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Interstate 89

Interstate 89

Total length: 191 miles (307 km)
Southern terminus: Bow, NH, at JCT NH 3A/I-93
Northern terminus: Swanton, VT, at Canadian border

States traversed & length in each:

  • New Hampshire — 61 miles (98 km)
  • Vermont — 130 miles (209 km)

Major cities along route:

  • Lebanon, NH
  • Montpelier, VT
  • Burlington, VT

Junctions with non-related Interstates:

Related loops and spurs:

  • Interstate 189 — 1.8 miles long; spur that is essentially a long off-ramp to U.S. Route 7 in South Burlington, VT; I-89 Exit 13

Length I’ve traveled: From southern terminus to VT Exit 13 (I-189)

Time zones:
Eastern — Entire length

Counties traversed:
New Hampshire — Merrimack, Sullivan, Grafton

Vermont — Windsor, Orange, Washington, Chittenden, Franklin

A quick hypertext drive: Interstate 89 serves to connect Vermont and adjacent parts of Canada, including the large city of Montréal, with Boston and southeastern New England. It actually begins at a signalized “T” intersection with New Hampshire Route 3A, perhaps a football field’s length east of its interchange with Interstate 93, and travels almost due east-west to leave the Concord area. The freeway itself is flat here, although there is some nice hill-country scenery off to the side of the road.

After a short distance going due east-west, I-89 turns toward a more northwest-southeast orientation, and remains in that general direction for much of the rest of its jaunt across New Hampshire. The highway does get fairly hilly across the middle of the Granite State, flattening out again as it approaches the Lebanon area and the Connecticut River. Almost immediately after crossing the river into Vermont, I-89 interchanges with I-91, which parallels the Connecticut’s western bank, at an unnumbered (for I-89) interchange; this is something of a rarity, as almost all Interstate-to-Interstate interchanges outside California are exit-numbered in some form.

After the I-91 interchange, I-89 follows the White River for a short distance before eventually turning to due north and heading up into mountain country. The highway itself never gets terribly steep, but I-89 is a very scenic mountain drive up to the state capital of Montpelier, after which it begins to flatten out. Leaving Montpelier, I-89 joins the Winooski River valley and turns to west-northwest. Ice cream aficionados will want to jump off at Exit 10 in Waterbury to visit the Ben & Jerry’s plant.

Just south of Burlington, which is Vermont’s largest city, I-89 makes a 90° turn to head due north. I have never been on this northernmost part of I-89 up to the Canadian border, but from what I have been told, it is fairly flat, as much of it is within a few miles of the eastern shore of Lake Champlain. It eventually connects to Quebec provincial highway 133 at the border; Montréal can then be accessed via a series of Quebec routes north of the border.

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