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Sixteen Interstates The DOT SHOULD Build: FOCUS: Interstate 44---San Diego, California To Calais, Maine

Admittedly a lot of folks are going to question the logic of so much extension for this Midwestern and Southern Interstate route.
That is because traditionally Interstate routes are set in specific positions on the map based upon the numerical system established by the AASHTO at the beginning of the Interstate Highway System exactly 50 years ago.
And the extension of Interstate 44 from its current western and eastern termini at Wichita Falls and St Louis respectively to San Diego and Calais, Maine, also respectively, not only opens new opportunities for international truck transport between Atlantic Canada and Mexico---in fact an x44 spur actually connects TO the Mexican border---but it also sets the new length of the I-44 at just about 3200 miles, which would exceed the length of the longest current interstate, the I-90 from Boston to Seattle.
And what is the reasoning behind this new transcontinental route? Part of it lies in Nafta, the North American Free Trade Agreement. And whilst I disagree with its existence I must admit that this route not only enhances accessibility for San Diego and Atlantic Canada (including New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) but also gives the former a direct transcontinental route: San Diego is rapidly growing with some one and a quarter million people in its city limits alone, yet the nearest that it has to a transcontinental route is the I-8 which branches off the I-10 in Arizona.
Another unique characteristic is the I-44 also crosses the White Sands Missile Range between Alamogordo and Truth or Consequences in New Mexico, which ALSO opens up another defence characteristic as per one of the primary original purposes of the Eisenhower Interstate System.
Additionally this puts several other cities on a major cross country corridor, specifically Cincinnati, OH and Nashua, NH. The route crosses California and Arizona desert, New Mexico mountains and missile test ranges, Texas prairie, Illinois plains and Indiana farmland, then bucolic Ohio hillsides and Amish territory, steep West Virginia and Pennsylvania mountainsides and valleys, approaching the Catskills of New York and then western Massachusetts, followed by lower New Hampshire and even into coastal Maine, perhaps easing lobster and maple syrup producers' travel burdens.
Let's have a look at some maps, shall we?
First let's have a look at the Eastern Extension:

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And now let's have a look at how the Western extension turned out:
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You will note that the Mountain Southwest Expansion Plan incorporates a number of other route proposals, at least one of which will be addressed in this series.
Also, note where the California routing goes, and as an added bonus here is a look at what San Diego's metropolitan area looks with the addition of not only the I-44 but also several other 3dis including a long x08 route through the entire county.
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Incidentally my earliest I-44 extension into San Diego County was routed through the more northerly Oceanside and the earliest plan was to send an x44 into San Diego. Instead I chose to send the I-44 into San Diego via existing routes with state route markers if only because San Diego area freeways are built to the most modern standards of any metropolitan area in California, not to mention of course the higher population concentration served by going to downtown San Diego.
The I-44 is the most diagonal of the Interstates with the exception of Interstates 24 and 74, and the coming I-22. But this route also provides another direct connection from the Pacific Coast to the Northeast as well as between the East Coast and New England and the Southwest. The number of states served on this route would be quintupled and the number of miles quadrupled but the entire nation would enjoy the benefits, from the hotel manager in Joplin to the mechanic in Tempe to the builder in Binghamton. And this route would prove to be a new major artery for America in so many ways.


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