End of US highway 5

View a map showing this route.

Additional research and/or photo credits: Nathan Edgars; Martin Karner; Robert Mortell; Alex Nitzman; me

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1926-present Derby Line, VT New Haven, CT

The north end of US 5 is at the Canada border in Derby Line VT. Approaching the boundary, the road splits; non-local trucks aren't allowed to use this port of entry, so instead they're routed east (right) to customs at I-91's northernmost interchange:

me, Oct. 2004

Passenger cars may continue straight ahead on US 5, down the hill towards a small bridge. Note the building with an American flag at lower left - that straddles the international boundary (a plaque near the US customs building cites this as an example of the goodwill between the two countries, and in particular between these border communities). Across the road from that building is a small monument marking the line, shown in the foreground of the photo below:

me, Oct. 2004

The Canadian customs station is visible in the background of both photos. Coming the opposite direction, people entering the U.S. via route 5 first see this:

Mortell, 1996

In the distance you can see the backside of the assembly shown in the first photo above. Just over the hillcrest, drivers are stopped at the port of entry shown below:

me, Oct. 2004

The first southbound reassurance marker is about a half-mile ahead, after passing out of Derby Line:

me, Oct. 2004

About 300 miles ahead, the last such marker looks like this:

Mortell, 1996

The south end of US 5 has always been in New Haven CT, although not always at the same junction. Initially traffic was routed into the city via State Street, a little beyond its current endpoint, then west on Edwards Street, south on Whitney Avenue, and finally on Temple Street, right through New Haven Green, ending at Chapel Street (which carried US 1 at the time). The photo below is looking west on Chapel:

Google Maps Street View, June 2011

The south beginning of US 5 was originally to the right on Temple. That was the case until the mid-1930s, when US 5 was redirected along a route that bypassed the downtown area and the Yale University campus. Traffic ended up on Davenport Avenue; the shot below is looking west:

Google Maps Street View, June 2011

Today the road curves slightly left to the Columbus Avenue intersection (US 1). But back in the day, US 5 went through what's now a pedestrian-only area, visible on the right-hand side of the photo. This merged with Columbus right at Ella Grasso Blvd, forming a busy 5-way intersection that has since been mitigated.

In 1954 the US 5 designation was moved back onto State, but right about where it originally turned west onto Edwards, it instead turned south on East Street, ending at its junction with Water Street (US 1). This shot is looking west on Water:

Google Maps Street View, June 2011

US 5 once began to the right on East St, but this view changed a lot when the interstates were built. I-91 opened to traffic in 1966, and that's when the US 5 designation was truncated to its current endpoint. The photo below was taken from northbound I-91:

Nitzman, July 2004

If you take exit 5, the offramp lines up with northbound State...

Mortell, May 2007 (sign gone by 2010)

...and the south beginning of US 5 is straight ahead (southbound State is to the left under I-91, and to the right is James Street). Today the first northbound marker is about a half-mile ahead:

Mortell, May 2007

That's heading north on State, near Grace Street. Heading south on I-91, things are quite a bit different. For one thing, I'm not sure why US 5 traffic isn't directed to use exit 7 - no one is looking for "southbound" US 5 at that point, and it's quicker and easier to get to northbound State by using Middletown Avenue and Ferry Street. But it's exit 6 that's marked for US 5. After you exit, there's no more directional signage for US 5, even though you have to make two left turns to get onto State.