|Length||964 mi (1,551 km)|
|West end||/ near Washington, MS|
| at Summit, MS|
|East end||/ at Palm Beach, FL|
|States||Mississippi, Alabama, Florida|
U.S. Route 98 (US 98) is an east–west United States highway that runs from western Mississippi to southern Florida. It was established in 1933 as a route between Pensacola, Florida and Apalachicola, Florida, and has since been extended westward into Mississippi and eastward across the Florida Peninsula. It runs along much of the Gulf Coast between Mobile, Alabama and Crystal River, Florida, including extensive sections closely following the coast between Mobile and St. Marks, Florida.
As of 2005, the highway's official western terminus is near Washington, Mississippi north of Natchez, at U.S. Route 61. However, its signed terminus is with U.S. Route 84 in Meadville. Its eastern terminus is Palm Beach, Florida, at State Road A1A.
U.S. 98's western terminus is in Mississippi, and its eastern terminus is in Florida. Much of its route through Alabama and Florida falls within coastal counties.
U.S. 98 enters the state from the southeast and immediately widens to four lanes. It bypasses Lucedale to the north, and an interchange with Mississippi Highway 63 provides four-laned access to Pascagoula on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, increasing road capacity for hurricane evacuations. At Hattiesburg, an interchange with U.S. Route 49 provides four-laned access to Gulfport (to the south) and Jackson (to the north). The road continues west from its intersection with U.S. 49 to Interstate 59 at Exit 59, with which it is concurrent through Exit 65 (Hardy Street). The highway runs westward through Columbia before meeting U.S. 51 in McComb. It then joins Interstate 55 from Exit 15 (South McComb) to Exit 20 (Summit). The last remaining two-laned section of U.S. 98 in Mississippi then runs northwestward to Bude and Meadville, becoming concurrent with the four-laned US 84 from Meadville to its western terminus in Washington at U.S. 61, just northeast of Natchez. There is some debate as to whether the highway actually runs with U.S. 61 to Natchez. In March 2014 a MDOT sign along U.S. Route 61 / U.S. Route 84 in Natchez indicates "NORTH US 61/EAST US 84/TO US 98", supporting a terminus at the US 61/ US 84 intersection near Washington, MS.
The Mississippi section of U.S. 98 is defined in Mississippi Code Annotated § 65-3-3.
In Alabama, US 98 is paired with unsigned State Route 42 (SR 42). The route enters Alabama from the east near Lillian in rural Baldwin County. At Daphne, US 98 begins a concurrency with US 90. US 90 and 98 junction I-10 at Daphne on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, then again on the western side of the bay as they enter downtown Mobile. As the two routes approach the Mobile River, US 98 is split into two routes, with a Truck Route 98 crossing the Mobile River via the Cochrane-Africatown USA Bridge, co-signed with US 90. Passenger car traffic passes directly into town under the Mobile River via the Bankhead Tunnel. Once the Truck Route rejoins the main route in downtown Mobile, US 98 assumes a northwestward trajectory, and enters Mississippi near the community of Wilmer in western Mobile County. US 98 is the southern terminus of two major U.S. highways: US 31, at Spanish Fort, and US 45 in Mobile. The safety of the route, or the lack thereof, has earned the road the nickname "Bloody 98". A plan to remediate the problem has not been adopted, and is hampered by the financial damage imposed to road repairs by higher vehicle fuel efficiency (as gas taxes largely go to road repair) and the diversion of roadway funds to other projects like greenways and public transportation. Also, environmentalists have gone to court on numerous occasions to block proposals to turn the stretch of US 98 from the Alabama-Mississippi line to the town of Semmes, Alabama, into a four-lane, fearing that construction runoff would cause contamination of Big Creek Lake (where Mobile gets its municipal water supply) and its surrounding wetlands.
Within Florida, US 98 is marked as an east–west road from the Alabama-Florida border to Perry. Throughout most of the state, the road is marked as a north–south road.
Concurrencies include US 441 from Royal Palm Beach to Okeechobee, US 27 from South Sebring to West Frostproof, US 17 from Fort Meade to Bartow, US 301 from Clinton Heights to Moss Town, SR 50 from Ridge Manor to Brooksville, SR 50A then US 41 in Brooksville, US 19 from Chassahowitzka to Perry, ALT US 27 from Chiefland to Perry, US 319 in Medart and from St. Theresa to Port St. Joe, and US 90 in Pensacola. The hidden designation for most of US 98 across the panhandle of the state of Florida is State Route 30. Between Chassahowitzka and Palm Beach, the hidden designation is State Route 700. There is a 60 mph speed limit east of Tyndall Air Force Base outside of Panama City all the way to Perry.
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US 98 was first commissioned in 1934. At that time, its entire route was within Florida, traveling from Pensacola to Apalachicola. In 1952, the eastern end was extended to its present terminus in Palm Beach, Florida. In 1955, the western terminus was extended westward to Natchez, Mississippi. In 1999, the western end of US 98 was truncated to its intersection with US 84 at Bude, Mississippi, although it continued to be signed concurrently with US 84 to Washington, Mississippi until 2008.