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  • Ren Gudino

The Bud Shuster Highway: Breaking the Sequential Norm

Most of us are familiar with the interstates that crisscross the nation, labeled with their sequential numbering system. However, there is one unique exception to this standard—the Bud Shuster Highway. Let's delve into the intriguing story behind the Bud Shuster Highway, its significance, and why it stands apart from the rest.



First, let's review how interstates are typically named. The numbering system follows a logical pattern: odd-numbered interstates generally run north-south, while even-numbered interstates primarily run east-west. The lower numbers are assigned to interstates closer to the southern and western borders of the country. For example, Interstate 5 hugs the West Coast, while Interstate 95 stretches along the Eastern Seaboard.


In this well-ordered interstate network, the Bud Shuster Highway, officially known as Interstate 99, is an intriguing anomaly. Located in Pennsylvania, it deviates from the sequential numbering system. Instead of being named Interstate 87 or 89, it was designated as Interstate 99.


The tale of the Bud Shuster Highway is rooted in politics, regional pride, and the tireless efforts of one influential congressman. Bud Shuster, a Pennsylvania native, represented the state's 9th Congressional District for 28 years. A strong advocate for transportation infrastructure, he played a pivotal role in securing federal funding for the creation of this highway.


Though the idea for the highway emerged in the 1960s, it wasn't until 1993 that it received congressional approval. Interstate 99 serves as a vital transportation link in Central Pennsylvania, connecting the city of Bellefonte to the city of Bedford. It boasts impressive engineering feats, such as the famous Seven Mountains and Allegheny Mountain Tunnels.


The decision to designate this highway as Interstate 99 was a deliberate choice aimed at highlighting the region's distinctive character. Pennsylvania residents take great pride in their state, and the name serves as a tribute to the area's rich history and contributions to the nation. Additionally, it differentiates the Bud Shuster Highway from other interstates, giving it a unique identity and making it easily recognizable among the vast highway network.


While the Bud Shuster Highway may be the only interstate not named sequentially, it stands as a testament to the exceptional vision and determination of Congressman Bud Shuster. By deviating from the numbering conventions, Interstate 99 serves as a proud symbol of Pennsylvania's regional identity and showcases the state's dedication to robust transportation infrastructure.


Next time you find yourself traveling through Central Pennsylvania, remember the fascinating story behind the Bud Shuster Highway, an interstate that breaks the mold and reminds us of the diverse narratives that shape our nation's transportation system.

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