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Difference between Interstate and Highway

Difference between Interstate and Highway

When it comes to understanding the differences between an interstate and a highway, it’s important to know the basics. Both are types of roads, but they serve different purposes. An interstate is a freeway that connects major cities, while a highway is typically a two-lane road that connects smaller towns and villages. There are other distinctions between these two types of roads.

What is Interstate?

Interstate is the name given to the federal system of highways that crisscross the United States. The interstate highway system was first proposed in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a way to improve travel and commerce between states. The system was designed to be a network of limited-access highways that would connect all major cities in the country. Construction of the interstate highway system began in 1957, and it has since grown to encompass more than 47,000 miles of roadways. Today, the interstate highway system is one of the most important transportation networks in the world, and it plays a vital role in the economy of the United States.

What is Highway?

A highway is a route carefully planned and constructed for high-speed vehicular traffic, with controlled access and an engineered roadway surface. The term “highway” originated from the development of Roman roads. The first documented example of a highway in the United States was Boston’s Post Road, which was laid out in 1673.

Today, the Interstate Highway System is the largest highway network in the world, spanning over 47,000 miles (76,000 km) across the continental United States. In addition to facilitating long-distance travel, highways also play an important role in local transportation systems. For example, many metropolitan areas have beltways or ring roads that help to distribute traffic around cities and ease congestion on busy streets. Highways will continue to be a vital part of our transportation infrastructure in the years to come.

Difference between Interstate and Highway

The United States Interstate Highway System is a network of controlled-access highways that forms a part of the National Highway System. The system is funded by the federal government and is administered by the states. In contrast, highways are state roads that are not part of the interstate system. They are usually maintained by the state or county in which they are located.

While both highways and interstates are used for long-distance travel, interstates are designed for high-speed travel and have more stringent safety standards. In addition, interstates are typically limited to vehicles that can maintain a speed of at least 40 miles per hour, while highways have no such restriction.


The terms “Interstate” and “Highway” are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. An Interstate is a highway that has been designated as part of the National Highway System. A highway does not have to be designated as an Interstate in order to be considered a highway.

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