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U.S. Route 1 is a major north-south U.S. Highway that serves the East Coast of the United States. It runs over from Key West, Floridamarker, north to Fort Kent, Mainemarker, at the Canadian border. U.S. 1 generally parallels Interstate 95, though it is significantly farther west (inland) between Jacksonville, Floridamarker and Petersburg, Virginiamarker. The highway connects most of the major cities of the east coast, including Miami, Floridamarker; Jacksonville, Floridamarker; Augusta, Georgiamarker; Columbia, South Carolinamarker; Raleigh, North Carolinamarker; Richmond, Virginiamarker; Washington, D.C.marker; Baltimore, Marylandmarker; Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker; Newark, New Jerseymarker; New York Citymarker; New Haven, Connecticutmarker; Providence, Rhode Islandmarker; Boston, Massachusettsmarker; and Portland, Mainemarker.

U.S. 1 is the eastmost of the main north-south U.S. Highways, all of which end in one, but there are areas where it is not the eastmost route of the system, with large portions of US 9, US 13, US 17, and US 301 occupying corridors closer to the ocean. When the road system was laid out in the 1920s, U.S. 1 was mostly assigned to the existing Atlantic Highway, which followed the Fall Line between the Piedmont and the Atlantic Coastal Plain north of Augusta. At the time, the highways farther east were of lower quality and did not serve the major population centers.

Route description


Mile zero in Key West

U.S. 1 travels along the east coast of Floridamarker, beginning at 490 Whitehead St. in Key Westmarker [11452] and passing through Miamimarker, Fort Lauderdalemarker,West Palm Beachmarker, Fort Piercemarker, Melbournemarker, Titusvillemarker, Daytona Beachmarker, Palm Coastmarker, St. Augustinemarker, and Jacksonvillemarker. The southernmost piece through the Florida Keysmarker, about 100 miles (150 km) long, is the two-lane Overseas Highwaymarker, originally built in the 1930s after the Florida East Coast Railway's Overseas Railroad was ruined by the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. The rest of U.S. 1 in Florida is generally a four-lane divided highway, despite the existence of the newer I-95 not far away. State Road A1A is a continuous beachfront alternate to U.S. 1, cut only by assorted unbridged inlets and the Kennedy Space Centermarker. North of Jacksonville, U.S. 1 turns northwest in order to reach the Fall Line at Augusta, Georgiamarker; US 17 becomes the coastal route into Virginiamarker, where US 13 takes over. Until the 1990s, U.S. 1 used high-contrast markers (white text on a red background).

Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina

The part of U.S. 1 in Georgiamarker, as it shifts from the coastal alignment in Florida to the Fall Line alignment in South Carolina, is generally very rural, passing through marshes and former plantations between the towns and cities of Folkstonmarker, Waycrossmarker, Baxleymarker, Lyonsmarker, Swainsboromarker, and Augustamarker. After crossing into South Carolinamarker, U.S. 1 is paralleled by Interstate 20 along the Fall Line through Aikenmarker and Columbiamarker to Camdenmarker. Beyond Camden, U.S. 1 continues northeast into North Carolinamarker, becoming a freeway at Southern Pinesmarker. U.S. 1 continues through Sanfordmarker, and on to Raleighmarker. North of Raleigh, U.S. 1 crosses Interstate 540 and then again becomes a four-lane divided highway to Interstate 85 near Hendersonmarker; from Henderson into Virginia, U.S. 1 runs parallel with I-85 as a two-lane road.

Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland

Through Virginiamarker, U.S. 1 is paralleled by Interstates: the remainder of Interstate 85 to Petersburgmarker, Interstate 95 through Richmondmarker and Fredericksburgmarker to Alexandriamarker, and Interstate 395 into Arlingtonmarker. Within Virginia, U.S. 1 is called Jefferson Davis Highway by state law, although local communities have renamed it without consequence. It is best known as "Jeff Davis Highway". U.S. 1 crosses the Potomac River with I-395 on the 14th Street Bridgemarker, and splits to follow mainly 14th Street and Rhode Island Avenue through the District of Columbiamarker. After exiting the District into Marylandmarker, U.S. 1 follows the Baltimore-Washington Boulevard, the first of several modern highways built along the Baltimore-Washington corridor; I-95 is the newest, after the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The route bypasses downtown Baltimore on North Avenue and exits the city to the northeast on Belair Road, gradually leaving the I-95 corridor, which passes through Wilmington, Delawaremarker, for a straighter path towards Philadelphia. Around and beyond Bel Airmarker, U.S. 1 is a two-lane road, crossing the Susquehanna River over the top of the Conowingo Dammarker before entering Pennsylvania. (U.S. 1 bypasses Delawaremarker, unlike I-95).


The two-lane US 1 becomes a four-lane freeway, officially known as the John H. Ware III Memorial Highway, upon crossing into Pennsylvaniamarker. This bypass extends around Oxfordmarker and Kennett Squaremarker, merging into the four-lane divided Baltimore Pike just beyond the latter. At Mediamarker, US 1 again becomes a freeway - the Media Bypass - ending just beyond Interstate 476. After several name changes, the road becomes City Avenue, the western city limit of Philadelphiamarker, at the end of which a short overlap with the Schuylkill Expressway(I-76) leads to the Roosevelt Expressway and then the twelve-lane Roosevelt Boulevard. US 1 again becomes a freeway after leaving the city, bypassing Penndelmarker and Morrisvillemarker and crossing the Delaware River into New Jersey on the Trenton-Morrisville Toll Bridge.

New Jersey and New York

After crossing into New Jerseymarker, US 1 continues on the Trenton Freeway through the city of Trentonmarker, becoming a divided highway with frequent jughandles once the freeway ends. The highway passes along the outskirts of New Brunswickmarker before merging with US 9 in Woodbridgemarker, beyond which the US 1/9 concurrency continues through the rest of the state. The divided highway remains through Rahwaymarker and Elizabethmarker, though largely without jughandles, until it reaches the Newark Airportmarker, where it becomes an eight-lane freeway around downtown Newarkmarker. The historic Pulaski Skywaymarker takes US 1/9 into Jersey Citymarker, and the route exits the freeway at Tonnele Circlemarker to head north into Bergen Countymarker. After joining the almost-freeway US 46, the three routes run northeast to the George Washington Bridgemarker plaza, where they merge into I-95. US 46 ends in the middle of the bridge, which crosses the Hudson River into New Yorkmarker, and US 9 exits just beyond onto Broadwaymarker in Manhattanmarker, but US 1 stays with I-95 onto the Cross-Bronx Expressway, exiting in the Bronxmarker onto Webster Avenue. Two turns take US 1 via Fordham Road to Boston Road, which it follows northeast out of the city to the state line, never straying far from I-95.

Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts

U.S. 1 serves the shore of the Long Island Soundmarker in Connecticutmarker, parallel to I-95. Beyond New Havenmarker, the highway travels east-west, and some signs in the state indicate this rather than the standard north-south. While I-95 in Rhode Islandmarker takes a diagonal path to Providencemarker, U.S. 1 continues east along the coast through Westerlymarker to Wakefieldmarker, where it turns north and follows Narragansett Baymarker. Most of this part is a four-lane divided highway, providing access to Route 138 towards Newportmarker. After Route 4 splits as a mostly-freeway connection to I-95, U.S. 1 becomes a lower-speed surface road, passing through Warwickmarker, Providence, and Pawtucketmarker. The route parallels I-95 again through Providence and Pawtucket and into Massachusettsmarker, traveling towards Bostonmarker as a four-lane road. When it reaches Dedhammarker, U.S. 1 turns east, overlap Route 128 and I-93 east to Braintreemarker and north through Downtown Bostonmarker. The Tobin Bridge and Northeast Expressway take US 1 out of Boston, after which it again parallels I-95 through Newburyportmarker to the New Hampshire state line.

New Hampshire and Maine

The monument marking the northern terminus in Fort Kent, ME

The short portion of US 1 in New Hampshiremarker follows the historic Lafayette Road, staying close to I-95, before leaving the city of Portsmouthmarker on the Memorial Bridge over the Piscataqua River. Within Mainemarker, US 1 begins as a parallel route to I-95 near the Atlantic Oceanmarker. At Portlandmarker, I-95 splits off to the north, and I-295 heads northeast with US 1 to Brunswickmarker. There US 1 turns east as a mostly two-lane road along the coast to Calaismarker; this portion is advertised as the "Coastal Route" on signs. North from Calais, US 1 follows the Canadian border, crossing I-95 in Houlton and eventually turning west and southwest to its "north" end at the Clair-Fort Kent Bridgemarker in Fort Kentmarker. The short Route 205 extends north on the New Brunswickmarker (Canada) side of the bridge to Route 120, a secondary east-west route from Edmundstonmarker, New Brunswickmarker west to Saint-Alexandre, Quebecmarker.


The direct predecessor to US 1 was the Atlantic Highway, an auto trail established in 1911 as the Quebec-Miami International Highway. In 1915 it was renamed the Atlantic Highway, and the northern terminus was changed to Calais, Mainemarker. Due to the overlapping of auto trail designations, portions of the route had other names that remain in common use, such as the Boston Post Road between Bostonmarker and New Yorkmarker, the Lincoln Highway between New York and Philadelphia, Baltimore Pike between Philadelphia and Baltimoremarker, and the Dixie Highway in and south of eastern Georgiamarker. North of Augusta, Georgiamarker, the highway generally followed the Fall Line, rather than a more easterly route through the swamps of the Atlantic Coastal Plain.

When the New England road marking system was established in 1922, the Atlantic Highway within New Englandmarker was signed as Route 1, with a Route 24 continuing north to Madawaskamarker; New Yorkmarker extended the number to New York Citymarker in 1924 with its own Route 1. Other states adopted their own systems of numbering, and by 1926 all states but Marylandmarker had signed the Atlantic Highway as various routes, usually changing numbers at the state line. In 1925, the Joint Board on Interstate Highways created a preliminary list of interstate routes to be marked by the states, including Route 1 along the Atlantic. This highway began at Fort Kent, Mainemarker and followed the existing Route 24 to Houltonmarker and Route 15 to Bangormarker, beyond which it generally followed the Atlantic Highway to Miami. In all states but Georgiamarker that had numbered their state highways, Route 1 followed only one or two numbers across the state. The only significant deviation from the Atlantic Highway was between Augusta, Georgiamarker and Jacksonville, Floridamarker, where Route 1 was assigned to a more inland route, rather than following the Atlantic Highway via Savannahmarker.

One of the many changes made to the system before the final numbering was adopted in 1926 involved US 1 in Maine. The 1925 plan had assigned Route 1 to the shorter inland route (Route 15) between Houlton and Bangor, while Route 2 followed the longer coastal route via Calais. In the system as adopted in 1926, US 2 instead took the inland route, while US 1 followed the coast, absorbing all of the former Routes 24 and 1 in New England. Many local and regional relocations, often onto parallel superhighways, were made in the early days of US 1; this included the four-lane divided Route 25 in New Jerseymarker, completed in 1932 with the opening of the Pulaski Skywaymarker, and a bypass of Bangor involving the Waldo-Hancock Bridgemarker, opened in 1931. The Overseas Highwaymarker from Miami to Key Westmarker was completed in 1938, and soon became a southern extension of US 1.

With the construction of the Interstate Highway System in and after the 1950s, much of US 1 from Houlton to Miami was bypassed by Interstate 95. Between Houlton and Brunswick, Mainemarker, I-95 took a shorter inland route, much of it paralleling US 2 on the alignment proposed for US 1 in 1925. Between Philadelphia and Baltimoremarker, I-95 leaves US 1 to pass through Wilmingtonmarker. Most notably, I-95 and US 1 follow different corridors between Petersburg, Virginiamarker and Jacksonville, Floridamarker; while US 1 followed the Fall Line west of the coastal plain, I-95 takes a more direct route through the plain and its swamps. Although some of this part of US 1 was followed by other Interstates - I-85 between Petersburg and Henderson, North Carolinamarker, and I-20 between Camden, South Carolinamarker and Augusta, Georgiamarker - the rest remains an independent route that has been four-laned in many places. By the late 1970s, most of I-95 had been completed, replacing US 1 as the main corridor of the east coast and relegating most of it to local road status.

See also

Related U.S. Routes

Note: US 101, running along the Pacific Ocean from Los Angelesmarker to western Washingtonmarker, is not considered part of the US 1 "family".

Related state highways


External links

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