|Interstate 81 and Branches
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EXIT 1 - I-40: 0 - 0
EXIT 4 - TN Secondary 341: 4.2 - 4.2
Jefferson/Hamblen Co Line: 3.4 - 7.6
EXIT 8 - US 25E (TN Primary 32): 0.4 - 8.0
EXIT 12 - TN Primary 160: 4.1 - 12.1
EXIT 15 - TN Secondary 340: 3.1 - 15.2
Hamblen/Greene Co Line: 2.3 - 17.5
EXIT 23 - US 11E (TN Primary 34): 5.5 - 23.0
EXIT 30 - TN Primary 70: 7.4 - 30.4
EXIT 36 - TN Secondary 172: 6.1 - 36.5
EXIT 44 - Jearoldstown Rd: 8.1 - 44.6
Greene/Washington Co Line: 5.0 - 49.6
EXIT 50 - TN Primary 93: 0.7 - 50.3
Washington/Sullivan Co Line: 3.2 - 53.5
Exit 56 - Tri-Cities Crossing: 2.4 - 55.9
EXIT 57 - I-26, US 23: 0.9 - 56.8
EXIT 59 - TN Secondary 36: 2.3 - 59.1
EXIT 63 - TN Secondary 357: 4.0 - 63.1
EXIT 66 - TN Secondary 128: 3.1 - 66.2
EXIT 69 - TN Primary 394: 3.1 - 69.3
EXIT 74 - US 11W (TN Primary 1): 5.4 - 74.7
VA STATE LINE: 0.9 - 75.6
Creation: First appeared in 1939 as part of the long-term national
planning leading to the Interstate system. Was numbered as I-81 in August,
Adjustments: Only two segments were open by 1969. These were from I-40 to US 25E and the short segment from US 11W into Virginia.
In June 1970, the western segment was extended east to TN 160.
In December 1970, the western segment was extended further east, to US 11E.
By early 1974, travelers from Virginia could travel as far as TN 128.
The over 40 miles remaining was opened as one big finish, in December 1974.
The Exit 44 interchange at Jearoldstown Rd, not part of the original construction, was added ca. 1979.
The interchange at I-26 was built as part of the original construction, originally as TN 137, then part of US 23, and not becoming I-181 until ca. 1985.
Exit 56 at Tri-Cities Crossing is a relatively new interchange, not showing up on the 2002 map but showing up by 2005.
Posting: Fully posted
Comments: Not quite as congested as the Virginia segment to the northeast, the Tennessee stretch of I-81 still sees a lot of truck traffic.
Creation: I-181 was created in late 1985, when it was realized that the
Interstate-grade US 23 freeway that existed between Johnson City and Kingsport
could be signed as an Interstate rather cheaply.
History: What became I-181 started out as a new-location 4-lane highway, TN 137, that opened ca. 1970 between what is now TN 354 near Johnson City and TN 93 in Kingsport.
TN 137 was extended into Johnson City proper, to what is now US 11E/US 19W North, around 1973.
A further extension through Johnson City, to TN 91/Market St, opened by 1976.
Another Johnson City extension, to south of today's US 321, opened by 1978.
By 1980, the segment between TN 93 and US 11W in Kingsport had opened. It was also around this time that US 23 was rerouted onto the new highway. The 1980-81 TN map is also the first map that showed the whole highway from Johnson City to Kingsport as a freeway...it is unclear if what started as TN 137 was built as a freeway from the onset or if a freeway upgrade occurred in the late 1970s.
By March 1985, the US 23 freeway extended north from US 11W to the Virginia line, and southward to Erwin, although neither of these segments would become part of I-181 proper.
According to Kurumi's webpage on I-181, I-181 was designated in late December, 1985. The I-181 designation extended from US 321 in Johnson City to US 11W in Kingsport.
In August, 2003, with the opening of a segment of I-26 in North Carolina, I-181 south of I-81 was replaced by I-26.
Federal legislation in August, 2005 replaced the remainder of I-181 with I-26.
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Page last modified 25 November, 2006