Source: December 31, 2015 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Cleveland metropolitan area - 1973.
The first stretch of Interstate 480 open to traffic was the eastern leg from the Ohio Turnpike at Streetsboro and the 5-mile overlap with Interstate 271. I-480 temporarily ended at Ohio 17 (Libby Road) in Bedford Heights, just beyond the split with I-271 north.
Originally part of Interstate 80, Interstate 480 constitutes a loop from the Ohio Turnpike into the Cleveland metropolitan area. The routing includes a rarity in the Interstate highway system, an overlap between two 3-digit routes, where I-271 and 480 combine between Oakwood and Bedford Heights.
From 1962 until 1971, the route of Interstate 480 was assigned as Interstate 80. When the transcontinental interstate was moved to its current location along the Ohio Turnpike, the Cleveland freeway loop was given the Interstate 480 designation. Portions of Interstate 480 were also included in an early version of Interstate 80N.
The initial segment of Interstate 480 opened to traffic ran from Bedford to Streetsboro by 1966. This included the overlap with I-271. West from Bedford through Maple Heights was completed by 1976. Lengthening of the freeway west from there to Brooklyn Heights followed in 1978.1
The last sections of Interstate 480 opened in the 1980s. The western extent from I-80 and Ohio 10 at North Ridgeville to Brook Park (I-71) was completed by 1983. I-480 was extended east another two miles by 1986 and completed overall by 1989.1
Western Terminus - Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike - North Ridgeville, Ohio
Perspective from Interstate 480 west
Westbound Interstate 480 ends two and a half miles at the Exit 3 (Stearns Road) offramp. Notably, this is the last westbound Interstate 480 shield on an overhead sign until the ramps leading from westbound Interstate 480 onto Interstate 80 westbound carry the Interstate 480 shield. It is possible that the Turnpike Commission rather than Ohio DOT placed those signs at Exit 1, but these signs at Exit 3 were placed by the DOT. Photo taken 05/25/02.
The last mainline exit from westbound Interstate 480 is Exit 2, Ohio 10 Eastbound. Ohio 10 briefly merges onto Interstate 480 westbound, and then it promptly exits onto its own freeway, heading west to meet U.S. 20 near Norwalk. In addition, Oberlin (home of Oberlin College), can be reached via Ohio 10. Photo taken 05/25/02.
Westbound Interstate 480 reaches Exit 2, Junction Ohio 10 east. The next exit is for Ohio 10 Westbound and for Interstate 80 Westbound. Interstate 480 will end in another mile. Note the lack of Interstate 480 shield here. Why there isn't one here and there is one on the Exit 1 overhead signs does not make much sense, unless they are placing the Interstate 480 shield there to ensure through traffic goes on the Turnpike rather than Ohio 10. Photo taken 05/25/02.
The final exit on westbound Interstate 480 is Exit 1, Junction Ohio 10 west and Junction Interstate 80 (Ohio Turnpike). Ohio 10 is a left exit, leading to a four-lane freeway that connects Interstate 480 with U.S. 20. The Ohio 10 freeway continues for a few miles, then terminates at U.S. 20. In fact, Ohio 10 has exit numbers of its own. Photo taken 05/25/02.
Westbound Interstate 480 reaches Exit 1, Ohio 10. This is the last exit before toll, as the mainline leads directly onto Westbound Interstate 80 (the Ohio Turnpike). Interestingly, the overhead sign shows Interstate 480, even though it is really pointing to an exit ramp onto Interstate 80. Compare these signs to the advance signs on westbound for Interstate 480 approaching Exit 2. This marks the western terminus of Interstate 480 in Ohio. Believe it or not, this one of only two Interstate 480 routes in the country, the other being in Omaha, Nebraska/Council Bluffs, Iowa. Photo taken 05/25/02.
Perspective from Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike east
Eastbound Interstate 80 approaches Exit 151 for the eastbound beginning of Interstate 480. Interstate 480 rejoins the Ohio Turnpike at Exit 187. For a brief time in the 1960s, Interstate 80 was proposed to follow the route of today's Interstate 480, and the Ohio Turnpike at that time was to carry no Interstate designation. That has since changed. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/04/06).
Through the late 1990s and 2000s, the Ohio Turnpike has been widened to six lanes, with three lanes in each direction, including the section through the Cleveland metropolitan area. Interstate 480 is one mile ahead on eastbound Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/04/06).
Passing under Ohio 83, eastbound Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike approaches Exit 151, Junction Interstate 480 east to Cleveland. Use Interstate 480 east to the Cleveland International Airport. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/04/06).
Eastbound Interstate 80 reaches Exit 151, Junction Interstate 480 east to Cleveland. The next exit is Exit 152, which connects to Ohio 10. Interstate 80 continues east, bypassing most of the Cleveland metropolitan area, crossing Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and connecting to Youngstown near the east end of the Buckeye State. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/04/06).
Perspective from Interstate 480 east
Now traveling east on Interstate 480, this view is immediately after the split from Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/04/06).
All traffic on eastbound Interstate 480 must stop ahead and pay the Ohio Turnpike toll. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/04/06).
Interstate 480 crosses over the Ohio Turnpike; the toll plaza sits on the north side of the toll road. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/04/06).
After passing through the toll plaza, the first exit on eastbound Interstate 480 is Exit 2, Junction Ohio 10/Lorain Road. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/04/06).
Traffic from the Ohio 10 freeway (eastbound) merges onto eastbound Interstate 480, and the freeway gains an additional lane. Ohio 10 and Interstate 480 merge for less than a mile, as Ohio 10 departs the freeway onto Lorain Road at Exit 2. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/04/06).
The first eastbound Interstate 480 reassurance shield is posted at the Ohio 10 interchange. In the background is the Cuyahoga County line. Nine miles to the east are the city limits of Cleveland. Photo taken 05/25/02.
Interstate 480 and Ohio 10 east prepare to split at Exit 2, which is signed for a connection to Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike, Ohio 10/Lorain Road eastbound, and Lorain Road westbound. The next exit beyond the turnpike connection is Stearns Road (Exit 3). Photo taken 05/25/02.
Eastbound Interstate 480 meets Lorain Road at Exit 2, Junction Ohio 10 and Lorain Road. Note the substandard signage. Continue east on Interstate 480 to Cleveland. Ohio 10 travels northeast into Cleveland as well, culminating its journey as a state highway after crossing the Cuyahoga River on Carnegie Avenue near Jacobs Field in downtown Cleveland. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (07/04/06).
Interstate 480 and Ohio 14 merged as they approach the Interstate 80 interchange. Here, the signage prepares for route separation, as Ohio 14 continues straight ahead, and Interstate 480 exits onto the Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 80). Photo taken 05/02.
Ohio 14 continues straight ahead, while Interstate 480 traffic exits here to connect to Interstate 80. There is no end Interstate 480 shield present here. Photo taken 05/02.
Eastbound Interstate 480 approaching end of freeway (three-quarters of a mile). Photo taken 05/02.
Eastbound Interstate 480 approaching the Ohio Turnpike toll plaza. Photo taken 05/02.
After picking up the ticket to get on the Ohio Turnpike, motorists are afforded a choice of heading east or west on Interstate 80. This marks the eastern terminus of Interstate 480 in Ohio. Photo taken 05/02.
View of Ohio 14 eastbound as seen from the Interstate 480 transition ramp to the Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 80). Photo taken 05/02.
View of Ohio 14 as seen from the Interstate 480 transition ramp to the Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 80). Photo taken 05/02.
Perspective from Interstate 480 west
Interstate 480 shield at the transition from the Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 80) onto Interstate 480 west. An Interstate 271 shield is also posted for the connection to the east Cleveland bypass. Photo taken 05/25/02.
Perspective from Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike west
This two-mile advance sign for Interstate 480 is the first indication of the pending interchange along westbound Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike southeast of Cleveland. Photo taken 09/01/05.
Westbound Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike approaches Exit 187, Junction Interstate 480 west to Cleveland, one mile. Photo taken 09/01/05.
Interstate 480 is a free alternative to the turnpike, but it has a great deal more traffic and goes further north than Interstate 80 to serve metropolitan Cleveland. In early planning stages, Interstate 480 was planned to be part of Interstate 80 (and the turnpike unnumbered), then part of Interstate 80N. Ultimately Interstate 80 was shifted onto the turnpike, and Interstate 480 now follows the urban route formerly considered for Interstate 80 and Interstate 80N. Photo taken 09/01/05.
Westbound Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike reaches Exit 187, Junction Interstate 480 west to Cleveland and Ohio 14 southeast to Streetsboro, Ravenna, and Salem. Photo taken 09/01/05.
Perspective from Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike east
Now traveling east on the six-lane Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 80), the next exit is Exit 187, Junction Interstate 480 west to Cleveland and Ohio 14 east to Streetsboro. Photo taken by Patrick Lilja (07/17/06).
Eastbound Interstate 80/Ohio Turnpike meets Interstate 480 and Ohio 14 at Exit 187. Photo taken by Patrick Lilja (07/17/06).
Route 480 - The Unofficial Ohio State Highways Web Site (John Simpson). http://pages.prodigy.net/john.simpson/highways/480.html