U.S. Route 51

U.S. Route 51 marker

U.S. Route 51
Route information
Length: 1,286 mi[1] (2,070 km)
Existed: 1926[1] – present
Major junctions
South end: US 61 at Laplace, LA

I-20 at Jackson, MS
I-40 at Memphis, TN
I-57 near Cairo, IL
I-64 near Richview, IL
I-70 at Vandalia, IL
I-72 at Decatur, IL
I-39 / I-55 / I-74 at Bloomington/Normal, IL
I-80 at La Salle, IL
I-88 at Rochelle, IL
I-90 at Rockford, IL

I-39 / I-90 / I-94 at Madison, WI
North end: US 2 at Hurley, WI
States: Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin
Highway system

U.S. Route 51 is a south-north United States highway that runs for 1,286 miles (2,070 km) from the western suburbs of New Orleans, Louisiana to within 100 feet (30 m) of the WisconsinMichigan border. Much of the highway in Illinois and southern Wisconsin runs parallel to or overlaps Interstate 39 (I-39), and much of the route in several states also parallels the Illinois Central Railroad. The highway's northern terminus is between Hurley, Wisconsin, and Ironwood, Michigan, where it ends with a T interchange at US 2. Its southern terminus is Laplace, Louisiana, ending at US 61.

In addition to singing about US 61 on his album Highway 61 Revisited, musician Bob Dylan also commemorated US 51, covering Curtis Jones' folk song "Highway 51 Blues" on his eponymous album Bob Dylan. The North Mississippi Allstars also paid tribute to the highway in the title track of their album 51 Phantom.

In Memphis, Tennessee, all of US 51 south of South Parkway East was renamed from Bellevue Boulevard to Elvis Presley Boulevard. Graceland sits on this highway, in the subdivision of Whitehaven.

In 2004, the six states that US 51 traverses banded together as the Explore Hwy 51 Coalition to help promote this "All-American Road". The group now offers visitor information for traveling the length of the road.[2]

Route description


US 51 crosses the Mississippi–Louisiana border a few miles north of Kentwood and continues to parallel I-55 until just below its interchanges with Louisiana Highway 3234(LA 3234) and US 190 it joins I-55 just south of Hammond at exit 28. From Hammond, the two highways, running concurrently, cross the swamps between Ponchatoula and Laplace on viaducts to I-10, where I-55 ends. The old highway is located to the east of the interstate and is still used for local traffic. US 51 continues southwestward into Laplace where it meets its end at US 61 (Airline Highway). In the 1930s, this highway was called Jefferson Davis Highway.[3]

Before the construction of I-55, US 51 was routed along what is now US 51 Business between Hammond and Ponchatoula. US 51 Business ends at the joined I-55/US 51 south of Ponchatoula. From this point southward, while US 51 is joined with I-55, the former routing of US 51 lies at ground level just to the east of I-55/US 51 and carries no designation. While the southern terminus of US 51 is in Laplace at U.S. 61, it was once co-signed with U.S. 61 into downtown New Orleans. However, it was originally slated to head toward New Orleans along the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain via the New Orleans–Hammond Highway (old LA 33), which was never completed.


US 51 enters the Magnolia State from Tennessee at Southaven and parallels Interstate 55 to the east for much of its length, except for the section between the Tennessee line and Grenada, where it parallels the highway to the west. From Memphis, US 51 passes through Senatobia, Batesville, Grenada, Winona and Canton before reaching Jackson.

At the Jackson-Ridgeland line, US 51 overlaps I-55 from Exit 103 (County Line Road) to Exit 96A (Pearl Street) downtown. The split is only temporary as the highway traverses Pearl, Pascagoula and State streets and meets I-55 again at Exit 93 (Interstate 20/I-55/State Street interchange). The Natchez Trace parkway is crossed near Clinton. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile (715 km) long parkway, in the form of a limited-access two-lane road, in the southeastern United States. The southern end of the route is in Natchez, Mississippi, at an intersection with Liberty Road; the northern end is northeast of Fairview, Tennessee, in the suburban community of Pasquo, Tennessee, at an intersection with Tennessee 100. The road links the cities of Natchez, Mississippi, and Nashville, Tennessee, via Jackson and Tupelo, Mississippi, and Florence in northwestern Alabama. [1]

The two highways run together until Exit 72 (North Crystal Springs). The highway then parallels the interstate through Hazlehurst, Brookhaven and McComb until it reaches the Louisiana border.

The Mississippi section of US 51 is defined at Mississippi Code Annotated § 65-3-3.


US 51 travels through Memphis and up to the Kentucky border in the Mississippi valley. It is planned to become or be bypassed by Interstate 69 through Tennessee.


U.S 51 enters Kentucky at Fulton, and continues north through the towns of Clinton, Bardwell and Wickliffe to the Ohio River, where it is multiplexed with U.S highways 60 and 62 over the Ohio.


US 51 between Mounds and Cairo, during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.

US 51 enters Illinois from Kentucky at the town of Cairo. The route heads northbound to a village near Cairo called Mounds, and begins to overlap I-57, following it for 24 miles (39 km) to Dongola, before splitting and heading north. The route remains two lanes from Dongola to Assumption with the exception of a 10-mile (16 km) section between Centralia and I-64.

Past Assumption, US 51 becomes an expressway to Decatur. In Decatur, US 51 follows I-72 to bypass town. US 51 leaves I-72 after eight miles (13 km), and heads north to BloomingtonNormal as an expressway. At Bloomington–Normal, US 51 follows I-74 for a mile, then I-55 for seven miles (11 km), before following I-39 for 140 miles (230 km).

US 51 follows I-39, intersecting I-80 and I-88 along the way. The highway also follows US 20 south of Rockford (while still following I-39). I-39/US 51 joins I-90, making US 51 of the only toll roads in Illinois that is a U.S. Highway. US 51 exits I-39/I-90 just a mile south of the Wisconsin state line. US 51 follows Illinois Route 75 (IL 75) west to the intersection of IL 251, then turns north through South Beloit to enter Wisconsin.


In the state of Wisconsin, US 51 enters from Illinois at Beloit. US 51 splits off from I-39 and 90 in South Beloit IL and continues north through Janesville and Edgerton. In Edgerton, US 51 rejoins Interstate 39 and Interstate 90 for three and a half miles before splitting off towards Stoughton and McFarland. US 51 runs almost parallel to Interstates 39 and 90 through the eastern portion of Madison, crosses the interstate in DeForest, and finally rejoins Interstate 39 again at Portage. US 51 runs concurrently with Interstate 39 until I-39's terminus in Wausau and continues on as a mixture of freeway and expressway until just north of the interchange with U.S. Route 8. From there through Hazelhurst, US 51 is a two-lane road with sporadic three-lane sections (which were recently constructed in 2008). US 51 expands to four lanes with a central fifth turn lane from Hazelhurst to Arbor Vitae; north of Arbor Vitae it returns to two lanes and continues to its northern terminus in Hurley where it junctions with US 2.

Major intersections

US 61 in LaPlace
I10 in LaPlace
I55 northeast of LaPlace. The highways travel concurrently to Hammond.
US 190 in Hammond
US 98 in McComb
US 84 south of Brookhaven
I55 in Crystal Springs. The highways travel concurrently to Jackson.
I20 / US 49 in Jackson. The highways travel concurrently through the city.
US 80 in Jackson
US 82 in Winona
US 278 in Batesville
I55 / Future I69 in Memphis
US 78 in Memphis
US 64 / US 70 / US 72 / US 79 in Memphis. US 51/US 64/US 70/US 79 travels concurrently through the city.
I240 in Memphis
I40 in Memphis
Future I69 in Memphis
Future I269 in Millington
US 412 in Dyersburg. The highways travel concurrently through the city.
Future I69 / I155 / US 412 in Dyersburg. I-69/US 51 travels concurrently to southwest of Troy.
US 45W northeast of Union City. The highways travel concurrently to South Fulton.
US 45 / US 45E in South Fulton
Future I69 in Fulton. The highways travel concurrently through the city.
US 62 in Bardwell. The highways travel concurrently to Cairo, Illinois.
US 60 in Wickliffe. The highways travel concurrently to Cairo, Illinois.
I57 in Cairo. The highways travel concurrently to near Dongola.
I64 in Richview
US 50 in Sandoval. The highways travel concurrently through the village.
US 40 in Vandalia Township. The highways travel concurrently to Vandalia.
I70 in Vandalia
US 36 in Harristown
I72 in Harristown. The highways travel concurrently to Decatur.
I74 in Bloomington Township. The highways travel concurrently to northwest of Normal.
I55 in Bloomington. The highways travel concurrently to Normal.
US 150 in Bloomington
I39 / I55 in Normal. I-39/US 51 travels concurrently to South Beloit.
US 24 in El Paso
US 6 in LaSalle
I80 in LaSalle
US 52 on the Troy GroveOphir township line
US 34 in Mendota Township
US 30 on the AmboyFranklin Grove township line
I88 in Dement Township
US 20 in Rockford. The highways travel concurrently to Cherry Valley.
I90 in Cherry Valley. The highways travel concurrently to South Beloit.
US 14 in the Town of Janesville
I39 / I90 in the Town of Albion. The highways travel concurrently through the town.
US 12 / US 18 in Madison
US 151 in Madison
I39 / I90 / I94 in the Town of Burke
I39 in the Town of Fort Winnebago. The highways travel concurrently to the Town of Rib Mountain.
US 10 in Stevens Point. The highways travel concurrently to the Town of Hull.
US 8 in the Town of King
US 2 in the Town of Kimball

See also


  1. 1 2 US Highways from US 1 to US 830 Robert V. Droz
  2. "Explore Highway 51 Coalition". Archived from the original on April 8, 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  3. Times Picayune, January 26, 1930
Browse numbered routes
LA 50LALA 52
MS 50MSMS 53
KY 49listUS 52
US 50ILUS 52
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