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US 40

Keysers Ridge

La Vale
Piney Grove

Indian Springs
Clear Spring
Cedar Lawn
Wagners Crossroads

New Market
Mt. Airy

Mt. Airy

West Friendship
Pine Orchard
Normandy Heights
Ellicott City


Baltimore City

Middle River
White Marsh

Havre de Grace

North East

US 40 · National Pike, Baltimore National Pike, Pulaski Hwy
220.29 mi. in Maryland; from Pennsylvania line near Keysers Ridge east to Delaware line near Elkton.

Status: Marked east-west.

NHS: Inside the Baltimore Beltway (I-695), plus Interstate multiplexes along I-70 and I-68.

US 40 encompasses the Maryland, and American, highway experience. It affords a window on all the history that is on offer, a capsule of our travels as a nation. From the colonial era to canals, railroads, turnpikes—the early automobile era to the Interstates and on to the Baltimore freeway revolts of the 1960s-70s, US 40 has been a front-row seat for it all. Stone bridges, frontages, old alignments, newer alignments built, dualizations. Bypasses, and later Interstates on top of these, and even one abandoned for its original purpose (I-170).

At 220 miles in all, US 40 is the longest highway of any category in Maryland. To put it in perspective, US 40 has more mileage west of Frederick (122) than then entire length of I-95 in Maryland (109). US 40 also has the most mileage in concurrent runs with Interstates. It combines with all but the westernmost 14 miles of I-68 and also from exits 1-9 and 53-82 of I-70 (which it parallels through most of the Midwest and West.)

Normally I focus on the automobile or SRC/SHA era, but the route's history deserves a quick start from the top. Starting in the west of Maryland, the corridor that would become US 40 west of Cumberland began construction in 1811 as the National Road, the first federally built and maintained highway in the U.S. This corridor was earlier blazed by the colonial-era Braddock Road in the 1750s, on the path of Nemacolin's Trail, a Native American trail. Construction reached Wheeling, WV by 1818. Funding was stopped in 1839 after only reaching Vandalia, IL (it was planned to reach St. Louis.) By this point the railroads were beginning their period of ascendancy that would last the remainder of the 19th Century.

By 1824, a series of turnpikes were completed west from Baltimore to meet the National Road in Cumberland. Maintenance of the National Road east of Wheeling was turned over to the states in 1835, when it became the National Pike. The turnpike to Baltimore became known as the Baltimore National Pike. An extension to Washington, the Washington National Pike, was also built. It would be designated US 240, today's MD 355, mostly bypassed by I-270. Most of these old turnpikes still have milestones intact (even visible from I-70), and are designated either US 40 Alternate, US 40 Scenic, or that catch-all route number we all know and love, MD 144.

Between Hagerstown and Frederick, a new alignment to the northeast of the old (now Alt US 40) was under construction by 1939, only labeled by a blank US shield. A 1946 Gousha map labeled part of it near Hagerstown as MD 691. In eastern Hagerstown it was simply named the Dual Highway, a name it retains today. By 1948 it was complete, but labeled as Alternate 40 until 1953, when US 40 swapped Main and Alt banners to the routings that hold today.

In Frederick, US 40 used to run along Patrick Street through town. In the mid-1950s, it was reconfigured into a pair of one-way streets, Patrick Street westbound and South Street eastbound. The 1950s were accompanied by non-limited-access dualization, first in Howard County and then east of Frederick. These were on parallel new alignments, and resulted in the first use of 144 for the old road. By 1956, the portion of the Frederick Freeway which bypassed US 40 (and later mostly became part of I-70) was complete, but it wasn't labeled US 40 (and Patrick/South Streets as 144) until 1959. Most of the Frederick to Ellicott City stretch would be directly overlaid by I-70, but the lack of access controls resulted in development near Ellicott City and Frederick, requiring two new alignments to bypass these areas. One, still further north past Ellicott City to the Baltimore Beltway, and a gap in I-70 east near the Monocacy River bright east of Frederick that would not be filled until 1985.

In eastern Howard County, approaching Ellicott City, the new US 40 veered northward away from the old route down into the old town, crossing into Baltimore County and connecting with Edmondson Avenue just west of the limits of Baltimore City. This stretch bypassing Ellicott City first appears in 1940, and after the war was initially designated as Alternate 40, swapping in either 1947 or 1948. At the time, the old Frederick Road east of Ellicott City was still also US 29 leading into Baltimore. US 29 would be diverted to a new interchange west of town in 1949. The Alternate 40 designation for Frederick Road was dropped around 1952-53 in favor of MD 144.

US 40 now proceeds east into Baltimore, becoming Edmondson Avenue near the city line. It then drops south by two blocks, becoming two-way Franklin Street in the process. Just west of US 1 (Fulton Ave and Monroe St) US 40 splits into a pair of one-way streets, Franklin westbound and Mulberry eastbound. The Franklin-Mulberry corridor, as far back as 1944, was in the planners' sights for an east-west expressway, as part of at least two separate plans. Although by this time a full east-west connection had been rejected, connections west to I-70, and later south to I-95 were still in play. In anticipation of the new I-70 connection, a 1.39 mile freeway section between Franklin and Mulberry was started in 1975, completed in 1979. Instead of being the end of I-70 itself, I-70 was planned to meet I-95 in Southwest Baltimore; the stub would instead be designated I-170. I-70 through Leakin Park was killed in 1981. Two years later, obvious that I-70, nor any other connecting Interstates would be built, I-170, was redesignated part of US 40. All I-170 signage would be gone by 1989.

The Franklin-Mulberry pair merge at St. Paul Street (MD 2) to become Orleans Street, starting over a viaduct completed in 1936 to bridge the Jones Falls. US 40 then becomes Pulaski Highway, earlier called the Philadelphia Road, which itself replaced a turnpike. A similar tale to what occurred west of Baltimore, dualized Pulaski Highway was built between 1935 and 1938. The old road it replaced became today's Philadelphia Road (MD 7). Pulaski Highway as a name continues on US 40 into Delaware, with the exception of Aberdeen, where it's known as Philadelphia Blvd. Despite many open stretches, development had engulfed enough of Pulaski Highway that it was necessary for a completely new alignment for the Interstate-era Northeast Expressway, today's I-95. Due to proximity to Interstates, US 40 is not part of the NHS on any of its solo runs in Maryland, except for the part through Baltimore City from I-695 east to I-95 on the other side, only the part of US 40 not paralleled by nor shared with an Interstate. A throwback of sorts to the East-West Expressway.

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   0.0 PA Line
   3.3 MD 826H
   3.4 US 40 Alt
   3.7 US 219*
   3.7 14 I-68* 14

  31.8 GA-AL Line
  61.9 AL-WA Line
  71.0 82B I-70* 1A
  71.0 1A I-68* 82B

  79.2 9 I-70* 9
  82.1 Big Pool Rd
  86.6 MD 68
  88.9 MD 57
  93.5 MD 63
  94.7 MD 144WA
  96.2 I-81 6
  96.6 MD 910C
  97.6 US 11
  98.1 Potomac St
  98.1 Locust St
  98.7 MD 64
101.7 I-70 32
104.5 MD 66
107.9 WA-FR Line
111.0 MD 17
118.4 I-70 48
119.7 US 40 Alt
121.1 13 [6] US 15* 13 [6]
121.8 12 [5] US 15* 12 [5]
121.8 53 I-270 32
121.8 53 I-70* 53

135.5 FR-CR Line
137.2 CR-HO Line

151.5 82 I-70* 82
152.5 MD 144A
155.5 US 29 24
156.4 MD 984
158.2 HO-BA Line
159.8 N Rolling Rd
160.7 I-695 15
161.1 Ingleside Ave
162.2 BA-BC Line
162.7 Cooks Ln
164.3 - US 40 Truck
164.3 - Hilton Pkwy
165.7 (170) US 1 S/B
165.8 (170) US 1 N/B
166.4 (170) Franklin W/B
166.4 (170) Mulberry E/B
166.7 (170) MLK Blvd
166.8 Greene St
166.9 Paca St
167.5 MD 2
167.7 Orleans St Viaduct
168.5 N Broadway
170.2 Haven St
170.7 Monument St
171.0 - US 40 Truck
171.0 - MD 151
171.3 - I-895
171.6 North Point Rd
172.0 - Moravia Rd
172.3 I-95 60
172.8 BC-BA Line
172.8 MD 7BA
173.1 MD 7
175.6 I-695 35
176.1 Rossville Blvd
176.9 - MD 700
179.8 - MD 43
184.4 BA-HA Line
186.5 MD 152
188.2 MD 755
188.7 - MD 24
192.8 - MD 543
195.1 MD 7
195.1 MD 159
195.8 - MD 715
197.5 MD 132
198.0 - MD 22
199.2 MD 132B
200.7 MD 7A
202.1 MD 7A
202.1 MD 155
202.4 W End Hatem Bridge
203.0 HA-CE Line
203.8 E End Hatem Bridge
204.0 Toll ($6 E/B)
204.2 MD 222
204.4 Coudon Blvd
207.0 MD 7B
207.4 MD 7C
211.3 MD 272
216.4 MD 7C
216.4 MD 279
217.9 MD 213
219.2 MD 7D
219.3 MD 7E
220.1 MD 781
220.3 DE Line