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JLWM8609

For the TxDOT guys, question about control cities on signs

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It appears that only I, the roadgeek, would think of this question. :rolleyes: I've noticed that on US 59 north of downtown Houston, Cleveland is given as a control city on the big green signs. Here's an example. I thought this was unusual since other road signs on other area freeways list control cities which are further away and/or larger than Cleveland such as Beaumont, Dallas, Austin, Victoria and San Antonio. It seems like either Lufkin or Texarkana would have been a control city on the signs for US 59 North in Houston given their populations and distance from Houston. Plus, US 59 South signs in Texarkana and Lufkin show Houston and not Cleveland as their control city. (See US 59 sign in Texarkana HERE and US 59 sign in Lufkin HERE to see what I mean.) So my question is, how are control cities determined? Is there some sort of set criteria?

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It appears that only I, the roadgeek, would think of this question. :rolleyes: I've noticed that on US 59 north of downtown Houston, Cleveland is given as a control city on the big green signs. Here's an example. I thought this was unusual since other road signs on other area freeways list control cities which are further away and/or larger than Cleveland such as Beaumont, Dallas, Austin, Victoria and San Antonio. It seems like either Lufkin or Texarkana would have been a control city on the signs for US 59 North in Houston given their populations and distance from Houston. Plus, US 59 South signs in Texarkana and Lufkin show Houston and not Cleveland as their control city. (See US 59 sign in Texarkana HERE to see what I mean.) So my question is, how are control cities determined? Is there some sort of set criteria?

The Feds set the control cities for interstates, US and state highways are set by TxDOT. No idea how they pick 'em tho...

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FWIW, a TXDoT engineer once told me that Cleveland was chosen as the control city for 59 north because that is the closest city to where 59 ends as a limited-access freeway and becomes an at-grade divided highway.

Hmm, that sounds plausible. Thanks! By that logic, I guess we'll see signs on the new US 90 Freeway for Crosby instead of Liberty or Beaumont.

Edited by JLWM8609

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The Feds set the control cities for interstates, US and state highways are set by TxDOT. No idea how they pick 'em tho...

I asked a different state DOT this same question and the basic answer I got was that on interstates, the control cities are almost always those that have a junction with another interstate. Of course, the main local example of an exception here is Beaumont. Otherwise, from Houston, Lake Charles (where I-10 meets I-210), Lafayette (where I-10 meets I-49), Baton Rouge (for either I-10's junction with I-12 or I-110), New Orleans, Pascagoula (I-110 junction), Mobile (I-65 junction), Pensacola (I-110 junction). Interestingly, in Alabama, Huntsville fought to replace Nashville as the control city on I-65 in Birmingham. It did replace Nashville, even though 65 doesn't travel through Huntsville but instead meets I-565, where you have to drive another 15-20 minutes into Huntsville.

A little road-geek-ology smile.gif

Edited by GovernorAggie

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I asked a different state DOT this same question and the basic answer I got was that on interstates, the control cities are almost always those that have a junction with another interstate. Of course, the main local example of an exception here is Beaumont. Otherwise, from Houston, Lake Charles (where I-10 meets I-210), Lafayette (where I-10 meets I-49), Baton Rouge (for either I-10's junction with I-12 or I-110), New Orleans, Pascagoula (I-110 junction), Mobile (I-65 junction), Pensacola (I-110 junction). Interestingly, in Alabama, Huntsville fought to replace Nashville as the control city on I-65 in Birmingham. It did replace Nashville, even though 65 doesn't travel through Huntsville but instead meets I-565, where you have to drive another 15-20 minutes into Huntsville.

A little road-geek-ology smile.gif

Driving up I-55 from Jackson, MS, the only mention of Memphis on guide signs is the first reassurance sign in Jackson and at the state line. Otherwise its little towns like Grenada and Senatobia.

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My guess is when TXDOT converted US-59 into a freeway around 40-50 years ago, the first major city along the route was Cleveland. Humble was not big enough at the time, and so Cleveland was selected. Although Humble is bigger than Cleveland now, TXDOT just left Cleveland on the signs. That's my guess.

Edited by CoogieHowlser

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Cool thread! I Learned something new. :)

Edited by Jeebus

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