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Interstate 40 (I-40) is a major west-east Interstate Highway in the United States. Its western terminus is at Interstate 15 in Barstow, Californiamarker; its eastern terminus is at a concurrency of U.S. Route 117 and North Carolina Highway 132 in Wilmington, North Carolinamarker. Much of the western portion of I-40, from Oklahoma Citymarker to Barstowmarker, parallels or overlays the historic U.S. Route 66. I-40 intersects with eight of the 10 primary north-south interstates (all except I-5 and I-45) and also with the major Interstate routes I-24, I-30, I-44, I-77, and I-81.

Route description


Interstate 40, a major east-west route of the Interstate Highway System, has its western terminus in Barstow, Californiamarker, United States.Known as the Needles Freeway, it heads east from Barstow across the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino Countymarker to Needlesmarker, before it crosses into Arizonamarker west of Kingmanmarker.I-40 covers in California.

A sign in California showing the distance to Wilmington, North Carolinamarker has been stolen several times.


Interstate 40 is a principal route to the South Rim of the Grand Canyonmarker, with the exits leading into Grand Canyon National Parkmarker in Williamsmarker and Flagstaff.I-40 covers in Arizona.

New Mexico

I-40 covers in New Mexico. Notable cities along I-40 include Albuquerquemarker, Santa Rosamarker, Tucumcarimarker, Grantsmarker and Gallupmarker.I-40 also travels through several different Indian Reservationsin the Western half of the State.

An at-grade intersection on I-40 in Texas, as of 2003.


In the west Texas panhandlemarker area, there are several ranch roads connected directly to the interstate.One of the marked at-grade crossings is shown to the left. The only major city in Texas that is directly served by I-40 is Amarillomarker which connects with Interstate 27 that runs south towards Lubbockmarker.


Interstate 40 flows through the heart of the state, passing through many cities and towns of Oklahoma. Some of them include Erick, Sayre, Elk City, Clinton, Weatherford, El Reno, Yukon, Oklahoma City, Midwest City, Shawnee, Okemah, Henryetta, Checotah, Sallisaw, and Roland. (NOTE: Fort Smith, AR is accessible from I-40 at Roland, OK via US Hwy 64.)I-40 covers in Oklahoma.In Oklahoma Citymarker there is a section called the crosstown, the east end of which is at its intersection with Interstate 35 and the west end at about May Avenue just south of the Oklahoma State Fair.There is an on going project to relocate this section of the interstate a few blocks south because of the condition of the crosstown bridge.


I-40 passes through several notable towns and cities in Arkansas. On the western side of the state, the interstate passes through Van Burenmarker, Almamarker, Ozarkmarker, Clarksvillemarker, Russellvillemarker, Atkinsmarker, Morriltonmarker and Conwaymarker.Fort Smithmarker and Fayettevillemarker are accessible via I-540, which intersects I-40 at Van Buren and overlap it through Alma.The interstate also passes through Conway and North Little Rockmarker in central Arkansas, and Brinkleymarker and West Memphismarker on the eastern side.It is a major thoroughfare for commerce; I-30's eastbound terminus at I-40 in North Little Rock causes I-40 in the east side of the state to carry more commercial traffic than it does in the west side.

I-40 covers in Arkansas.


More of Interstate 40 passes through Tennessee than any other state. The interstate itself goes through the three largest cities in Tennessee: Memphismarker, Nashvillemarker, and Knoxvillemarker.Dandridge, Jackson, Lebanon, Cookeville, Crossville, and Newport are other notable cities and/or towns that I-40 travels through. I-40 goes through all of the three Grand Divisionsof Tennessee, meaning one can pretty much see all of the major sights in Tennessee along Interstate 40. Before leaving the state, I-40 emerges into the Great Smoky Mountains. I-40 in general has a lot of hills, especially in the eastern half of the state. I-40 covers in Tennessee.

The section of interstate 40 which runs between Memphis and Nashville is often referred to as "Music Highway".

On May 1, 2008, a long section of I-40 through downtown Knoxville near the central Malfunction Junctionwas completely closed to all traffic, and reopened on June 12, 2009, due to a project for complete reconstruction. Through traffic was required to use the Interstate 640northern bypass route. The closed section was antiquated, just two lanes wide each way, quite substandard, congested, and had many accidents.

North Carolina

In North Carolinamarker, I-40 merges with I-85 between Greensboromarker and Hillsboroughmarker, just west of Durhammarker.In Alamance Countymarker, the highway is also known as the Sam Hunt Freeway.Due to a recent rerouting of I-85 around Greensboro, I-40 departs from it eight miles (13 km) east of the original split. From February through Mid September 2008 I-40 had moved to a new alignment south of Greensboro, which also carries the new I-85 bypass and will eventually carry Interstate 73as well, and the old I-40 through Greensboro became a second I-40 freeway Business Loop. However, on September 12, 2008 after complaints from motorists and residents, NCDOT got permission from the FHWA to relocate I-40 back onto the old aligment through Greensboro; this resulted in the decommissioning of Interstate 40 Business through Greensboro. To make up for the removal of I-40 from the loop, US 421 was rerouted onto I-40's old alignment. I-40 covers in North Carolina.

In violation of Interstate standards, I-40 has one marked and two unmarked at-grade crossings in western North Carolina. About eight miles (13 km) from the Tennessee border in North Carolina, when going westbound, a sign for "Hurricane Creek Road" will appear. Hurricane Creek Road is a local dirt road whose quality is below that of the shoulder, and the intersection is controlled by a stop sign. It is a right-in, right-out entrance. A couple other unmarked local roads also directly link onto I-40 in the area, including a private access road for Walters Dam between mile markers 11 and 12 on the westbound side.

A standard distance sign once existed near the start of the westbound section of I-40 in Wilmington indicates the distance to Barstow, California as . However, NCDOT has stated that it will not be replaced after frequent thefts.

On October 25, 2009, Interstate 40 was closed between Asheville and Knoxville, Tennessee due to a landslide at Mile Marker 3 just east of the Tennessee state line. Traffic between the two cities is being detoured via Interstates 26 and 81, and non-heavy load traffic via US 25/70, for several months while the slide is being cleared.


For about , I-40 follows the general route of the Beale Wagon Road from Arkansas to California. The Beale Wagon Road was built in 1857-59 by a team led by Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Bealeusing a team of camels as pack animals.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, I-40 was originally meant to replace Central Avenue through the center of the city. However, due to development and public opposition, a route running to the north of that one was chosen. The freeway intersects Central Ave. at both ends of the city.

In 1957, the California Department of Highways proposed that the route be renumbered to Interstate 30, instead, because of the already existing U.S.Route 40in the state. Then, U.S. Rte-40 was decommissioned in California in 1964, as a part of a major revamping of California's overall highway numbering system, so the problem disappeared.

The California State government submitted State Route 58 between Barstowmarker and Bakersfieldmarker for I-40 extension potential in 1956 and 1968, though those requests were rejected.This portion of SR 58 was once signed as the U.S.Route 466.

From 1963 to 1966, the US government considered a plan, part of Operation Plowshare, to use atomic bombs to excavate a path for I-40 through California. The project was scuttled largely due to the cost of developing the explosives and due to the unavailability of a "clean bomb".

In Memphismarker, I-40 was originally intended to go through the city's Overton Parkmarker toward downtown.Several miles of interstate were actually built within the I-240 loop. That portion of highway still exists, and it is in regular use as the non-Interstate Sam Cooper Boulevard, reaching the eastern end of the "Chickasaw Country Club". Environmentalist opposition, combined with a victory in the United States Supreme Courtmarker by opponents of the Overton Park route (see Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v.Volpe) forced abandonment of the original plans, and the road never reached the park. For over 20 years, I-40 signs existed on the dead-end route toward Overton Park. Eventually, the northern span of the Interstate 240loop was redesignated as I-40.

Originally, I-40 was constructed through downtown Winston-Salemmarker, and it continued to follow that route until a new urban bypass route was built.After the bypass was completed around 1992, I-40 was relocated to the new freeway. The old highway was then redesignated as Interstate 40 Business, creating a business route that is actually an expressway for its entire length, a rarity among business routes. There are arguments that the former I-40 expressway in Winston-Salem should become an interstate again, especially since the road is currently undergoing an upgrade. There are no even loop numbers left for I-40, however, since the NCDOT has plans to use last available one Interstate 840 for the northern loop of a beltway that is being built around nearby Greensboromarker.Hypothetically, the two routes could be numbered Interstate-40N and Interstate-40S.

The I-40 Bridge Disastermarker occurred on May 26, 2002 when a barge collided with a bridge foundation member near Webbers Falls, Oklahomamarker, causing a 580-foot (177 m) section of the I-40 bridge to plunge into the Arkansas Rivermarker.Automobiles and semi-trailers fell into the water, killing fourteen people.

The "Big Imarker" I-25 and I-40 interchange in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was given an honorable mention by the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration for excellence in urban highway design in 2002.

When the last portion of I-40, connecting Wilmington to Raleigh, was completed in the late 1980s, Charles Kuraltstated:

Major intersections

Auxiliary routes

In Oklahoma City, the designation I-440 had been given to a stretch of Interstate Highway from I-240 to US-66. It was a part of Grand Boulevard that had been built in compliace with Interstate standards. In 1982, as part of Oklahoma's "Diamond Jubilee", I-44's western terminus was moved from the I-35/I-44 junction to the Texas/Oklahoma border via the Belle Isle Freeway (connecting I-440 with I-35); I-440, the H.E. Bailey Turnpike; and the turnpike connector road on the eastern edge of Lawton, Oklahomamarker.The I-440 number was dropped at the time, but it might return again sometime in the future.

See also

Business routes


External links


CA 154.61 248.82
AZ 359.48 578.53
NM 373.51 601.11
TX 177.10 285.11
OK 331.03 532.74
AR 284.69 458.16
TN 455.28 732.70
NC 423.55 681.64
Total 2,559.25 4,118.71

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