Primary interstates that are now bypasses of major urban areas

This list identifies those primary interstate highways (one or two digit) that have over time become outer bypasses for major urban areas. This list does not include bypasses of small and mid-sized urban areas, nor inner bypasses that now incorporate primary interstates like I-95 around Boston and Washington.


As these routes have attracted more traffic, they have become increasingly congested, especially if they are beneficial to regional and cross-country truck traffic. Interstates 5, 12, 15, 69, 78, 81, and 84 all fall into this category. Most of these have seen exponential growth in the development of distribution and fulfillment centers. Connecting interstates and other freeways are then used to transport goods into the major markets that have been bypassed.

Interstate 5 – eastern bypass of the San Francisco Bay Area

  • links – I-80, I-205 and I-580

Interstate 8 – southern bypass of Phoenix

  • links – I-10 and future I-11

Interstate 11 – once completed, a new western bypass of Phoenix

  • links – I-10

Interstate 12 – northern bypass of New Orleans

  • links – I-10 (2), I-55, I-59, and Pontchartrain Causeway

Interstate 15 – eastern bypass of Los Angeles

  • links – I-10,

Interstate 39 – western bypass of Chicago and Milwaukee

  • links – I-80, I-88, and I-90 for Chicago
  • links – I-43 and I-94 for Milwaukee

Interstate 40 – future northern bypass of Los Angeles and the Inland Empire

  • links – I-15 for the Inland Empire
  • links – I-5 and CA-99 for Los Angeles

Interstate 43 – northern bypass of Chicago

  • links – I-90, I-94, and US 12

Interstate 69 – western and northern bypass of Detroit/Ann Arbor/Windsor

  • links – I-75, I-94 (2), I-96, and US 23

Interstate 70 – northern bypass of Washington

  • links – I-270 and US 29

Interstate 78 – northern bypass of Philadelphia

  • links – I-476 and PA-309

Interstate 81 – western bypass of Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City

  • links – I-66, I-70, and VA-7 for Washington
  • links – I-70 for Baltimore
  • links – I-76 and US 30 for Philadelphia
  • links – I-78 and I-84 for New York City

Interstate 83 – western bypass of Philadelphia

  • links – I-76, I-95, and US 30

Interstate 84 – northern bypass of New York City

  • links – I-86, I-87, I-684, US 7, US 9, and Taconic State Parkway

Interstate 97 – eastern bypass of Washington

  • I-595 (US 50) and MD-3


If this topic is of interest to you, heres a book that addresses the interstate highway system and its impacts that is available via*

*A small commission is earned from purchases that are made using this link to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This entry was posted in business, Cars, cities, commerce, distribution, ecommerce, economic development, geography, highways, history, infrastructure, land use, logistics, Maps, planning, shipping, spatial design, sprawl, Statistics, topography, tourism, Trade, traffic, transportation, Travel, trucking, urban planning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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