Illinois at heart of U.S. Interstate System
Its neighbor to the east may claim “The Crossroads of America” title, but by nearly any measure, Illinois is the heart of the U.S. Interstate System.
Illinois has the third highest total of interstate routes and mileage. Only New York and California have more I-designated roadways, with 7 million and 25 million more residents, respectively. Only Texas and California routes cover more mileage, though those states are five and three times larger by territory.
And the importance of the routes — many of which were designed to pass through or near Chicago, with its access to the global economy — further spell out the importance of Illinois as a hub of trans-U.S. travel. The two longest treks of the interstate system, I-90 and I-80, pass through Illinois on their coast-to-coast journeys. And two key connections to the Gulf States, I-55 and I-65, reach their nadir in the Chicago area. Add in I-57, I-64, I-70 and I-94 and an Illinois driver can reach almost every population center in the nation by navigating one interchange.
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