This highway was built to connect Denver to cities such as Omaha and Chicago. Originally designated as I-80S, the Colorado segment was completed in 1968 (excluding a later segment to extend to I-70 that was completed in 2002) and worked with the Nebraska Department of Roads to extend the interstate to I-80.  This was completed in 1969.  ASSHTO required the elimination of all directional suffixes from interstate highways in 1975 (although this has not been strictly enforced everywhere: I-35E and I-35W are present in Minnesota and Texas, the latter of which recently gained approval to add I-69W, I-69C, and I-69E), and so I-80S was renumbered as I-76 (conveniently, Colorado became a state in 1876).

Nebraska has a very short portion of this freeway, just over 3 miles.  It comes in just barely shorter than I-129 and I-180 as the shortest Interstate in Nebraska and its only Nebraska exit is its terminus at I-80.

Proposed Changes

There’s not a whole lot that can be changed!  The one thing that bothers me a bit about this highway is that there is a second I-76 in the east.  I-76 could be co-signed with I-80 between the two segments or designated as I-380 or I-170 (preferably the former to honor its old designation of I-80S).  There is a left exit and left merge involved between I-80 and I-76; however, as they are both major freeways and traffic isn’t too insane around that area, I’m not convinced this is a concern (although it is the only left exit in Nebraska and will be the only left merge once the construction in Lincoln is finished).

Bucket List Status

Complete! And will probably be completed many more times, as my wife is from Denver.

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