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Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Notability

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Establishing notabilityEdit

Interstate, U.S., and primary state highways are notable. However, that does not mean an article about them will pass Wikipedia notability guidelines. The fact that the road has been adopted into a major network of highways is the result of a road's notability, not the cause. Well before the article is nominated for Good Article the article should explain what makes this road notable. Specifically, the article should answer the question, "why was this road built in the first place?", and "why are the taxpayers asked to keep spending money to keep the road maintained?" If the article does not answer the question of why does this road exist, that is grounds for deletion of the article.

Guidelines by type of highwayEdit

Interstate, U.S. and Primary state highwaysEdit

With a few exceptions, Interstate, U.S. and primary state highways are sufficiently notable to merit a unique Wikipedia article. Highways that span multiple jurisdictions may be notable enough to merit multiple articles, one for the highway as a whole, and detail articles about specific sections of the highway. However, this is not automatic. Each article should establish its own notability. There are some instances where it may be better to combine articles, even when the highways are notable enough for a unique article. An example is when two highways are closely related, and though unique articles could be created, they would be redundant. Another instance is where a notable highway is related to another highway that is either not notable, or lacking unique information as most sources lump the two highways together.

Secondary state highways and county highwaysEdit

Secondary state highways and county highways that are part of a statewide system (i.e. the highway numbers do not repeat themselves across the state) may or may not be sufficiently notable to merit a unique article. Highways that have very little to say about them (i.e. those that are extremely short and have no historical significance) are better suited to a list.

While for the most part, county highways should be in a list article, there may be a select few major county highways that are notable enough to have their own article. These include freeways/expressways, roads that are former primary state highways, or roads with other special historical significance. When writing an article on such a highway, it is especially imperative that the article make a claim for the road's notability.

Special routesEdit

Special routes of a main highway (i.e. those that carry a banner, such as alternate, business or truck routes) are generally not notable enough to merit coverage in a unique article. Most special routes can be sufficiently covered with a one to two paragraph entry under the "Bannered Routes" or similar section of the main route article. If the main route has several special routes, these may be covered in the appropriate section of a highway's state-detail page or broken off into a stand-alone list instead.

A small minority of special routes are noteworthy enough to be detailed in separate articles. A special route that may possibly warrant a unique article would be one with a distinct history separate from the parent highway, one with a long alignment, or one that is also a freeway—examples include M-28 Business (Ishpeming–Negaunee, Michigan), U.S. Route 95 Alternate (Schurz–Fernley, Nevada), and Interstate 80 Business (Sacramento, California), respectively. Stand-alone articles written for special routes should make a case as to why the special route is distinctly notable, aside from being related to the parent route.

Named highwaysEdit

Often an article can be written about a named highway that may be part of a longer numbered highway, like the Cross-Bronx Expressway (I-95), or that has no number, like the Bronx River Parkway. In the case where a highway is clearly notable, and has no number, a separate article is appropriate. In cases where a road has both a name and a number; separate articles for both the name and the number are appropriate only when both articles can clearly show notability without being redundant to each other. For example, Arroyo Seco Parkway is a portion of California State Route 110. The Arroyo Seco Parkway article focuses on a specific segment of Route 110 that is uniquely notable for its historic nature. However, John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (Maryland) redirects to Interstate 95 in Maryland as it would be nearly impossible to have two non-redundant articles. If a named road has segments that have different route numbers, a set index page such as San Diego Freeway can be used.

Memorial highways should, in general, not have their own articles. The memorial highway should redirect to the numbered highway. If the memorial designation spans multiple highways, redirect to the longest designation. The memorial highway should be mentioned in the numbered highway article and also in the article of the person it was named after, if they were otherwise notable enough to have an article. Note that this does not apply if the memorial highway name is in common use; in that case the highway may deserve an article describing that section.

City streetsEdit

City streets are outside of the scope of this project and are handled by Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Streets.

Guidelines by article typeEdit

List articlesEdit

There are two kinds of list articles. The first consists of only a list or table, such as California county routes, 500 series county routes in New Jersey, Texas farm to market roads, and Florida county roads. These are generally suited for roads that have very little information available, and establishing notability for each road would be difficult.

The second type is a list of mini-articles such as List of state highways serving Utah state parks and institutions. Lists of mini-articles should be used for groups of articles where each road in the group has enough information for a paragraph or two to be written about each road, and together are clearly notable with a common bond that unites them.

Lists of mini-articles for unrelated short articles are not generally helpful. In the case of "list of minor state routes" type articles, there should be a clear definition of minor as used by the state, not an arbitrary definition. If a road is notable enough to deserve more than an entry in a list, but has no common uniting thread with other roads, it's probably better to have a stand alone article.

By using redirects to anchors, even roads that are only listed on list articles or mini-article pages can have a unique link. For example, Utah State Route 312 currently redirects to one of the mini-articles in the above mentioned list.

It is acceptable for a lists of related articles to link to separate articles if one of the related articles is sufficiently notable for its own article. Example: Most of the highways covered by List of state highways serving Utah state parks and institutions are short non-notable highways. However, Utah State Route 313, a highway covered by this list, has a separate article. This highway has significantly more information available than the rest, and if merged into the list of mini articles would give the appearance of a poorly researched article with only one well researched section.

Sub articlesEdit

Many highways that serve multiple jurisdictions have state- or district-level sub-articles that focus on a piece of the highway. However, just because a highway spans multiple jurisdictions does not justify multiple articles. Similarly, just because one jurisdiction has a sub-article does not mean all jurisdictions are entitled to have sub-articles. When considering creating sub-articles, remember both the main and sub articles should establish notability. The decision on when to create a sub article should be based on which scenario results in the best quality of article. Points to consider:

  • If the main article is long, to the point of being difficult to maintain, it may be easier to maintain a series of sub-articles. Example: U.S. Route 50 is currently a GA class article, with several sub-articles that are also GA or higher class. Were all this content combined into a single article, it would be extremely difficult to maintain.
  • Do not create sub-articles for jurisdictions with short and/or unnotable spans without good reason. Example: U.S. Route 59 and U.S. Route 71 have sub-articles for some states, but not others.
  • A highway should have sizable and notable spans in at least 3 jurisdictions before creating sub articles. There are a few instances where highways that only cross two jurisdictions may merit sub articles; however, these should be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
    • Example 1: U.S. Route 491 does not have sub-articles even though the route traverses three states; the Utah and Colorado portions are short with not enough unique sourced information for quality articles.
    • Example 2: A on-wiki discussion was held about what a fully-developed article on Interstate 8 might look like. It was agreed that while the article was incomplete at the time, a fully developed article on I-8 might be long enough to merit breaking into sub-articles.[a]
  • Care should be taken when splitting highway articles into sub articles, as info boxes, navigation boxes and major intersections tables can get tricky. After the articles have been split, ask for reviews to ensure these sections are clear to someone who is not familiar with the subjects of these articles.

Combined articlesEdit

It may be appropriate to have a single article about two related roads (by number, name or history) if one of the roads is short, has little information available, or the two roads are so tightly related that it would be difficult to write non-redundant articles about each. Examples include Interstate 210 and State Route 210 (California), State Route 74 (New York – Vermont), or Las Vegas Beltway (Interstate 215 (Nevada) combined with Clark County Route 215).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Later, the article was fully developed, and the resulting Featured Article covers both states completely without exceeding the various guidelines on length.