Interstate 255 provides an eastern bypass of St. Louis for traffic along Interstate 55 between Chicago and Memphis. The freeway carries at least six lanes overall along a 30.82-mile route between I-55 and I-270 in the south St. Louis suburbs and Pontoon Beach (Interstate 270).

Interstate 255 Illinois Guides

As originally planned, Interstate 255 ended at Interstates 55 & 70 from the south as part of a circumferential highway network including Interstates 244 and 270 in Missouri. Plans for the belt route originated in the 1950s with work underway in 1960 in north St. Louis County.1 Motorist confusion involving the different numbers of the route prompted apologies from highway officials until 1974, when Interstate 244 was renumbered as an extended Interstate 270. An alternate option considered at the time was to name the loop for President John F. Kennedy.2

Work on the Illinois portion of Interstate 255 commenced in 1977 with the replacement bridge near Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.1 Work on the original I-255 was finished in 1986 at Interstates 55 & 70. State officials, at that time, convinced the federal government to add six additional miles, extending the Interstate 255 designation north to Interstate 270.2 A one mile stretch, between I-55/70 and Collinsville-Granite City Road (Horseshoe Lake Road) opened first on March 15, 1988.3 Two years of work on the $15-million northern extension culminated on July 26, 1988 with the opening of I-255 northeast of Granite City.1 Provisions were made at the north end for the eventual Illinois 255 spur to Alton.

Stretching 20.4 miles northward from I-255 and I-270, the Illinois 255 freeway was constructed between 1998 and 2013. The route was extended north to Humbert Road at Godfrey on October 26, 2012 and to Illinois 111 (Montclaire Avenue) on November 21, 2012.4 Completion of IL 255 to the "Godfrey Y" at U.S. 67 followed in July 2013.5 This work coincided with an upgrade of U.S. 67 northward to the Jersey County line.

Interstate 255 scenes
A look at the overhead for Exit 25B that directs traffic from Interstate 255 northbound onto Interstates 55 south & 70 west to Fairmont City and East St. Louis from I-55-70 & U.S. 40 below. 10/16/04

  1. "COMPLETION OF I-255 TAKES AREA FOR A LOOP." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 27, 1988.
  2. "I-255 RIM MEANS LOOP IS FINISHED - FOR NOW." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 31, 1988.
  3. "ONE-MILE PIECE OF I- 255 WILL OPEN TODAY." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 15, 1988.
  4. "Illinois 255 opens to Godfrey 'Y'." The Telegraph (Alton, IL), November 22, 2012.
  5. "Routes 67 and 255 Come Together." Alton Daily, July 19, 2013.

Photo Credits:

10/16/04 by AARoads

Connect with:
Interstate 55
Interstate 64
Interstate 70
Interstate 270
Route 255

Page Updated 12-09-2014.

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