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Author Topic: US 400  (Read 9363 times)

Chris

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US 400
« on: July 25, 2009, 09:43:47 AM »

US 400 runs east-west from Granada, CO to Joplin, MO so mostly in Kansas. It was once set up as a temporary US Highway, awaiting the I-66 construction. I-66 construction was cancelled west of Wichita, but I doubt if it will be constructed east of Wichita soon.

Should we sack US 400? It's an auxiliary route of US 0, which doesn't exist, and US 400 is already multiplexed for most of it's route, especially US 50 and US 54. Maybe they should just replaced them with a State Route number in places where US 400 doesn't run concurrent with other US Highways.

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Re: US 400
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2009, 10:59:17 AM »

It should go, not just because its number makes no sense, but because the route isn't needed.
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Re: US 400
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2009, 11:49:57 AM »

Maybe decommission it west of Wichita and renumber the somewhat improved Wichita-Joplin part as a new US 466 or US 354.  In any case, I think the route should replace the existing US 160 between US 69 and Springfield, MO, with US 160 rerouted across MO 96 and MO 266.
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Re: US 400
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2009, 02:52:30 PM »

US 400 runs east-west from Granada, CO to Joplin, MO so mostly in Kansas. It was once set up as a temporary US Highway, awaiting the I-66 construction. I-66 construction was cancelled west of Wichita, but I doubt if it will be constructed east of Wichita soon.

Perhaps not, but west of Wichita substantial lengths of US 50 and US 54 are being widened to four-lane divided with a full freeway as the ultimate configuration where this is not being built outright.  US 50 west of Garden City is being widened to four-lane divided with flat intersections, and US 54 west of Kingman will be a freeway right out of the box.

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Should we sack US 400? It's an auxiliary route of US 0, which doesn't exist, and US 400 is already multiplexed for most of it's route, especially US 50 and US 54.

Several problems with this statement:

*  US 400 has substantial lengths which are US 400 only--including former K-154 near Mullinville and much of the route east of the US 54 split in Augusta (former K-96--see my avatar).

*  "US 400" does not mean fourth branch of US 0:  it belongs to a different numbering convention.  Routes like US 400, US 412, US 425, etc. are effectively two-digit US routes.  The numbers are made by adding integer multiples of 12.5 to 400 and then rounding down to eliminate fractions.  These numbers can be assigned anywhere in the country and therefore eliminate the need to search for plausible branches of a two-digit route in the relevant geographical area.

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Maybe they should just replaced them with a State Route number in places where US 400 doesn't run concurrent with other US Highways.

It could equally well be argued that the better thing would have been not to create US 400 (and, for that matter, US 412) in the first place.  I do not agree, however, that this would have been the correct way to proceed.  The US 400 designation has value since it puts the long-planned southern Kansas freeway corridor under a single number, rather than three:  K-96 (southeast of Wichita), US 54 (Wichita to Mullinville), and US 50 (Dodge City westwards), with other state highways acting as brief connectors (e.g. former K-154, which itself was once US 154).

Keep in mind also that, unlike state routes in many states, US routes have to be continuous from terminus to terminus in order to retain navigational value.  Generally speaking, state DOTs are more reluctant to play continuity games with US routes because they have AASHTO looking over their shoulders.  The few exceptions, like US 85 in New Mexico, prove the rule--AASHTO considers US 85 to exist in New Mexico, but NMDOT does not sign it at all, and NMDOT gets away with it because the entire US 85 corridor in the state is served by I-25 and it is plausible to expect motorists to base their navigational decisions on the route of higher class.
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Re: US 400
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2009, 03:43:07 PM »

*  US 400 has substantial lengths which are US 400 only--including former K-154 near Mullinville and much of the route east of the US 54 split in Augusta (former K-96--see my avatar).

This is what would make removing US 400 problematic.

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*  "US 400" does not mean fourth branch of US 0:  it belongs to a different numbering convention.  Routes like US 400, US 412, US 425, etc. are effectively two-digit US routes.  The numbers are made by adding integer multiples of 12.5 to 400 and then rounding down to eliminate fractions.  These numbers can be assigned anywhere in the country and therefore eliminate the need to search for plausible branches of a two-digit route in the relevant geographical area.

I have never seen anything indicating there is any official policy by AASHTO like this for any "400-series" routes.  For one thing, nobody would devise such a strange numbering convention (the rounded-off 12.5 increment).  For another, US 412 pre-dates the other two (400, 425); why would they start in the middle?  Lastly, I remember someone's posting on another board where they shared that they had asked KDOT why the number 400 was picked, and got the answer, "It was available."  Anyway, if the 400 series routes were meant to act as 2-dus, why weren't they just given 2 digit designations?  There are numbers available.  I'd agree that 400 and 412 are long enough, but I'd disagree on 425.

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It could equally well be argued that the better thing would have been not to create US 400 (and, for that matter, US 412) in the first place.  I do not agree, however, that this would have been the correct way to proceed.  The US 400 designation has value since it puts the long-planned southern Kansas freeway corridor under a single number, rather than three:  K-96 (southeast of Wichita), US 54 (Wichita to Mullinville), and US 50 (Dodge City westwards), with other state highways acting as brief connectors (e.g. former K-154, which itself was once US 154).

This makes some sense, although the same thing could've been done with a state route designation, since US 400 barely leaves Kansas (note Colorado's nearly complete lack of enthusiasm it).

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Re: US 400
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2009, 04:47:55 PM »

I would not have a problem with it being multi-state route 46, or whatever the interstate designation of it will end up being. 
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J N Winkler

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Re: US 400
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2009, 05:19:40 PM »

I have never seen anything indicating there is any official policy by AASHTO like this for any "400-series" routes.  For one thing, nobody would devise such a strange numbering convention (the rounded-off 12.5 increment).  For another, US 412 pre-dates the other two (400, 425); why would they start in the middle?  Lastly, I remember someone's posting on another board where they shared that they had asked KDOT why the number 400 was picked, and got the answer, "It was available."  Anyway, if the 400 series routes were meant to act as 2-dus, why weren't they just given 2 digit designations?  There are numbers available.  I'd agree that 400 and 412 are long enough, but I'd disagree on 425.

My source for the 400-series numbering convention is (ultimately, I think) the AARoads High Priority Corridor page dealing with US 400/future I-66.  It is certainly not anything I have seen in official AASHTO documentation, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything since so little of it is put online where it can be viewed free of charge.  I think it is a reasonable inference on the basis not just of US 400, but also US 412 being in the wrong half of the country for a fourth branch of US 12.

I don't think there is anything particularly strange about using 400 as the start of a series of false two-digit designations.  Freeways in Ontario are numbered 400 and above.  State secondary routes in Virginia are numbered 600 and above.  Adopting 400 as the start reduces the likelihood of conflict with first, second, and third branches of two-digit routes numbered between 1 and 99.  Limiting the available final two digits to 12, 25, 37, 50, 62, 75, and 87 allows the designations to be applied in places far away from apparent two-digit parents (e.g. you could have US 487 in Georgia, US 462 in Washington state, etc.).

I don't think these designations are necessarily assigned in sequential order.  US 412 was probably assigned first because it was the first route (or rather itinerary cobbled from existing routes) which was considered to need the 400-series treatment, and that number was chosen because the route is generally quite far to the south of US 12.

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It could equally well be argued that the better thing would have been not to create US 400 (and, for that matter, US 412) in the first place.  I do not agree, however, that this would have been the correct way to proceed.  The US 400 designation has value since it puts the long-planned southern Kansas freeway corridor under a single number, rather than three:  K-96 (southeast of Wichita), US 54 (Wichita to Mullinville), and US 50 (Dodge City westwards), with other state highways acting as brief connectors (e.g. former K-154, which itself was once US 154).

This makes some sense, although the same thing could've been done with a state route designation, since US 400 barely leaves Kansas (note Colorado's nearly complete lack of enthusiasm for it).

In principle, yes, it could have been done with a multi-state route.  But this does not preclude the possibility of further extension into Colorado.  CDOT has studied improvements to US 50, although I personally don't expect these in the near to medium term because the economic basis of that part of Colorado is weak and declining.

Eastern Colorado and western Kansas have been locked in a water war for more than a century, largely because allocation of water from the Arkansas River depends on seniority of water rights.  Agricultural users in Kansas have older water rights than farmers in Colorado.  Kansas has had the upper hand in the water litigation for about two decades now and has obtained Supreme Court rulings which specify that Colorado must not only honor the water rights, but also return part of the water it has stolen in past decades. Thus, irrigated agriculture flourishes to the east of the state line and languishes to the west of it.

BTW, I am not sure Granada is the original western terminus of US 400.
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Chris

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Re: US 400
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2009, 06:10:35 PM »

If an important route like K-96 west of Great Bend can be a State Route, or K-27 for that matter, I think US 400 can also be made into a State Route.

The Dodge City - Mullinville (30 miles) route can retain it's original number, and Haverhill - Pittsburg (134 miles) can also get a K-route. So basically, out of 488 miles, only 164 miles do not run concurrent with other U.S. routes. Given the fact that there are already two other parallel US Highways east of Wichita (US 160 and US 166), I'm not sure if US 400 is that important to keep.

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Re: US 400
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2009, 06:52:04 PM »

My source for the 400-series numbering convention is (ultimately, I think) the AARoads High Priority Corridor page dealing with US 400/future I-66.  It is certainly not anything I have seen in official AASHTO documentation, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything since so little of it is put online where it can be viewed free of charge.  I think it is a reasonable inference on the basis not just of US 400, but also US 412 being in the wrong half of the country for a fourth branch of US 12.

Don't take that seriously, it's not meant to be.  We've been saying that 12.5 thing for years on these roadgeek sites.  Anyway, that isn't the way it works.  AASHTO doesn't assign numbers for US Routes; states request them.  In the past, we've had roadgeeks communicate with state DOT's asking why they wanted both 400 and 425 for those routes, and both were answered "no real reason."  If the Route Numbering committee had minutes online going that far back, maybe we could find out more on why those particular numbers were selected.

By the way, to be specific, 412 was designated in 1982, but it only ran from Dyersburg, TN to Walnut Ridge, AR.  It may have gotten its number because it didn't intersect any even-numbered routes so couldn't be considered a branch of any of those, but that doesn't explain the specific number.  It replaced TN 20 (actually, it's signed concurrent with 20), MO 84, and parts of AR 90, 1, and 25, so I can't see that the number came from any of those, either.  It was extended further east into TN in 1984, and extended further west into OK in 1989 (incidently, the year 425 came  into existence) and into NM in 1994 (incidently, the year that US 400 came into existence).

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I don't think there is anything particularly strange about using 400 as the start of a series of false two-digit designations.

No, if they are arbitrary numbers then any scheme would work.  I just think it's strange there's a "400-series" at all.  But I don't really think there is.

 
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BTW, I am not sure Granada is the original western terminus of US 400.

No, its original western terminus was Garden City, KS.  It was extended west to Granada 2 years later, in 1996.

The original question we were addressing was not why Kansas designated it, but whether or not it still needs to exist.  I still say no.  On the other hand, there's no harm to it, and think of all the years of roadgeek angst we would've missed out on if it never had been.
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Re: US 400
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2009, 11:27:00 PM »

If an important route like K-96 west of Great Bend can be a State Route, or K-27 for that matter, I think US 400 can also be made into a State Route.

Maybe KS 96 and CO 96 need to be promoted to US 450 instead  :biggrin:

Just from glancing at a map, I'm not seeing KS 27 being that important of route. 
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Re: US 400
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2009, 12:40:00 AM »

Maybe KS 96 and CO 96 need to be promoted to US 450 instead  :biggrin:

Just from glancing at a map, I'm not seeing KS 27 being that important of route. 

Agree on KS 27, not really an important interstate route.

I've actually wondered why MO 96 between Joplin and Springfield wasn't included in US 400, because it would remove that awkward due-south dip 400 takes to meet I-44 and that route was at one time a US Highway, carrying US 66 (today's I-44 followed what was then US 166 instead).  I hope if Kansas is serious about upgrading US 400 into a freeway, they'll build a new-terrain route that runs more diagonally in this area.

Seriously, CO/KS 96 would make a good US 450.  Actually, they should extend it further east along KS 96, then take over the eastern part of US 400.  Then you could decommission the western part of 400 -- problem solved!!!!

Related question: anyone know if there are plans to re-route US 54 in the Wichita Area?  Seems to me it would make more sense to route 54 along I-235, KS 96 and KS 254.  That would eliminate some of the 54/400 duplex.
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Re: US 400
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2009, 02:01:16 AM »

CO-KS 96 also has a decent historical precedent for becoming a US route.  It was the Kansas-Colorado Boulevard, and was the first trail completely signed in Kansas, in 1916 by auto trails pioneer Woody Hockaday.  He put up tens of thousands of porcelain "H" signs all over the midwest.  A big letter "H" for highway (or for his own name), the name of the trail, the name of the next town, and an arrow denoting which way the highway turned, or if it continued straight.

when the Kansas-Colorado Boulevard, which had the most "H" signs on it out of any trail, by far, became a state route in the early 1920s, it got 96 because that was Hockaday's shop's phone number in Wichita. 

If I could find a link to an "H" sign I'd post one.  I have one on my wall, from the Midwest Highway, with "TO INMAN" as the control city.  Inman is the southernmost town in Nebraska on what is now US-81, so the sign is from either there or Kansas.  Too bad it's too dark to take a picture ... classic "H" signs beat US-400 any day of the week!
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Re: US 400
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2009, 11:07:30 AM »

The Dodge City - Mullinville (30 miles) route can retain it's original number, and Haverhill - Pittsburg (134 miles) can also get a K-route. So basically, out of 488 miles, only 164 miles do not run concurrent with other U.S. routes.

Yes, but you are still discounting the navigational value of having one number for one itinerary.  Even if you discount Joplin-Wichita trips, traffic is more likely to want to go from Wichita to Dodge City and Garden City (only common designation = US 400) than Wichita to Meade (common designation = US 54) or even Garden City and Dodge City to Hutchinson and Newton (common designation = US 50).

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Given the fact that there are already two other parallel US Highways east of Wichita (US 160 and US 166), I'm not sure if US 400 is that important to keep.

Trust me--it is.  US 160 and US 166 are too far south to be of day-to-day relevance to drivers from Wichita.  And even with US 400, Kansas is hardly overprovided with US routes.  On this basis, Ogallala, Nebraska does not need US 30 because it is already served by US 26.

If I could find a link to an "H" sign I'd post one.  I have one on my wall, from the Midwest Highway, with "TO INMAN" as the control city.  Inman is the southernmost town in Nebraska on what is now US-81, so the sign is from either there or Kansas.  Too bad it's too dark to take a picture ... classic "H" signs beat US-400 any day of the week!

Inman, Nebraska is actually on the US 20-US 275 concurrency elsewhere in the state.  The Inman sign is probably pointing to Inman, Kansas, in McPherson County, which is near to but not adjacent to the US 81 corridor.  It is on K-61, which incidentally is being widened to four-lane divided with provision for future expansion to full freeway standard.
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Re: US 400
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2009, 05:11:35 PM »

Yes, but you are still discounting the navigational value of having one number for one itinerary.  Even if you discount Joplin-Wichita trips, traffic is more likely to want to go from Wichita to Dodge City and Garden City (only common designation = US 400) than Wichita to Meade (common designation = US 54) or even Garden City and Dodge City to Hutchinson and Newton (common designation = US 50).

It's called a map, kids.  Anyway, I think this is an overblown reason.  To go from Seattle to Salt Lake City, one needs to take 4 interstates: I-90, I-82, I-84, and I-15.  Somehow, plenty of folks still find the way.  Seriously, they need to give us a little more credit for intelligence.

If this is really the main reason for US 400, then why did AASHTO reject the much earlier request for US 789, a similar highway proposal which would've created one continuous multi-state route but involved considerable multiplexes with existing routes?

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Trust me--it is.  US 160 and US 166 are too far south to be of day-to-day relevance to drivers from Wichita.  And even with US 400, Kansas is hardly overprovided with US routes.  On this basis, Ogallala, Nebraska does not need US 30 because it is already served by US 26.

But US 26 and US 30 are different routes; 30 wasn't added on top of 26 through town.  Not really analogous to US 400.
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Re: US 400
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2009, 10:17:04 PM »

My favorite US 400 memory was driving across southwestern MO in 1995 near the OK/KS/MO tripoint and seeing a green exit sign with 2 shields on it.  I was looking for the US 166 exit, and I knew I was getting close because of the decreasing mile markers, but 2 shields?  The half mile or so from the point from where I could first tell there were 2 shields on the sign to the point where I could see what number was in the second shield must have been the longest half mile I've driven in my life.  "400"?  Why is there a US 400?  And where does it go?  I was following US 166 that day so I got to follow this weird new highway as far as Baxter Springs, where it then went north on old US 66, now ALT US 69 (there is a Baxter Springs bypass now.)  It was several months or a year before I found a map that showed US 400.  This would never happen in the post-Internet age.  That innocence is a casualty of the internet.
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Re: US 400
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2009, 01:11:59 AM »

Trust me--it is.  US 160 and US 166 are too far south to be of day-to-day relevance to drivers from Wichita.  And even with US 400, Kansas is hardly overprovided with US routes.  On this basis, Ogallala, Nebraska does not need US 30 because it is already served by US 26.

I think a better example might be between Kansas City and St. Joesph in Missouri with US 71 and US 169; or somewhere in Illinois or Indiana.

And about Kansas being over-provided with US routes, I have to wonder about that, especially in the pre-interstate days compared to Illinois south of US 36 and Missouri inside the US 66/US 63/US 60/US 67 polygon.  Now I haven't measured the spacing of US routes versus population, but I have to wonder why a US route between US 54 at Camdenton and US 60 at Henderson, Kentucky never came about when Kansas has the somewhat closely spaced US 281/US 183/US 283 trio.
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Re: US 400
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2009, 12:26:13 PM »

Kansas is big for agricultural commerce. Grain, cattle, pigs, etc. Most of the U.S. routes out there are built to pretty high standards (large shoulders, wide lanes, a lot of bypasses, not a lot of stops, etc).

Sykotyk
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Re: US 400
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2009, 12:09:45 AM »

Try as I might, I just can't get worked up over U.S. 400 like I can other numbering violations.

I think it's because of what the number implies. U.S. 412 says "Hey, look at me, I'm a branch of U.S. 12." U.S. 400 implies it is a branch route of nothing. Which is a bit odd, but considering what someone said about 412 (when it was commissioned, there was no logical EW parent) I think the x00 numbers could be useful for "there's no way to fit a 2dus in the grid here, or we don't want this to be a 2dus, but we don't really have any idea what to designate as its parent." I think 412 should become 300 and 425 should be 200. At least the three routes would have something in common. Designating parents for 3duses always seems somewhat arbitrary anyway due to their length these days.

As for U.S. 400 itself, it's a great road. Mostly two lane but KDOT has obviously given it some extra attention. There are some short freeway bursts, and the rest of the route is high quality concrete with wide shoulders. Definitely should have some sort of U.S. route designation.
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Re: US 400
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2009, 01:28:34 AM »

Florida uses x00 for its diagonal state routes, so there is precedent for x00 as an exception.
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Re: US 400
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2009, 02:58:11 AM »

Of course it would be immensely awesome if there was a U.S. 0. I've always liked the absurdity of the idea of a Highway 0... Hungary (or some other country around there) actually has a beltway numbered M0!
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Re: US 400
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2009, 05:50:56 AM »

Yeah, that's Hungary. Belgium has an R0 around Brussels.

However, they have different numbering systems. R100 (if existed) is not an auxiliary route of R0 for instance. Numbers simply just increase from 0 to 10 radially outside the capital.

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Re: US 400
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2009, 06:32:39 PM »

In little time US 400 has brought so much controversy. This is what needs to be done: Have US 400 remove the entire US 54 from US 77 in Kansas to Tucumcari and multiplex with I-40 to Santa Rosa and then have it take over and remove US 54/60 west to I-25. Have my I-19 be built to take over US 54 south to El Paso and have my new I-20 extension take over US 60 west to Phoenix. For further details, look for my new proposed interstate highway system on "If You controlled the highway system" in fictional highways
« Last Edit: September 23, 2009, 09:21:33 PM by leifvanderwall »
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Re: US 400
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2009, 07:27:48 PM »

In little time US 400 has brought so much controversy. This is what needs to be done: Have US 400 gobble the entire US 54 from US 77 in Kansas to Tucumcari and multiplex with I-40 to Santa Rosa and takes over US 54/60 west to I-25. Have my I-19 be built to take over US 54 south to El Paso and have my new I-20 extension take over US 60 west to Phoenix. For further details, look for my new proposed interstate highway system on "If You controlled the highway system" in fictional highways

O.k., the only thing I really object to on this highway is its number -- don't extend it, renumber it!!!!
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Re: US 400
« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2009, 11:16:56 PM »

At the times when US 400, US 412, and US 425 were signed, were other numbers fitting the traditional numbering system  removed from consideration because one or more relevant states already used the number for a state route or other route?
« Last Edit: August 18, 2009, 11:22:08 PM by treichard »
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Re: US 400
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2009, 11:44:36 PM »

In the case of 400, I don't believe other numbers were explicitly considered.  Kansas asked for 400, and they got it.
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