Interstate 89 is a scenic highway serving the states of Vermont and New Hampshire in northern New England. The freeway joins the capital cities of Montpelier and Concord as part of its northwestern route from outside Concord to Lebanon, Burlington and Lake Champlain. Continuing northward from Swanton, Interstate 89 transitions into Quebec Route 133, which leads north to Autoroute 35 (A-35).
Autoroute 35 (Forts Valley Highway) extends 25 miles south from A-10 and Chambly in the Montréal suburbs to Route 133 in Saint-Sébastien, Quebec. Long proposed to link directly with Interstate 89, construction will finally get underway in 2020 on the 8.9 kilometer section between Saint-Sébastien and the U.S. border at Highgate, Vermont. Costing over $202 million, phase III of A-35 takes the freeway southeast to Route 133 at Champlain and du Moulin in Saint-Armand, where an interchange will be built. Work should be finished in 2023.
Phases I and II previously extended A-35 south from Route 133 at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu to Route 133 west of Pike River. Completed in 2014, the projects totaled around $200 million.5
Parallel U.S. Routes
Interstate 89 follows an independent alignment northwest from Concord to Lebanon, where U.S. 4 ties in from Enfield to the east. U.S. 4 parallels I-89 for 11 miles to White River Junction and Hartford in Vermont. Northwest from there, I-89 replaced VT 14 as the main route to Barre and Montpelier.
U.S. 2 accompanies the freeway west from Montpelier to South Burlington, shifting sides with I-89 several times. U.S. 7 combines with U.S. 2 north from Burlington to Colchester. U.S. 2 turns west through the Lake Champlain Islands while U.S. 7 remains along the I-89 corridor to the Canadian border at Highgate.
Interstate 89 opened initially in New Hampshire between Warner and New London in November 1967. Completion within the state followed a year later.`
Within Vermont, Interstate 89 was built in stages through the 1960s:1
- Montpelier to Middlesex (6.287 miles) – November 21, 1960
- Middlesex to Waterbury (5.106 miles) – December 31, 1960
- Waterbury to Bolton (7.049 miles) – November 20, 1961
- South Burlington to Winooski (3.388 miles) – November 29, 1962
- Winooski to Colchester (1.184 miles) – November 1, 1963
- Richmond to South Burlington (8.723 miles) – November 6, 1963
- Bolton to Richmond (6.745 miles) – October 30, 1964
- Colchester (6.486 miles) – November 1964
- Swanton to Highgate (5.538 miles) – 1965
The last stretch of Interstate 89 constructed ran south from Memorial Drive at Montpelier to the temporary end at VT 14 by West Hartford.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) submitted an application for designating Interstate 89 at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering meeting on May 24, 2016.3 The new route number was proposed to join Raleigh with Hampton Roads, Virginia along the U.S. 64 freeway corridor between Knightdale and Williamston, and U.S. 17 northeast from Williamston to the Virginia state line. AASHTO ultimately approved Interstate 87 for the new corridor.4
North End – Highgate, VT
- South End – Concord, NH
Branch Routes – 1
Total Mileage – 191.12
New Hampshire – 60.87
Cities – Concord, Lebanon
- Junctions –
Vermont – 130.25
Cities – Montpelier, Waterbury, Burlington, St. Albans, Swanton
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-89 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
Interstate 89 was complete by 1963 from a temporary end west of Bolton to Memorial Drive at Montpelier, and from I-189 to U.S. 2 (Main Street) at South Burlington. Construction was underway north to Winooski and from Swanton to the Canadian border.
North End – Canadian International Border – Highgate, Vermont
South End – Concord, New Hampshire
Curving southward across the Bow town line, I-93 approaches the half cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 89 north. The forthcoming exchange represents the north end of the tolled F.E. Everett Turnpike as well. The Turnpike extends south to Hooksett and from I-293 at Manchester to U.S. 3 at Nashua. 06/27/05
- “100th Anniversary Series Part III – The Interstate Highway System.” New Hampshire Highways, May / June 2004 edition.
- Outline History of Vermont State Highways – National Highway Week, September 19-25, 1965. Prepared for informational purposes only by the Vermont Department of Highways.
- Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering meeting scheduled for May 24, 2016, agenda packet, AASHTO 2016 Spring Meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.
- “North Carolina Gains Names for Two New Interstate Designations.” North Carolina Department of Transportation, press release. May 25, 2016.
- “L’autoroute 35 sera complétée d’ici 2023.” TVA Nouvelles, October 9, 2019.
Page updated January 26, 2020.