Interstate 80 or I -80 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Nebraska. The highway forms an east-west route across the state, from the Wyoming border to the Missouri River that forms the border with the state of Iowa. The route is actually one big descent from the High Plains to Omaha. The highway is 733 kilometers long and takes you past the 3 largest cities in Nebraska, including the capital Lincoln and largest city Omaha. Large parts of the route run parallel to the Platte River.
- 800ZipCodes: Provides a list of all postal codes in the state of Nebraska, covering area code, zip code and map for each city within Nebraska.
The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument on I-80 near Kearney.
I-80 has 2×3 lanes between Omaha and Lincoln.
Interstate 80 in Wyoming crosses the border into Nebraska at Pine Bluffs, not far east of Cheyenne. The barren treeless plains and mountains of Wyoming merge here into the agricultural lands of Nebraska. I-80 runs here at 1,500 meters and descends eastwards almost imperceptibly. US 30 runs parallel to I-80 here. In Nebraska, the land is already more cultivated than in Wyoming, with more villages along the route. The first place of any importance on the route is Kimball, which connects State Route 71 from the town of Scottsbluff. After more than 170 kilometers you reach the village of Julesburg, best known as the intersection of I-76 and I-80. Interstate 76 in Colorado comes from Denver. I-80 has descended here to 1,000 meters in the South Platte River valley.
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A 120-kilometer stretch to North Platte then follows. This leads through an agricultural area with circular irrigation. At Ogallala the US 26 joins. One then reaches North Platte, the first major town on the route in western Nebraska. Here is a connection with US 83. This is also where the North Platte and South Platte Rivers meet to form the Platte River.
Interstate 80 then continues a long stretch through monotonous agricultural area. A 220-kilometer stretch to Grand Island follows. I-80 passes several small towns here, such as Gothenburg, Lexington and Kearney. Some north-south routes are crossed here, such as US 183 and US 283. I-80 passes just south of the city of Grand Island, where it connects with US 281 and US 34.
East of Grand Island follows a 120-kilometer stretch that is almost straight, until just before the capital Lincoln. This section no longer passes through the Platte River valley. Halfway through York you cross the US 81. On the outskirts of Lincoln, I-80 widens from 2×2 to 2×3 lanes. This is a long 2×3 lane stretch from Lincoln to Omaha. I-80 forms Lincoln’s northern bypass, where Interstate 180 connects. Lincoln also crosses US 34 and US 77.
From Lincoln, I-80 heads northeast, with 2×3 lanes through the perpetually flat countryside. The main interruption is the intersection of the Platte River just before the Omaha region. The Platte River is a lot wider here than in central and western Nebraska. I-80 then reaches the metropolitan area of Omaha. To the west of the city follows an interchange with Interstate 680. From here, I-80 is a wide, 2×5-lane highway. I-80 does not go through the center, but further south, where it crosses Interstate 480. Shortly after, one reaches the Missouri River, which also forms the border with Iowa. Interstate 80 in Iowa continues through Council Bluffs to Des Moines.
I-80 follows the historic Lincoln Highway through much of Nebraska except the eastern part of the state. The Lincoln Highway was numbered US 30 from 1926 and was completely paved in 1935, the United States’ first transcontinental route. In the early years of I-80 development, beginning in 1956, there was debate as to whether I-80 should follow the Platte River to the east or a more southerly route via Lincoln. It was soon decided to run I-80 via Lincoln, the capital and second city of Nebraska.
I-80 has been widened in its entirety to 2×3 lanes between Lincoln and Omaha.
The first section opened in 1959, a seven-mile stretch along Gretna, not far outside Omaha. After this, the section between Omaha and Lincoln was quickly completed in the same year. On October 19, 1974, the last section of Interstate 80 was completed in Sidney, in the far west of the state. Nebraska was the first state to complete the Interstate Highway system’s main route network (the one- and two-digit Interstates). This was not too difficult as I-80 forms the entire main route network except for 4 kilometers of I-76. The entire 733-kilometer stretch ultimately cost $435 million and was constructed over 17 years between 1957 and 1974.
The interchange with US 75 in Omaha was constructed around 1993. After that, in the mid-1990s, I-80 through southern Omaha was widened to 2×4-2×5 lanes, and the interchange with I-680 was also converted. In 2012, the bridge over the Missouri River on the border with Iowa was replaced with a wider 2×4 lane bridge and a 2×5 lane reservation.
Between 2005 and 2013, I-80 between Omaha and Lincoln was widened to 2×3 lanes. The project was completed in November 2013. 67 kilometers of highway has been widened to 2×3 lanes at a cost of $400 million.
The dates below are indicative and based on historic Nebraska counting charts.
|Exit 432||Exit 439||11 km||1959|
|Exit 396||Exit 409||21 km||1960|
|Exit 439||Exit 446||11 km||1960|
|Exit 409||Exit 432||37 km||1961|
|Exit 382||Exit 396||23 km||1962|
|Exit 446||Exit 452||10 km||1962|
|Exit 199||Exit 312||182 km||1964|
|Exit 164||Exit 199||56 km||1966|
|Exit 312||Exit 382||113 km||1966|
|exit 0||Exit 1||1 km||1968|
|Exit 102||Exit 164||100 km||1968|
|Exit 1||exit 8||11 km||1970|
|exit 85||Exit 102||27 km||1970|
|exit 8||Exit 20||19 km||1972|
|Exit 69||exit 85||26 km||1972|
|Exit 452||Exit 456||6 km||1972|
|Exit 20||Exit 69||79 km||01-04-1974|
In Nebraska there are 81 exits and interchanges, 442 bridges over or in the highway, and 25 rest areas with facilities.
The speed limit after the highway opened was around 65 mph (105 km/h) during the day and 55 mph (88 km/h) at night. In 1962 this was increased to 75 mph (121 km/h) for passenger cars and 65 mph (105 km/h) for trucks. During the oil crisis, the speed limit was completely reduced to 55 mph. In 1987 it was increased again to 65 mph, and in 1996 to 75 mph. These speed limits generally applied on the rural stretches of I-80.
It is also planned to eventually widen I-80 between Grand Island and Lincoln to 2×3 lanes. I-80 will then be equipped with 2×3 lanes for more than 200 kilometers.
Traffic volumes are quite low on I-80, increasing slowly eastwards. The section between the Wyoming border and I-76 has about 8,000 vehicles per day, and about 13,000 after the interchange with I-76. It takes until Kearney for the intensities to reach 20,000, and to Lincoln for the 30,000 to be reached. There are 42,500 vehicles at Lincoln, and about 40,000 vehicles between Lincoln and Omaha. The busiest point in Omaha has 176,000 vehicles per day, because Omaha’s highway network is quite limited. 74,000 vehicles cross the border into Iowa every day.