Commissioned in 1932; few changes since then... except on paper. In the late 1960s, the Tri-State Transportation commission included a Route 79 freeway in its interim highway proposals. The freeway would have paralleled Route 79 to the east leaving Durham, and connected with the Hammonasset Connector (SR 450) in Madison.
Durham Road in Madison is now a straight shot between Woodland Road and Bradley Road, including a bridge over the railroad tracks. In the 1940s, however, (and possibly earlier and later), there was no crossing, and Durham Road was cut in two. Going north from US 1, Route 79 diverged to the east, following Bradley Road and another street over the tracks to reconnect with Durham Road.
In 1958 a Durham Road bridge was built, and the "other street" mentioned above, whatever it was called then, is now called Old Route 79.
In February 2003, Madison officials announced their intent to have US 1 in town designated a state scenic road. They said they would follow this up with an application for part of Route 80; and also for Route 79.