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Author Topic: historic look at numbering patterns  (Read 23688 times)

NE2

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historic look at numbering patterns
« on: September 14, 2013, 04:29:27 AM »

Midwest part 1
Midwest part 2
Mountain States
West Coast
Southeast
Northeast

I'm going to cover mainly initial numbering, not how routes added later were designated.

The most common method is simply assigning numbers in order, picking long routes for small numbers and ending up with clustering of short routes. Sometimes there are rules for the various passes, such as a grid for the low numbers or a strict parity-direction match.

The impetus for many states to start numbering highways was the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921 set up the federal aid system of 7% of each state's public road mileage, creating a connected system that formed the basis for the U.S. Highways (preliminary plan completed in October 1925, final plan November 1926). Many states renumbered some or all of their state highways as a result of the U.S. Highways.

Alaska numbered 1-9 by 1956 (they also appear in a 1958 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article - it appears that 5 was the Kenai Spur), when it was still a territory, but a large renumbering (complete by 1965, with 10 added) changed all numbers but 2, 6, and 8. 11 came later, as did 98 (numbered for the 1898 gold rush).

I've seen a few maps that show three-digit routes in the area south of Juneau and perhaps elsewhere. These may have been federal aid numbers.

Maps and logs:
http://www.alaskaroads.com/

Hawaii had routes posted by 1946, but they do not match current numbers (and strangely a 1956 map shows no numbers at all). The modern system was in place by 1965, in which the first digit represents the island, and three-digit numbers are generally spurs (e.g. 835 from 83).

Maps and logs:
http://www.hawaiihighways.com/
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 04:05:54 AM by NE2 »
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2013, 10:00:14 AM »

Massachusetts:

Some numbers 1-28 (especially the long ones) came first, along with 38.

Then came the numbers from 101 to 145.

The 2-digit numbers above 38 (and some below 38, like 4 and 14) came after that, which means they have a lot of turns (in my area, 62 and 97). Numbers above 200 also come in this category.

This seems to be the case in New Hampshire too, but I'm not sure.
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2013, 12:37:33 PM »

New York has a characteristially inconsistent cluster system in place, of the form nnx, starting with the 100s and 111s downstate, the 14xs 15xs, 17xs, 21xs and especially 22xs. This has always been mixed in with suffixed routes and other systems in place and every cluster seems like it has to have a member on the other end of the state, e.g. NY 172. This seems to have been strongest in the 1930s and 1940s. There's NY 417 and NY 415 too.
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2013, 02:37:36 AM »

Massachusetts:

Some numbers 1-28 (especially the long ones) came first, along with 38.

Then came the numbers from 101 to 145.

The 2-digit numbers above 38 (and some below 38, like 4 and 14) came after that, which means they have a lot of turns (in my area, 62 and 97). Numbers above 200 also come in this category.

This seems to be the case in New Hampshire too, but I'm not sure.
OK, so New England Routes take care of 1-28.
As for numbers above 200, those are usually related to the 100s. 213/113, 228/128, 203/3 all jump to mind. 225's an oddball - it was originally 25, but 25 was assigned to what's now I-495 (mostly)... but why use an existing number for the new freeway?

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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2013, 03:12:12 AM »

OK, so New England Routes take care of 1-28.
And 32. 38 was 3B, originally 6B.

101 to 142 were assigned in the NE route era. In 1926 or 1927 they instead used double digits for new routes. The 1927 Rand McNally shows most of the 1xx routes and some two-digit routes.
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2013, 11:04:10 AM »

New Jersey was one of the first states to start using numbered routes, and they started around 1916, with 13 initial routes. In the next four years, they would add 3 more state highways to the existing route system.

Then, in 1927, a total renumbering occurred, changing it so the following routes corresponded to a certain part of New Jersey:
1-12: northern New Jersey
21-28: radiating from Newark
29-37: radiating from Trenton
38-47: radiating from Camden
48-50: southern New Jersey

Once again, in 1953, NJDOT decided to do another renumbering, but unlike the last one, this one sought to make sure:
-US Routes and State Routes didn't have the same number
-To remove suffixes from all numbered routes
-State routes that ended at a border would change their number to the adjacent state's number

With this new system, routes 57-93 also became available for use.

Also in New Jersey is the use of the extensive county route system throughout the state. The original county roads were 200, 201 and 203 (with 202 skipped over because of US 202). However, during WWII, in case the military ever needed to utilize state highways for any reason, the 500 series of county roads was established, which was affected in the 1953 renumbering, which changed a majority of these County Routes to the 600 series (which means that the road is local to that county over, and doesn't offer continuity from county to county).

 
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2013, 03:00:47 PM »

I don't think the 1953 renumbering created the 6xx system.
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2013, 06:38:25 PM »

I don't think the 1953 renumbering created the 6xx system.
Yeah... the counties had their own numbering systems for many years before the state stepped in, mostly in the 1 and 2 digit realm. The 6xx (and other non-6xx) systems were adopted independently of the 5xx system and did not affect the 5xx routes. Now yes, over the years, 5xx routes have been dropped to 6xx, most notably - NE2, you'll have to step in as to whether this coincided with the 1988 decommissioning or not - but there was a mass downloading that took out around half of the Alts and Spurs and turned them into 6xx.

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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2013, 01:22:18 PM »

Minnesota started its state highway system in 1920, with the Babcock Amendment to the state constitution.  The first 70 "routes" were written into the Constitutional amendment, and for the first 13 years, these were the posted route numbers.  These are the routes referred to as "Constitutional Routes" when that term gets mentioned here from time to time.  As a general rule, the lower Constitutional Route numbers went to the more important statewide corridors.

When the US routes were added in 1927, they were cosigned with the state routes where they ran concurrently.

The first step towards chaos was in 1933, when the state Legislature added a whole slew of routes to the system (the first of the "Legislative Routes").  At the same time, then-MHD (Minnesota Highway Department) undertook a massive renumbering of the state routes (including the newly-designated Legislative Routes) so that a given mix of Constitutional and Legislative Routes would have the same signed route number for continuity.  A few routes (MN 20, MN 42, MN 58) retained the same posted number as their underlying Constitutional Route.  A few of the new Legislative routes (i.e. MN 86, MN 96) were posted with the same number as their Legislative Route, as were a few of the Legislative routes that were connectors between adjoining Constitutional Routes (MN 97 and MN 99 as examples).  But by and large, this is where route numbering in Minnesota became arbitrary...good examples of this are MN 1 and MN 55, both of which are comprised of a mix of Legislative and Constitutional Routes with numbers completely different than the two signed routes.

Another large batch of new Legislative Routes was added in 1949.  But with this batch, the posted route number generally coincided with the underling Legislative Route number.  This covered most routes from the former MN 216 (now part of MN 37) to MN 287.  There is some loose geographic correlation with this batch of routes, in that new routes in relative proximity to each other were given route numbers close to each other (i.e. 220-227 in northwestern MN, 237 and 238 in Stearns County, then-240 and 241 in Wright County, etc etc).

The last two "big" batchs of new routes were in 1951 and 1959.  1951 added short connecting routes were added to several state facilities (MN 288-MN 303).  In 1959, various short routes and route connectors were added here and there (MN 308-MN 322).  Aside from a potential argument for MN 308, 310, and 313 all being in the same county (2 of the three being connectors to Canadian border crossings), there isn't really a pattern to the route numbers, though, and about half of them have since been turned back (MnDOT-speak for "decommissioned") to local authorities.
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2013, 11:56:30 PM »

I'll start with the Midwest.

Wisconsin was, as far as anyone knows, the first U.S. state with signed numbered routes. A system was legislated and laid out in 1917 and numbered in 1918, with signs installed in May. Numbering began at 10 since "the designation of any particular route as No. 1 would be bound to cause great dissatisfaction"; "It was soon decided that the longest continuous route should bear the lowest number, and that the low numbers in general would follow the longest routes in reverse order of length". http://www.wisconsinhighways.org/indepth/first_memo.html

In fact, after allowing for a reasonable margin of error, Wisconsin does seem to have numbered their original 69 routes exactly in reverse order of length.

Maps and logs:
1918 http://www.midwestroads.com/wisconsin/past/reports/reports.html (60 Boscobel-Gotham is typoed as 30)
1926 http://books.google.com/books?id=74ZBAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA213
http://www.wisconsinhighways.org/

Michigan apparently assigned numbers and posted signs in 1919 (or perhaps 1920), in accordance with state law. This built on the original trunkline system legislated in 1913, with 10 routes plus branches; the state was authorized to and did take over additional trunklines not described by the legislature. As with Wisconsin, numbers began at 10, and the first routes appear to have been numbered in reverse order of length (except for 15 and 69, numbered to match Wisconsin). Since I lack definite information about the original numbers, I cannot be sure what the shortest original route was, but it may have been 71.

Maps and logs:
1919 http://books.google.com/books?id=UX7mAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA101 (no numbers)
1919 http://img.lib.msu.edu/exhibits/map/MIRoadMaps/1919-lp.htm http://img.lib.msu.edu/exhibits/map/MIRoadMaps/1919_up.htm (this seems to have been drawn after 1919, and has significantly more roads than the first map linked)
http://www.michiganhighways.org/

The Illinois legislature passed a law establishing a network of 46 state highways in 1917, and in 1918 the voters approved a bond issue to fund it. By the end of 1919, signs were being posted (see January-February 1920 Public Roads, bottom of second column). However, Rand McNally's 1922 (?) auto trails map shows only certain routes near Chicago being marked by the Chicago Motor Club, so perhaps this was short-lived.

39 (or 38?) to 46 were added by the Senate after the original bill was created, so do not fit any system. The other original routes do follow a rough numbering system with two passes, 1-16 (1-3 north-south, 4-7 radiating from Chicago, 8-10 east-west, 11-16 radiating from St. Louis) and 17-38 (more or less clustered from north to south).

Maps and logs:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112 (1923 is the first to show numbers)
http://www.n9jig.com/
http://www.highwayexplorer.com/IllinoisHighwayList.php

Indiana created a State Highway Commission and laid out an initial system of five "main market highways" in 1917. 1 was north-south, 2-4 were east-west across the state from north to south, and 5 branched from 4. In accordance with state law, the SHC began work in 1919 on an expanded system to connect all county seats and cities with 5000+ population, taking over maintenance on April 1, 1920. State Roads 1-5 were kept intact (except that New Albany-Jeffersonville was removed from 1), and new numbers through 51 were assigned (47 was inexplicably skipped, but shows up in 1923). Plans were made to post signs, and this work was "practically completed" by late 1921.

Numbering seems to have been somewhat haphazard. The even numbers from 10 to 42 are all at least partially south of 3 (US 40), and the odds from 7 to 37 are all at least partially north, with some rough clustering in each. This seems unlikely to be coincidental, but I don't know what it means.

The numbers had reached 55 by 1923, and effective October 1 about 1/4 of the system was renumbered to give more continuity to certain routes. Exactly three years later, effective October 1, 1926, the entire system was renumbered in a grid, in order to accommodate both planned new mileage and the U.S. Highways. Some numbers were skipped "to make provisions for future additions to the state system, without having to change numbers on roads now in the system". Numbers from 2 to 66 were used on east-west routes from north to south, and 1 to 65 on north-south routes from east to west; 67 was diagonal from Ohio to Vincennes. Three-digit spurs were not present in the original system, but appeared by 1929.

Maps and logs:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
1920 http://books.google.com/books?id=DZ7VAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA22 (map on p. 37)
http://www.highwayexplorer.com/IndianaHighwayList.php

Ohio created a state highway department in 1911, and in December 1912 it laid out a network of numbered "inter-county highways". The legislature designated certain of these as "main market routes" in 1913. The inter-county highways (or at least some of the major ones) were signed in 1920, in what Popular Mechanics (May 1920) calls "an unusual manner" (but was really no different from other states). The main market routes do not seem to have been marked.

The inter-county highways were numbered fairly systematically. 1-30 were all over the place with some weak clustering (perhaps these roads were special somehow, such as already being improved?), but 31- were numbered by county. Essentially, a county was chosen, and all remaining roads in that county not yet numbered received the next available numbers. First were the counties containing major cities: in order, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, Dayton, Canton, Youngstown, Akron, St. Clairsville, Marion; which brought the number to 118. Then 119-186 were assigned to the remaining A and B counties in alphabetical order. But the guy laying out the numbers must have gotten bored with looking for the next county, as he then moved to clustering (the first bit was a mix of alphabetical and clustering, going Champaign-Clark-Crawford-Darke-Hancock-Hardin-Logan) with very few exceptions, most notably repetitions of Belmont County (295), Stark County (368-369), and Van Wert County (434-435). The last four numbers, 441 to 444, were assigned randomly, presumably to roads that were added late in planning.

In 1922 or 1923 almost the whole system was renumbered, although the shield shape remained the same. Except for the probably coincidental retention of 91, only 1, 2, 4, 7, 15, and 18 kept their old numbers at least partially. The first ten routes also had name plates above the shields:
1 National Road
2 Chicago-Buffalo Road
3 C.C.C. Highway
4 Scioto Trail
5 Lincoln Highway
6 Dixie Highway
7 Ohio River Road
8 Cleveland-Marietta Road
9 Wayne Highway?
10 Harding Highway
11 was also cross-state, but then clustering began: 12-18 near Cleveland, 19-22 near Columbus, 23 through Toledo, 24-28 near Cincinnati, and 29 to 42 or so as the rest of the first pass. The second pass went until 79 and the third to 161, then 162 and 163 were rather randomly placed, 164 to 224 formed a final pass, and 225 to 232 were other minor connections that had perhaps been forgotten. There was one meaningful exception: 104 was an alternate to 4 between Columbus and Portsmouth. 102 was similarly an alternate to 2 bypassing Toledo, but fit the clustering.

Maps and logs:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://web.archive.org/web/20081218121105/http://pages.prodigy.net/john.simpson/highways/ohhwys.html

Minnesota
In 1919 the legislature proposed an amendment to the state constitution, which was approved by the voters in November 1920. It created a system of 70 trunk highways, which were marked in 1921, at first on poles, in accordance with the Public Highways Act.

The numbers 1 to 12 were assigned to the major cross-state highways (11 and 12 were extensions of Wisconsin's same-numbered routes). Next came 13 to 35, clustered around the state, and then two more passes (36-49 and 50-70).

Later details in froggie's post.

Maps and logs:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.steve-riner.com/mnhighways/mnhome.htm

The Iowa State Highway Commission determined general plans for a system of "inter-county highways" in 1918, and finalized it (renamed the "primary road system"), including numbers, in 1919. The highways were marked in 1920, at first on poles. Although marking happened before Minnesota, certain numbers were assigned to match that state's highways (as well as those of Illinois and Wisconsin).

Almost half of the major cross-state routes were numbered to match adjacent states: 1-4-20-40-59 for Minnesota, 5-6-7-8 for Illinois, and 19-28 for Wisconsin. The others were roughly numbered in a grid: 2 for the remaining east-west route through Des Moines (1 was the main north-south route, and 7 also passed through going east-west), 3 for the southernmost east-west route, and 9-10 for the remaining east-west routes in the north; then 11 to 22 on the north-south routes from east to west. (12 was assigned to the westernmost north-south route, along the Missouri River, for an unknown reason.) 23 and 24 were shorter east-west routes spanning about half the state, and 25 was a still shorter north-south route connecting to 24.

Most higher numbers were assigned in two clustering passes: first 26 to 82 roughly north to south in bands from west to east, then 83 to 99 on the remaining routes. 75, 85, 95, 100, and 101 were out of place for unknown reasons.

Maps and logs:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://iowahighways.home.mchsi.com/

In 1921, the Missouri legislature created the State Highway Commission and defined a network of state highways. By late 1922 the SHC had approved a plan, including numbering, for these legislated highways and selected others. It appears that signs were posted by mid-1923.

Other than Route 2, which was the most direct route between Kansas City and St. Louis, numbering was by grid, but with four passes, with each one in turn assigning numbers to more minor routes. These were as follows: 1-9, 11-25, 27-55, 57-71 (the last one imperfect), 4-16, 18-44, 46-90, 92-98. Minor spurs received letter suffixes.

Maps and logs:
1922, 1923 http://www.cosmos-monitor.com/mo/hist/index.html
1926- https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.cosmos-monitor.com/mo/

The Arkansas legislature created a state highway system in 1923 in order to take advantage of federal aid, with the law referencing a December 1, 1922 map submitted by the State Highway Department. There were three classes of routes: primary federal aid, secondary federal aid, and connecting state, with alphanumeric designations beginning respectively with A, B, and C. A-1 to A-9 were assigned essentially in a logical pattern, with A-1 to A-3 through Little Rock, A-4 on the west side of the state, A-5 and A-6 spurring south and west from the Little Rock area, and A-7 to A-9 in the east part of the state. B-1 to B-43 were all clustered, as were C-1 to C-44, with C-45 and C-46 apparently tacked on after the fact. A large expansion occurred in July 1925; it is unknown if these were assigned numbers under the old system, as later that year the state decided to drop the prefixes and renumber its highways due to the creation of the U.S. Highway system (see Arkansas Highways, November 1925, p. 9).

It's unclear if the old system was ever signed. The November 1925 article implies that it wasn't, but the 1926 Rand McNally shows an example of an A-2 shield. Signs for the new system were installed in mid-1926 (see Arkansas Highways, June 1926, p. 6 and October 1926, p. 5).

Several routes kept their numbers in part (B-1, B-2, A-6, B-11, C-14, B-16, C-17, C-18), and 5 and 25 were numbered to match Missouri. It's likely that before US 167 was added to the U.S. Highway plans sometime in 1926, part of A-5 was to remain 5, and perhaps B-9 would have been 9. Except for 25, numbers below 92 followed a direction-parity match, where odd numbers ran north-south and even numbers ran east-west. There is a rough grid in the low numbers, with 1-7 increasing from east to west, and a second pass on 13-23, as well as 2-12 increasing from south to north, but after that it just seems to be some weak clustering. The highest number in 1926 was 115, which is more major than its number would indicate, lending credence to the theory about it having been 5 or 9 during planning.

Maps and logs:
1922 http://www.arkansashighways.com/historic_bridge/Historic_Documents/History%20Book%202004.pdf (p. 37)
1925 holy crap long url
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112 (note that the first map marked 1924 is actually a poor copy of the 1922 map)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 05:35:12 AM by NE2 »
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2013, 12:23:47 AM »

South Dakota:

Similar grid to the US system for 2 digits started in the 1920s. When the US system was designated, it overrode the previous state highway that just happened to be in the way (US 281 over SD 41, for instance). 3 digits started to show up in the '70s and are assigned based on a statewide street grid, e.g. 100th Avenue at the Wyoming/Montana border, increasing west-to-east, and 100th Street at the ND border increasing north-to-south. The east-west 3 digit numbering goes to the nearest even street, adding 100 if necessary. The north-south 3 digit numbering goes to the inverse of the nearest odd street (101 at the Minnesota border and so on), adding 100 if necessary. 1804 and 1806 are from 1976. They follow the Missouri River.

I waxed a bit expansive there, but this is the first place I've been able to tell people this without them giving me weird looks.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 12:57:47 AM by SD Mapman »
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2013, 08:53:32 AM »

225's an oddball - it was originally 25, but 25 was assigned to what's now I-495 (mostly)... but why use an existing number for the new freeway?
Guess on my part, but MassDPW's reasoning at the time may very well have been "Why not?".  It was originally planned as Relocated Route 28

Also, keep in mind that the I-495 extension between I-95 & MA 24 was originally planned as an extension of MA 25 and wasn't originally part of the Interstate system... yet.  That segment, along with MA 25 being designated as an extension of I-495 came about after the FHWA deleted I-695/Inner Belt and I-95 inside 128 from its overall network in the mid-1970s.

More info. on the above can be found here:

http://www.bostonroads.com/roads/I-495_MA/

You may recall that both MassDPW & NHDOT did similar when they renamed SR 86 as SR 286 to accomodate I-84/MA 15 being redesignated as I-86 in Sturbridge.  As we all know, the I-86 designation ultimately turned out to be short-lived.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 08:56:56 AM by PHLBOS »
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2013, 10:20:29 AM »

You may recall that both MassDPW & NHDOT did similar when they renamed SR 86 as SR 286 to accomodate I-84/MA 15 being redesignated as I-86 in Sturbridge.  As we all know, the I-86 designation ultimately turned out to be short-lived.
Similar how? They didn't choose the number 86; that (or 88) was mandated by the Interstate grid.

24, 25, and 49 were all chosen by Massachusetts as numbers for new limited-access highways, requiring existing highways with those numbers to be renumbered.
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2013, 11:58:31 AM »

New Jersey was one of the first states to start using numbered routes, and they started around 1916, with 13 initial routes. In the next four years, they would add 3 more state highways to the existing route system.

Then, in 1927, a total renumbering occurred, changing it so the following routes corresponded to a certain part of New Jersey:
1-12: northern New Jersey
21-28: radiating from Newark
29-37: radiating from Trenton
38-47: radiating from Camden
48-50: southern New Jersey

Once again, in 1953, NJDOT decided to do another renumbering, but unlike the last one, this one sought to make sure:
-US Routes and State Routes didn't have the same number
-To remove suffixes from all numbered routes
-State routes that ended at a border would change their number to the adjacent state's number

With this new system, routes 57-93 also became available for use.

Also in New Jersey is the use of the extensive county route system throughout the state. The original county roads were 200, 201 and 203 (with 202 skipped over because of US 202). However, during WWII, in case the military ever needed to utilize state highways for any reason, the 500 series of county roads was established, which was affected in the 1953 renumbering, which changed a majority of these County Routes to the 600 series (which means that the road is local to that county over, and doesn't offer continuity from county to county).

So what is the oldest numbered route that still has the same number today? (I'm interested in  New Jersey, but I suppose it would be interesting to hear about other states) I assume a lot of the 1927 routes are still around, or at least the pattern is still followed. I can only think of two that break that pattern. 26 does not go anywhere near Newark (and, according to Wikipedia, went to Trenton before 1953). 32 never went anywhere near Trenton. But what about any pre-1927 numbers?
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2013, 12:09:45 PM »

You may recall that both MassDPW & NHDOT did similar when they renamed SR 86 as SR 286 to accomodate I-84/MA 15 being redesignated as I-86 in Sturbridge.  As we all know, the I-86 designation ultimately turned out to be short-lived.
Similar how? They didn't choose the number 86; that (or 88) was mandated by the Interstate grid.
Similar in that the route number was transferred from the old road onto a new highway in a completely different location; that's how.

Yes, in the case of Route 86 in Salisbury/Seabrook, the change was due to a federal mandate (as opposed to a state decision) but the end result was still the same.

24, 25, and 49 were all chosen by Massachusetts as numbers for new limited-access highways, requiring existing highways with those numbers to be renumbered.
And that was MassDPW's choice to make.  Why they did such is anybody's guess.  Maybe they just wanted the majority of their expressways to have lower numbers.
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2013, 12:27:46 PM »

So what is the oldest numbered route that still has the same number today? (I'm interested in  New Jersey, but I suppose it would be interesting to hear about other states) I assume a lot of the 1927 routes are still around, or at least the pattern is still followed. I can only think of two that break that pattern. 26 does not go anywhere near Newark (and, according to Wikipedia, went to Trenton before 1953). 32 never went anywhere near Trenton. But what about any pre-1927 numbers?
26 sort of spurred off 25, and 32 spurred off 31 (which spurred off 27).

None of the pre-1927 numbers are still in use, unless you count 17, which was changed back from 2 because New York had numbered their side to match.

As far as I know, the oldest numbers in the U.S. to survive to the present day are in New Mexico (1912), including NM 24 and NM 28.
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2013, 02:15:25 PM »

California had some patterns when they started signing routes in 1934:

-Odd routes were north-south, even routes were east-west.

-Numbers were assigned alternating between Northern and Southern California.

So for example, in Los Angeles, you had 3, 7, 11, 15, 19 as generally north-south routes and 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26 as generally east-west routes.

In the Bay Area you had 1, 5, 9, 13 (soon to be 17) and 21 as generally north-south routes, not really any east-west routes since the Bay was in the way, but 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28 (out of order), 32, 36, (40 skipped due to U.S. 40) and 44 were east-west routes across the northern part of the state.

-There seems to be some semblance of order in other groups of roads, again based on multiples of 4:

Going somewhat from west to east: 25, 33, 41, 49, (no 57), 65 as north-south routes in the central part of the state;

Going somewhat from north to south: 104, 108, 120, 132, 140, 152, 180, 198 as east-west routes in the central part of the state;

Then from there, descending numbers as we continue to the south: 198, 190, 178, 166, 150, 138, 126, 118.

There are some outlying pairs that match the concept but are outside of those "grids": 23 and 27, 35 and 39.

The 70s seemed to just be assigned to San Diego/Inland Empire.

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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2013, 04:58:21 PM »

To continue on with California...

...in the 1964 renumbering/reorganization, new clusters were formed, often geographically.  i.e. 82, 84, 85, 87 all were assigned to the (southern) Bay Area; 52, 54, 56 were assigned to metro San Diego.

236/237/238 are all former alignments of Route 9.  234/235 are unbuilt bypasses in Stockton. 

California has always had an aversion of using numbers larger than about 200, save for the early 740 and 440 routes that were extensions of 74 and 44 extensively.  State routes numbered higher than 260 or so are almost always 1. renumbered sections of a parent highway (330, 371) or 2. Interstates/interstate extensions.

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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2013, 05:11:46 PM »

California has always had an aversion of using numbers larger than about 200, save for the early 740 and 440 routes that were extensions of 74 and 44 extensively.  State routes numbered higher than 260 or so are almost always 1. renumbered sections of a parent highway (330, 371) or 2. Interstates/interstate extensions.

to add to this:

state route numbers only went up to 198 in the 1934 numbering.  440 and 740 were added later (1935?), and they were the only numbers larger than 199 - three full-width digits.  I would really like to see what this shield looked like, as the standard 1-198 font looks awfully cramped.

after 1964, numbers 200 and above were added consecutively to the system - I believe they are up to 285, or maybe 286, by now.

then, anything higher than 286 will be one of the following you described: a 3xx renumbering of an old alignment, or related to an interstate: either a continuation, kinda sorta (710), or a future interstate (905).
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2013, 07:47:47 PM »



to add to this:

state route numbers only went up to 198 in the 1934 numbering.  440 and 740 were added later (1935?), and they were the only numbers larger than 199 - three full-width digits.  I would really like to see what this shield looked like, as the standard 1-198 font looks awfully cramped.
I thought 440 and 740 only existed 1934-35 and were changed to 44 and 74 in 1935 or -36. 440 became 44 after U.S. 299 was created along original CA-44.

To add a discussion of another state:

New Mexico - Routes had officially assigned numbers in the 1910s, and I think from my research NM-1 was designated in 1909, which would have made it a Territorial route.  This was a bottom-up numbering system, with the lowest numbered highways being the most major. Thus Route 1 largely followed the original El Camino Real up the Rio Grande Valley and eventually east from Santa Fe up the east side of the Rockies to Colorado. For the most part it became U.S. 85. Route 2 was what became U.S. 285 south of Santa Fe.  There was no official route marker, and I haven't seen any evidence that they were marked in the field at all. These original route numbers went as high as about 115.

About 1927, the numbering system was modified to avoid duplication with the new U.S. highway system and to eliminate concurrent numbering with the new U.S. routes. An official route marker was introduced, using the Zia as it still does today. Some of the original numbers survived (and survive to this day) and some were changed. This system expanded as the number of state highways grew, with numbers exceeding 200 in the mid-1940s and 300 by the late 1940s. By 1988 there were highways in the 500s.

In 1988, there was a major renumbering to eliminate state route concurrencies. The old system had evolved some unwieldy routings of some highways, although in my opinion the total elimination of concurrencies broke up routes that provided good navigation with minimal overlaps with other routes. Another change was establishment of a numbering system where newly designated routes used the NM State Highway and Transportation Dept. (now NMDOT) district number as their first digit. Existing routes that were not changed kept their old designations. That is why there are routes in the 600s in western New Mexico.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 07:51:17 PM by The High Plains Traveler »
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2013, 07:54:10 PM »

Some observations regarding highways in my current state--Mississippi:
For 3-digit state highways 1xx refers to former stretches of US highways (MS 182 for example would be a former alignment of US 82), 2xx is rare (MS 245 is a former stretch of US 45 Alternate between West Point and Tupelo), 3xx highways are found in the northern part of the state--with 4xx in the north central counties, 5xx in south central counties, and 6xx in the southern part of the state. A recent trend is 7xx being designated for short roads under state maintenance in smaller cities--and even larger ones like Greenwood.
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2013, 07:57:26 PM »

As far as I know, the oldest numbers in the U.S. to survive to the present day are in New Mexico (1912), including NM 24 and NM 28.
Turns out Ohio also dates to 1912 (signed 1920), though most routes were renumbered in 1922-23. SR 4 from Bucyrus to Sandusky and much of SR 7 still have their original numbers.
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2013, 03:15:40 AM »

Midwest part 2 (I've also updated part 1):

The Oklahoma legislature authorized the State Highway Commission to create a state highway system in early 1924, and in August 1924 a preliminary plan of highways 1-26 (skipping 25) was approved. The first markers were painted later that year (1919-1924 report p. 11).

Many numbers were assigned exactly to auto trails, such as 1 (Albert Pike Highway) and 3 (Postal Highway). 1-14 seem to have been more major cross-state highways, numbered by direction (even north-south, odd east-west, as were most of the higher numbers). 2 and 6 also, perhaps coincidentally, matched Texas. 13-26 were somewhat weakly clustered.

Maps and logs:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112 (the "1921" map is actually from 1924, and has more routes than the 1924 map)

South Dakota had numbered and signed its state highways by 1926 in a perfect grid. Numbers ran from 11 in the east to 85 in the west and 12 in the north to 52 in the south.

Later details in SD Mapman's post.

Maps and logs:
1925-26 http://www.historicalroadmaps.com/SouthDakodaPage/1926ClasonsSouthDakodaPage/image1.html
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthCentral/South%20Dakota/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33755~1171471:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-S
http://www.northernplainshighways.org/sdakota/

North Dakota also numbered and signed its highways by 1926. 8 and 16 were continued from Minnesota and South Dakota, respectively, while 1 was on the Meridian Highway on the east edge of the state. Otherwise, odd numbers up to 25 ran east-west and even numbers up to 28 ran north-south. 3-9 and 2-6 were major cross-state routes, then 11-19 and 10-20 were in eastern North Dakota and 21-25 and 22-28 were in western North Dakota. Larger numbers seem to have no pattern, and may have been assigned after the initial numbering.

Maps and logs:
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthCentral/NorthDakota/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33754~1171470:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-N
http://www.northernplainshighways.org/ndakota/

The Nebraska legislature created a state highway system in 1919, defined in terms of short routes connecting adjacent counties. Although these numbers appear on early maps, they were probably never signed. By 1926, a system of signed routes had been assigned, including most or all of the legislative routes and some other roads. 1-19 were given to major routes, but there is no clear pattern other than some weak clustering. 20-38 were also somewhat rough clustered on more minor routes. Spurs received letter suffixes.

Maps and logs:
1922? http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~201708~3000668:Commercial-Atlas-of-America--Rand-M http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~201691~3000658:Commercial-Atlas-of-America--Rand-M
1925-26 http://www.historicalroadmaps.com/NebraskaPage/1926ClasonsNebraskaPage/image1.html
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthCentral/Nebraska/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33757~1171473:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-N
http://www.northernplainshighways.org/nebraska/
http://www.nebraskaroads.com/

Kansas was the last Midwestern state to number its highways, waiting until during U.S. Highway planning. Therefore the routes in the original 1925 U.S. Highway plan never received state numbers. The system, numbered and marked by 1926, borrowed many numbers from all four adjacent states, while remaining numbers through 26 filled in the grid of major highways. Except for 43 and 48, which don't fit the pattern, 27 to 49 were clustered from north to south on minor routes. Finally came numbers beginning with 52, which don't seem to follow any pattern.

More details in a separate thread.

Maps and logs:
1925-26 http://www.historicalroadmaps.com/KansasPage/1926ClasonsKansasPage/image1.html
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthCentral/Kansas/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33758~1171474:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-K
http://www.route56.com/highways/
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2013, 08:45:28 AM »

New York has a characteristially inconsistent cluster system in place, of the form nnx, starting with the 100s and 111s downstate, the 14xs 15xs, 17xs, 21xs and especially 22xs. This has always been mixed in with suffixed routes and other systems in place and every cluster seems like it has to have a member on the other end of the state, e.g. NY 172. This seems to have been strongest in the 1930s and 1940s. There's NY 417 and NY 415 too.

This is for historical reasons, since there were a number of routes that fit the pattern and then got decommissioned and then had their numbers reused in other parts of the state.  NY 103, NY 104, NY 113, and NY 115 all used to be on Long Island, which gave it everything from 101-115.  Mamaroneck Avenue in Westchester used to be NY 126 and then it got decommissioned and turned into CR 8/CR 8A/CR 8B/CR 8C/CR 8D, plus some unnumbered parts at the ends.
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Re: historic look at numbering patterns
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2013, 02:36:40 PM »

Mountain States:

In accordance with a 1909 law, the new Colorado State Highway Commission adopted a very basic system of 20 numbered state primary roads in 1910. There was no real pattern other than a weak clustering, and some important roads such as Pueblo to Walsenburg were inexplicably missing (but added by 1912). By 1914, secondary roads 1s to 10s had been added. These numbers, never signed, were used until 1923, by which time numbers had reached 107 and 33s.

A major renumbering was made in May 1923 in preparation for posting signs. A strict direction-parity match was instituted, with odd numbers north-south and even numbers east-west. Numbers 1-49 were "reserved for Federal Aid Projects", and all numbers initially assigned in that range were in part on the original 7% federal aid system. 1 was the main north-south route, then 3-13 and 15-19 were assigned from east to west in two bands. 2-12 were numbered from north to south (except that 8 was north of 6), with 14 and 16 in the northern part of the state. (Because of this renumbering of all highways 1-49, even though the current system dates back to 1910, the oldest current number is 58 from 1913-14, and even that didn't originally go east from Golden; for the oldest alignment with the same number you have to go to SH 65 from 1915-16.)

Some numbers greater than 49 were kept from the initial numbering: 55, 58, 65, 69, 72, 73, 75 (?), 85, 87, 88, 91, 93 (?), 95, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, and 107. Most other odd numbers were assigned in a rough grid from 51 to 151, and even numbers were roughly clustered from 52 to 118, but some inexplicably fit neither pattern: 50, 62, 67, 76, 77 (this one lines up with old 77, and may be evidence of changes during planning), 80, 84, 89, 109, 113, 117, 137, and 143. For whatever reason, almost half of the violations are in the Colorado Springs-Pueblo area. It's interesting to note that a sample sign from March 1923 does not match the final numbering, being located on SH 1 (could 50 have been planned as 88?). 120-122 and 153-169 were apparently added after the numbers were first laid out. 124-126 were definitely added to the state highway system later in 1923.

Maps and logs:
1910 http://archive.org/stream/biennialrep1016stat#page/n23/mode/2up
1912 http://archive.org/stream/biennialrep1016stat#page/n89/mode/2up
1914 http://archive.org/stream/biennialrep1016stat#page/n299/mode/2up
1916 http://archive.org/stream/biennialrep1016stat#page/n435/mode/2up (map at the end)
1923 http://books.google.com/books?id=czs5AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA10-PA12
1923 http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/environmental/archaeology-and-history/highways-to-the-sky/highwaystothesky.pdf (p. 267; missing 145-169)
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.mesalek.com/colo/

New Mexico laid out a system of state highways in 1912, the year it became a state. (Per http://dot.state.nm.us/content/dam/nmdot/Infrastructure/EDS/2004-1.pdf there does not seem to have been a numbered system of territorial roads.) Numbers 1 to 3 were assigned to the most major cross-state routes, then 4 to 23 (or 24) were roughly clustered around the state on secondary routes, and the rest of the roads got numbers through 45. As routes were added, it was common for numbers to remain on old alignments, while new alignments receiving federal aid got higher numbers. For example, 106 was a realignment of 45 from Lordsburg northwest to Arizona. Numbers had reached at least 121 by 1926, but none were marked.

The U.S. Highways resulted in a major renumbering, completed by 1927 and including signs. Three-digit routes were renumbered, with the highest number becoming 96.

Later details in High Plains Traveler's post.

Maps and logs:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112 (note that the "1900" map is actually from the mid-1910s)
http://www.steve-riner.com/nmhighways/NMHome.htm

The Nevada legislature created a Highway Commission and a bare-bones system of routes 1-4 in 1917 (Victory Highway, Lincoln Highway, Bonanza Highway, and Midland Trail, respectively), adding 5-6 in 1919, 7-9 in 1921, and so on until ending up with at least 93 routes plus lettered spurs. The first numbered routes to be marked in Nevada were apparently the U.S. Highways, with signs installed in 1927-28. It's not clear when the state routes were finally marked.

Almost the entire system was renumbered in 1976 (28 and 88 remained to match California). Redundant numbers given to U.S. Highways and Interstates were eliminated, and numbers were dropped from sections of state routes that were not state maintained (such as SR 2, the old Lincoln Highway east of US 93). Instead, as best as I can tell, routes were numbered in clusters according to their (proposed?) funding status: federal aid secondary from 100 to 499, federal aid urban from 500 to 699, and state aid from 700 to 899. This included many short highways that had not previously been signed as state routes.

Maps and logs:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
https://www.aaroads.com/west/nevada.html

Wyoming numbered and signed its 7% federal aid highways in 1922, afterwards adding the occasional route (including some non-federal aid roads, such as 91 to Meeteetse). Numbers 10-13 and 15 were assigned to main cross-state routes, with branched receiving other first digits (e.g. 30 from 10 at Cheyenne to Newcastle). The rationale for 26, 28, and 36 is unknown; 36 branched from 26, but there was no 16, and 28 connected 80 and 81.

In about 1927, due to the U.S. Highways, most numbers were dropped. Those that remained usually either kept their numbers (40, 65, 70) or were renumbered as potential extensions of or new U.S. Highways (26, 89, 216, 287, 420). Only 22 west of Jackson (formerly 25) was renumbered in a different manner. Most subsequent numbering was as branches off U.S. Highways, until the 1960s (?) when a whole bunch of secondary numbers were added, with batches of 20 corresponding to each county in alphabetical order (e.g. 10-29 in Albany County, 30-49 in Big Horn County, and on to 450-479 in Weston County).

Maps and logs:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthernRockies/Wyoming/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33767~1171483:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-W
https://www.aaroads.com/west/wyoming.html

Utah seems to have started taking over state roads in 1910, but the system was shrunken in 1919 to comprise only a short list of routes identified by letter and "all federal aid projects which have been approved, or which may hereafter be approved, by the State Road Commission". It appears that the major state roads were numbered by 1923 (the NPS has a partial 1923 map online, but it's currently down - thanks, baggers!) with rather tight clustering: 1 was the major north-south route, and then 2-16 were assigned essentially from north to south. 17, from Brigham City north to Idaho via Tremonton, was likely assigned after the initial numbering. The 1926 Rand McNally shows that highways were marked by name (where one existed?) and number, perhaps by a private organization. In 1927 the legislature adopted these numbers almost wholesale (17 became 41) and gave all other state roads their own numbers through 49 (initially skipping U.S. Highway numbers, but later assigning them to new routes).

Maps and logs:
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthernRockies/Utah/

Arizona appears to have numbered and marked its state highways in 1926, during planning for the U.S. Highways. (The 1926 Rand McNally shows a shield design but no state routes.) Only seven routes (66, 76, 81, 82, 83, 87, 89) appear on the 1926 official map (though 73 is drawn as unimproved but unshielded). On the 1927 map, 66 and 89 had become 88 and 79 due to changes in the U.S. Highway numbering, 76 had been renumbered 71 for unknown reasons, and 74, 84, and 187 were added; these numbers all remained through 1930. It is possible (but IMO unlikely) that these were the remnants of an earlier numbering plan that did include the U.S. Highways.

I don't know why 66 was assigned to the Apache Trail in 1926. It may have been a typo for 88, but the 1930-32 maps show 66 as the example state route marker (probably meaning they had one lying around in storage and drew it). 89 was a possible extension of US 89 until that route was extended to replace US 280 and US 380. Otherwise, the numbers are somewhat clustered and numbered in horizontal bands: 81-87 (and 88) all touching US 80 in the south, and 71-74 (and 79) lying between US 66-260 and US 80-180 (with 71 and 73 eventually touching US 70). 187 was the first of what would become a large number of three-digit spurs. When 64 was numbered in 1931, it too fit the pattern, lying north of US 66; 61 and 63 (added by 1934) showed the 60-70 split to be along US 260 east of Holbrook. The system began to fall apart by 1938, but many indications of this clustering remain.

Maps and logs:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.arizonaroads.com/

Idaho started out in 1913 (?) by naming its highways; maps from the 1920s show numbers matching the names. According to one map from 1925, "a color for each highway, together with number as indicated in table are being painted on poles and posts along each route". Numbers 1 to 31 were assigned to the highways in alphabetical order, as they existed at the time. (Several were renamed afterwards, but kept their numbers: North Side Highway was ?, Old Oregon Trail was Idaho-Pacific Highway, and Coeur d'Alene-Yellowstone Trail was North Pacific Highway.) New highways were given higher numbers, at least through 44, as they were added to the state highway system.

In addition, Charles Sampson of Boise privately marked a system of lettered routes known as "Sampson Trails" beginning in 1921. In about 1929, the state numbered and signed a new system of state highways (skipping U.S. Highways and numbers used by them), and the Sampson Trails were ruled illegal (as vandalism) by the state attorney general in 1933. The new numbers were clustered well, beginning with 1 in the north and ending with 39 in the southeast. Larger numbers were apparently added in order.

Maps and logs:
1922? http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~201784~3000707:Commercial-Atlas-of-America--Rand-M (east Idaho map doesn't show the state highways)
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33769~1171485:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-I (shows both former networks)
1937 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~23818~920003:Texaco-road-map-Idaho,-Montana,-Wyo
http://www.us-highways.com/idaho/

The only numbered system Montana had in the 1920s that I've been able to find information about is the federal aid numbers. Other than that, a 1925-26 map of South Dakota shows 10 and 11 in Montana, which are probably the "unposted route numbers" referred to on http://www.us-highways.com/montana/mthwys.htm, but the Montana page of the same atlas has no such routes. Otherwise numbers were not assigned until about 1933; U.S. Highways and their numbers were skipped (but 2 has since been assigned). 3, 4, and 9 were numbered to match Idaho, 5 and 23 to match North Dakota, and 22 to match either Wyoming or South Dakota. 187 and 191 (the latter quickly renumbered 1, which had been skipped, when US 191 was sent up 187) were possible extensions of the U.S. Highways with the same number, and 110 was a southerly loop off US 10. Otherwise most routes had a direction-parity correspondence (the only one that definitely violated this was 16, which may have conceivably matched a version of ND 16) and some weak clustering. With the even numbers, 6 and 8 were assigned to major routes, and then there were two bands of clustering from 14 to 28 and 30 to 38. After 7-13, odd numbers increased in runs from west to east with 15 to 25 (was 17 the original number for 187?), east to west with 27 to 37 (31 and 33 are backwards), and then 39 to 47 all come off US 10 but not in any order.

Maps and logs:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
1937 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~23818~920003:Texaco-road-map-Idaho,-Montana,-Wyo
http://www.us-highways.com/montana/mthwys.htm
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 03:14:04 AM by NE2 »
Logged
pre-1945 Florida route log

I accept and respect your identity as long as it's not dumb shit like "identifying as a vaccinated attack helicopter".

I agree to indemnify Belkin against unauthorized use of its MiniVak vacuum.

 


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