The photo below was taken looking east along the international boundary between Canada (to the left) and the U.S. (right). The large structure (with the flags on top) is the Peace Arch, which straddles the border. (It is not square to the boundary line; rather it is situated at a slight diagonal that roughly matches the angle of the roads that run through here.) If you look closely, you can see three boundary obelisks in the foreground:
I am about to ask a simple question. It is not a trick question, so no reason to over-think it. The map below (like most maps) is oriented with north at the top. You might not be able to make out much detail, but that's ok, because all I want you to do is take a look at the highway shown in blue. And the question is simply this: does this highway run north-south? Or does it run east-west?
US 87 and US 287 converge in Dumas, Texas, and share about 49 miles of pavement down to Amarillo, where the two routes separate again.
(Most recently updated 7/30/2021) One of San Angelo's marketing slogans is "The Oasis of West Texas". This is not hyperbole; most approaches to the city are somewhat stark, so in contrast upon arrival in Angelo, one may well be pleasantly surprised at all of the rivers, reservoirs, trees and other vegetation:
One of the city's other monikers is "The Pearl of the Conchos", which has a double meaning, referring to the freshwater Concho pearls that were historically harvested from area waterways. The three branches of the Concho River all converge in San Angelo; here is another slogan from days gone by:
When the US highway system was inaugurated in late 1926, the only US route to initially serve San Angelo was US 385 (that is, the original US 385, not the current US 385). The new designation was added to Texas State Highway 9:
US 322, Tampa, US 67, US 522, US 31, US 51, US 176, US 44, US 113, Milwaukee, Original US 46 proposal, US 34, US 15, US 1, Minnesota rogue routes, US 301, Miami, Hardeeville, Walterboro, Fox Valley, Richmond, St. John IN, US 36, US 18, US 83, US 183, US 275, US 385, Rapid City, US 92, US 129, US 175, US 276, US 310, US 411[i], US 121[i], US 117[i], Wilson, Wilmington NC
When the US route system was conceived in the mid-1920s, one of the guidelines was that the longer, more important routes would be assigned 1- and 2-digit numbers. Given that, US 46 really seems like an outlier. At only 75 miles in length, it is the shortest of all 1- and 2-digit US routes. Not only that, but US 46 is entirely in one state (New Jersey). Why would AASHO consider a short, single-state highway to be worthy of a 2-digit US route designation? Historic documents in their route numbering archive reveal at least some of the answers. As it turns out, when US 46 was first proposed in the mid-1930s, it was envisioned as a route running between New York City and Cleveland, along the corridor shown on this map:
Some 1934 maps showed new US routes in Minnesota and/or extensions of US routes. This was due to a series of errors and misunderstandings involving AASHO, MNDoT, and commercial map publishers. By 1935 all of these misprints had been corrected. I will explain in more detail below, but first I will jump ahead to the final analysis:
It depends how you measure... and specifically what you measure. If you are familiar with the mileage signs posted at the terminus points of US 6 and US 20, you might point to those and say, "The answer is plain to see: US 20 is 160 miles longer than US 6."
If both of those signs were accurate, then obviously US 20 would be longer. But the fact is, only one of those signs is accurate, whereas the other significantly overstates the true mileage. I make that statement based on measurements I first took in 2016, and later verified in 2020, using a method that I believe to be quite accurate (and in some cases, more accurate than the "official" distances posted by state departments of transportation). So let's take a look at those mileages: