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US 95/ION Highway


Max Rockatansky:
I drove the ION (Idaho-Oregon-Nevada)Highway through Oregon for the first time in a decade yesterday traveling from Winnemucca, NV and Mansing, ID.  I noticed a ton of older alignments that branch away from modern US 95 which got me interested in the background of the highway.  It seems that the older ION Highway was gradually built up as OR 201 through the 1930s which culminated in US 95 being extended to California. 

Some maps that caught my eye:

1935 Gousha - The Old ION Highway can be seen as an unsurfaced highway.

1939 Rand McNally - Much of the new ION Highway is complete aside from a segment west of Rome.  OR 201 is seen fully signed all the way to NV 8.

1937 Gousha - OR 201 can be partially seen built towards Jordan Valley.  The Old ION Highway can be seen branching largely south from Rome towards Bowdenís Ranch and NV 8.

1940 Rand McNally - US 95 appears over the new ION Highway.  There is some variation between the modern highway west of Rome which doesnít branch towards the OR 78 junction.

1944 Rand McNally - The full form of modern US 95 appears west of Rome.

For what itís worth the ION Highway probably ought to rank highly in the road community in terms of desolate US Routes.  The traffic certainly isnít light but there is definitely less population than say something like US 50 between Ely-Fallon. 

Max Rockatansky:
Finished up my photo album of the ION Highway:

I did include snips of the AASHO Database documents.  It turns out I was correct, the construction of OR 201/new ION Highway (ION Cutoff) was what was the hold up for US Route 95 being extended.  Nevada appears to have sought to extension of US Route 95 for several years but the conditions of the old ION Highway held it up.

Max Rockatansky:
FHWA piece on the development of US 95:

Oregon Highway 456 (ION Highway) Route log from ODOT:

A blog about the old ION Highway in Oregon:

Max Rockatansky:
A BLM document which discusses the origins of settlement in Jordan Valley and the establishment of mines in the Owyhee Mountains.  This seems to have been the driver for stage development of the ION Cutoff in the 19th Century:

An 1872 Bancroftís map showing ION Cutoff:

Max Rockatansky:
Put the ION Highway to blog form on Gribblenation:


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