US Highway 94

At over 2,000 miles in length, US Highway 41 is one of the longest north-south highways in the US Route System. Throughout most of its course through the country, it generally follows this cardinality, and begins turning slightly easterly as one heads south along the route. Interestingly, at its north and south endpoints, this description begins to change. When US 41 starts in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, it follows a somewhat erratic route, taking a long trek around its much straighter child route, US 141. 

While the south end is a lot less complicated, it makes a nearly due-east turn in Naples, FL to serve the Miami area, somewhat similarly to how I-75 runs through the State of Florida. That easterly turn used to be its own US Highway, known as US-94, which is what we'll be discussing today.

Image: Michael Summa via USEnds.

One of the original 1926 US Highways, 94 connected Miami with Naples along part of the Tamiami Trail. The trail is named as such since it connected Tampa with Miami, although the 94 designation only included the East-West part of the trail east of Naples.

Once considered a major engineering feat to connect the two cities via the Florida Everglades, today the route remains one of the only two highways, along with I-75, to traverse southern Florida from east to west.

Image: Rand McNally Road Map, 1940

As we've discussed before, around the time that the Interstate Highway System came into existence, AASHTO released more stringent guidelines the numberings of US Highways. Namely, US Routes should traverse at least two states, or run at least 300 miles in length. While many US Highways do not meet either of these rules even today (I'm looking at you, New Jersey), there were many more examples that predate the Interstate Highway System. 

US-94 was one of these routes purged from the system, as it was simple to just extend US 41 to Miami along the road, and in 1949, that's just what happened. Today, Florida still has two US Highways that do not meet the AASHTO guidelines, US Route 92 and its slightly shorter child route, US 192, neither of which could be as easily replaced by an extension of a current highway as 94 was.

Thanks as always for reading!


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