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Interstate 72


Interstate 72

Interstate 72 marker

Interstate 72
Route information
Length: 184.00 mi[1] (296.12 km)
Existed: 1970 – present
Major junctions
West end:
US 36 / US 36 Bus. / US 61 in Hannibal, MO
  I-172 in Fall Creek, IL
US 54 in Griggsville, IL
US 67 in Jacksonville, IL
I-55 in Springfield, IL
US 36 / US 51 in Decatur, IL
I-57 in Champaign, IL
East end: Country Fair Drive in Champaign, IL
Highway system

Interstate 72 (I-72) is an Interstate Highway in the midwestern United States. Its western terminus is in Hannibal, Missouri, at an intersection with U.S. Route 61; its eastern terminus is at Country Fair Drive in Champaign, Illinois. The route runs through the major cities of Decatur, Illinois and Springfield, Illinois. In 2006, the Illinois General Assembly dedicated all of Interstate 72 as Purple Heart Memorial Highway. The stretch between Springfield and Decatur is also called Penny Severns Memorial Expressway, and the section between Mile 35 and the Mississippi River is known as the Free Frank McWorter Historic Highway.


  • Route description 1
  • History 2
    • Chicago-Kansas City expressway 2.1
    • Four-lane construction 2.2
  • Exit list 3
  • Auxiliary routes 4
  • Related routes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Route description

  mi km
MO 2 3
IL 182 295
Total 184 298

I-72 runs for just over 2 miles (3.2 km) in the state of Missouri. Its western terminus is an interchange with U.S. Route 61 to the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River. This bridge connects the city of Hannibal with Illinois. Presently, there are only two exits for I-72 in Missouri.

I-72 parallels the old Wabash Railroad from Hannibal, MO east through Illinois to Champaign, IL. The Norfolk Southern Railway operates this railroad route today.

In Illinois, I-72 runs for 182 miles (293 km). The portion of I-72 and I-172 from Springfield to Quincy is commonly referred to as the Central Illinois Expressway (CIE). As of 2007, I-72 has one business route -- Business Loop 72 in Jacksonville.

Near Valley City at mile marker 42 are the Valley City Eagle Bridges. These two individual two-lane spans bridge the Illinois River in rural west-central Illinois. Near mile marker 78, a sign marks 90 degrees longitude.

At its eastern terminus in Champaign, I-72 continues as Church Street (westbound) and University Avenue (eastbound), which stay as one-way streets for an additional 3 miles (4.8 km) into downtown Champaign.


A section of I-72, north of Seymour, Illinois, looking west

Until the mid-1990s, I-72 ran from Springfield at Interstate 55 to Champaign at Interstate 57. On June 9, 1991, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved the establishment of Interstate 172 from the western terminus of I-72 at Springfield to Fall Creek, 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Hannibal, Missouri, though it was contingent on Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approval. The FHWA preferred to designate the route I-72.[2][3]

After discussions regarding extending an Interstate-standard highway through the state of Missouri, on April 22, 1995, AASTHO approved another renumbering. I-172 was renumbered in its entirety as I-72. The U.S. 36 extension west of Fall Creek was also given the I-72 designation. The Illinois Route 336 expressway was renumbered to I-172 from Fall Creek to Fowler.[3][4]

Prior to September 2000, Mark Twain Avenue (old US 36) was composed of the current Mark Twain Avenue (now Route 79) and the portion of I-72 and US 36 west of Exit 157 to the Hannibal city limits. Route 79 terminated at the foot of the old Mark Twain Memorial Bridge at the corner of Third Street and Mark Twain Avenue. Signs along the four-lane expressway portion of Mark Twain Avenue marked the route as "Future I-72", while signs along what is now Route 79 had I-72 trailblazers to direct drivers to the temporary terminus at Fall Creek, Illinois.

When the new Mark Twain Memorial Bridge was completed in September 2000, I-72 was routed over the new bridge, along with US 36. Route 79 was extended along Mark Twain Avenue to terminate at Exit 157. The portion of I-72 and US 36 west of Exit 157 is now referred to as the V.F.W. Memorial Highway.

Originally, I-72 opened with a posted speed limit of 65 mph (105 km/h). However, when it first opened, some drivers were confused and were driving it at 35 mph (56 km/h), the old posted speed limit on Mark Twain Avenue. Later, Hannibal convinced MoDOT to lower the speed limit along I-72 and US 36 within the Hannibal city limits to 55 mph (89 km/h).

Chicago-Kansas City expressway

The concept of I-72 across Missouri was to create the Chicago – Kansas City Expressway, a rural four-lane highway across northern Missouri and west central Illinois from Cameron, Missouri at I-35 to Springfield, Illinois at I-55. This would provide a series of rural 4-lane highways (I-35, US 36, I-72, and I-55) connecting Chicago to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Corridor (High Priority Corridor 23). This would reduce the amount of through traffic, primarily truck traffic, in the St. Louis, Des Moines, and Quad Cities metropolitan areas by serving as an alternate route for I-70 and I-80. The Missouri portion of this route is designated as part of High Priority Corridor 61.

Based on the 157-mile (253 km) marker at Route 79, when US 36 is upgraded to Interstate standards across Missouri, the future western terminus of I-72 would be at Cameron, Missouri at the intersection with I-35. Currently, the west end of I-72 route is west of US 61 and flows concurrent with US 36 into Illinois. In 2004, US 36 was upgraded to a 4-lane expressway between US 61 and US 24 at the Rocket Junction (7 miles). There are three exits along this expressway: Veterans Road, Shinn Lane (Hannibal Regional Hospital), and US 24 East (Future Hannibal Bypass) at the Rocket Junction. This expressway is up to interstate standards (completed August 2007). Also, an interchange with Route 15 was installed in Shelbina. At Clarence, US 36 resumes 4-lane expressway status.

Due to funding priorities, upgrading US 36 between Macon and Hannibal was a low-priority project and was officially tabled by MoDOT. MoDOT committed to constructing the four-lane highway as a non-interstate expressway only if the five counties served by US 36 east of Macon would contribute half of the $100 million cost.

Four-lane construction

The first proposition of the expressway construction, Proposition 36, was passed by a majority of the voters in Macon, Marion, Monroe, and Shelby counties. However, residents of Ralls County rejected the proposition, citing lack of economic benefit for the county. US 36 cuts through the very northwest corner of Ralls County from Monroe City to the BNSF viaduct, a distance of 4 miles (6.4 km). Since the proposition failed in Ralls County, the entire proposition failed.

Businesses and voters in the other four counties still strongly supported the four-lane expressway project. At the next election, on August 3, 2005, voters of all five counties approved Proposition 36B, which excludes Ralls County from the Transportation Development District and allows for the construction of a 4-lane US 36 to be constructed without Ralls County's participation. The Proposition passed 66 percent to 34 percent and passed by a majority in all 5 counties.

In March 2008, the revised total cost of the project was estimated at $89 million.[5] Additionally:

  • A fifteen year, 1/2-cent sales tax was levied in Macon, Marion, Monroe, and Shelby counties for their portion (42%) of the construction costs for the project.
  • The Ralls County portion was covered by a $7 million earmark for US 36 from Congressman Kenny Hulshof.
  • The remainder of the project costs, including construction, engineering, right of way acquisition, survey, etc. were funded by MoDOT.

Road construction to complete the 52.4 miles (84.3 km) between Hannibal and Macon began in 2007. According to MoDOT, the estimated completion date of four lanes from Hannibal to Monroe City, 11.5 mi (18.5 km), was September 2008, from Monroe City to Shelbina, 18.4 mi (29.6 km), was December 2009, and from Shelbina to Macon, 22.5 mi (36.2 km), was December 2010.

In August 2010, the 4-lane expressway was completed from Macon to Hannibal, completing Missouri's portion of the Chicago-Kansas City Expressway.[6]

Exit list

State County Location mi[7] km Exit Destinations Notes
Missouri Marion Hannibal 0.000 0.000 US 36 / Route 110 west – Monroe City Continuation beyond US 36 Bus. / US 61
0.184 0.296
US 36 Bus. east / US 61 (McMasters Avenue) – New London, Palmyra
West end of US 61 Bus. overlap
1.226 1.973 157
US 36 Bus. west / US 61 Bus. south / Route 79 south / Route N north – Downtown Hannibal, Louisiana
East end of US 61 Bus. overlap
Mississippi River 2.056
Mark Twain Memorial Bridge
Illinois Pike Levee Township 1 2 1 IL 106 – Hull
4 6 4
I-172 north / IL 110 (CKC) east – Quincy
Left exit from both directions; I-172 exit 0.
Kinderhook Township 10 16 10 IL 96 / IL 106 – Payson, Hull
Barry 20 32 20 To IL 106 – Barry
New Salem Township 31 50 31 Pittsfield, New Salem
Griggsville Township 35 56 35 US 54 / IL 107 – Pittsfield, Griggsville
Scott Bloomfield Precinct 46 74 46 IL 100 – Bluffs, Detroit Detroit signed westbound only
Winchester No. 2 Precinct 52 84 52 To IL 106 – Winchester
Morgan Lynnville Precinct 60 97 60 I-72 Bus. east / US 67 – Alton, Beardstown, Jacksonville Signed as exits 60A (south) and 60B (north)
South Jacksonville 64 103 64 IL 267 – Alton, Jacksonville
Pisgah Precinct 68 109 68 I-72 Bus. west to IL 104 – Jacksonville
Alexander Precinct 76 122 76 Ashland, Alexander
Sangamon Island Grove / New Berlin township line 82 132 82 New Berlin
Springfield 91 146 91 Wabash Avenue
93 150 93 IL 4 – Springfield, Chatham
96 154 96 MacArthur Blvd
97 156 92
I-55 south / I-55 Bus. north (6th Street) – Springfield, St. Louis West end of I-55 overlap; signed as exit 97 (south). Signed as exit 92A (north) westbound. I-72 westbound exits I-55 via exit 92B.
99 159 94 Stevenson Drive, East Lake Drive
101 163 96 IL 29 (South Grand Avenue) – Taylorville Signed as exits 96A (south) and 96B (north)
103 166 98
I-55 north – Chicago
IL 97 west (Clear Lake Avenue)
East end of I-55 overlap; I-72 eastbound exits I-55 via exit 98A, I-72 westbound exits itself via exit 103A. IL 97 signed as exit 98B eastbound. Northbound I-55 signed as exit 103B westbound.
Clear Lake Township 104 167 104 Camp Butler
108 174 108 Riverton, Dawson Dawson signed eastbound only
Mechanicsburg Township 114 183 114 Buffalo, Mechanicsburg, Dawson Dawson signed westbound only
Illiopolis Township 122 196 122 Mt. Auburn, Illiopolis
Macon Niantic Township 128 206 128 Niantic
Harristown 133 214 133 US 36 east / US 51 south – Decatur, Pana East end of US 36 overlap; west end of US 51 overlap; signed as exits 133A (east) and 133B (south)
Decatur 138 222 138 IL 121 – Decatur, Lincoln
141 227 141 US 51 north – Bloomington, Decatur East end of US 51 overlap, signed as exit 141A (south) and 141B (north)
Whitmore Township 144 232 144 IL 48 – Oreana, Decatur
150 241 150 Argenta
county line
Friends Creek
Willow Branch
township line
156 251 156 IL 48 – Cisco, Weldon
Piatt Monticello Township 164 264 164 Monticello
township line
166 267 166 IL 105 west – Monticello
Sangamon Township 169 272 169 White Heath Road
172 277 172 IL 10 – Clinton
Champaign Scott Township 176 283 176 IL 47 – Mahomet
Champaign 182 293 182 I-57 to I-74 – Memphis, Chicago Signed as exits 182A (south) and 182B (north). I-57 exit 235B.
University Avenue, Church Street Continuation beyond I-57, exit 235A.
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routes

Related routes

Interstate 72 Business
Location: Jacksonville
Length: 9.5 mi[8] (15.3 km)

Interstate 72 Business (abbreviated BL 72) is a Business Loop of I-72 in Jacksonville. It runs from the U.S. 36/I-72/U.S. 67 interchange southwest of Jacksonville north along the U.S. 67 bypass of Jacksonville to the former alignment of U.S. 36 (Morton Avenue). On Morton Avenue, BL 72 runs east through downtown Jacksonville until it reaches I-72 at exit 68. This is a distance of 9.5 miles (15.3 km).[8]


  1. ^ Federal Highway Administration (2002-10-31). "FHWA Route Log and Finder List: Table 1". Retrieved 2007-03-28. 
  2. ^ American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (1991-06-09). "Report of the Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering to the Executive Committee" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  3. ^ a b "Interstate 172 Illinois". 
  4. ^ American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (1995-04-23). "Report of the Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering to the Standing Committee on Highways" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  5. ^ Missouri Department of Transportation, Northeast District (2007), Route 36 four-lane, MoDOT 
  6. ^ Missouri Department of Transportation, North Central District (2007), U.S. 36 4-Laning Project: Contract Awarded for Route 36 Four-lane Project from Shelbina to Macon, MoDOT 
  7. ^  
  8. ^ a b Google maps estimate.

External links

  • Illinois Highway Ends: Interstate 72
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