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U.S. Route 2 is an east-west U.S. Highway spanning across the northern continental United Statesmarker. U.S. 2 consists of two segments connected by roadways in southern Canadamarker. Unlike some routes, which are disconnected into segments because of encroaching Interstate Highways, the two portions of U.S. 2 were designed to be separate in the original 1926 highway plan.

The western segment of U.S. 2 has its western terminus at State Route 529 (Maple Street) in Everettmarker, Washingtonmarker and its eastern terminus at Interstate 75 in St. Ignace, Michiganmarker. The eastern segment of U.S. 2 has its western terminus at U.S. Route 11 in Rouses Pointmarker, New Yorkmarker and its eastern terminus at Interstate 95 in Houltonmarker, Mainemarker.

As its number indicates, it is the northernmost east-west U.S. Route in the country. It is the lowest primary-numbered east-west U.S. Route, whose numbers otherwise end in zero, and was so numbered to avoid a U.S. Route 0.

Route description

Major cities

Western segment

The western segment of U.S. 2 extends from the Upper Peninsula of Michiganmarker across the northern tier of the lower 48 states.Most of the western route was built roughly paralleling the Great Northern Railway. U.S. 2 adopted the railway's route nickname "The Highline" as the most northern crossing in the U.S.

The Adventure Cycling Association's Northern Tier Bicycle Route is a bicycle touringroute which follows or parallels U.S. 2 for over , most notably a stretch between Columbia Falls, Montanamarker and Williston, North Dakotamarker.


Within Washingtonmarker state, U.S.2 is the northernmost all-season highway through the Cascade Mountains. It begins at Interstate 5 and State Route 529 in Everettmarker, and travels east via Stevens Passmarker, Wenatcheemarker, and Spokanemarker to the border in Newportmarker.


Shortly after entering Idahomarker from the east, U.S.2 Crosses Priest River. U.S. 2 follows Pend Oreille River until it empties into Lake Pend Oreillemarker.U.S. 2 intersects Idaho Route 57 in the town of Priest Riverat mile 5.8. U.S. 2 intersects U.S. 95 at mile 28.4 in the town of Sandpointmarker.The two routes are duplexed for . At Three Mile Corner, U.S. Route 2 continues southeast for where it crosses into Montanamarker.


U.S. Highway 2 is a vital northern corridor for Montanamarker.The road travels through some of the most beautiful land in the state, especially in its western half, and has more of its mileage within Montana than in any other state. It passes through three Indian reservations, comes very close to two others, and skirts the southern border of Glacier National Parkmarker.Most of the Montana segment of U.S. 2 runs close to the northern BNSF Railwaymain line, and parts of the highway show up in the Microsoft Train Simulatordepiction of the Marias Pass route.

The Mountains

U.S. 2 passes into Montana from Troymarker, a small city.It is also near the lowest point in Montana, where the Kootenai Riverleaves the state. The first large city the highway comes to is Libbymarker.After this it meanders south and east towards Kalispellmarker, a city of about 20,000 residents north of Flathead Lakemarker, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River.From there the highway passes through the southern end of Glacier National Park and follows the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. After crossing the continental divide at Marias Passmarker west of East Glaciermarker, the highway exits the Rocky Mountains and begins its trek through the northern plains.Just before entering East Glacier, it crosses the boundary of the Blackfeet Indian Reservationof northern Montana.

The Plains

As the highway enters the Great Plainsmarker, the first town it encounters is Browningmarker, the largest settlement on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.From here to the North Dakota border, the surrounding area is also known as "The Hi-Line" to Montanans from the early GN railway route. It next travels through Cut Bankmarker to Shelbymarker, where it becomes the northern border of the area known as the "Golden Triangle" in Montana.This area is one of the most productive farming regions in the country. From Shelby it hits a string of small towns before it goes on to Havremarker, near the geographical center of the road in the state.Just south of Havre and off the highway about fifteen miles (24 km) is the Rocky Boy Indian Reservationmarker.The highway continues east to Maltamarker, before which it travels through the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.From Malta, the highway continues on to Glasgowmarker, just north of Fort Peck Dammarker, and then into the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.The highway stays within the reservation for much of its remaining trip through Montana. On the reservation it goes through Wolf Pointmarker and Poplarmarker, and then exits the reservation a short distance before leaving the state.The final town of Bainvillemarker says goodbye to the highway as it leaves the state, near the confluence of the Missourimarker and Yellowstone Rivers.

North Dakota

U.S. 2 is an east-west highway that runs through North Dakotamarker’s northern tier of larger cities: Willistonmarker, Minotmarker, Devils Lakemarker, and Grand Forksmarker.These cities are about north of North Dakota’s southern tier of larger cities located on Interstate 94: Dickinsonmarker, Bismarckmarker/Mandanmarker, Jamestownmarker, and Fargomarker/West Fargomarker.Each city (or pair) in each tier is separated by about . This alignment is probably the reason that two major east-west four-lane highways have developed in North Dakota.

U.S. 2 intersects with two north-south four-lane highways in North Dakota: U.S.83at Minot and Interstate 29at Grand Forks. In addition, it junctions with three other U.S. Highways that, except for shorter stretches that are four-laned, are mostly two-lane highways in North Dakota: U.S.85at Williston, U.S.52at Minot, U.S.281 at Churchs Ferrymarker (west of Devils Lake), and U.S.81at Grand Forks. All six of these highways provide routes either to the border at Mexico or deep into southern USA.

North Dakota has been converting sections of U.S. 2 from two lanes to four lanes for many years. The section from Grand Forks to Minot was completed several years ago. The section from Minot to Williston was completed in the summer of 2008 in a campaign that began a few years ago and was labeled “Across the State in Two Thousand Eight”. Actually, U.S. 2 is four-laned from North Dakota’s eastern edge to just past Williston, a stretch of about , leaving the remaining to the Montana border as a two-lane highway. North Dakota’s governor has said that North Dakota will four-lane the remaining stretch if Montana is willing to continue the four lane project from the border into their state.

Between Williston and Minot, U.S. 2 provides several high points where you can view graceful and beautiful landscape for many miles in all directions. Between Minot and Grand Forks, U.S. 2 provides an ever changing mix of agricultural farm and pasture land, native wetlands, and small lakes set on a gently rolling landscape. U.S. 2 also passes near a large lake near Devils Lake.

In Rugby, North Dakotamarker, the highway passes the location designated in 1931 as the geographical center of North America.The monument marking the geographic center had to be relocated in 1971 when U.S. 2 was converted from 2 lanes to 4 lanes.

Exit List


The portion of U.S. 2 from Cass Lakemarker to Bemidjimarker is officially designated the Paul Bunyan Expressway.It also intersects U.S. Highway 169 and the Mississippi River in Grand Rapids, Minnesotamarker.At the crossing between Duluth, Minn.marker and Superior, Wisc.marker, the highway crosses the Richard I.Bong Memorial Bridge, about in length—roughly in length when the above land approaches are included.

Of the of U.S. 2 in Minnesota, have four lanes, mostly located in the northwest part of the state.

Legally, the Minnesota section of U.S. 2 is defined as Routes 8 and 203 in Minnesota Statutes §§ 161.114(2) and161.115(134).


After crossing the Bong Bridge and entering into the city of Superiormarker,the highway joins Belknap Street. After crossing the midsection of Superior, U.S. 2 merges with U.S.53for a few miles following East 2nd Street out of the city.Ten miles outside of Superior, U.S. 53 and U.S. 2 part ways. U.S. 53 veers south toward Eau Clairemarker, while U.S.2 continues to the city of Ashlandmarker and ultimately to the Wisconsin–Michigan state line at the city of Ironwoodmarker.


U.S. 2 enters Michigan at the city of Ironwoodmarker and runs east to the town of Crystal Fallsmarker, where it turns south and re-enters Wisconsin northwest of Florencemarker.It re-enters Michigan north of Iron Mountainmarker and continues through the Upper Peninsula of Michiganmarker to the cities of Escanabamarker, Manistiquemarker, and St. Ignacemarker.Along the way, it cuts through the Ottawa and Hiawatha National Forests and follows the northern shore of Lake Michiganmarker.It ends at I-75, just north of the Mackinac Bridgemarker in St. Ignacemarker.

Eastern segment

The eastern segment of U.S. 2 traverses the northern New Englandmarker states.

Into Vermont

Route 2 in Vermont
The road starts up at U.S.Route 11, just one mile (1.6 km) south of the Canadian border near Champlain, New York. From there it crosses Lake Champlainmarker into Grand Isle County, Vermontmarker, traversing the length of the county and crossing the lake over several bridges until it reaches the mainland in Miltonmarker and Chittenden Countymarker.From there it travels south to Burlingtonmarker, where it begins to closely parallel Interstate 89 all the way to Montpeliermarker and Washington Countymarker.At Montpelier, the road turns north-eastward, crossing into Caledonia Countymarker and passing through Saint Johnsburymarker.It then passes into Essex Countymarker, and eventually crosses the Connecticut River from Guildhall, Vermontmarker into Lancaster, New Hampshiremarker.

New Hampshire

Once into New Hampshire, the road continues southeastward, passing through Jeffersonmarker (home to several small amusement parks and roadside attractions, such as Santa's Village and Six Gun City) before heading more easterly, skirting the northern edge of the White Mountain National Forestmarker into Gorhammarker, where it meets Route 16, the major north-south roadway through the eastern half of the forest and past Mount Washingtonmarker.From Gorham, the road travels east along the southern banks of the Androscoggin River to Shelburnemarker and eventually crossing into Gilead, Mainemarker.Throughout its entire stretch, the New Hampshire portion of Route 2 is exclusively in Coos Countymarker.


US 2 travels from Gilead to Houltonmarker near the Houlton International Airportmarker.US 2 ends just west of the Canadian border at Exit 305 of I-95.


A large portion of the western segment of U.S. 2, and a shorter piece of the eastern segment, follows the old Theodore Roosevelt International Highway. This auto trail, named in honor of recently-deceased ex-president and naturalist Theodore Roosevelt, was organized in February 1919 to connect Portland, Mainemarker with Portland, Oregonmarker.The route taken by this highway left Portland, Maine to the northwest, crossing New Englandmarker via Littletonmarker and Montpeliermarker to Burlingtonmarker.It crossed Lake Champlainmarker on the Burlington-Port Kent Ferry and headed west across upstate New York, through Watertownmarker and Rochestermarker to Buffalomarker.After crossing southern Ontario, the highway re-entered the U.S. in Detroitmarker, running northwest and north via Saginawmarker and Alpenamarker to the Upper Peninsulamarker, where it turned west along the northern tier of the country.This portion took the route past Duluthmarker, Minotmarker, Havremarker, and Glacier National Parkmarker to Spokanemarker.In order to reach Portland, Oregon, the highway turned south in Washingtonmarker via Walla Wallamarker to Pendletonmarker, where it headed west again via the Columbia River Highway to Portland.The last piece of the highway to be completed was over Marias Passmarker through Glacier National Park; cars were carried through the park on the Great Northern Railway until 1930.

The first inter-state numbering for the Roosevelt Highway was in New Englandmarker, where the New England road marking system was established in 1922.Route 18 followed the auto trail from Portland northwest to Montpeliermarker, where it continued to Burlington via Route 14.Many of the states along the route also assigned numbers to the highway; for instance, New York labeled their portion Route 3in 1924. The Joint Board on Interstate Highwaysdistributed its preliminary plan in 1925, in which a long section of the highway was labeled U.S. 2, from St. Ignace, Michiganmarker west to Bonners Ferry, Idahomarker.East of St. Ignace, instead of crossing to the Lower Peninsula like the Roosevelt Highway, the proposed Route 2 traveled north to the international border at Sault Ste.markerMariemarker.It reappeared at Rouses Point, New Yorkmarker, following Route 30 and then rejoining the auto trail between Burlington and Montpelier.U.S. 2 and the Roosevelt Highway both connected Montpelier to St. Johnsburymarker, but the latter took a direct path along Route 18, while the former was assigned to Route 25 to Wells Rivermarker, where it overlap proposed U.S.5north to St. Johnsbury. There, where the Roosevelt Highway turned southeast to Portland, Route 2 continued east along Route 15 to Bangormarker and Route 1 to Calaismarker, then heading north on Route 24 to end in Houltonmarker.

By the time the U.S. Highway system was finalized in late 1926, one relatively minor change had been made to U.S. 2; it was swapped with U.S.1between Bangor and Houlton, Maine, placing U.S. 2 along the entire portion of Route 15 east of St. Johnsbury. Several other major parts of the auto trail received numbers, most notably U.S.30 from Portland, Oregon east to Pendletonmarker, U.S.Route 195in eastern Washington, and U.S.23in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. In the mid-1930s, much of New York's portion of the road became U.S.Route 104, and the part southeast of Littleton, New Hampshiremarker to Portland, Maine became U.S.Route 302, but by far the longest piece was that followed by U.S. 2 between St. Ignace and Bonners Ferry. In 1946, U.S. 2 was extended west of its original western terminus in Bonners Ferry in Idaho to Everett in Washington via Spokane along what was then Alternate U.S. Route 10.


U.S. 2 was in the original 1925 U.S. Highway Plan by the Bureau of Public Roads and was first commissioned in Michigan in 1926.

U.S. 2 originally ran in Michigan from Ironwoodmarker to St. Ignacemarker, the same termini as today.The highway has undergone many realignments, mostly minor, between those cities since 1926. In 1933, the section between St. Ignace and Sault Ste.markerMariemarker was relocated along Mackinac Trail.

In 1957, the first segment opened of a new freeway between St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie. It ran from Evergreen Shores, north of St. Ignace, to present-day M-123and replaced the former route on State St. and Mackinac Trail. Over the next six years, U.S. 2 was moved from Mackinac Trail onto the new freeway as new sections opened. Beginning in 1961, the freeway was concurrently signed as an extension of I-75. The freeway was completed in 1963.

The eastern terminus of U.S. 2 in Michigan was truncated back to St. Ignace in 1983, removing it entirely from the I-75 freeway.

Eastern segment

Before being designated as U.S. 2, most of the current alignment was called New England Interstate Route 15 from Danville, Vermontmarker eastward to Maine.The portion of the old Route 15 that did not become part of U.S. 2 was designated as Vermont Route 15.

Other sections of U.S. 2 in Vermont that were not part of New England Route 15 were parts of other former New England Interstate routes: Route 18 between Montpeliermarker and Danville; Route 14 between Burlingtonmarker and Montpelier; and Route 30 between Alburgh and Burlington.

Major intersections

See also


External links

WAmarker 331 533
IDmarker 80 129
MTmarker 664 1068
NDmarker 354 570
MNmarker 264 425
WImarker 120 193
MImarker 306 492
Total 2119 3410
16th Street
10th Street
Eastbound Exit and Entrance
6th Street SE
13th Street SE
42nd Street SE
East end of freeway
NYmarker 0.88 1.42
VTmarker 150.60 242.37
NHmarker 35.43 57.02
MEmarker 273.64 440.38
Total 460.55 741.19

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