 for its entire length through the state with the exception of the bay area. Florida 93 runs along Interstate 275 instead of the Interstate 75 bypass of Tampa; Interstate 75 around Tampa follows Florida 93A.

Interstate 75 widens to eight lanes in some areas of the Tampa metropolitan area even though it avoids downtown, especially near the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway and Interstate 4. North of Tampa, Interstate 75 becomes the main gateway corridor from the Midwest states to Florida. Traffic is funneled to Interstate 75 via Interstate 74 and Interstate 64 from Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, and Minneapolis. Interstate 75 itself carries travelers from Detroit and Ontario. Many segments of Interstate 75 are subject to delay as a result of the increased traffic related to the Christmas holidays and spring break.

The following are key dates in the history of Interstate 75 in Florida:8

  • 1960 - The proposed segment of Interstate 75 from Alachua north to the Georgia State Line was shown for the first time on maps
  • 1962 - Interstate 75 opened from Lake City to Genoa (first segment to open). Interstate 75 under construction from Ellisville to Lake City and from Genoa to the Florida-Georgia State Line.
  • 1963 - Interstate 75 under construction from Wildwood north to Lake City.
  • 1965 - Interstate 75 under construction from Interstate 4 in Tampa north to Chapman and from Wesley Chapel north to Wildwood.
  • 1967 - Interstate 4 and Interstate 75 interchange in downtown Tampa (today's Interstate 4 and Interstate 275 interchange) was constructed. This interchange is today commonly known as Malfunction Junction.
  • 1967 - Interstate 75 opened from Wesley Chapel to Wildwood.
  • 1968 - All of Interstate 75 north of Tampa was opened except for the short segment in Tampa between the Hillsborough River and Fowler Avenue.
  • 1969 - Interstate 75 was extended southwest along Interstate 4 into St. Petersburg. Interstate 75 had a new proposed routing up from Bonita Springs (north of Naples) to Rubonia. The Sunshine Skyway was also added to Interstate 75.
  • 1971 - Initial proposal to extend Interstate 75 south from Naples to Miami considered along U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) corridor and Florida 836 (Dolphin East-West Expressway) in Miami. This proposed route was shifted to the Alligator Alley alignment in 1977. As a result of the truncation of Interstate 4, Interstate 75 was extended southwest through Tampa to St. Petersburg.
  • 1972 - The southern terminus of Interstate 75 was at the junction with Florida 689 (54th Avenue North and Haines Road) in St. Petersburg.
  • 1973 - Interstate 75 in St. Petersburg opened from 38th Avenue North to 54th Avenue North. Shortly thereafter, the Interstate 75 designation was shifted to the bypass route, while Interstate 275 replaced Interstate 75 on the city route.
  • 1977 - Proposed route of Interstate 75 from Naples to Miami shifted to the two-lane Alligator Alley (Everglades Parkway). Signs for Interstate 75 were placed on the Alligator Alley. Another new proposed route for I-75 linked Golden Gate to Bonita Springs.
  • 1978 - Interstate 75 under construction from Estero to Tropical Gulf Acres.
  • 1979 - Interstate 75 opened from Estero to Bayshore and under construction from (1) near Opa-locka to near Andytown (Junction U.S. 27), (2) Florida 951/Golden Gate north to Estero, and (3) from Tropical Gulf Acres to U.S. 301 near Ellenton.
  • 1980 - Interstate 75 opened (1) from Bayshore to Harbour Heights and (2) North Port to Ellenton. Interstate 75 under construction from Ellenton to Florida 672.
  • 1981 - Interstate 75 opened from County Route 846 north to U.S. 301. Interstate 75 is under construction from U.S. 301 north to Lutz (Junction Interstate 275).
  • 1982 - Interstate 75 opened from Ellenton to Florida 672.
  • 1983 - Interstate 75 opened from Florida 672 to U.S. 301 near Temple Terrace.
  • 1984 - Interstate 75 opened (1) from Florida 820 to County Route 818 and (2) from Bruce B. Downs Boulevard north to Interstate 275 near Lutz.
  • 1985 - Interstate 75 opened from Florida 672 north to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, thus linking the northern and southern sections of Interstate 75 and completing the Tampa Bay Bypass.
  • 1986 - Interstate 75 opened from Florida 826 (Palmetto Expressway) in Hialeah north to U.S. 27 at Andytown. A connection to Future Interstate 595 began construction. The only remaining unfinished part of Interstate 75 was the Alligator Alley corridor.
  • 1989 - Construction begins to upgrade the Alligator Alley from a two-lane highway to a four-lane freeway.
  • 1990 - The improved Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley) opened from Andytown west to Big Cypress.
  • 1992 - Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley) opened from Big Cypress west to Florida 29.
  • 1993 - Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley) opened from Florida 29 to Florida 951 near Golden Gate. Interstate 75 is now complete from Florida 826 (Palmetto Expressway) in Hialeah north to the Georgia-Florida State Line, which includes both its original, planned route and the 1971 southerly extension to the Miami metropolitan area.

Interstate 75 Georgia Guide and History

In southern Georgia, Interstate 75 has several business loops that serve towns such as Valdosta, Tifton, and Adel. These business connections usually lead to U.S. 41 through these towns. At Macon, Interstate 75 meets Interstate 16, which connects Savannah to Atlanta. The Interstate 475 bypass is worthwhile for saving a few miles between Florida and Atlanta.

Improvements to Interstate 75 in the form of increased capacity is underway in south Georgia. The segment between Exit 18 (Georgia 133) northward to the Crisp/Dooly County Line near Milepost 106 will see expansion from four to six lanes of travel. The installation of a concrete barrier within the median and raising of several overpasses to increase the overall clearance is planned to coincide with the construction. Constructed 40 years ago, Interstate 75 here carries an average of 40,000 vehicles per day (vpd), a figure that rises to 100,000 vpd during holiday and other peak travel times.2

Further north at the city of Macon, Interstate 75 again faces construction. Beginning at Hardeman Avenue and concluding at Pierce Avenue, the north-south route will see reconstruction and widening. This includes improvements to the western terminus interchange of Interstate 16 at Exit 165. Planning to improve the deficiencies at this interchange have been underway since the early 1980s. These processes culminated with the agreement of the preferred alternative at a Public Information Meeting held on October 24, 2000. Also associated with this project is the reconstruction of Interstate 16 between Interstate 75 and Walnut Creek. This will involve changes to the Interstate 16 interchanges at Spring Street, Second Street, and Coliseum Drive.3

In Atlanta, the overlap with Interstate 85 carries 16 lanes of travel. Throughout the 1980s, the Interstate 75/85 conjoined section was continuously under construction, and traffic congestion was an issue even at 3:00 in the morning. Even with the expanded lanes and carpool lanes, traffic is still a problem during the rush hours. As a numbering side note, Atlanta is one of a small number of cities that carry two I-x5 interstate highways within its borders. Other examples of this include Interstate 35E and Interstate 45 in Dallas and Interstate 5 and Interstate 15 in San Diego.

The last section of Interstate 75 to open between Tampa, Florida, and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, was a section four miles north of Marietta, Georgia. It opened on December 21, 1977.9

Leaving Atlanta, Interstate 75 leads northwest toward Chattanooga, still parallel to U.S. 41. Interstate 575, Georgia 5, and Tennessee 68 would provide a more direct route to Knoxville, but the route is only freeway for the Interstate 575 portion. Tennessee 68 is largely a two-lane route, so the mileage saved is mitigated by non-standard freeway. Additionally, Georgia 400, U.S. 19, and U.S. 129 would also provide a more direct route. However, U.S. 129 is two-lane near the Great Smokies Mountains National Park.

Interstate 75 Tennessee and Kentucky Guide and History

At Chattanooga, Interstate 75 changes direction from northwest to northeast. U.S. 41 departs toward Nashville and Chicago, while Interstate 75 picks up U.S. 11. Here, Interstate 75 provides the connection between Interstate 59 and Interstate 81, both of which serve the U.S. 11 corridor. Interstate 75 meets Interstate 40 near Eaton Crossroad, and they merge for their journey toward Knoxville. In Knoxville, Interstate 75 used to run through downtown along current Interstate 275, but was relocated to alleviate Interstate 40 downtown. Plans call for a new freeway, Interstate 475, to be constructed along a new alignment to provide further relief for Interstate 75 travelers in the Knoxville area. U.S. 11 continues northeast, while Interstate 75 picks up U.S. 25W for its journey north toward Cincinnati.

Some of the most beautiful mountain scenery along Interstate 75 can be found north of Knoxville en route to Kentucky. Interstate 75 through Tennessee and Kentucky carries much traffic, and it is slated for improvement to six lanes in both states. In addition, parallel corridors are being considered. A feasibility study in Kentucky will determine if a new, parallel corridor to Interstate 75 in Kentucky and Tennessee between Chattanooga and Lexington would be cost effective. This study, dubbed as the "Interstate 175 Corridor," is scheduled for completion in 2002. If constructed, Interstate 175 would likely parallel Interstate 75 to the west, perhaps along the U.S. 27 or 127 corridors. Such an Interstate would likely be more direct than the current Interstate 75 corridor between Chattanooga and Lexington by avoiding Knoxville.

Although Interstate 75 closely parallels U.S. 25 from Knoxville to Cincinnati, it does not take long for the route to be completely absorbed by the Interstate. U.S. 25 comes to its end at the Ohio State Line as it crosses the Ohio River with U.S. 42 and U.S. 127. There is one or two U.S. 25 shields in Ohio, but U.S. 25 does not continue north of the state line. All of former U.S. 25 has been transferred to local control or made into a secondary state highway from Cincinnati north to Detroit, excepting Ohio 25 between Bowling Green and Toledo and U.S. 24 between Toledo and Detroit. The decommissioning of U.S. 25 is a philosophical difference: Some states prefer to keep the parallel U.S. highway designated, while others prefer to eliminate them as the Interstates were constructed. Good examples of this are former U.S. 25 and former U.S. 21 in Ohio.

Interstate 75 - Brent Spence Bridge Replacement over the Ohio River

The Brent Spence Bridge is a double-decker bridge that crosses the Ohio River between Covington, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio. In early 2004, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet introduced six alternatives for the Brent Spence Bridge, which is need of expansion in order to accommodate the increasing traffic flow:7

  1. Construct new Interstate 75 bridge to the west of the existing Brent Spence Bridge and leave Interstate 71 on the Brent Spence Bridge. With this option, Interstate 71 and Interstate 75 would not be merged for any distance in Ohio, and the Brent Spence Bridge (Interstate 71) would be restriped for three lanes in each direction with full emergency shoulders.
  2. Construct two new bridges, one for Interstate 75 (to the west of the existing bridge) and one for Interstate 71 in place of the existing Brent Spence Bridge if it is determined that the existing Brent Spence Bridge cannot be reconstructed/rehabilitated to modern Interstate safety standards.
  3. Build new Interstate 75 bridge to west of Brent Spence Bridge and create an interchange with connections from the new bridge to both Interstate 75 and Interstate 71 in Ohio. The Brent Spence Bridge would remain in place, carrying Interstate 71 and local traffic only.
  4. Construct a new Interstate 71-75 bridge with ten lanes in place of the Brent Spence Bridge, which would be demolished.
  5. Remove Brent Spence Bridge and replace it with two bridges side-by-side, one for through Interstate 75 traffic and the other for through Interstate 71 and local traffic.
  6. Construct a new bridge for both Interstate 71-75 to the west of the existing Brent Spence Bridge, and retooling the Brent Spence Bridge for local traffic only.

The new bridge would be built west of the existing Brent Spence Bridge in order to avoid an electrical substation and historic Longworth Hall. These alternatives, released as part of a $2 million study, would take over a decade to construct once funding is made available. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet hopes to refine its list of alternatives to two choices in 2005. Since Kentucky owns the bridge, it will bear most of the $750 million cost.7

Interstate 75 Ohio Guide and History

The Ohio Department of Transportation is currently considering options on how to handle growing congestion along Interstate 75 from the Ohio River north through Warren County. Known as the Thru the Valley Project or North-South Transportation Initiative, construction is scheduled between 2010 and 2013. As of 2006, alternatives for construction are being vetted through community processes.

One alternative envisions the expansion of this stretch to include six lanes in each direction of travel. The major widening will cost $1.56 billion, with Hamilton County entailing $1 billion of that figure. These staggering figures may reinstate the debate on how best to handle the Interstate 75 growing congestion: widening the freeway, building light rail, or a combination of both solutions. 30 year projections indicate that an expansion to an eight-lane freeway would actually worsen congestion. Thus a ten-lane or twelve-lane freeway is contested as the solution to potential rush-hour congestion in that time frame. The second most accident prone freeway in the state of Ohio (second to Interstate 70-71 in Columbus), this expansion project would compose the most expensive and expansive highway renovation in the history of the region.

The figures above do not include $482 million ODOT has already earmarked for maintenance nor the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge, an estimated $750 million expenditure.2 The light-rail option will cost approximately $1 billion, and the combination option (rail and freeway expansion) would entail over $2 billion in costs.1

The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana (OKI) Regional Council voted on October 9, 2003, to approve the mixed highway expansion and new light-rail plan. The result of this election will see the expansion of Interstate 75 to an eight-lane freeway from the Ohio River through Hamilton, Butler, and Warren counties. The light rail aspect of the proposal includes a line with trains every three minutes during peak hours and five minutes in off-peak times. The mass transit price tag is $1.83 billion. The plan can now formally be considered for the 30-year long range transportation plan of the region. It is expected to take between 15 and 25 years for the project to be fully implemented.4

Further north at the city of Toledo, construction will continue the expansion of the Interstate 75 in the state of Ohio. Under a 10-year $5 billion transportation improvement plan announced August 6, 2003, by Governor Bob Taft, the freeway will expand from four to six lanes between Interstate 475 (Exit 205A) and 280 (Exit 208) and between 14th Street and Anthony Wayne Trail near downtown Toledo. Additionally the Interstate 75 and 475 interchange (Exit 205A) will be reconstructed and improved. A three year six cent hike to the state's motor fuels tax will help cover the costs of these projects.5

Interstate 75 Michigan Guide and History

Leaving the Buckeye State, Interstate 75 approaches the Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan area. With plans to improve the connection between Interstate 75 and the Ambassador Bridge gateway between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Interstate 96 will be extended beyond its current terminus at Interstate 75 via the bridge into Canada. This project began on February 25, 2008, and will end in December 2009. Interstate 75 near the Ambassador Bridge interchange and the last mile of Interstate 96 will be closed for much of the duration of this project. For more information, visit the official MDOT - Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project webpage.

Interstate 75 leaves downtown Detroit with a northerly trek toward the Upper Peninsula via one of the country's longest suspension bridges, the Mackinac Bridge. The Mackinac Bridge is symbolic for connecting the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan. Spanning the Straits of Mackinac, this bridge crosses over waters that can freeze in the coldest winters. The left lane of the bridge is steel grating rather than concrete, so its best not to look down while crossing the bridge. Mackinac Island, home of famous Mackinac Island fudge, can be reached by ferry from either Mackinaw City or St. Ignace.

The northern terminus of Interstate 75 is at the Port of Entry in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. After the port of entry, the freeway narrows to two lanes to cross the International Bridge (a letdown after the Mackinac Bridge, but a major bridge in its own right). Interstate 75 ends at the southern end of that bridge, just before the toll plaza. The International Bridge itself only carries two lanes over the international boundary. At the northern end of that bridge lies Sault St. Marie, Ontario.

Highway Guides

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Southern Terminus - Florida 826/Florida 924 - Hialeah, Florida
Perspective from Southbound Interstate 75
Seventeen miles south of the Interstate 75/Interstate 595/Toll Florida 869 interchange, Interstate 75 approaches its final two miles. Traffic for Florida's Keys and the U.S. 1 Overseas Highway should take the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike at Exit 5. The following interchange is Exit 4, Junction Florida 860/Miami Gardens Drive, followed by the exit depicted here: Exit 2, Graham Dairy Road/NW 138th Street. Photo taken by Andy Field (12/28/03).
Southbound Interstate 75 approaches Exit 2, Graham Dairy Road/NW 138th Street, one-half mile. This interchange primarily services local traffic into northwestern Hialeah. Photo taken by Andy Field (12/28/03).
Now reaching Exit 2, Graham Dairy Road/NW 138th Street, southbound Interstate 75 approaches its southern terminus. One of the longest north-south Interstate Highways in the countries, Interstate 75 finishes its southerly journey on the outskirts of Miami, within the city of Hialeah at the Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway and Toll Florida 924/Gratigny Parkway interchange. It does not connect to another Interstate or U.S. route at its southern terminus, but both state routes that emanate from this interchange are freeways. Note the use of the "Interstate 75 Ends One Mile" sign. There is one more sign like that at the next sign bridge (see next image). Photo taken by Andy Field (12/28/03).
As Interstate 75 passes under the Graham Dairy Road overpass, the freeway turns from southbound to eastbound for a final time, as evidenced by the turn in the freeway here. Photo taken by Andy Field (12/28/03).
Interstate 75 ends in one-half mile. The left two lanes will continue as the tolled Gratigny Parkway via Toll Florida 924; the right two lanes will exit onto Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway. Use the far right lane for Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway south to downtown Miami, Miami International Airport, and points south via U.S. 1 and Florida's Turnpike. Use Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway north to connect with Interstate 95 at the Golden Glades Interchange, with connections to U.S. 1 and north Miami-Dade County beach areas. Unfortunately, this overhead sign does not mention Toll Florida 924; it is assumed that through traffic will default onto that highway. Photo taken by Andy Field (12/28/03).
Southbound Interstate 75 is four lanes wide as it approaches its southern terminus; the Florida 826/Toll Florida 924 interchange is visible in the background. Photo taken by Andy Field (12/28/03).
Interstate 75 reaches its southern terminus at the interchange with Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway. There is no END Interstate 75 shield or sign assembly present here. For the first time, through traffic is advised to continue straight in the left three lanes along Toll Florida 924/Gratigny Parkway. The toll is not mentioned on these signs. The final exit, a loop ramp from southbound Interstate 75 to Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway north, is not photographed here. Photo taken by Andy Field (12/28/03).
This view of the final interchange along Interstate 75 shows the ramp to Exit 1A, Junction Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway north, as seen from the transition ramp onto southbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway. Travelers on southbound Interstate 75 may continue eastward on the tolled Gratigny Parkway (Florida 924) to meet U.S. 441 in North Miami or take Florida 826 north or south. The age of Florida 826 compared to Interstate 75 or Florida 924 is readily apparent in the construction of the road. Florida 826 has the look and feel of an older expressway, one that wouldn't necessarily meet current Interstate standards. Either way, Interstate 75 culminates its trip just shy of meeting Interstate 95. It is unclear if there are plans to someday extend Interstate 75, perhaps via Florida 924, to meet Interstate 95, but no matter which course it takes, it would involve upgrading Florida 924 or 826 and displacing homes and businesses to connect to Interstate 95. Photo taken by Andy Field (12/28/03).
Only a single lane is used for traffic transitioning onto southbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway. This freeway can be very congested, and it is only six lanes wide in most places. Southbound Florida 826 is the most direct route to Miami International Airport, downtown Miami, and Miami Beach, all via Toll Florida 836. If Interstate 75 were to be extended to Miami via Florida 826 and Toll Florida 836, this freeway ramp, along with most of Florida 826, would have to be upgraded to Interstate standards, which is an expensive proposition. Photo taken by Andy Field (12/28/03).
At the end of the tight transition ramp from southbound Interstate 75 to southbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway is this exit sign for NW 122nd Street in Hialeah. There is no advance notification for this sign. Photo taken by Andy Field (12/28/03).
Perspective from Eastbound Florida 924/Gratigny Parkway
After Exit 1A, which connects southbound Interstate 75 with northbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway, the mainline of former Interstate 75 transitions directly onto Toll Florida 924, the Gratigny Parkway. This "BEGIN FLORIDA 924" shield assembly is not accompanied by an END shield for Interstate 75. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (05/08/06).
The Gratigny Parkway is a short east-west toll road that connects the Palmetto Expressway with Florida 9/N.W. 27th Avenue in Opa-Locka. It generally has six lanes (three in each direction), and travel lanes are separated by a jersey barrier. There are no plans to extend Interstate 75 along this toll road, nor are there active plans to extend Florida 924 all the way to Interstate 95. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (05/08/06).
Perspective from Northbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway
This mileage sign on northbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway provides the distance to Junction Florida 916, followed by the exits for northbound Interstate 75 and eastbound Florida 924/Gratigny Parkway. After this interchange with Interstate 75/Florida 924, Florida 826 begins its turn to the east toward Interstate 95 and Florida's Turnpike. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
The right lane becomes exit only for Florida 916 on northbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway. The next exit is the ramp to northbound Interstate 75, followed by the exit for Florida 924/Gratigny Parkway east. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
Northbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway reaches the offramp for Florida 916 (N.W. 122nd Street and N.W, 138th Street). The next exit is Junction Interstate 75 north (west) to Naples on the Gulf Coast in Southwest Florida. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
After the Florida 916 interchange, the right two lanes connect to Interstate 75. This interchange was widened to accommodate more traffic in 2003-2004. The second exit within this interchange connects northbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway to eastbound Toll Florida 924/Gratigny Parkway. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
Northbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway reaches the transition ramp to northbound Interstate 75. And so begins the second longest north-south Interstate highway. Continue north on Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway to the ramp to Florida 924/Gratigny Parkway. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
Two lanes carry traffic from northbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway onto northbound Interstate 75. Note the signage for the connection to eastbound Toll Florida 924. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
View of the Interstate 75, Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway, and Florida 924/Gratigny Parkway interchange as seen from the transition ramp that connects northbound Florida 826 to Interstate 75. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
Shortly after the ramp to Interstate 75, northbound Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway passes through the interchange and reaches the ramp to eastbound Florida 924/Gratigny Parkway. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (05/08/06).
Perspective from Northbound Interstate 75
After the junction with Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway, signage for the first interchange (Exit 2, N.W. 138th Street and Graham Dairy Road) appears on northbound Interstate 75. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
Northbound Interstate 75 reaches Exit 2, N.W. 138th Street and Graham Dairy Road. This is the first pull-through reassurance sign for northbound Interstate 75 to Naples. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Justin Cozart (03/26/06).
Northern Terminus - Canada International Border - Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Perspective from Northbound Interstate 75
Interstate 75 ENDS signage at the toll plaza for the bridge between Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. This bridge marks the northern terminus of Interstate 75. Upon reaching Canada, the main routes in Sault Ste. Marie are the Trans Canada Highway and Kings Highway 17. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (10/00).
Perspective from Southbound Interstate 75
After departing the customs booths, Interstate 75 sees its first southbound interchange at Exit 394/Sault Ste. Marie and Soo Locks Michigan. The first control city is that of Saint Ignace, an Upper Peninsula community that is home to the eastern terminus of U.S. 2 and north end of the tolled Mackinac Bridge. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (10/00).

Footnotes:

  1. "Price tag for I-75 at $1.6B." The Cincinnati Enquirer, September 9, 2003.
  2. Interstate 75 Reconstruction in South Georgia. GDOT.
  3. I-16/I-75 Improvement Project. GDOT.
  4. "I-75 plan with rail passes." The Cincinnati Enquirer, October 10, 2003.
  5. "Taft plan would widen I-75, I-475." The Toledo Blade, August 7, 2003.
  6. Jason Learned, Personal Email, "Fw: I-93 Tunnel Open in Both Directions, I-75 Florida," December 27, 2003.

  7. "Plans show options for Brent Spence: All six have pros and cons, all costly" by James Pilcher, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Friday, January 30, 2004. The six options are profiled at The Cincinnati Enquirer: Brent Spence Bridge Replacement Options
  8. Florida's Interstates: A Half-Century of Progress (official Florida Department of Transportation site)
  9. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System: Previous Interstate Facts of the Day by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Page Updated May 19, 2009.

 
Mileage

State Florida
Mileage 470.88
Cities Miami, Naples, Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Venice, Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa, Ocala, Gainesville, Lake City
Junctions Interstate 595, Interstate 275, Interstate 4, Interstate 275, Florida's Turnpike, Interstate 10
State Georgia
Mileage 355.11
Cities Valdosta, Tifton, Cordele, Macon, Atlanta, Marietta, Cartersville, Dalton
Junctions Interstate 475, Interstate 16, Interstate 475, Interstate 675, Interstate 285, Interstate 85, Interstate 20, Interstate 85, Interstate 285, Interstate 575
State Tennessee
Mileage 161.86*
Cities Chattanooga, Cleveland, Athens, Lenoir City, Knoxville
Junctions Interstate 24, Interstate 40, Interstate 140, Interstate 640/Interstate 40, Interstate 275/Interstate 640
State Kentucky
Mileage 191.78
Cities Corbin, Richmond, Lexington, Covington
Junctions Future Interstate 66, Interstate 64, Interstate 64, Interstate 71, Interstate 275
State Ohio
Mileage 211.30
Cities Cincinnati, Middletown, Dayton, Piqua, Sidney, Lima, Findlay, Bowling Green, Toledo
Junctions Interstate 71, Interstate 74, Interstate 275, Interstate 675, Interstate 70, Future Interstate 73, Interstate 475, Interstate 80/90/Ohio Turnpike, Interstate 475, Interstate 280
State Michigan
Mileage 395.54
Cities Monroe, Detroit, Pontiac, Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, Mackinaw City, Sault Ste. Marie
Junctions Interstate 275, Interstate 96, Interstate 94, Interstate 375, Interstate 696, Interstate 475, Interstate 475, Interstate 675, Interstate 675, Future Interstate 73
TOTAL 1,786.47
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
* - 19.60 miles on I-40
Interstate 75 Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
Florida Miramar 141,500 2002
Florida Miles City 15,600 2002
Florida Fort Myers 64,000 2002
Florida Sarasota 95,500 2002
Florida Brandon/Tampa 168,000 2002
Florida Ocala 76,500 2002
Florida Gainesville 76,000 2002
Tennessee Chattanooga 123,680 2002
Tennessee Knoxville 150,020 2002
Tennessee Pioneer 27,290 2002
Source: Florida Traffic Information 2002 CD-Rom
Traffic Flow Maps - Tennessee Roads and Streets 2002 (TDOT)
2002 Annual Traffic Report (WSDOT)
Complete Interstate 75 AADT data.

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