U.S. 138

U.S. 138 heads northeast from U.S. 6 in Sterling, Colorado to U.S. 30 near Big Springs, Nebraska. U.S. 138 was an original 1926 U.S. route and the only spur of former U.S. 38. U.S. 38 existed between 1926 and 1931 between Greeley, Colorado, and Omaha, Nebraska, via today's U.S. 34 from Greeley to Fort Morgan and U.S. 6 from Fort Morgan to Omaha. Even when U.S. 38 was decommissioned in 1931 in favor of creating a transcontinental U.S. 6, U.S. 138 kept its number as a child that has outlasted its parent by many times.

U.S. 138 east
After crossing the Colorado-Nebraska State Line, U.S. 138 follows the railroad northeast toward Big Spring. Prior to entering downtown Big Spring, U.S. 138 approaches its junction with transcontinental Interstate 80, which travels the length of the state of Nebraska. The first left turn connects to eastbound Interstate 80 via a loop ramp, while the second left connects to westbound Interstate 80. Photo taken 09/05/05.
Due to the proximity of the railroad, the Interstate 80 and U.S. 138 interchange is a folded diamond, so all access is taken from the left (west). There is room to expand U.S. 138 into a divided, four-lane highway given the method of constructing this bridge. Photo taken 09/05/05.
Turn left here to follow Interstate 80 west to Chappell and Sidney. West of Sidney, Interstate 80 continues toward Wyoming and points west. Photo taken 09/05/05.
Eastbound U.S. 138 connects with westbound Interstate 80 at this ramp. U.S. 138 continues east alongside the railroad tracks to Big Springs, then turns north to merge with U.S. 30. Photo taken 09/05/05.
The village of Big Springs was founded in 1884 and was incorporated as a village in 1917. Several historic trails, such as the Oregon Trail and California Trail, passed through or near Big Springs. As of the 2000 Census, 418 people lived in Big Springs. This view shows downtown immediately after the Nebraska Link 25B junction along northbound Pine Street. Photo taken 09/05/05.
This is the final eastbound reassurance shield for U.S. 138 after leaving Big Springs. It is only a few miles between Big Springs and U.S. 30. Through here, U.S. 138 generally follows the route of the original Lincoln Highway. The "Colorado Loop" of the Lincoln Highway travels southwest from Big Springs to Denver via U.S. 138 and U.S. 6, then returns to the Lincoln Highway via U.S. 287, Colorado 1, Interstate 25, Wyoming 223, and U.S. 85 to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Photo taken 09/05/05.
This valley separates Big Springs from U.S. 30. The junction with U.S. 30 is located at the top of the hill. Photo taken 09/05/05.
This is a fairly typical example of an upcoming intersection sign in Nebraska. Eastbound U.S. 138 approaches a four-way intersection with U.S. 30, but the road continuing north of U.S. 30 is a local road, Day Road. Since Day Road is not a state highway, it is not shown on this diagrammatic sign. Photo taken 09/05/05.
U.S. 30 west travels to Chappell (21 miles) and Sidney; U.S. 30 east leads toward Ogallala (18 miles). Day Road travels north to U.S. 26 southwest of Lake McConaughy (reservoir of the North Platte River). Use U.S. 26 west to Ash Hollow State Historical Park and Lewellen on the northwest edge of the reservoir. Photo taken 09/05/05.
The northeastern end of U.S. 138 is signed here. One of the shortest U.S. routes, U.S. 138 only travels about 72 miles between Sterling, Colorado, and this point north of Big Springs. The western end of U.S. 138 is not currently signed with an end shield. Photo taken 09/05/05.
Here is a view of the intersection between U.S. 138 and U.S. 30 looking north. Day Road extends north onto the high plains, while U.S. 30 travels east-west on a ridge above the town of Big Springs. Photo taken 09/05/05.
This close-up of the U.S. 30 shield at the northeastern terminus also provides a panoramic view of the surrounding vast plains used for ranching and agriculture. Photo taken 09/05/05.
U.S. 138 west
U.S. 138 is also signed as "To Interstate 80" as it travels southwest toward Big Springs after the U.S. 30 intersection. This is the first reassurance shield. Photo taken 09/05/05.
This mileage sign provides the distance to Big Springs (two miles southwest of U.S. 30) and Interstate 80 (three miles). The distance to Julesburg and Sterling in Colorado are not provided. Photo taken 09/05/05.
The Big Springs grain elevator comes into view as U.S. 138 descends toward Big Springs, which is located near the South Platte River. Photo taken 09/05/05.
Tall power transmission lines come into view just north of Big Springs. These lines likely carry power generated at hydroelectric and coal power plants scattered across the West, especially in Colorado, Wyoming, and western Nebraska. Photo taken 09/05/05.
The comparably lush South Platte River valley offers trees that are not found in much of Nebraska's treeless prairie. The views here are breathtaking, especially when one can see nothing manmade anywhere in a single direction. Photo taken 09/05/05.
Westbound U.S. 138 enters the town of Big Springs, which was founded in 1884 and incorporated as a village in 1917. Several historic trails, such as the Oregon Trail and California Trail, passed through or near Big Springs. As of the 2000 Census, 418 people lived in Big Springs (contrary to the 495 people listed on the city limits sign). Photo taken 09/05/05.
Through downtown Big Springs, U.S. 138 follows Pine Street. The road is generally two lanes wide with ample room for on-street parking at the myriad businesses. Photo taken 09/05/05.
Westbound U.S. 138 prepares to split with Nebraska Link 25B. Follow Nebraska Link 25B south across the railroad tracks and South Platte River to meet Interstate 80; turn right here to continue along U.S. 138 southwest toward Julesburg. An alternate route to Interstate 80 west is via U.S. 138 west. Photo taken 09/05/05.
Oddly enough, Nebraska Link 25B is not signed anywhere along westbound U.S. 138, but it is signed along the short duration of the link route. Photo taken 09/05/05.
This reassurance shield for westbound U.S. 138 is posted after the junction with Interstate 80 southwest of Big Springs and northeast of Julesburg, Colorado. Continue southwest on U.S. 138 to Julesburg. Photo taken 09/05/05.

Continue west to U.S. 138 in Colorado.

Page Updated November 5, 2005.

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