Interstate 80 in Nebraska

Interstate 80 (I-80) in the U.S. state of Nebraska runs east from the Wyoming state border across the state to Omaha. When it completed construction of the stretch of I-80 spanning the state on October 19, 1974, Nebraska was the first state in the nation to complete its mainline Interstate Highway System.[4]

Interstate 80 marker

Interstate 80
I-80 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by NDOT
Length455.31 mi[2][3] (732.75 km)
Major junctions
West end I-80 at Wyoming state line
East end I-80 at Iowa state line
CountiesKimball, Cheyenne, Deuel, Keith, Lincoln, Dawson, Buffalo, Hall, Hamilton, York, Seward, Lancaster, Cass, Sarpy, Douglas
Highway system
N-79US 81

Nebraska has over 80 exits along Interstate 80.[5] According to The New York Times there are several notable tourist attractions along Nebraska's section of I-80.[6] It is the only Interstate Highway in the state to go from one end of the state to another, as Nebraska has no major north–south interstate route. Except for a 3-mile-long (4.8 km) portion of I-76 near the Colorado state line, I-80 is the only primary (two-digit) Interstate Highway in Nebraska.


Interstate 80 in May 1973

Built along the pathway of the Great Platte River Road, I-80 in Nebraska follows the same route as many historic trails, including the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Mormon Trail.[6] Starting in 1957 after federal funding was allotted, Nebraskans began planning their Interstate construction. Led by the Nebraska State Highway Commission, there were hearings across the state to decide where the route was going to be. Aside from the federally mandated "control points" in Omaha and Scottsbluff, the route could vary across the state. Dozens of meetings were held in Grand Island, Kearney, and North Platte, among other locations. The commission addressed issues of whether the highway would be north or south of the Platte River or whether it would follow U.S. Highway 30. The South Platte Chamber of Commerce and various cities were very active in these sessions, and debate over where the Interstate would be constructed continued into the 1960s.[1]

I-80 in Omaha, Nebraska looking west at its interchange with I-680

After the first contract for building the Interstate was awarded in 1957, a 6.5-mile (10.5 km) section near Gretna was the first section to be completed that year.[7] The first long segment to be opened was a 50-mile (80 km) section between Dodge Street in Omaha and the West Lincoln interchange in Lincoln in 1961.[8] During a "Golden Link" ceremony, the last section of I-80 in Nebraska was completed when a brass connector was inserted in the roadway near Sidney on April 1, 1974.[4] This was designed to emulate the golden spike ceremonially used to complete the Trancontinental Railroad in 1869.[9]

The total length of the Nebraska section is 455.27 miles (732.69 km) long, and was completed at a cost of $435 million.[4]


The beginning of the I-80 construction in Nebraska in 1957 led the Nebraska Legislature to split the Department of Roads and Irrigation in order to create three separate agencies in the state, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Water Resources and the Department of Roads, which was the first Nebraska agency solely responsible for highway planning, construction, and maintenance in Nebraska history.[10]

Interstate construction led the state to focus on other highways in Nebraska, as well. Surfaced shoulders, new safety sections beyond shoulders and other developments across the state were attributed to the influence of the Interstate.[11] The 1965 state legislature also authorized a study of the needs of every public road in Nebraska, including state highways, county roads, and city streets.[12]

Speed limitsEdit

1955 map showing the future routes of Interstates in Lincoln, including I-80 and its child route, I-180

The following are speed limits that have existed on I-80 in Nebraska since it was opened in 1957.[13]

Rural speed limits on I-80
Year Speed limit(s)
1960 70 mph (115 km/h)
1964 75 mph (120 km/h) for cars and 65 mph (105 km/h) for trucks
1974 55 mph (90 km/h) national speed limit, effective March 3, 1974
1987 65 mph (105 km/h)
1995 75 mph (120 km/h)

Route descriptionEdit

Designated sectionsEdit

The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Kearney, which spans Interstate 80

The entirety of the Interstate Highway System was named the "Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways" in 1990, and the first signage in Nebraska was posted in 1993.[14] Several sections of I-80 in Nebraska have special designations. The I-80 intersection with US-34 has been designated a "Purple Heart Memorial Highway", and South 108th Street bridge over I-80 in Omaha has been designated the "Purple Heart Bridge", both in honor of all recipients of the Purple Heart.[15] A section of I-80 in Nebraska is also designated as a Blue Star Memorial Highway.


In Nebraska, I-80 has 82 interchanges, 442 bridges on or over the roadway, 25 rest areas, and one scenic overlook, each spaced 35–50 miles (56–80 km) apart for convenience. The I-80 rights-of-way in Nebraska feature 28 types of grasses and forbs, 31 types of shrubs, 12 varieties of coniferous trees, and 39 types of deciduous trees are planted on the median of I-80 in Nebraska. There are also 570 informational and directional signs along the way.[16] Mile markers with the interstate shield are posted every 12 mile (0.80 km) from mile 103.0 to mile 312.0, and every 15 mile (0.32 km) from mile 312.0 easterly. Most of the route is straight plains, and a stretch between Lincoln and Grand Island is almost entirely straight with very few curves whatsoever.

Exit listEdit

Kimball0.000.00  I-80 westContinuation into Wyoming; proposed toll road for the entire route of I-80 in WY[17]
0.480.771   L-53B north (State Line Road) to US 30 – Pine Bluffs
Bushnell8.4613.628  L-53C – Bushnell
20.7133.3320  N-71 south – KimballWestern end of N-71 overlap
22.6936.5222  N-71 north – Gering, ScottsbluffEastern end of N-71 overlap
Dix29.7647.8929  L-53A – Dix
CheyennePotter38.9662.7038  L-17B – Potter
48.8278.5748  L-17C
51.3182.58Sidney Rest Area (eastbound); location of the Golden Link[18]
Sidney55.3789.1155  N-19 (West Entrance) – SidneyN-19 north is former I-80 Bus. east
59.9296.4359   L-17J to US 385 – Sidney, BridgeportFormer I-80 Bus. west
Sunol69.63112.0669  L-17E – Sunol
Lodgepole76.61123.2976  L-17F – Lodgepole
DeuelChappell85.22137.1585   L-25A to US 385 – Chappell
95.02152.9295  N-27 – Julesburg, Oshkosh
101.19162.85101  US 138 – Big Springs, Julesburg
102.59165.10102  I-76 south – DenverLeft exit westbound, left entrance eastbound
Big Springs107.36172.78107  L-25B – Big Springs
KeithBrule117.25188.70117  L-51A – Brule
Ogallala126.69203.89126   US 26 / N-61 – Ogallala, GrantEastern terminus of US 26
Roscoe133.97215.60133  L-51B – Roscoe
Paxton145.65234.40145  L-51C – Paxton
LincolnSutherland158.01254.29158  N-25 – Sutherland, Wallace
Hershey164.51264.75164  L-56C – Hershey
North Platte177.16285.11177  US 83 – North Platte, McCook
179.19288.38179   L-56G to US 30 – North Platte
Maxwell190.42306.45190  S-56A – Maxwell
Brady198.97320.21199  L-56D – Brady
DawsonGothenburg211.77340.81211  N-47 – Gothenburg
Cozad222.46358.01222  N-21 – Cozad
231.10371.92231  L-24A – Darr
Lexington237.19381.72237  US 283 – Arapahoe, Lexington, Elwood
Overton248.53399.97248  L-24B – Overton
BuffaloElm Creek257.01413.62257  US 183 – Holdrege, Elm Creek
Odessa263.66424.32263  L-10B – Odessa
Kearney272.60438.71272  N-44 – Kearney, Archway Monument
275.59443.52275  N-10 north (East Entrance) – KearneyWestern end of N-10 overlap
279.89450.44279  N-10 south – MindenEastern end of N-10 overlap
Gibbon285.63459.68285  L-10C – Gibbon
Shelton291.36468.90291  L-10D – Shelton, Kenesaw
HallWood River300.10482.96300   N-11 north / S-40D south – Wood River
305.66491.91305  L-40C – Alda
Grand Island312.07502.23312   US 34 / US 281 (Tom Osborne Expressway) – Hastings, Grand Island
314.11505.51314Locust Street – Grand Island
Hamilton318.14512.00318  N-2 – Phillips, Grand Island
Giltner324.14521.65324  S-41B – Giltner
Aurora332.15534.54332  N-14 – Aurora
Hampton338.12544.15338  L-41D – Hampton
YorkHenderson342.11550.57342  S-93A – Henderson
348.09560.20348  L-93E – Bradshaw
York353.09568.24353  US 81 – Geneva, York
360.11579.54360  L-93B – Waco
Seward366.13589.23366  L-80F – Utica
Beaver Crossing369.12594.04369  L-80E – Beaver Crossing
Goehner373.09600.43373  L-80G – Goehner
379.08610.07379  N-15 – Seward, Fairbury
Milford382.08614.90382  L-80H – Milford
388.11624.60388  N-103 – Crete
LancasterLincoln395.59636.64395   L-55K (NW 48th Street) to US 6 – Lincoln
396.36637.88396  US 6 (O Street) – LincolnClosed; was eastbound exit and westbound left entrance only[19]
397.27639.34397  US 77 south – Lincoln, BeatriceWestern end of US 77 overlap
399.01642.14399NW 12th Street / Cornhusker Highway / Adams Street – Lincoln Airport
401.04645.41401   I-180 south / US 34 / 9th Street – DowntownEastbound exits signed as 401A (south/east) and 401B (west)
403.48649.3440327th Street
405.75652.99405   US 77 north / L-55X south (56th Street) – Lincoln, Fremont, WahooEastern end of US 77 overlap; L-55X is former US 77 south
Waverly409.74659.41409  US 6 – East Lincoln, Waverly
CassAshland420.91677.39420  N-63 – Ashland, Greenwood
426.06685.68426  N-66 – South Bend, Louisville, AshlandMahoney State Park
Platte River427.26687.61Bridge
Sarpy432.94696.75432   N-31 to US 6 – Gretna, Ashland
439.19706.81439  N-370 – Bellevue, Papillion, GretnaWerner Park (stadium), Offutt Air Force Base
Chalco440.63709.13440  N-50 (144th Street) – Springfield, West Omaha
442.89712.76442Giles Road / Harrison Street
DouglasOmaha444.56715.45445Q StreetWestbound exit only; access from C/D lanes originating at West Center Rd. exit
445.05716.24   US 275 / N-92 (L Street)Cloverleaf interchange accessible to and from C/D lanes
445.34716.71I StreetWestbound exit and eastbound entrance accessible to and from C/D lanes
445.97717.72446  I-680 north
446.63718.78445West Center RoadNo eastbound exit; C/D lanes provide access to I-L-Q St. exits
448.29721.4544884th Street
449.30723.0844972nd Street
450.31724.7045060th Street
451.83727.1545142nd Street
452.85728.79452   I-480 / US 75 north (Gerald R. Ford Expressway) – Downtown, Eppley Airfield
  US 75 south (Kennedy Freeway) – Bellevue
Exits to southbound US 75 also include direct exit ramp onto F Street
453.04729.1045324th StreetEastbound exit and westbound entrance
454.14730.8745413th Street – Gardens, ZooFormer US 73 / US 75
Missouri River455.31732.75Interstate 80 Bridge; Nebraska–Iowa state line
  I-80 east – Council Bluffs, Des MoinesContinuation into Iowa
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routesEdit

Interstate 80 has three auxiliary routes in Nebraska. One is a loop around the city of Omaha, one is a loop through the city of Omaha, and the other is a spur into Lincoln.

  •   I-180 is a spur into downtown Lincoln, co-signed with US-34 for its entire length.
  •   I-480 is a loop route in Omaha extending from I-29 in Council Bluffs west towards I-80. It serves as the inner of two loops in Omaha. It is cosigned with US-75 for approximately 2.5 miles (4.0 km) and with US-6 for less than one mile (1.6 km) as it crosses the Missouri River into Iowa.
  •   I-680 is a loop around the northwest of Omaha. It serves as the outer of the two Omaha loops. The section from I-80 in Omaha to I-29 in Crescent was originally designated as I-280, but because it extended into Iowa, and because it conflicted with I-280 in the Quad Cities area of Iowa, the route was renumbered I-680.

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b Koster (1997), p. 64.
  2. ^ a b "Nebraska Highway Reference Log Book" (PDF). Nebraska Department of Roads. 2015. pp. 202–223. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  3. ^ Staff (October 31, 2002). "Table 1: Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002". Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. OCLC 47914009.
  4. ^ a b c Staff. "Interstate Construction in Nebraska". Nebraska Department of Roads. Retrieved September 23, 2007.
  5. ^ Geelhart, Chris (July 11, 2006). "Highways 61-100". Nebraska Highways Page. Self-published. Retrieved October 14, 2007.[unreliable source]
  6. ^ a b Winckler, Suzanne (July 22, 1990). "I-80's Exits to History in Nebraska". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2007.
  7. ^ Koster (1997), p. 66.
  8. ^ Nebraska Interstate 80 Lincoln–Omaha (PDF). Nebraska Department of Roads. August 11, 1961. Retrieved September 23, 2007.
  9. ^ Koster (1997), p. 87.
  10. ^ Koster (1997), p. 67.
  11. ^ Koster (1997), p. 73.
  12. ^ Koster (1997), p. 75.
  13. ^ Koster (1997), p. 94.
  14. ^ Koster (1997), p. 100.
  15. ^ Staff. "Purple Heart Trail". Nebraska Department of Roads. Retrieved September 23, 2007.
  16. ^ Staff. Today's I-80 in Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Roads. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  17. ^ Scott, Ramsey (April 14, 2019). "Wyoming Legislature could take another look at tolling I-80". Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  18. ^ WanderingRaleighite. "The Golden Link Historical Marker/Historic Landmark in Sidney, Cheyenne, NE, US". Landmarks Visited Catalog. Self-published. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2014.[unreliable source]
  19. ^ "Nebraska 511 Traveler Information". Nebraska Department of Roads. Retrieved January 22, 2016.

Works citedEdit

External linksEdit

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata

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