Interstate 44 or I -44 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Missouri. The highway runs from Joplin at the Oklahoma border to Interstate 55 in St. Louis. The highway is 471 kilometers long.
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I-44 at Joplin.
I-44 in the suburbs of St. Louis.
I-44 in St. Louis.
I-44 in St. Louis.
The interchange between I-44 and I-270 at St. Louis, a bow tie.
The Will Rogers Turnpike, Interstate 44 in Oklahoma, crosses the Missouri border at Joplin. Joplin is a regional town with 48,000 inhabitants. On the east side of Joplin, US 71 merges into the highway that comes from Fort Smith in Arkansas. Both roads are then double-numbered for a few miles until the hamlet of Fidelity, where US 71 turns north again as a 2×2 trunk road and also as a highway, towards Kansas City. This may become Interstate 49. in the future. One then goes about 40 kilometers straight to the east, the I-44 has many long straights. The landscape is quite flat, and consists of meadows with occasional small forests. After about 110 kilometers you reach the city of Springfield, a somewhat larger city with 151,000 inhabitants, the third largest city in Missouri. This is where the SR-360 turns off, the southern bypass of the city.
Interstate 44 passes north of Springfield, intersecting on the east side with US 65, the highway to Branson to the south. After this you arrive in a somewhat hilly area, but the distances are still quite large. Between Springfield and the next major city, Saint Louis is 300 miles to the northeast. The area becomes more forested, one enters the Mark Twain National Forest. Here, I-44 also turns more northeasterly. One passes through wooded and sparsely populated areas, and does not cross major roads even for longer distances. At Rolla, the first major intersection is with US 63, which runs from West Plains in the south to the capital Jefferson City in the north. The I-44 also has Frontage Roads here and there. At Union, US 50 merges from Jefferson City, entering the Saint Louis area of influence, and traffic gets a little busier.
The first suburb of Saint Louis is Wildwood. From there, 2×3 lanes are also available. At Kirkwood one crosses Interstate 270, the ring road of St. Louis. After this, 2×4 lanes will be available for traffic. Saint Louis is mostly made up of many small suburbs, but one passes through a continuously built-up area, and many residential areas are nestled in the woods. After about 30 kilometers you reach the city of Saint Louis itself, which is a lot more densely built. It crosses the middle of the city. Saint Louis has a grid pattern, but is not as perfect as one sees in many other cities. Just south of downtown, Interstate 44 ends at Interstate 55, which runs from Memphis to Chicagoruns.
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Interstate 44 follows and replaces the old Route 66. Interstate 44 is one of the first (or even the first) highways to be built as an Interstate Highway, on August 2, 1956 the contracts were signed for the construction of the I-44 around Lebanon in Laclede County, northeast of Springfield. I-44 between Joplin and Springfield was completed fairly quickly, being completed in 1966. The St. Louis section was opened between 1971 and 1973. What remained was the upgrade of the four-lane US Route 66 between Springfield and St. Louis to Interstate Highway standards. This was fragmented and considerably slower than the construction of I-70 in Missouri. It was not until 1980 that the last level crossings had disappeared.
The predecessor to I-44 along downtown St. Louis was the Third Street Expressway, which opened on October 15, 1955. This was a four-mile six-lane downtown road from Gravois Avenue to near Broadway. This became part of two Interstate Highways in 1956, the southern part became I-44, the northern part I-70. The dividing line, the Poplar Street Bridge, opened to traffic in 1967, before that it was the MacArthur Bridge, which is today only a railway bridge.
On February 9, 2014, I-44 was extended 4 miles north as I-70 opened over a new route via the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. I-44 then became double-numbered with I-55 for a short distance and then led past Downtown St. Louis to the new interchange with I-70. In 2014, a canopy over the I-44 was built near the Gateway Arch.
|Exit 0||Exit 8||13 km||1958|
|Exit 80||Exit 88||13 km||1959|
|Exit 127||Exit 130||5 km||1959|
|Exit 290||Exit 291||2 km||1960|
|Exit 8||Exit 18||16 km||1962|
|Exit 58||Exit 80||35 km||1962|
|Exit 247||Exit 261||22 km||1962|
|Exit 18||Exit 29||18 km||1964|
|Exit 261||Exit 276||24 km||1964|
|Exit 29||Exit 38||14 km||1965|
|Exit 38||Exit 58||32 km||1966|
|Exit 150||Exit 163||21 km||1967|
|Exit 182||Exit 195||21 km||1967|
|Exit 203||Exit 214||18 km||1968|
|Exit 163||Exit 182||30 km||1969|
|Exit 214||Exit 218||6 km||1970|
|Exit 88||Exit 100||19 km||1971|
|Exit 113||Exit 118||8 km||1971|
|Exit 218||Exit 226||13 km||1971|
|Exit 276||Exit 279||5 km||1971|
|Exit 279||Exit 283||6 km||1972|
|Exit 226||Exit 247||34 km||1973|
|Exit 283||Exit 290||11 km||1973|
|Exit 100||Exit 113||21 km||1975|
|Exit 130||Exit 140||16 km||1977|
|Exit 145||Exit 150||8 km||1979|
|Exit 118||Exit 127||14 km||1980|
|Exit 140||Exit 145||8 km||1980|
About 24,000 vehicles cross the Oklahoma border at Joplin every day. Between Joplin and Springfield there are about 30,000 vehicles per day, which between Springfield and St Louis remains fairly stable between 25,000 and 30,000 vehicles per day. Closer to St. Louis, that rises to 63,000 vehicles, and 122,000 vehicles off I-270. In St. Louis itself, the road is not very busy, with between 100,000 and 120,000 vehicles per day.
|Exit 0||Exit 261||2×2|
|Exit 261||Exit 276||2×3||St. Louis|
|Exit 276||Exit 290||2×4||St. Louis|