State Representative David Gomberg, while on a road trip in California, noticed that there was a mileage sign, on U.S. 50, in West Sacramento that read, “Ocean City, Maryland – 3,008 Miles.” That started him thinking that perhaps U.S. 20 in Newport should have a sign designating the mileage to Boston, Massachusetts, as U.S. 20, at 3,365 miles, is the longest U.S. Highway in the country, and stretches through 12 states from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.
Representative Gomberg noted that “Highway 20 is an iconic American highway that stretches across the heart of our country and connects two great cities; Boston, Massachusetts, and Newport, Oregon. I’d like to thank ODOT and Massachusetts DOT officials for making these signs a reality. Hopefully they will encourage folks to visit Newport and see for themselves what a special place it really is.”
After Newport City Councilor Dean Sawyer saw the sign in Newport, he communicated with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and worked cooperatively and successfully with them to get a similar sign placed at the eastern terminus of Highway 20 in Boston. Representative Gomberg worked with the Oregon Department of Transportation to make the sign a reality. The new mileage sign has been installed on U.S. 20, just east of U.S. 101, near the Walgreen’s Store in Newport. The ribbon cutting for the new sign was held on Thursday, December 8, at 10:00 A.M.
U.S. Highways originated with the passage of the Federal Highway Act of 1921. This Act provided funding for states to build and improve highways across the U.S. During the construction and improvement of highways, it became apparent that a uniform system of signage was needed to help motorists travel from coast to coast. In April of 1925, a Joint Board on Interstate Highways was formed and agreed to create a group of highways that are known as United States Highways.
The U.S. Government gave final approval to the layout of the United States Highway System, and U.S. 20 became official on January 1, 1927, nearly 90 years ago. Highway 20 traverses Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts. The eastern terminus is in Boston’s Kenmore Square. It is the longest highway in the United States, and classic route for serious road trippers. In Boston, a similar ribbon cutting occurred at 9:00 A.M., EST, on Thursday, December 8, 2016. State and city officials from both states and cities will participate in this noteworthy occasion.