Festus Live Cam

Situated from Interstate 55, runs from the Arkansas state line to the Poplar Street Bridge


Interstate 55 (I-55) is a major highway in the United States that spans from Louisiana to Illinois, passing through several states, including Missouri. In Missouri, I-55 stretches approximately 210 miles from the Arkansas state line near Steele in the south to the Illinois state line near St. Louis in the north. The highway serves as a vital transportation corridor, connecting various cities and towns along its route.

The history of I-55 in Missouri dates back to the mid-20th century when the Interstate Highway System was initiated. The construction of I-55 began in the late 1950s, and the first section to open in Missouri was between Festus and Herculaneum in 1958. Over the following years, additional segments of the highway were constructed and opened to traffic.

One of the notable aspects of I-55 in Missouri is its association with the historic Route 66. In the past, Route 66 served as a primary east-west highway connecting Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California. As the Interstate Highway System developed, I-55 absorbed portions of the original Route 66 in Missouri, Illinois, and other states. Today, some sections of I-55 in Missouri run along the former alignment of Route 66, preserving the legacy of the iconic "Mother Road."

The completion of I-55 in Missouri occurred in stages. By the early 1970s, the majority of the highway had been constructed, including the sections passing through major cities like St. Louis and Cape Girardeau. Throughout the years, various improvements and upgrades have been made to enhance safety and accommodate increasing traffic volumes.

I-55 in Missouri serves as a crucial transportation route for both interstate travel and local commuting. It connects several important cities and towns, including Cape Girardeau, Perryville, Ste. Genevieve, Festus, Arnold, and St. Louis. The highway also intersects with other major routes, such as I-44, I-64, and I-270, facilitating regional and national connectivity.

Over time, I-55 has undergone routine maintenance and occasional reconstruction projects to ensure its continued functionality and safety. These efforts include resurfacing, bridge repairs, and capacity expansions to accommodate growing traffic demands.

Overall, the history of I-55 in Missouri reflects the broader development of the Interstate Highway System and its impact on transportation infrastructure in the state. It has played a significant role in connecting communities, fostering economic growth, and providing a vital link for both local and long-distance travel.

Historical Facts

  • Origin and Development: I-55 was originally conceived as part of the Interstate Highway System, a comprehensive network of highways designed to improve transportation across the United States. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 authorized the construction of I-55, among other interstate routes.
  • Route Adaptation: In several states, including Missouri, I-55 incorporated sections of the historic U.S. Route 66. This alignment provided a direct link to major cities and towns along Route 66, preserving its legacy while enhancing transportation efficiency.
  • Initial Opening: The first section of I-55 to open in Missouri was between Festus and Herculaneum, which debuted to traffic in 1958. This marked the beginning of I-55's presence in the state.
  • Completion Timeline: The construction of I-55 in Missouri progressed over several years. Different segments were completed and opened to the public in stages. The final stretch of I-55 in Missouri, between St. Louis and the Illinois state line, was finished by the early 1970s.
  • Major Cities Connected: I-55 in Missouri serves as a vital link between various significant cities and towns. These include St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Perryville, Ste. Genevieve, Festus, and Arnold. The highway facilitates efficient travel and commerce between these urban centers.
  • Traffic Growth: Over the years, I-55 has experienced increasing traffic volumes due to population growth, economic development, and its role as a crucial transportation corridor. This led to periodic expansion projects and infrastructure improvements to accommodate the growing demand.
  • Impact on Tourism: I-55's alignment with the historic Route 66 in certain sections has made it a popular route for travelers seeking to experience the nostalgia and cultural significance associated with the "Mother Road." This has contributed to tourism and the preservation of Route 66 landmarks.
  • Maintenance and Upgrades: Regular maintenance and occasional rehabilitation projects have been undertaken to ensure the safety and functionality of I-55. These include resurfacing, bridge repairs, and capacity enhancements to meet modern transportation needs.
  • Economic Significance: I-55 plays a crucial role in supporting commerce and economic development in the region. It facilitates the movement of goods, services, and people, contributing to trade, industry, and employment opportunities.
  • Intersections with Other Interstates: I-55 intersects with other major interstates, creating important transportation connections. In Missouri, notable interchanges include I-44, I-64, and I-270, further enhancing regional and national connectivity.

These historical facts illustrate the development, impact, and ongoing significance of Interstate 55 in Missouri.


Interstate 55 (I-55) in Missouri traverses a diverse geographical landscape, offering a mix of urban, suburban, and rural environments. Here are some key geographical features and characteristics of I-55 in Missouri:

  • Southern Missouri: As I-55 enters Missouri from Arkansas, it passes through the southeastern corner of the state. This region is characterized by rolling hills, fertile farmland, and forests. The highway runs through rural areas with small towns and communities.
  • Mississippi River Valley: As I-55 progresses northward, it approaches the Mississippi River, forming the eastern border of Missouri. The highway offers scenic views of the river valley, which is characterized by expansive floodplains and fertile agricultural land.
  • St. Louis Metropolitan Area: I-55 passes through the St. Louis metropolitan area, the largest urban center in Missouri. In this section, the highway crosses the Mississippi River on the Poplar Street Bridge and connects with other major interstates, such as I-44 and I-64. The St. Louis skyline and iconic Gateway Arch can be seen from I-55.
  • Suburban Areas: Within the St. Louis metropolitan area, I-55 traverses various suburban communities, including towns like Arnold, Festus, and Herculaneum. These areas offer a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial developments.
  • Urban Highways: Through downtown St. Louis, I-55 merges with I-44 and I-70, forming a section known as the "Downtown St. Louis Mixmaster." This interchange is a major transportation hub, serving as a gateway to downtown and connecting various highways.
  • Southwestern Missouri: North of St. Louis, I-55 continues through southwestern Missouri, passing by cities such as Cape Girardeau and Perryville. This section features a mix of rolling farmland, forests, and small towns.
  • Gateway to Illinois: I-55 in Missouri terminates at the Illinois state line near St. Louis. At this point, it connects with Interstate 70, providing access to the greater St. Louis metropolitan area and serving as a gateway to Illinois.

The geographical characteristics along I-55 in Missouri offer a diverse and changing landscape, ranging from rural farmland and forests to bustling urban areas. Travelers on the highway experience a blend of natural beauty, suburban development, and vibrant cityscapes as they traverse the state.