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# Highway System. Odd numbered highways are north south, even numbered=east west?

Feb 2nd, 2003, 08:13 PM
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Highway System. Odd numbered highways are north south, even numbered=east west?

Is there a name for what I'm trying to describe above? I just learned that odd highways, like, say Route 91 is a "North South" highway, and the even-numbered routes are East West! I never knew this, did anyone else? If so, where did you learn it? I thought it was very interesting. Also, the 3-numbered ones, like 291...they are the links to the main highways. And, the numbered signs, the little markers all along they highway, what are they called? It'll say mile 4, then tell you in increments how far you've traveled..and the exit numbers on top of the large highway signs. If the "tab" is on the top left, it's a left hand exit...if it is on the top right of the sign it is a right hand highway exit. I just don't know where they teach this stuff, or even if they do. I learned by word of mouth.
Feb 2nd, 2003, 08:58 PM
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Acually, three number intersates are ones that go through a city rather than around it.
Feb 2nd, 2003, 10:44 PM
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Yes I knew those things - don't know when I learned them but it was before I learned to drive. My Dad must have explained it to me on a family trip sometime during the late 50's.
Feb 3rd, 2003, 05:33 AM
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Yes. Remember, the U.S. highway system was funded under the pretense, real or imagined, that its main purpose was military--helping to move troops and material around to beat back a Soviet invasion, for example. Thus, the military's prediliction for rationally naming and numbering things crept in to the picture.

You may be able to find some history here...

http://www.dot.gov
Feb 3rd, 2003, 06:32 AM
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Acually, there are two types of three numbered interstates.

If it starts with an even number, it goes AROUND a city and the last two numbers usually but not always correspond to the interstate it's linking.

If it starts with an odd number, it it's a spur that goes into and/or through a city.
Feb 3rd, 2003, 08:27 AM
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Some of the old maps that were ‘free’ from gas stations had these ‘rules’. Further North and East the higher the number. Multiples of 5 are major distance routes (i.e., I-5 west coast; I-95 on East Coast; I-10 southern Us; I-90 Northern US); Three digit interstates that begin with an odd number mean one thing vs. with an even number (spur vs. going around city center). Most interstate exit number plans are the mileage from within the state border / road start point (mile 0). There are so many other state DOT rules that are consistent throughout the Interstate system. Companies have to pay the state to have their businesses on the signs before the exits (which is why you don’t always see some of the smaller restaurants or merchants that are 2-3 miles from the exit). A HOSPITAL sign is present if the hospital is 10 miles or less from the exit. Exit signs are green; Attraction signs are brown (i.e., National parks); Services like rest areas are in blue. EXIT ONLY tags are yellow and indicate the lane will end at the exit. Line demarcation, white striping, around exit and entrance ramps (among others) is short and spaced frequently if the road width is not a full car width.

Feb 3rd, 2003, 09:23 AM
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Indianapolis just got a "new" Interstate last year. On the Northwest side is what used to be called the "dogleg." It was actually a 5 mile ramp between I-65 and I-465 so you didn't have to go so far south to hook up with I-465. It's mile markers were very odd with a series of 900 numbers to designate that it really wasn't I-65 or I-465.

Now it's I-865 with its own mile markers.
Feb 3rd, 2003, 02:21 PM
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teadrinker, PLEASE tell me you have never driven on an interstate before! This is the dumbest driving related qestion I have ever read.

And since you asked "where did you learn it?" here goes. I LEARNED IT IN DRIVERS ED CLASS AT AGE 16. Where (on earth) did you learn it???
Feb 3rd, 2003, 03:47 PM
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Oh Now jor! Don't be so mean!
I think this is very interesting. And if it doesn't interest you, can't you find something interesting and let others enjoy themselves?
I learned to drive in NC. I never knew this (or forgot), whodathunkit?
Feb 3rd, 2003, 03:49 PM
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Another fact I learned recently is that mile markers start at the west and south end of each state. I guess I just never paid attention to it before.
Feb 3rd, 2003, 04:03 PM
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Another factoid:
In the U.S., the warning signs for deer show the deer's antlers facing backwards. If you go to Canada, you'll see that their signs are correct. The DOT knows that the antlers are incorrect but it will cost too much \$\$ to re-do the signs!
Feb 5th, 2003, 08:15 PM
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Interesting post------never knew about the mile markers starting from the south and west borders of a state. Thx for that piece of info!! Most of the info from teadrinker is stuff that I never learned in Driver's Ed. (or maybe it was taught, but I was perhaps distracted by the cute guy sitting in the 3rd row) But...I did read all of that info in an issue of Triple A's Home and Away magazine a few years back. I shared that info with LOTS of people who didn't know that stuff either------knowing about the location of the tabs on the exit signs is extremely helpful in a strange city!! Altho I have noticed that those tabs are not ALWAYS correct.
Feb 6th, 2003, 06:35 AM
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In addition to what a lot of us think we already know, there's some interesting trivia here. I'll add a bit of history.

When the "Massachusetts Turnpike" (now the MassPike) first opened in the 50s, it may have even preceded the institution of the interstate system, or at least the numbering system. Signs for it used a pilgrim's hat logo, and the signs that pointed how to get to it had arrows through the hat indicating whether to turn left or right at the designated intersection. Those signs disappeared, either because the interstate blue/red medallions took their place or because it dawned on someone that it made inaccurate and offensive reference to bad relations between pilgrims and "Indians," or most likely for both reasons.
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