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Author Topic: State Highway terminology  (Read 12812 times)

corco

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State Highway terminology
« on: February 11, 2009, 12:22:42 AM »

I was in a human geography class yesterday and my professor was talking about different ways of referring to things throughout the country, using obvious references such as "soda" vs. "pop" etc.

I got to thinking that maybe there was some sort of regional correlation between what state DOTs refer to their state highways as- namely state highways or state routes, and what states routinely utilize state name when referring to their highways. And there actually is a correlation. Check it out:
http://www.davidjcorcoran.com/highways/routevshighway.jpg
« Last Edit: February 11, 2009, 12:23:46 AM by voyager »
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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2009, 12:29:33 AM »

Very cool, I like the map.

People in these parts call everything highway, even in Alabama, but I believe I've seen "state route" used in newspaper articles. It took me awhile to get used to the State Road concept here, especially when its usually abbreviated S.R., which can be inferred as State Route of course.

Scott5114

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2009, 12:31:57 AM »

Kansas and Michigan actually use K- and M- respectively. For example, K-32. Some blade and mastarm signage in Kansas reads "K-15 Highway", for instance.
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corco

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2009, 12:34:23 AM »

The common abbreviation is to use those, but the state DOT itself doesn't formally refer to Kansas highways as K- whatever, the spelled out definition is Kansas Highway 66, same with Michigan. There's several instances in Eastern Washington where signposts refer to "Highway 27" but the DOT knows it only as SR 27.

So this DOES NOT account for colloquial references, no matter how widely they may be used, only for formal definition

Colorado, Nebraska, and to a lesser extent Utah all use C-, N-, and sometimes U- respectively as well, but the official terminology omits those
« Last Edit: February 11, 2009, 12:37:17 AM by corco »
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Scott5114

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2009, 12:47:26 AM »

I've never seen KDOT use anything other than "K-" to refer to their routes.
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corco

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2009, 12:50:40 AM »

K- is an abbreviation for Kansas Highway, just like WY- is an abbreviation for Wyoming Highway.

It's an equally interesting phenomenon but only occurs in a couple states that choose to drop that second letter, but still this only occurs in abbreviation. Fully spelled out, the route is not K-66, just like I-35 is not I-35 and US-400 is not US-400, they are Interstate 35 and U.S. Route 400. 

corco

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2009, 01:34:58 AM »

I've looked into this carefully and Kansas is sort of inconsistent

KSA Chapter 68 refers to State Highways as all of
 "Highway K-"
"Kansas  Highway"
"K- Highway"
and "State Highway"

So regardless "Highway" is definitely in the definition, but the inclusion of the state name is debatable

WillWeaverRVA

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2009, 03:05:09 AM »

Virginia nearly universally uses "route" when referring to any state or US highway within the state, although they will occasionally use "US XX" or "US Route XX" for US highways. Interstates are nearly always "I-XX", although there are some references both on paper and in the field to "Route XX" (without the I- prefix) or "Route I-XX". There is a distance sign on I-295 listing distances to "Route I-64" and "Route I-95" (without shields).

So VA 3 is "Route 3", SR 600 is "Route 600", US 1 is usually "Route 1" but can be "US 1"/"US Route 1", and I-95 is nearly always I-95 except in rare circumstances.
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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2009, 08:04:47 AM »

I usually say "State Route" and "US Highway".

SSOWorld

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2009, 09:48:38 AM »

The common abbreviation is to use those, but the state DOT itself doesn't formally refer to Kansas highways as K- whatever, the spelled out definition is Kansas Highway 66, same with Michigan. There's several instances in Eastern Washington where signposts refer to "Highway 27" but the DOT knows it only as SR 27.

So this DOES NOT account for colloquial references, no matter how widely they may be used, only for formal definition

Colorado, Nebraska, and to a lesser extent Utah all use C-, N-, and sometimes U- respectively as well, but the official terminology omits those
Is there such a way as "official"?

Wisconsin is also inconsistent.  Referring to state highways as STH #, WIS # HWY # (<-- you Chicago meet participants really loved this one  :-D), the third was for a time applied to US and Interstate highways as well.  US routes often have been referred to using USH and Interstate as IH.  So what is official here?
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corco

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2009, 10:21:28 AM »

In terms of Wisconsin I determined that since the overall highway system is called the "State Trunk Highway System" and STH is commonly used as a formal abbreviation for Wisconsin's highways that "State Trunk Highway" was the formal name. However, WIS xx is a common abbreviation also used by DOTs so you could make an argument there.

As far as there being an "official" definition, only Kansas, Michigan (some debate over whether or not to include the word "trunk" or not and Wisconsin fail to provide clear formal naming consistency as far as I have seen. I could certainly be wrong though.

Once again, how people refer to the highways in the field can vary considerably, and even how DOTs choose to represent them on informal levels such as signblades and construction signage can also vary.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2009, 10:23:01 AM by corco »
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Sykotyk

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2009, 12:00:27 PM »

In Ohio, it's definitely "State Route" that I hear the most. "State Route 11", etc. In Pennsylvania (at least northwest Pennsylvania) it would mostly be called "Route 18", "Route 358", etc, never really heard any prefix to it.

Down near Pittsburgh, it was a hodgepodge if someone was giving me directions. Although, almost unanimously, I'd be told the street name (if it had one) before being told the highway/route number.

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2009, 02:10:41 PM »

Missouri is usually route, but at least on some message boards around KC and in conversation, sometimes its the number or letter followed by highway (example:  "7 Hwy" as seen on a VMS on I-70).  On the other side of the state its the opposite ("Highway M" for example) in conversation.  Regard old alignments, there is definite variation.  In Jefferson County there's "Old Route 21" but in Lincoln County it's "Old Highway 79".  Though sometimes it will just be "Old State Road" (a road in St. Louis County between MO 109 and MO 340; not sure of its prior designation) or "Old MO State Road" (Old MO 141 alignment in Jefferson County, actual name might be slightly different).

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SSOWorld

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2009, 04:50:46 PM »

Isn't Missouri a state that puts "Route" in front of every type of highway (e.g. Route US 61 or Route I-70)?
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Scott O.

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2009, 06:55:24 PM »

Traffic light mounted street names signs, maintained by the state, in Georgia have the abbreviation "SR" on them, when referring to state highways/state routes.

Ex.: SR 138 or SR 85.


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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2009, 07:11:07 PM »

I know in CA alot of traffic refer to roads as "the ##", but I am pretty sure that is common in most metro areas.
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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2009, 08:14:30 PM »

Pennsylvania uses "state route" to refer to PA, but technically everything under state jurisdiction is SR ####.
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Scott5114

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2009, 11:26:52 PM »

Isn't Missouri a state that puts "Route" in front of every type of highway (e.g. Route US 61 or Route I-70)?

Yep. The sign drawings include this bizarre requirement, and insist that "route" not be abbreviated. And yes, you do see it in the field:



Among other things, MoDOT also standardizes when a dash and an ampersand should be used when expressing routes in textual form. I think "Routes 6-22" means 6 and 22 are concurrent, and "Routes 6&22" means they're not, but both 6 and 22 are accessible through that exit. Or something like that.
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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2009, 06:13:05 AM »

Here in Louisiana, people that I've noticed tend to refer to everything but Interstates as just "Highway" - example being US 90 as simply "Highway 90" or LA 59 as "Highway 59" - although sometimes the state highway will be referred to as "LA xx", as in "LA 18", and a prefix is omitted completely for US highways ("90B" is understood to mean US 90 Business in New Orleans, for example). This varies by region, of course.

On the DOTD's site, state highways are referred to as "LA-xx" (as in "LA-16"). Text-based signage (street blades, older Big Green Signs) also refer to state highways as LA xx. That same text-based signage refers to US highways as US xx.

In both cases, Interstate monikers are consistent - DOTD refers to them as I-xx, as do everyday people.

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2009, 04:34:38 AM »

"Colorado, Nebraska, and to a lesser extent Utah all use C-, N-, and sometimes U- respectively as well"

The only time anyone (from state police to KOA traffic reporters) refers to a state highway as 'C' is when talking about how backed up C-470 is. Otherwise, they use the SH designation to refer to state highways, much like Texas does.
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corco

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Re: State Highway terminology
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2009, 12:14:50 PM »

Interesting. The "C-" phenomenon was something I'd just heard about on the internet for years, but now that I think about it I've spent some time in Colorado in the last month or so and haven't ever seen anything but SH

 


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