Interstate 82


Interstate 82 is a northwest to southeast freeway that links Interstates 84 and 90 in Oregon and Washington. The highway originates in the Kittitas Valley near Ellensburg, where it travels south and crosses Manastash and Umtanum Ridges along the west side of Yakima Firing Range. Winding from Selah Valley directly along side the Yakima River, I-82 & U.S. 97 travels through a gap west of Yakima Ridge into the city of Yakima.

The concrete arch Fred G. Redmon Bridge (dedicated in November 1971) carries Interstate 82 and U.S. 97 over Selah Creek in a rural area north of Yakima. The top of the arch measures approximately 325 feet above the canyon floor and has a length of 1,336 feet. Each arch span measures 549 feet in length. When they were built, these two concrete arches were the largest of their type in the United States. Photo taken 08/27/06.

Yakima used to include a Business Loop for I-82 through Downtown, while I-82 combines with U.S. 12 and 97 through eastern reaches of the city adjacent to the river. South of Union Gap, U.S. 97 parts ways with the corridor for Wapato and Toppenish while I-82 & U.S. 12 veer southeast along the Yakima River toward Snipes Mountain and Sunnyside.

Interstate 82 & U.S. 12 remain paired through eastern reaches of Yakima Valley to Grandview and Prosser before ascending along the northern slopes of Horse Heaven Hills east to Benton City and the Tri-Cities area. U.S. 12 separates with I-82 for Interstate 182, the a freeway spur leading east through Goose Gap to Richland and Pasco.

Staying south of Badger Mountain along the periphery of Horse Heaven Hills, Interstate 82 bypasses Kennewick through to a merge with U.S. 395. The pair depart the Tri-Cities for a southerly route over Horse Heaven Hills along side Bofer and Fourmile Canyons. Once at Plymouth, the pair meet the east end of Washington 14 and the Columbia River.

Spanning the Columbia along I-82 & U.S. 395 is the Umatilla Bridge. The bridge consists of separate spans, the eastbound crossing opened in 1955 and the westbound completed in 1987. U.S. 395 breaks away from the freeway at Umatilla just south of the state line to combine with U.S. 730 nearby. Interstate 82 stays to the west through agricultural areas and Herimiston to end at Interstate 84 adjacent to the Umatilla Army Depot.

Parallel/Historic U.S. Routes

Interstate 82 follows U.S. 97 from Interstate 90 south to Yakima, U.S. 12 from Yakima east to the Tri-Cities, and a new alignment from there southeast to the Columbia River and Interstate 84. Although U.S. 395 is currently signed on this section of Interstate 82, U.S. 395 used to follow a different route. Before Interstate 82 was completed between Umatilla and Kennewick, U.S. 395 went between Umatilla and Pasco through Wallula and Burbank, overlapped with U.S. 730 and U.S. 12. Once the freeway was completed, U.S. 395 was rerouted to follow I-82.


The routing of Interstate 82 (known as McNary Highway Number 70 in Oregon) was mired in controversy. I-82 was an original route included in the Interstate Highway System by the federal Secretary of Commerce in 1956, based on a Department of Defense recommendation. The states impacted by this route, Washington and Oregon, however did not agree on the route of Interstate 82. Its course would remain unsettled and undergo several corridor studies.

Washington and Oregon disagreed on which cities would be served by this proposed route and which ones would not. The two major corridors considered for Interstate 82 were (1) the Umatilla route, beginning at Interstate 84 in Stanfield, Oregon and traveling northwest through Umatilla toward Prosser, Washington or (2) from Interstate 84 at Pendleton, then northwest to Wallula and then northwest to Prosser in Washington. Alternative #1 was agreed upon by the two states, but it was protested by groups from the Tri-Cities concerned about an economic disadvantage by not being located on the Interstate. While Alternative #2 would have been longer, it would have allowed Interstate 82 to connect more directly with the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick) and Walla Walla. These routes were debated for the ensuing decade, and compromise was finally reached in 1973.

As part of the deal, an alignment similar to Alternative #1 (Umatilla Route) was chosen. Interstate 82 would cross the Columbia River on an existing bridge (this bridge at Umatilla was built in the 1950s but was not part of any highway route -- not even U.S. 395 -- until it became the eastbound lanes of I-82),1 and the new freeway would follow a largely north-south route between the Umatilla bridge and I-84 southwest of Hermiston. The impacted Washington cities (Tri-Cities and Walla Walla) were satisfied through the Federal Highway Administration's 1972-1973 approval of a spur route, Interstate 182, to serve them. Although there was a final attempt to change the route of Interstate 82 in 1978, construction of the project finally commenced shortly thereafter. So over 30 years after the route was conceptualized, Interstate 82 was completed and opened to traffic on September 20, 1988 near Hermiston, Oregon.

For more information on this project, visit the Interstate 50th Anniversary: The Story of Oregonís Interstates.2

Naches Pass Route

According to a Washington Highways article from the 1960s, Interstate 82 was at one time planned to be routed over the Naches Pass rather than due north to Interstate 90 at Ellensburg (thanks to Mark Bozanich for researching this proposal). This was never a definite routing; it was simply a "possible" routing. Naches Pass lies along the Naches River between Washington 410 at Greenwater and Washington 410 near Cliffdell. Routing Interstate 82 through this pass would alleviate traffic on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass and provide easy access between Tacoma and Yakima.

The highway department proposed building a highway of some type over Naches Pass for several decades. One plan would include building a 9000 foot long tunnel under the summit. This corridor is officially designated under state law as Washington 168. Washington 168 would connect with existing Washington 410 near Greenwater west of Naches Pass and near Cliffdell to the east. Naches Pass is in a more direct line between Tacoma and Yakima than Chinook Pass, the pass presently crossed by Washington 410 (formerly U.S. 410). Washington 410 cuts through the northeast corner of Mt. Rainier National Park. Commercial traffic is prohibited in the park. Also, Chinook Pass is closed in winter due to heavy snow accumulation.

A new highway over, or under, Naches Pass would provide a direct Tacoma-Yakima connection, be open year round, and be open to cars and trucks. Such a route would link the agricultural Yakima Valley with shipping facilities at the Port of Tacoma. The highway department has no active plans to build the Naches Pass highway but state legislators from the Yakima Valley bring up the issue from time to time. Even if such a route is built, it may be a two-lane expressway for several years before being upgraded to four-lane divided freeway.

Eastern Oregon

In addition to this once-proposed, now defunct proposal to route Interstate 82 directly to Tacoma, another proposal surfaced in April 1999 to extend Interstate 82 south into Oregon. The State of Oregon was examining a possible north-south Interstate that would cost $1 billion and connect with the southern (eastern) terminus of I-82, as reported in "Eastern Oregon waits for new highway," written by James Sinks, which appeared in The Bulletin. The possible alignments of the new highway would be:

  • Madras route: From Umatilla through Heppner, Condon, Fossil and Antelope to Madras, where the interstate would replace Highway 97 south through Bend to the California border.
  • Prineville route: From Umatilla through Heppner, Hardman, Spray, Prineville, Powell Butte to Highway 97 near Bend, then continue south to the border.
  • Highway 395 route: From Umatilla through John Day, Burns and Lakeview.

According to the article, if the road was built someday, it would not be named Interstate 82, because north-south highways are odd-numbered.3

Western Terminus - Interstate 90 - Ellensburg, Washington
Perspective from Interstate 82 West and U.S. 97 North
We join Interstate 82 west and U.S. 97 north after the Washington 821 interchange (Exit 3). This is the final reassurance shield assembly as Interstate 82 approaches its end at Interstate 90 near Ellensburg. Photo taken 08/28/06.
This final mileage sign provides the distance to Ellensburg (four miles) and Wenatchee via U.S. 97 north (72 miles). No Interstate 90 destinations west of Ellensburg (such as Seattle) are mentioned. Photo taken 08/28/06.
A mile or so later, Interstate 82 west and U.S. 97 north approach their junction with Interstate 90 near Ellensburg. Interstate 90 travels west to Seattle via Snoqualmie Pass and east to Spokane via Moses Lake. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Use either lane of Interstate 82 west and U.S. 97 north to connect to westbound Interstate 90. Only the right lane provides access to eastbound Interstate 90. U.S. 97 will briefly merge with Interstate 90 west to bypass Ellensburg, then turn north toward Wenatchee. Photo taken 08/28/06.
The ramp to eastbound Interstate 90 splits from westbound Interstate 82 and northbound U.S. 97 at this exit. The left two lanes continue to join westbound Interstate 90 en route to Ellensburg, Cle Elum, and metropolitan Seattle. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Rather than signing the END of Interstate 82 west, a reassurance shield is posted for Interstate 90 west and U.S. 97 north. Photo taken 08/28/06.
The transition from westbound Interstate 82 to westbound Interstate 90 merges onto Interstate 90 at this point, with the right lane becoming exit only for Canyon Road (former Business Loop I-90 into Ellensburg). U.S. 97 north follows Interstate 90 west until Exit 106. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Perspective from Interstate 90 East
Eastbound Interstate 90 and southbound U.S. 97 reach Exit 109, Canyon Road to Ellensburg. The next exit is Exit 110, Junction Interstate 82 east and U.S. 97 south to Yakima. Photo taken 08/31/06.
After the Canyon Road interchange, the on-ramp lane becomes exit only for Interstate 82 east and U.S. 97 south. Photo taken 08/31/06.
Interstate 90 eastbound/U.S. 97 southbound at the northern terminus of Interstate 82. Photos taken by Jeff Royston (09/99) and on 08/31/06.
Perspective from Interstate 90 West
Westbound Interstate 90 meets eastbound Interstate 82 and southbound U.S. 97 at Exit 110. The two routes join at a trumpet interchange. U.S. 97 north merges onto westbound Interstate 90. This marks the northwestern terminus of Interstate 82. Photo taken 09/01/06.
Perspective from Interstate 82 East and U.S. 97 South
This mileage sign provides the distance to Junction Washington 821 (Exit 3), Selah, and Yakima. Photo taken 08/31/06.
Shortly thereafter, these are the first reassurance shields for eastbound Interstate 82 and southbound U.S. 97. Photo taken 08/31/06.
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 84 - Hermiston, Oregon
Perspective from Interstate 82 South (East)
After crossing the Columbia River and entering the state of Oregon, this pull-through sign on eastbound Interstate 82 refers to Interstate 84 to Portland and Pendleton rather than Interstate 82, even though Interstate 82 continues for another 11 miles. Photo taken 08/31/06.
This mileage sign provides the distance to Interstate 84 (nine miles) as well as the control cities of Portland and Pendleton. Photo taken 08/31/06.
This is the final Interstate 82 east shield, posted after Exit 5 (Power Line Road). Interstate 82 is rural through here, as it passes west of Hermiston and south of Umatilla. Photo taken by Daniel Tedford (06/18/06).
Another mileage sign is posted after the last reassurance shield, advising of the remaining four miles to the Interstate 84 junction. This sign again lists Portland, but it changes the eastbound control to Baker City. Photo taken 08/31/06.
The penultimate exit on eastbound (southbound) Interstate 82 is Exit 10, Westland Road. The final exit is the junction with Interstate 84 (Exit 11). Previously, this sign featured a diagrammatic set of arrows, but they were removed for some reason. The remnants of the removed arrows can still be seen on this sign. Photo taken 08/31/06.
Use the right lane to connect to Interstate 84/U.S. 30 west to Portland; the left two lanes connect to Interstate 84/U.S. 30 southeast to Pendleton, La Grande, Baker City, Ontario, Caldwell, and Boise. Photo taken 08/31/06.
To La Grande, Ontario, and Baker City, use Interstate 84 east. To The Dalles and Hood River, use Interstate 84 west. Unmentioned on any approach signs is that Interstate 84 also carries U.S. 30 through this region. Photo taken 08/31/06.
This marks the southern terminus of Interstate 82; there is no END shield. The left two lanes connect to Interstate 84/U.S. 30 east to Pendleton and Boise, while the right lane transitions onto Interstate 84/U.S. 30 west to Portland. Photo taken 08/31/06.
The interchange between Interstate 82 and Interstate 84 is a tri-level stack. The transition ramp from Interstate 82 east to Interstate 84 east forms the lowest level on this stack. Photo taken 08/31/06.
Perspective from Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 West
This mileage sign on westbound Interstate 84/U.S. 30 provides the distance to Exit 180, Westland Road; the junction with Interstate 82 (Exit 179); and the control city of Portland. Photo taken 08/28/06.
The two-mile advance sign for Interstate 82 provides for a destination city of Umatilla (near McNary Dam) and Kennewick (one of the Tri-Cities in Washington). Photo taken 08/28/06.
Use Interstate 82 north (west) to Umatilla, McNary Dam (on the Columbia River), and Irrigon (via westbound Interstate 82 to westbound U.S. 730). Photo taken 08/28/06.
The Columbia River only has a handful of crossings (six) between Hermiston and Portland: Interstate 82/U.S. 395 at Umatilla, U.S. 97 at Biggs, U.S. 197 at The Dalles, Oregon 35/Washington 141 at Hood River/White Salmon, the Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks, and Interstate 205. Of these, U.S. 97/Biggs Rapids Bridge has certain truck restrictions, so a preferable route may be Interstate 82 for trucks planning to use U.S. 97. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Westbound Interstate 84/U.S. 30 reach Exit 180, Westland Road. The next exit is Exit 179, Junction Interstate 82 west (north) to Umatilla and the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick). Photo taken 08/28/06.
Use Interstate 82 (Exit 179) north (west) to Umatilla, the Tri-Cities of Washington (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick), and Yakima. (Of course, U.S. 97 is a faster route from Portland to Yakima via eastbound Interstate 84.) Photo taken 08/28/06.
Immediately after the Westland Road interchange, westbound Interstate 84/U.S. 30 approach Exit 179, Junction Interstate 82. Interstate 82 travels north to Umatilla, where it meets U.S. 730 and merges with northbound U.S. 395 to cross the Columbia River. Once it enters Washington, it continues north, even bending a bit northeast, until U.S. 395 splits off toward Kennewick and Pasco. After leaving the Tri-Cities area, Interstate 82 travels west toward Yakima, then turns north again to meet Interstate 90 near Ellensburg. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Interstate 84/U.S. 30 west reach Exit 179, Junction Interstate 82. This is a tri-level stack interchange, with the stack forming at the point where the ramp from eastbound Interstate 84/U.S. 30 to northbound Interstate 82 forms the top level, the mainline of Interstate 84 forms the second level, and the ramp from southbound Interstate 82 to Interstate 84/U.S. 30 east forms the bottom level. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Now on the ramp from Interstate 84/U.S. 30 west to Interstate 82, the single lane immediately becomes concrete. It merges with traffic incoming from Interstate 84/U.S. 30 east. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Perspective from Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 East
The first mileage sign that shows the distance to the Interstate 82 interchange is immediately prior to the U.S. 730 interchange (Exit 168). U.S. 730 follows the Columbia River Highway northeast toward Umatilla and Walla Walla. A fast two-lane highway, U.S. 730 can be a quicker route to Interstate 82 than following Interstate 84 east to Interstate 82 north. However, Interstate 84 offers freeway to freeway access to Interstate 82. Photo taken 08/28/06.
After the U.S. 730 interchange near Heppner, this mileage sign on eastbound Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 provides the distance to the junction with Interstate 82 near Umatilla. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Continuing east, the two-mile advance sign for Interstate 82 (Exit 179) appears prior to Exit 177, Umatilla Army Depot. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Use Interstate 82 (Exit 179) north (west) to Umatilla, the Tri-Cities of Washington (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick), and Yakima. (Of course, U.S. 97 is a faster route from Portland to Yakima via eastbound Interstate 84.) Photo taken 08/28/06.
Interstate 82 also forms part of the fastest route from Portland to Spokane. Follow Interstate 82 north to U.S. 395 north, then follow U.S. 395 north until it merges with Interstate 90 east. Interstate 90 enters Spokane, then continues into Idaho. For travels into Canada via U.S. 395 or U.S. 95, use Interstate 82 north to U.S. 395 to Interstate 90. In addition to Spokane, Interstate 82 also passes by the McNary Dam of the Columbia River as it leaves Oregon and enters Washington. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Interstate 84/U.S. 30 eastbound reaches Exit 179, Junction Interstate 82. This interchange marks the current southern terminus of Interstate 82, but there are always considerations that Interstate 82 might be extended south to join the U.S. 97 corridor to Bend and Klamath Falls. However, such an extension is a long way away. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Perspective from Interstate 82 North (West)
The first interchange on westbound (northbound) Interstate 82 is Exit 10, Westland Road. At this point, Interstate 82 enters the Umatilla Army Depot and will remain there until it reaches Umatilla. Photo taken 08/28/06.
Northbound Interstate 82 reaches Exit 10, Westland Road. The freeway angles north to serve Umatilla and cross the Columbia River into Washington. Photo taken 08/28/06.
On the Westland Road overpass, a mileage sign is posted that provides the distance to Umatilla (nine miles), Kennewick (33 miles), and Yakima (109 miles). While there is a reassurance shield posted on the overhead sign, another is posted on the roadside ahead. Photo taken 08/28/06.
This is the first reassurance shield for Interstate 82 west. It is located along one of the few stretches of Interstate 82 that are not joined with a U.S. highway. At Umatilla, U.S. 395 will join Interstate 82; they part ways near Kennewick, but U.S. 12 joins Interstate 82 near Richland. At Yakima, U.S. 12 leaves Interstate 82, but U.S. 97 joins for the remainder of the route north to Ellensburg and Junction Interstate 90. Photo taken 08/28/06.


  1. Andy Ransom, Personal Email ("AARoads feedback: I-82 historic routes"), Tuesday, May 16, 2006.
  2. Interstate 50th Anniversary: The Story of Oregon's Interstates.
  3. "Eastern Oregon waits for new highway," by James Sinks, The Bulletin
  4. "I-82 saga was 25-year freeway tug-of-war." Tri City Herald, November 25, 1984.
  5. "113-Mile Road To Plymouth Given Routing." Ellensburg Daily Record, May 22, 1963.

Page Updated June 10, 2015.

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State Washington
Mileage 132.57
Cities Ellensburg, Yakima, Toppenish, Sunnyside, Grandview, Richland, Kennewick
Junctions Interstate 90, Interstate 182
State Oregon
Mileage 11.01
Cities Hermiston
Junctions Interstate 84
TOTAL 143.58
Source: December 31, 2014 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Interstate 82 Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
Washington Yakima 43,000 2002
Washington West Richland 17,000 2002
Washington south of Richland 6,700 2002
Oregon Umatilla 16,100 2002
Oregon SW of Hermiston 9,300 2002
Source: 2002 Annual Traffic Report (WSDOT)
Complete Interstate 82 AADT data.
Southern Washington - 1967.
Until 1966, the alignment of Interstate 82 was projected southeast across Horse Heaven Hills. Efforts from Senator Warren G. Magnuson helped shift the freeway eastward to better serve the Tri-Cities.4
Southern Washington - 1968 Washington Official Highway Map.
The initial stretch of Interstate 82 constructed ran south from Ellensburg to Yakima. It was fully opened to traffic in November 1971.5