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Interstate 315 Montana

 

Routing

Interstate 315 in Montana is one of two short Interstate spurs from Interstate 15 in Montana. Unsigned Interstate 315 is the Interstate-standard freeway section of the southern end of Business Loop I-15 in Great Falls. Unlike Interstate 115 in Butte, Interstate 315 is not signed; the roadway is known as Business Loop I-15 only. Thus most maps omit Interstate 315 and show it as Business Loop I-15. However with that stated, the 2003 Mapquest Atlas and 2002 Official Montana State map both display Interstate 315 shields on their Great Falls map insets. At 0.82 miles, it is almost the shortest Interstate highway, but that honor goes to Interstate 878 near John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

Home to 56,690, Great Falls resides along the Missouri River in Cascade County, Montana. A partial cloverleaf interchange is the only exit of Interstate 315 as it spurs toward downtown from Interstate 15.

History

The freeway for Interstate 315 opened to traffic in late 1967.1

This map scan shows secret Interstate 315 on the Great Falls inset of the 2003 Montana Official Map. It is signed as Business Loop I-15, U.S. 89, Montana 3, and Montana 200.

Western Terminus - Interstate 15 - Great Falls, Montana
Perspective from Interstate 315/Montana 200 west, Business Loop I-15 south, U.S. 89/Montana 3 north
The final reassurance shield assembly prior to Exit 0 (14th Street SW) and Junction Interstate 15 features a bannerless Business Loop I-15 shield accompanied by U.S. 89/Montana 3 north and Montana 200 west. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (07/17/07).
The short Interstate 315/Business Loop I-15 draws to a close as it approaches Junction Interstate 15. Westbound traffic is defaulted onto Interstate 15 south. U.S. 89 north and Montana 200 west turn onto Interstate 15 for a 12-mile jaunt to Vaughn. The northbound control city of Shelby is situated at the junction with U.S. 2, which is 85 miles away. After the ramp to Exito 0, the final exit is the split between Interstate 15 south to Helena and Butte and Interstate 15/U.S. 89 north and Montana 200 west to Shelby. Montana 3 ends at this interchange, having fulfilled its role of connecting Billings with Great Falls on a consistently numbered route. Unsigned Interstate 315 also ends here. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (07/17/07).
Perspective from Interstate 315/Montana 200 east, Business Loop I-15 north, U.S. 89/Montana 3 south
A myriad of reassurance shields are posted at the beginning of Interstate 315 eastbound. Montana 200 is part of multi-state route 200, which extends from Idaho to Minnesota across the northern tier of the United States roughly parallel to U.S. 2. Montana 3 connects Great Falls with Billings, and it is cosigned with Interstate 315, U.S. 87, U.S. 191, and U.S. 12. The only section of Montana 3 that is not cosigned is the segment between Lavina (Junction U.S. 12) and Billings (Junction Interstate 90 Exit 450). The extended Montana 3 was commissioned around 2000; originally it only existed between Lavina and Billings. U.S. 89 used to travel from Mexico to Canada; today it travels from Flagstaff, Arizona, north to the international border north of Babb, Montana. In the background is the only mainline interchange of the spur, Exit 0 for 14th Street Southwest. Photo taken by James Horton, 2003.
Perspective from Interstate 15/U.S. 89 south and Montana 200 east
Southbound Interstate 15 at its split with U.S. 89 south and Montana 200 east - the eastern beginning of Interstate 315. Not signed in this direction is the south end of Business Loop I-15 and north end of Montana 3. The terminal for Great Falls International Airport is the focus of the next interchange (Exit 277). Photo taken by James Horton.
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 15 south
Interstate 90
ovelap begin
149 miles at Butte, MT
Interstate 115 154 miles at Butte, MT
Interstate 90
ovelap end
157 miles at Butte, MT
Perspective from Interstate 15 north
Northbound Interstate 15 reaches Exit 278, Junction Interstate 315 east, Business Loop I-15 north, U.S. 89/Montana 3 south, and Montana 200 east. The five routes follow a brief freeway segment, then the business route shifts onto 10th Avenue South after Interstate 315 ends. U.S. 87 joins the overlap on 10th Avenue at 15th Street. Business Loop I-15 returns to Interstate 15 in two miles at Exit 280 via Central Avenue, but it takes a much longer route through downtown Great Falls. Photos taken by James Horton (2003) and Jeff Royston (07/17/07).
Eastern Terminus - Fox Farm Road - Great Falls, Montana
Perspective from Interstate 315/Montana 200 east, Business Loop I-15 north, U.S. 89/Montana 3 south
Interstate 315 draws to a close at the intersection with Fox Farm Road and 6th Street Southwest at this traffic signal. U.S. 89/Montana 3/200 cross the Missouri River into downtown Great Falls and to U.S. 87 and the University of Great Falls ahead. Montana 3 continues south to Billings; Montana 200 meets U.S. 87 continues southeast to Lewiston; and U.S. 89 continues south to Livingston. Photo taken by James Horton, 2003.
Perspective from Interstate 315/Montana 200 west, Business Loop I-15 south, U.S. 89/Montana 3 north
Sun glared view of U.S. 89 north/Montana 200 west/Montana 3 north at the Fox Farm Road/6th Street Southwest intersection. Westbound Interstate 315 begins after the traffic signal. This stretch of highway carries five designations: Westbound Interstate 315/Montana 200, Southbound Business Loop I-15, and Northbound U.S. 89/Montana 3. Photo taken by James Horton, 2003.
A look at the only mainline exit (Exit 0 - 14th Street Southwest) of Interstate 315 from Business Loop I-15/Montana 200 west and U.S. 89/Montana 3 north immediately after the Fox Farm Road/6th Street Southwest traffic signal. Photo taken by Dan Payne, 2003.

Sources:

  1. 3-digit Interstates from I-15, Kurumi.com.

Page Updated October 27, 2007.

 
Mileage

State Montana
Mileage 0.83
Cities Great Falls
Junctions Interstate 15
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
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