Buckle Up! We’re Exploring the Longest Highway in Idaho & Across America
The interstate highway system stretches thousands of miles across the United States. To date, Public Purpose reports it's "the largest public works program" in American history; a distinction that comes with perks like economic growth.
Hailey Phelps is a credentialed research analyst who provides data analysis on labor, growth, and development economics for a variety of Bank publications. Her econ focus on the second and third quarter of 2021 points to the significant impact of the interstate highway system on America's economic engine.
As the miles of constructed interstate increased, so did the movement of freight and people. The interstate connected people and places throughout the country to rail yards, marine ports, and airports, improving economic efficiency and productivity.
The Safer Way for American Drivers
Safety and efficiency are two more gems provided by the complex road network. While more than one quarter of America's traffic occurs on the interstate, it's mortality rate is unexpectedly low.
Data from the National Transportation Research Nonprofit pegs its mortality rate per 100 million miles traveled is "less than half that of other roadways" in the nation at 0.55 fatalities per 100 MMT. For context, the fatality rate hovered around 6.05 in 1956 when the interstate first opened. The difference speaks for itself!
I-84 Makes the List...Twice?!
Interstate 84 is one of most traveled roadways in the Far West. Hosted by Oregon, us (the Gem State), and Utah, Idaho's I-84 spans a whopping 769.52 miles. Its western origin starts in Portland and ends just outside of Salt Lake City.. So how did it come to be that I-84 is featured twice on the list? Like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, I-84 has a twin sister that runs along the Eastern Seaboard. Though the two are twins by name, the same cannot be said of their size. I-84 to the east runs between Dunmore, PA and Sturbridge, MA for just 233 miles.
Call us crazy, but we think this makes Idaho's I-84 the cuter and smarter of the two, aka, the "Mary Kate." Come on now, everyone knows one twin is always more attractive than the other!
Interested in more cool facts about I-84 and other American highways? Using 2021 data from the Federal Highway Administration, Stacker drummed up a list of America's longest interstate highways. Scroll on to find out which highways can make for the best and lengthiest road trips in the gallery below.
Did your local interstate make the list?