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U.S. Route 6, also called the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, after the veterans association of the same name, is a main route of the U.S. Highway system, running east-northeast from Bishop, Californiamarker to Provincetown, Massachusettsmarker. Until 1964, it continued south from Bishop to Long Beach, Californiamarker, and was a transcontinental route. It is now the second-longest highway in the United States.

Route description

From 1936 until 1964, when most of its route through California was eliminated, US 6 was the longest highway in the country, but the truncation dropped its length below that of U.S. Route 20. When it was designated in 1926, it only ran east of Erie, Pennsylvaniamarker, and roughly fit into the overall grid (though the diagonal routing of U.S. Route 20 through Erie places it north of US 6). However, subsequent extensions, largely replacing the former U.S. Route 32 and U.S. Route 38 (which were in sequence), have taken it south of U.S. Route 30 near Chicago, Illinoismarker, U.S. Route 40 near Denver, Coloradomarker (past the end of US 38), U.S. Route 50 at Ely, Nevadamarker, and even U.S. Route 70 near Los Angeles, Californiamarker, due to its north-south alignment in that state.

Since it was pieced together from other routes, US 6 does not serve a major transcontinental corridor, as other highways like U.S. Route 40 do. George R. Stewart, author of U.S. 40: Cross Section of the United States of America, initially considered US 6, but realized that "Route 6 runs uncertainly from nowhere to nowhere, scarcely to be followed from one end to the other, except by some devoted eccentric". In the famous "beat" novel On the Road by Jack Kerouac, protagonist Sal Paradise actually considers hitchhiking on US 6 to Nevada, but is told by a driver that "there's no traffic passes through 6" and that he'd be better off going via Pittsburghmarker (the Pennsylvania Turnpike).

Heading east from Bishop, California.


The modern US 6 in Californiamarker is a short, two-lane, north-south surface highway from Bishopmarker to the Nevada state line.Prior to a 1964 highway renumbering project, US 6 extended to Long Beachmarker along what is now US 395, California 14, Interstate 5, Interstate 110/California 110, and California 1.Despite the renumbering having removed all freeway portions, it is still part of the California Freeway and Expressway System. US 6's former routing included a short segment of the famous Arroyo Seco Parkway.

Currently, US 6 begins at US 395 just north of Bishop and heads north between farms and ranches in the Chalfant Valleymarker at the base of the 14,000' (4,200 m) western escarpment of the White Mountainsmarker.After about 30 miles (50 km) Bentonmarker is reached, which has a cafe and gas station.California 120 begins here, heading west past Mono Lakemarker through Lee Viningmarker, over Tioga Passmarker, and through Yosemite National Parkmarker to the San Joaquin Valleymarker.US 6 continues north to the Nevadamarker state line.


From the California border, US 6 heads northeast through semi-desert Queen Valley with Boundary Peak marker, Nevada's highest summit and Montgomery Peakmarker in California on the right.These twin peaks are the northernmost high summits of the White Mountainsmarker, both over 13,000' (4,000 m.).The highway then climbs into the Pinyon-Juniperzone and crosses Montgomery Pass (7,167'/2,185 m.).

From the pass, US 6 descends into barren shadscale desert, passing Columbus Salt Marshmarker on the left, then merging with US 95 from Coaldale Junction to Tonopahmarker.Nevada Test and Training Rangemarker begins about 15 miles (25 km.) southeast of Tonopah.

Just east of Tonopah, US 6 continues east across a series of desert mountain ranges and valleys, including the Monitor Rangemarker.At Warm Springs, Nevada 375, also known as the "Extraterrestrial Highway," departs to the southeast and US 6 assumes a northeasterly alignment across the Reveille, Pancake, Grantmarker and White Pine Rangesmarker.Rainfall increases eastward, so valleys become less barren and peaks over 11,500' (3,500 m.) add scenic interest.

Elymarker is the largest town on Route 6 in Nevada.US 50joins Route 6 at Ely. East of Ely, Routes 6/50 cross the Schell Creek Rangemarker, known for verdant forests and meadows, and for a large deer and elk population.The highway descends to the Snake Valley, then crosses the Snake Rangemarker at Sacramento Pass, north of Nevada's second-highest mountain, Wheeler Peak, where a branch road accesses Great Basin National Parkmarker.Beyond the pass, US 6 passes just north of Bakermarker, a Mormon farming community, and reaches the Utahmarker state line.


US 6 enters and leaves Utah concurrent with US 50. However, the two routes are different through the state. US 50 is the newer and shorter route. US 6 is the former route of US 50. US 6 forms an arch-shaped route with Spanish Forkmarker at the apex.


US 6 is concurrent with Interstate 70 for a significant portion of its length from the Utah state line to Denvermarker.Within the city limits, US 6 follows Denver's 6th Avenue (known as "6th Avenue Freeway"). The highway then travels north briefly, and follows Interstate 76for most of its length east of Denver. It is unsigned while it is overlapped. The highest altitude along US 6 is 11,990' (3,655 m) at Loveland Passmarker, where it crosses the Continental Divide.It continues down Clear CreekValley until it reaches I-70, where it is briefly overlapped until I-70 leaves Clear Creek Valley. US 6 continues down Clear Creek and into Denver, where it turns into a freeway with 6 lanes. East of Denver, it continues east while joined with I-76 until it reaches Sterlingmarker, where it diverges from the interstate.The last town in Colorado it passes is Holyokemarker.


From the Colorado state line, US 6 starts going southeast. The first town it goes into is Imperialmarker.US 6 conjoins with US 34 near Culbertsonmarker, passing through McCookmarker.US 6 then moves to the northeast, through Hastingsmarker.At Hastings, US 34 diverges and moves north. US 6 becomes concurrent with Interstate 80 north of Milfordmarker until it reaches Lincolnmarker.At Lincoln, US 6 becomes Cornhusker Highway, and moves north of I-80, until it becomes concurrent again at Gretnamarker.There US 6 moves due north and becomes West Dodge Road and Dodge Street in Omahamarker.It passes through downtown Omaha on parallel one-way streets and runs concurrent with Interstate 480in Omaha on its last Nebraska segment. It crosses the Missouri Rivermarker into Iowa on a girder bridge completed in 1966 that replaced the Ak-Sar-Ben Bridgemarker, which was the first road bridge to connect the two cities.


US 6 enters Iowamarker at Council Bluffsmarker, across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska.It heads due east until Lewismarker, where it turns sharply north-northeast to Atlanticmarker.There, it runs concurrently with US 71north until I-80. It overlaps with I-80 between US 71 and US 169 at De Sotomarker.It runs north with US 169 to Adelmarker, then turns east to go through Des Moinesmarker, where it is also known as Hickman Road..At Altoonamarker, US 6 rejoins I-80.It continues east with I-80 until Newtonmarker, where it splits northward from I-80 to run parallel.US 6 passes through Grinnellmarker and Marengomarker before arriving in Iowa Citymarker, where it again crosses I-80.At West Libertymarker, it proceeds due east until Wiltonmarker, where it turns north to concurrency again with I-80.Arriving in Davenportmarker, it becomes Kimberly Road until Interstate 74, with which it runs across the Mississippi River on the I-74 Bridgemarker into Moline, Illinoismarker.


In Illinoismarker, US 6 parallels Interstates 74 and 80, mostly along its original routing, overlapping with I-74 for its first 5 miles (8 km) and I-80 for the final 2 miles (5 km) of its routing in Illinois.US 6 directly serves the downtowns of many cities for its length, including Molinemarker, Geneseomarker, Ottawamarker, Channahonmarker, and Jolietmarker — unlike US 20, which, in Illinois, mainly consists of freeway sections that bypass the cities US 6 serves.Like nearby U.S. highways 30 and 52, US 6 avoids the Chicagomarker city limits.


US 6 crosses the state line and shares the same Borman Expressway with Interstates 80 and 94 through Hammondmarker and Garymarker, until Indiana 51 (Exit 15); it then runs south for about and turns east until it meets US 421 in Westvillemarker, then runs south for a mile, then east until it meets US 31 and US 35, and it shares the same road with US 33 for about until Ligoniermarker, where US 33 breaks south toward Fort Waynemarker.From there it is mostly two lanes through Indiana until it meets the Ohio state line just east of Butlermarker.Before the Borman Expresswaywas completed, US 6 was on Ridge Road, portions of which are now signed Business US 6.


US 6 enters Ohiomarker from Indianamarker in Williams Countymarker.It travels just south of Bryanmarker before it passes through Napoleonmarker, Bowling Greenmarker, and Fremontmarker, before turning northeast towards Sandusky Baymarker and Lake Eriemarker.After passing through Sanduskymarker, the route follows the southern shore of Lake Erie, passing through Huronmarker and Vermilionmarker.After crossing the Charles Berry Bridgemarker in Lorainmarker, it passes through the western suburbs of Greater Cleveland as Lake Road in Sheffield Lakemarker, Avon Lakemarker, Bay Villagemarker, and Rocky Rivermarker, and Clifton Boulevard in Lakewoodmarker and the West Blvd./Edgewater neighborhood of Cleveland propermarker.US 6 follows the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway into Downtown Cleveland, entering Downtown by crossing the Detroit-Superior Bridgemarker.US 6 follows Superior Avenue through Public Squaremarker and the East Side of Cleveland before turning east onto Euclid Avenue in East Clevelandmarker and Chardon Road in the city of Euclidmarker.US 6 continues eastward through Geauga Countymarker and finally into Ashtabula Countymarker before leaving Ohio slightly north of Pymatuning Reservoirmarker.

Alternate U.S. 6


US 6 runs for in Pennsylvaniamarker between its entrance point west of Meadvillemarker and its exit at Matamorasmarker.From the Ohio border to US 322 in Conneaut Lakemarker, the route runs in a southeasterly direction.US 6 then joins US 322 and heads east to Meadville, picking up US 19west of the city. South of downtown, US 322 splits from the concurrency while US 6 and US 19 remain concurrent through Meadville. The two routes continue northward to Mill Villagemarker, where US 6 and US 19 split at a junction with US 6N.

For the remainder of its routing in Pennsylvania, US 6 runs roughly parallel to the New York-Pennsylvania border. Along the way, US 6 is concurrent with US 62 for a short distance near Warrenmarker.US 11 joins US 6 from the north in Factoryvillemarker.They run concurrently to Scrantonmarker, where US 11 continues south and US 6 east.At Milfordmarker, US 6 meets US 209.The two routes embark to the northeast, crossing the Delaware River from Matamorasmarker to Port Jervis, New Yorkmarker.

New York

The portion of US 6 in New Yorkmarker is located primarily in Orange Countymarker, with lengthy stretches in Putnammarker and Westchestermarker counties, and a small segment in Rockland Countymarker.The route enters the state along with US 209 in Port Jervismarker.The two routes split just north of town, with US 209 taking a more northerly route to access Kingstonmarker.US 6, in contrast, runs primarily east-west through southern New York.

A section of US 6 runs concurrent with New York State Route 17 (the Quickway, or Southern Tier Expressway) between Goshenmarker and Harrimanmarker.At Harriman, NY 17 becomes an at-grade road and heads south, while US 6 remains a limited-access highway as it heads east into Harriman State Parkmarker.Near the east side of the park, US 6 intersects the Palisades Interstate Parkway and runs concurrent with it to the Bear Mountain Bridgemarker, where US 6 is joined by US 202 as it crosses the Hudson River.

On the other side of the river, US 6 and US 202 run along the Hudson to Peekskillmarker, where the two routes split, allowing US 6 to continue to the northeast into Putnam County.In Brewstermarker, US 6 meets US 202 once again.The routes become intertwined once more, running concurrent with one another into Connecticutmarker.


US 6 runs for in Connecticut. It begins in the city of Danburymarker after crossing the New York state line, concurrent with US 202, and ends at the Rhode Island state line in the town of Killinglymarker.In western Connecticut, US 6 either closely parallels or is concurrent with Interstate 84, serving as the local route in the suburbs of Danbury, Waterburymarker, Bristolmarker, and Hartfordmarker.It crosses the Connecticut River (overlapped with I-84 and US 44) on the Bulkeley Bridgemarker.In eastern Connecticut, US 6 is one of the principal routes connecting Hartford and Providence, R.I., passing through the small urban areas of Willimanticmarker and Danielsonmarker.The unsigned portion of the Connecticut Turnpike then meets with US 6 shortly before crossing the Rhode Islandmarker state line.
US 6 Bypass sign on the Roberts Expressway, now US 6

Rhode Island

US 6 covers approximately in Rhode Island from Fostermarker (western border with Killingly, CTmarker) to East Providencemarker (eastern border with Seekonk, MAmarker).In and around Providencemarker, US 6 overlaps with Route 10, as well as US 1A, US 44, and Interstates 95 and 195.


U.S. 6 runs approximately in Massachusettsmarker.It parallels I-195 between Providence, R.I., and Warehammarker, and serves as the local business route.US 6 continues onto Cape Codmarker across the Sagamore Bridgemarker as a freeway from Bournemarker to Orleansmarker.North of Orleans, it becomes a surface road again to its terminus in Provincetownmarker.


New England

The first interstate numbering along the path of US 6 was Route 3(NE-3) of the New England road marking system, designated in 1922. This route connected Provincetownmarker with the Connecticut-New York border via Providencemarker, Hartfordmarker, and Danburymarker.In late 1925, the Joint Board on Interstate Highwaysapproved the preliminary plan for U.S. Highways. US 6 was restricted to New Englandmarker and southeastern New Yorkmarker, with its vague description matching the existing Route 3 to Danbury, Connecticutmarker, and heading west from there to U.S.Route 7 at Brewster, New Yorkmarker.By the time the final plan was approved in late 1926, a second section had been added, from the New York-Pennsylvania border at Port Jervis, New Yorkmarker west to U.S.Route 120 in Kane, Pennsylvaniamarker.This did not last long, for the April 1927 route log shows the eastern segment running only to the border of New York, short of Brewster, while the western segment was extended in both directions - east to Kingston, New Yorkmarker, and west to Erie, Pennsylvaniamarker (the latter replacing part of US 120).The western segment was also swapped with U.S.Route 106 between Carbondalemarker and Tunkhannock, Pennsylvaniamarker, taking US 6 through Scrantonmarker.The gap through New York was eliminated in 1928 with a new alignment across the state, crossing the Hudson River on the Bear Mountain Bridgemarker; the old route between Kingston and Port Jervis became the first U.S.Route 6N.

While US 6 replaced the general corridor of Route 3 in New England, some portions used different alignments. One of these was on Cape Codmarker, where Route 3 had used a southerly alignment that is now Route 28.Instead, US 6 followed the more direct route between Buzzards Baymarker and Orleansmarker that had been the southern extremity of Route 6, and now known as Route 6A.Further west, in Connecticut, US 6 ran via South Coventrymarker, while Route 3 had served Andovermarker; the old route became U.S.Route 6A. US 6 is now on the old Route 3, while the South Coventry route now carries Route 31. A different alignment was also chosen for US 6 between Plainvillemarker and Woodburymarker; Route 3 ran via Milldalemarker and Waterburymarker, and became parts of Route 14marker and Route 10 in the 1932 renumbering.Here US 6 mostly remains on its original routing, with the main difference being between Hartfordmarker and Terryvillemarker, where US 6 followed the present Route 4marker, Route 10, and Route 72.The final difference was from Danburymarker west to the New York state line; here US 6 ran straight west, while Route 3 had left the Danbury area to the south, curving to the southwest through Ridgefieldmarker to the border.Part of this became U.S.Route 7, while the rest became Route 35in 1932.

In New York, US 6 replaced all of Route 37 - known as the "Bridge Route" - over the Bear Mountain Bridge, overlap part of Route 17, and was assigned to an unnumbered road from Middletownmarker west to Port Jervis.The original route, which soon became US 6N, replaced Route 50, and is now part of U.S.Route 209. The part of US 6 in Pennsylvania replaced Route 7, also known as the Roosevelt Highway, an auto trail. The Roosevelt Highway Association extended the name east with US 6 to Cape Cod by 1930.


Two other routes that would become part of US 6 were included in the 1925 plan: U.S.Route 32 from Chicago, Illinoismarker to Omaha, Nebraskamarker, and U.S.Route 38 from Lincoln, Nebraskamarker, to Greeley, Coloradomarker.As part of the fine-tuning during 1926, US 38 was extended east from Lincoln to Omaha, allowing U.S.Route 77, which had been assigned to this road, to extend north to Sioux Citymarker.These routes, which now connected end-to-end at Omaha, replaced a large portion of the Detroit-Lincoln-Denver Highway, which split at Princetonmarker to bypass Chicago to the south via Jolietmarker.They followed existing state highways: 2 and 14 in Colorado, 7 in Nebraska, 2 and 7 in Iowa, and 7 and 18 in Illinois.

Most of US 32 and all of US 38 became a western extension of US 6 on June 8, 1931, and the Roosevelt Highway name followed. To connect western Pennsylvania to central Indiana, relatively minor roads (including the route for SR 6 in Indiana) were used, except west of Joliet, where it used a part of the old Detroit-Lincoln-Denver Highway. The short stub to Eriemarker formed at the old west end became U.S.Route 6N, and US 32 remained in Illinois, running independently from Chicago to Princeton and overlapping US 6 to Davenport, Iowamarker.US 32 has since been absorbed into U.S.Route 34.

The Roosevelt Highway Association continued to push for an extension, and in December 1936 the American Association of State Highway Officials made US 6 (and thus the Roosevelt Highway) a transcontinental route from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Long Beach, Californiamarker.It took a new route from Wiggins, Coloradomarker, southwest to Denvermarker (the old route to Greeley became an extended U.S.Route 34 ) and west over the Rocky Mountains to Leadvillemarker, overlapping U.S.Route 24 to Grand Junctionmarker and U.S.Route 50 to Spanish Fork, Utahmarker.From Spanish Fork to Ely, Nevadamarker, it followed a roadway that had yet to be improved in areas; the rest of the route, from Ely to Southern California, followed the old Midland Trail, running almost north-south in California.The unimproved segment from Ely east to Delta, Utahmarker, about 160 miles (260 km) long, was, according to Business Week, "nothing but a wagon trail-rutted, filled with of the worst chunks of federal [sic] road in the country."Paving was completed in September 1952, with a two-day celebration in Delta marking the occasion.

Major William L.Anderson, Jr.of the U.S.Armyrecommended that US 6 be designated the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, honoring the Unionsoldiers in the Civil War. The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil Warbegan pushing for the name in April 1934. Massachusetts, the first state to apply the name, passed a law to do so on February 2, 1937; it was not until at least 1948 that all states had agreed. The highway was formally dedicated at the Long Beachmarker end on May 3, 1953, though the Roosevelt Highway Association continued to exist at least through the 1960s.

Modern history

As part of the 1964 renumberingin California, US 6 was truncated to its intersection with U.S.Route 395 at Bishopmarker.The portion that did not overlap other routes, including US 395 and State Route 11, was redesignated State Route 14.

Starting in the spring of 1983 U.S. 6 was a discontinuous route for almost one year, due to a massive landslide that destroyed the town of Thistle, Utahmarker.The highway was rebuilt by blasting a path higher up the canyon wall. The landslide remains the most costly in the history of the United States.

See also


External links


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