How Long Is Route 66 (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Spans 2,400 Miles Long

Route 66 is the mother road that stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles. The popularized highway has become a symbol of early car travel in America, but its history dates back further than most people realize. 

Route 66 was built in the 1920s and 1930s by local businessmen who wanted to establish a proper road for people to travel throughout the country. 

The route crosses through eight states like Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. The entire length of Route 66 is 2,400 miles long, which makes it much longer than I-10 or I-20 highways that run parallel with it.

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How Long Is Route 66?

TypeLength
Route 662400 Miles
Driving time8 days

Route 66 is about 2400 miles long. Additionally, it’s interesting to note that many people no longer have the patience to drive on the road this slow, so it’s often not the best option for long-distance trips around town.

Route 66 was initially designed as a way to provide easy access between Chicago and Los Angeles. And although the original signage has been updated over time, today, it stretches over an approximately 2400 mile path across eight states – Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and more. 

However, one wild caveat – these days doing the entire route is unnecessary for most car drivers because traffic can be congested at times due to its rural origins. Still, though, there are travelers who enjoy getting the thrill of traveling here.

Although many different routes connect all these states today, such as Interstates, nothing compares to driving on historic Route 66, which still holds a special place in many people’s hearts.

Driving this entire distance will require careful planning and consideration to anyone who intends on visiting the Museum of Route 66 near Flagstaff, Arizona, or The Grand Canyon National Park in Williams, AZ.

The highway became a cultural phenomenon because of the images introduced by Ford’s odyssey West seeking “The Last Wild Place” in North America. 

It was designated as part of US Highway 40 before eventually becoming US Highway 66. Then other highways replaced it until it reached its current terminus at Santa Monica Boulevard. 

Why Would Route 66 Be So Long?

The highway never did any spanning of the entire United States, and in fact, it only stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica. 

When one talks about Route 66–or any route, for that matter–it’s not a measure of distance but rather direction or path. 

Route 66 is a landmark that divides the United States into two parts. It stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles. In total, this length equals 2,400 miles—but it’s not just long for the sake of being extended. 

Highway engineers generally consider topography, geographic features of a region, and meteorology for a new highway. Route 66 did not follow one continuous path or contain grid-like intersections, but it does appear to have had more loops than any other U.S. highway system of its day.

When the interstate was routed, segments of it were disposed of in a variety of ways. Within many towns, the route became an “intrastate business loop.” Some portions were turned into state routes, local roads, or private drives, while others were abandoned.

If one is thinking of driving on route 66, it may take 8 days to drive along the road entirely. Since many parts of the route did not undergo development and improvements, it has a 55 per mile speed limit.

Things like gas stops, overnight stays, food stops also come into the picture while driving. At least seven stops to refuel the tank are required even though one has full tank.

Conclusion

The old US 66, decommissioned in 1985, has become a tourist attraction due to its distinctive design. This is because the National Park Service designates it as a historic road. 

Many altered the highway route through California numerous times, but it retained its original name until 1985 when the United States removed it.

US 66 has gone through numerous changes throughout its nearly 60-year history. Engineers have continuously sought more direct routes between settlements and communities, thanks to improved highway engineering.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1664062/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140700705001982
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