Current and historic US highways in Lewiston, Idaho

Photo credits: me
Additional research: Mark Bozanich brought my attention to a 1940s airborne photo of Lewiston, which confirmed my speculation about historic highway routings in Lewiston. He also provided the date when the Memorial Bridge was constructed.

Highway Approx. time period
US 95 1926-present
US 195 1926-present
US 410 1926-1967
US 12 1963-present

You can click on the links above to view more photos and get more info about each specific highway. Technically, the US 195 designation doesn't make it into Lewiston; it ends about 10 miles north of the city. I've included it here because there's no question that US 195 serves Lewiston - and also because I believe the designation should be extended into Lewiston. My US 195 page in particular contains a lot more info on Lewiston area highways.


The map below shows what the highway situation in Lewiston looked like in 1926, when US highways were first commissioned.

Map 1: 1926 to 1948

Since 1926, US 95 has served basically the same corridor in Idaho as it does today (although several sections have been shifted over to newer road alignments since then). US 410's east terminus was in Lewiston. It was routed over the Clearwater River via a bridge that no longer exists, which connected 20th Street in North Lewiston to 18th Street in central Lewiston. Below is a detail from a 1940s photo that shows the old bridge:

I drew in the blue line to show the location of the modern US 12 bridge. After crossing the old bridge, US 410 traffic was then routed west on Main Street, off the edge of my map, through downtown Lewiston and across the Snake River into Clarkston and Washington.

Note how the intersection at the original east terminus of US 410 forms a letter "X" in the middle of an otherwise cardinal street pattern - I'll refer to this "X" junction more below.


Today's bridge across the Clearwater was built In 1949. Lewiston experienced a major flood in 1948, so I'm assuming the old bridge was damaged or destroyed that year. To my knowledge, there is no trace of it remaining. The newer span is known as the Memorial Bridge.

Map 2: 1949 to 1963.

Note the fairly significant changes to road configurations at the bridge's south landing. It's purely speculation on my part that, when this new bridge was built, that's also when today's 4-lane highway along the north bank of the Clearwater was built. Until that time, I imagine US 95 traffic was carried by Hatwai Road (Nez Perce County Road 150). Since the new bridge, the diagonal road in North Lewiston that used to carry US 410 is called the "Old North-South Highway", and the remainder of old 410 is simply "20th Street North". The east terminus of US 410 shifted to a slightly different location after this new road and bridge were built.


In 1963, the US 12 designation was extended west from Missoula MT: over Lolo Pass, roughly along Lewis and Clark's historic trail, to a new west terminus in Lewiston.

Map 3: 1963 to 1967.

During this time, US 12 ended where US 410 began.


This situation lasted only four years. In 1967, US 410 was decommissioned, and US 12 was extended west again along 410's former route through the Valley. In fact, the new US 12 followed all of former US 410 (except for the segment between Naches and Elma), all the way to the Pacific Coast at Aberdeen WA.

Map 4: 1967 to mid-1970s.

So, since 1967, no US highways have a terminus in Lewiston.


In the mid-1970s, some fairly significant changes took place in the Valley's landscape and infrastructure. For one thing, four lock-and-dams were constructed on the Snake River below Lewiston, allowing the city to become Idaho's only seaport. Slackwater from the uppermost impoundment (Lower Granite Dam) now reaches to the Lewis-Clark Valley. Areas inundated since then are shown in light blue on the map below. The riverbanks along both the Snake and the Clearwater are now lined with levees.

Map 5: mid-1970s to present.

Also in the 1970s there was an effort to improve conditions for ground transportation between northern and southern Idaho. Many upgrades were made to US 95. One of the most significant was a new four-lane expressway running from Lewiston, 2000 feet up "The Hill" and onto the Palouse, for a quicker and safer connection to places like Moscow, Pullman, Spokane, and Coeur d'Alene. After "The Grade" was built, the US 95 designation was shifted over to it - and US 95's original route became known as "The Old Spiral Highway". The modern US 95/US 12 interchange is shown on the map above. Note also that US 12 is now routed off Main at 18th, and instead runs along what's known as the "Levee Bypass".


All photos below were taken in March 2001.

Photo A

This first shot is looking northeast through the "X". Today this road is called the "Old North-South Highway", but in 1926 this would've been the perspective of a driver at the east end of US 410. Straight ahead was southbound US 95; that road now serves as a connection between modern US 12 and ID hwy. 128. To the left was northbound US 95. That's now called Downriver Road (or ID 128), and it connects to the Old Spiral Highway. To the right was originally just a local street (see 1926-1948 map). After the new bridge, it became US 410 (see 1949-1963 map). Today it's ID 128 connecting to US 12 (see modern map).


The photo below is looking east on Downriver Rd, approaching the "X".

Photo B

In my opinion the "End" sign is a bit premature, as route 128 continues a fair distance ahead, to its junction with US 12 (see modern map). And it should say "TO East US 12" and "TO West US 12". The US 12 signs are brown because that's how the Idaho DoT designates the state's official scenic routes (you'll see that on ID state highway shields as well). The next photo is from the same direction, a bit further ahead.


This is also looking east on Downriver, or southeast through the "X".

Photo C

Originally southbound US 95 came down off the Spiral Hwy to this point, and then continued left. Until 1948, US 410 began to the right, on what is now Old N-S Hwy (see 1926-1948 map). After the new bridge, US 410 began straight ahead (see 1949-1963 map). As I mentioned above, these signs are a bit misleading because they imply that US 12 is routed through this intersection. Actually US 12 runs across the background of this photo, along where the grassy area touches the white buildings (see modern map).


Photo D

This is looking southwest on westbound US 12, approaching the "X". Modern northbound US 95 has already split off behind the camera and begun heading north up the Grade (see modern map). But old US 95 came down to this point, and went straight ahead on what is now ID 128. After the Memorial Bridge was built, US 410 began to the left on what is now US 12 (see 1949-1963 map). The "Runaway Truck Ramp" signs in the distance are shown more closely in the next photo.


Photo E

This is a bit further ahead from the last photo. Modern US 12 veers to the left here, and ID 128 exits right (see modern map). Original US 95 went straight through where the runaway truck ramp is now, and along the cut in the hillside to the "X". From 1949 to 1967, US 410 began to the left (see 1949-1963 map). And then, for a period of four years, US 12 ended at this fork, while US 410 began to the left (see 1963-1967 map). The signage at the road fork is shown close-up below.


Photo F

Still closer to the "X", this is where historic US 410 (left) began by splitting off from historic US 95 (right).


Photo G

This photo was taken looking southwest through the "X", from the perspective of historic northbound US 95, which would've turned right here. Straight ahead is the Old N-S Hwy, and the historic east beginning of US 410 (see 1926-1948 map).


Photo H

This photo is looking north on eastbound US 12. The "X" is in the distance on the left side. After the Memorial Bridge was built, this was the east end of US 410 (see 1949-1963 map). Northbound US 95 was left on modern ID 128, and southbound US 95 was straight ahead. Also straight ahead was the west beginning of US 12 for four years (see 1963-1967 map).


These next three photos show the signage at the new US 12/US 95 interchange in North Lewiston.

Photo I

This photo was taken heading northeast out of Lewiston on US 12. Personally, I think US 195 should start at this interchange. That way, the left sign would have a US 195 shield next to the US 95 shield, and the control cities would be either Moscow and Pullman or Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. People heading north out of the Valley are just as likely to go to Pullman as they are to Moscow. And I'm sure Spokane is a more common destination than Coeur d'Alene, since many people travelling to Lewiston use the Spokane airport.


Photo J

This is from westbound US 12/northbound US 95. As I recall, there was a green sign before this one, saying something to the effect of "Spokane and Pullman, next right". But I believe it would be more helpful if US 195 started to the right here. I wonder if the issue might be partly political: maybe the Idaho DoT purposely avoids using Washington control cities... although these photos prove that they don't have a problem with a Montana control city (which is situated four hours to the east!)


Photo K

This is coming down "the Grade" on southbound US 95, heading into Lewis-Clark Valley. I think US 195 should be co-signed with US 95 to this point, and that there should be an "End US 195" sign somewhere around here.


For more info on US routes in Lewiston (and where they end up), please click on the links in the chart at the top of this page.