Learning Roadside Signs

Did you know?
There is not just one system!
• The US Highway numbering system was established by the federal government in 1926.
• Interstate Highway numbering system was established in 1956 by the Federal Aid High Way Act during the Eisenhower administration.
• Regional roads are numbered under individual state and county systems


How to tell where you are going!

5!Interstate Highway signs North to South
• Are marked with a blue and red "shield" shape
North-South routes are assigned odd numbers  i.e. look for Interstate 87 throughout the Adirondacks or Interstate 95 traverses the east coast from the Canadian Border outside Houlton, Maine to the southern tip of Miami, Florida.
• The numbers are lower in the west and increase from west to east.

Interstate Highway signs from East to West
• Are marked with a blue and red "shield" shap
East-West routes are assigned even numbers i.e. look for Interstate 90, which crosses USA from Boston, Massachusetts (MA) to Seattle, Washington (WA).

Interstate Branches
• branches off long-distance routes are given 3 digit numbers.
• The last two numbers indicate the parent route, and the first number indicates the road's function
• The same number may be assigned to roads in different states.
• There are also exceptions to this rule, i.e. I-238 or I-99 in Pennsylvania.
2! U.S. HIghways
• U.S. Highways are also referred to us routes.
• They are assigned 1 to 3-digit numbers.
• North-South routes have odd numbers growing larger from east to west
• East-West roads have even numbers growing larger from north to south


State and County Routes
• Each state uses different signage
• For the most part the north-south and east-west designations are the same as for US Highways and Interstates
• There is always an exception.

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™, which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the third guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities™.

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