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Author Topic: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?  (Read 3851 times)

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Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« on: August 23, 2018, 09:40:04 AM »

They almost always do, although are a few exceptions. However, I don't think these freeways need to reset exit numbers at state lines:

  • US 3/Everett Turnpike, MA/NH
  • RI/MA 24
  • I-76 in Nebraska
  • I-82
  • I-83 (possibly)
  • I-129
  • MA/RI 146
  • I-195, RI/MA
  • I-295, RI/MA
  • I-470, OH/WV

Some of these would require a lot of renumbering (MA 24, I-83 in Pennsylvania), while others would be minimal (I-76 in Nebraska, I-295 in Massachusetts).
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2018, 10:40:03 AM »

I-76 in Nebraska just uses I-80's exit number for the one and only exit, at I-80.  That is "Exit 102".
I-129, as short as it is, actually resets crossing the Missouri River.  Nebraska has Exits 1 and 2, and then Iowa has yet another Exit 1.
I-82 does indeed reset at the Columbia River.

I-280 (IL/IA) does not reset at the Mississippi River.  However, exit numbers do change when I-74 joins in to follow I-74 (as I-74/280).
I-255 (IL/MO) does not reset at the Mississippi River.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2018, 10:42:10 AM »

They almost always do, although are a few exceptions. However, I don't think these freeways need to reset exit numbers at state lines:

  • US 3/Everett Turnpike, MA/NH
  • RI/MA 24
  • I-76 in Nebraska
  • I-82
  • I-83 (possibly)
  • I-129
  • MA/RI 146
  • I-195, RI/MA
  • I-295, RI/MA
  • I-470, OH/WV

Some of these would require a lot of renumbering (MA 24, I-83 in Pennsylvania), while others would be minimal (I-76 in Nebraska, I-295 in Massachusetts).

I-435 Kansas City doesn't change. I-670 doesn't change (but it's only 2-3 miles long). Loops as a general rule don't appear to change
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2018, 10:48:37 AM »

IMO if a designation continues across a state line (which only Interstates and U.S. Highways can do), exit numbers and mileposts shouldn't reset. However this would have the side effect of running into 4 digit exit numbers (which would be more common the further North and East one travels), and if a long route gets extended South or West then hundreds, possibly even thousands of mileposts would need to be relocated.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2018, 10:52:00 AM »

IMO if a designation continues across a state line (which only Interstates and U.S. Highways can do), exit numbers and mileposts shouldn't reset. However this would have the side effect of running into 4 digit exit numbers (which would be more common the further North and East one travels), and if a long route gets extended South or West then hundreds, possibly even thousands of mileposts would need to be relocated.

Problem is, even interstates and US highways, are, at their core, state routes, maintained by a state.  The feds only maintain a few roads, including those in the national parks (but not all).
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2018, 10:54:20 AM »

The short segment of I-24 in Georgia uses the Tennessee exit numbers.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2018, 10:55:53 AM »

The short segment of I-24 in Georgia uses the Tennessee exit numbers.

I think that's because I-24 re-enters Tennessee shortly thereafterward.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2018, 11:09:36 AM »

The Capital Beltway (I-495) does not reset. It has a convoluted exit number history. Originally the exits were numbered clockwise (per federal standards for a loop route) from Exit 1 in Virginia to Exit 38 in Maryland. A few years after I-95 was moved to the eastern side of the Beltway, Maryland changed to milepost numbers and set theirs starting at Exit 2; I-495 then inherited I-95’s and continued up to Exit 41. The numbers ran (and still run) anti-clockwise because I-95 bring a 2di trumped the loop route. Virginia didn’t change to milepost numbers until some years later and when they did, they initially didn’t change the Beltway. Eventually they decided to continue Maryland’s numbers down to the Springfield Interchange (adding Exits 43 to 57), but then the remaining eight miles got Virginia I-95 exit numbers because I-95 trumps I-495. This confuses the crap out of many people because driving straight ahead on the same road Exit 57 is followed by Exit 173!
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2018, 11:36:54 AM »

They almost always do, although are a few exceptions. However, I don't think these freeways need to reset exit numbers at state lines:

  • I-470, OH/WV


Considering that I-275 doesn't reset its exit numbers, in spite of having exits in 3 states surrounding Cincinnati, I would be in favor of consolidating I-470's exit numbers, around Wheeling, into one series.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2018, 11:47:18 AM »

I-76 coming from PA has an odd reset, as the first exit in NJ uses PA's numbering system (thanks DRPA).  After that, it uses NJ's numbering.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2018, 01:09:35 PM »

  • I-295, RI/MA
Up until sometime during the early 70s, I-295's exit numbers in MA indeed continued with RI's numbers. 

The likely reasoning for such back then was that the highway was originally planned to continue east of I-95 in Attleboro as the northern leg of I-895.  Since I-295 in MA was/is roughly 3-1/2 miles; having the numbers change at the state-line, then again at short distance (not to mention decreasing vs. increasing) wasn't viewed as practical.  When it became apparent that I-895 in this area was not happening, MA (the DPW back then) decided to reset I-295's numbers at the state line and such remains to this day.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2018, 03:50:40 PM »

The short segment of I-24 in Georgia uses the Tennessee exit numbers.
First thing I thought of when I saw this thread.

The Capital Beltway does reset exit numbers at some point, but there aren’t two sets of exit numbers in Maryland and Virginia.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2018, 05:14:54 PM »

US 93 (and the new I-11) reset at the Arizona-Nevada line over the Hoover Dam, but Arizona has it mileposted as an east-west route. This means there are two Exit 2s about 4 miles apart, one on either side of the line.

It's worth noting that railroads don't reset at state lines (for example, the UP is at MP 781 as it passes through Salt Lake City). But with that, you'd run the risk of 4-digit mileposts (and 4-digit exit numbers), and everyone knows that more numbers = more potential for confusion.

And in addition to everything else that's been said, when a route gets extended or truncated, it has to be re-mileposted. That requires a multi-state bureaucratic effort if mileposts don't reset at the line.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2018, 05:44:00 PM »

I've always thought if a route was less than 1000 miles in total length, there's no need to reset at every state line, especially in the Northeast, where states are smaller. However, four-digit exit numbers should be avoided.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2018, 06:21:39 PM »

I've always thought if a route was less than 1000 miles in total length, there's no need to reset at every state line, especially in the Northeast, where states are smaller. However, four-digit exit numbers should be avoided.

This is exactly what China does, they reset exit numbers every 621.37 miles so they don't have four-digit exit numbers. When I said Interstates and US Highways should have one single continuous mileposting and exit numbering, I mentioned this problem, which can be solved by reseting to zero every 1,609.344 km.

Anyway, I've seen four-digit exit numbers here in Spain, but there's only one highway longer than a megameter (= 621.37 miles :sombrero:).
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 06:23:47 PM by CNGL-Leudimin »
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2018, 06:41:08 PM »

I-83 does reset at the PA state line.

The MUTCD, in Section 2E.31, requires . . . "If a circumferential, loop, or spur route crosses State boundaries, the numbering sequence shall be coordinated by the States to provide continuous interchange numbering."  These are 3dis. 

I would consider this to mean one numbering system, but I have seen things both ways.  I-495 Capital Beltway uses one numbering system in MD and VA, while I-295, both DE/NJ/PA and RI/MA, reset crossing the state line.  (DE does not number the exits.)
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2018, 07:13:15 PM »

I-280 (IL/IA) does not reset at the Mississippi River.  However, exit numbers do change when I-74 joins in to follow I-74 (as I-74/280).
That's just because of the, somewhat illogical, convention that the lower Interstate Route usually controls the exit numbers.
Then again, to be fair, there is no logical reason why I-74 needs to enter Iowa, at all.


Routes like I-82 (W), really shouldn't reset, they should continue the mileage.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 07:16:38 PM by TEG24601 »
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2018, 07:29:28 PM »

US 93 (and the new I-11) reset at the Arizona-Nevada line over the Hoover Dam, but Arizona has it mileposted as an east-west route. This means there are two Exit 2s about 4 miles apart, one on either side of the line.

It's worth noting that railroads don't reset at state lines (for example, the UP is at MP 781 as it passes through Salt Lake City). But with that, you'd run the risk of 4-digit mileposts (and 4-digit exit numbers), and everyone knows that more numbers = more potential for confusion.

And in addition to everything else that's been said, when a route gets extended or truncated, it has to be re-mileposted. That requires a multi-state bureaucratic effort if mileposts don't reset at the line.

Railroad mileposting sometimes extends from a central point within the whole network, like the old Southern Pacific system where everything posted from either the old 3rd & Townsend station in S.F. or, alternately, the farthest end of the old Oakland Mole, where passenger cars were originally ferried across the bay from the Ferry Building.  A number of the Chicago-based "granger" lines did this as well, most notably the Chicago Great Western, which had 3 forks to St. Joseph, MO, Council Bluffs (Omaha), and Minneapolis/St. Paul; the main trunk line mileposted from Chicago to the division point of Oelwein, IA, where the branches converged; each branch took over from there to their respective termini.  However, most railroads had individual territorial divisions with their own mileposting systems for simplified administrative purposes.  The easiest way to read RR mileposts is to locate any line signaling (block signals); most will be posted with a code including the appropriate mileage.

I know of no instance where RR mileposts reset at state lines; being private companies, there was no need to do that in any case.  As far as familiarity with mileposting -- that's what RR train crews were paid for; they needed to know their position (even in pre-GPS days) relative to other trains using that line particularly in single-track territory where one train or the other needed to enter a "passing track" (sometimes referred to as a "siding") to let another train pass.   

Essentially, mileposting on rails vs. roads is the classic case of "apples & oranges"; while the purpose is the same (positioning and/or maintenance), the applied methodologies are quite different.   
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2018, 07:55:52 PM »

I-495 Capital Beltway uses one numbering system in MD and VA, while I-295, both DE/NJ/PA and RI/MA, reset crossing the state line.  (DE does not number the exits.)
The Beltway is a full loop and needs to reset somewhere anyway; two halves of a loop with separate numbering sequences wouldn’t make much sense.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2018, 08:02:45 PM »

I-495 Capital Beltway uses one numbering system in MD and VA, while I-295, both DE/NJ/PA and RI/MA, reset crossing the state line.  (DE does not number the exits.)
The Beltway is a full loop and needs to reset somewhere anyway; two halves of a loop with separate numbering sequences wouldn’t make much sense.

As is discussed in my post further up the thread, it had separate numbers for many years, about 20 years if my memory is accurate. Virginia maintained the original numbers from when the road opened (Exit 1 at US-1 in Alexandria up to Exit 14 at the GW Parkway; Exit 3A for the Eisenhower Connector was a later addition between Exits 2 and 3) until around 2000, while Maryland changed to milepost numbers (Exit 2 thru Exit 41) around 1980. I never heard many complaints about the duplicated numbers being too confusing, even with Virginia's Exit 2 (Telegraph Road) being pretty close to Maryland's, but evidently some people griped.

I still have trouble remembering the new exit numbers in Virginia other than my exit and the last one before the Maryland line. I know my parents' house is most easily reached from Exit 52 (was Exit 6), but I can never remember the numbers over around Tysons and I have to look them up if I need to give directions. I remember my parents' exit simply because I use it more than the others.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2018, 08:36:34 PM »

I-495 Capital Beltway uses one numbering system in MD and VA, while I-295, both DE/NJ/PA and RI/MA, reset crossing the state line.  (DE does not number the exits.)
The Beltway is a full loop and needs to reset somewhere anyway; two halves of a loop with separate numbering sequences wouldn’t make much sense.
As is discussed in my post further up the thread, it had separate numbers for many years, about 20 years if my memory is accurate. Virginia maintained the original numbers from when the road opened (Exit 1 at US-1 in Alexandria up to Exit 14 at the GW Parkway; Exit 3A for the Eisenhower Connector was a later addition between Exits 2 and 3) until around 2000, while Maryland changed to milepost numbers (Exit 2 thru Exit 41) around 1980. I never heard many complaints about the duplicated numbers being too confusing, even with Virginia's Exit 2 (Telegraph Road) being pretty close to Maryland's, but evidently some people griped.

I still have trouble remembering the new exit numbers in Virginia other than my exit and the last one before the Maryland line. I know my parents' house is most easily reached from Exit 52 (was Exit 6), but I can never remember the numbers over around Tysons and I have to look them up if I need to give directions. I remember my parents' exit simply because I use it more than the others.
It doesn’t help that apparently the exit numbers from the Springfield Interchange to the Wilson Bridge are based on I-95’s mileposts.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2018, 08:59:50 PM »

It doesn’t help that apparently the exit numbers from the Springfield Interchange to the Wilson Bridge are based on I-95’s mileposts.

They are indeed. I understand the theory that says that since I-95 is the primary route and the I-495 number there is "unofficial" (I hate the word "official"*) and is posted as a convenience to motorists, the I-95 exit numbers and mileposts take precedence. But I also live about two miles from one of those exits and so I recognize how for normal people in the real world it doesn't make sense to have exit numbers jump by almost 120 when you're simply staying on the same road (regardless of what some people say, you do not "exit" anything if you stay on the Beltway**). Having to give directions in which you explain to people that they need the next exit after Exit 57 and the sign will say Exit 173, even though it's only three miles later, is a pain—while you'd think people would just listen and accept it since you presumably know the way to your own house, they invariably find it baffling because when they pass Exit 50-something they understandably think they still have a long way to go (unless they know the area, in which case they don't need directions).

BTW, this all also results in that spot being a rare location where the exit numbers differ in every direction. On the Beltway, the Outer Loop has Exit 57 at Springfield; on the Inner Loop, it's Exit 170. On I-95 northbound, it's also Exit 170, while on I-395 it's Exit 1.

*I've come to hate the word "official" because it is so ridiculously overused despite generally being a throwaway word that does not enhance credibility. For example, there's no need to say the Capitals "officially announced" Todd Rierden as their new coach. If they made the announcement, by definition it's "official." One of the most absurd ones I saw was a statement that DC United's "official stadium site" was announced a few years ago. How would there be an "unofficial stadium site"? Either they build the stadium there or they don't. Wikipedia is one of the worst places for this sort of nonsense.

**Regarding "exiting," many, perhaps most, local drivers regard the I-95 flyover bridges as the exits, regardless of what VDOT and the MUTCD think. I can't  say as I blame them given the overall interchange geometry and the number of lanes going in each direction.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2018, 09:27:04 PM »

Having to give directions in which you explain to people that they need the next exit after Exit 57 and the sign will say Exit 173, even though it's only three miles later, is a pain—while you'd think people would just listen and accept it since you presumably know the way to your own house, they invariably find it baffling because when they pass Exit 50-something they understandably think they still have a long way to go (unless they know the area, in which case they don't need directions).

Interestingly, we've experience similar in Connecticut, where... as you may be aware, the exits on the Merritt Parkway begin at 27 at the state line, continuing what the exit numbers on "the Hutch" used to be before NY bumped them up (NY's exit at the state line is now 30 instead of 27). We had someone arrive half an hour once early because when we told them they needed to take exit 35 in Connecticut they assumed they would have a lot longer to go after the state line than they actually did.


As for the original subject, my preference is that exit number reset at state lines because this is established standard to the point that drivers expect it. And, as the example above shows, can lead to confusion when it is randomly not followed.

Of course, this does also mean that exit numbers should not reset where there is not a state line - I also have firsthand experience with people getting confused with I-87 in New York. Tell someone they need to take I-87 north after they get off the George Washington Bridge, and then tell them they want exit 4 for the Cross County Parkway. Then when they get on I-87 north and the next exits they see are 8, then 9, then 10, they incorrectly assume they must have taken a wrong turn.

With the Capital Beltway example, I would say this is simply an inherent problem with any interstate concurrency. Changing the exit numbers to match I-495's would fix the particular problem you describe, but create a new one for drivers following I-95 north looking for an exit in the area. So that wouldn't really be any better.
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2018, 11:42:13 PM »

The Capital Beltway (I-495) does not reset.

Resets at the southern Potomac River crossing.

Does not reset at the northern Potomac River crossing (you did mention that).
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Re: Do exit numbers really always need to reset at state lines?
« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2018, 10:13:46 AM »

2dis reset mileage at state lines, as they should.

3dis reset sometimes when they cross state borders, but many times the rules for 3di mileposts are allowed to supersede any rules about state borders.  This is especially true for beltways that cross the state border more than once.

The rules for 3di mileposts are MUTCD standard.  So many times, the two states home to the 3di will maintain those standards over any desire to reset the mileage to zero at the border.
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