The Coming of the Interstate

“We’re on the verge of the greatest  development Vermont has ever seen.” —George D. Aiken, at opening of Interstate 91 in Putney, 1961

Everyone understood that the federal interstate system would have a tremendous impact on Vermontís future. The exact nature of those changes couldnít be predicted, though most Vermonters were optimistic, hopeful, and welcoming of the new highway. Construction began at Guilford in 1957 and ended in 1982 on a final stretch from St. Johnsbury to
New Hampshire. Interstates 89, 91, and 93 consist of 381 miles of limited-access highways. Like railroads in the previous century, this new transportation system was a major factor in the transforming of Vermont. It brought to the state economic development, urban growth, and new and different people. Unlike the railroads, however, the interstates led more people to settle in the state as permanent residents, reversing the trend of the past one hundred years.

Section of Interstate 89 between Bolton and Waterbury while under construction in the 1950s.Same section of Interstate 89 upon completion in 1960.

Copyright 2006, Vermont Historical Society.  All rights reserved.
Reproduction of photographs or text without written permission is prohibited.