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IronTiger

Houston's directional freeways

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I have to admit, I kind of like Houston's freeway naming scheme of basing it after where it goes but I have to wonder why it's not applied consistently.

To date, we have (moving counterclockwise):

North Freeway - I-45N

Northwest Freeway - US-290

Katy Freeway - I-10W (I read that early on this was "West Freeway" but I don't know if when it opened it was known as that or changed before)

Southwest Freeway - US-59S

South Freeway - TX-288

Gulf Freeway - I-45S (Why isn't this Southeast Freeway?)

East Freeway - I-10E

Eastex Freeway - US-59N (Why isn't this Northeast Freeway?)

So we have 8 freeways with good names but three oddballs. West Freeway was renamed for a reason I can't remember but it was supposed to be named that, Gulf Freeway, no idea but at least the "Gulf" makes sense, and "Eastex"? Where did that even come from?

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So we have 8 freeways with good names but three oddballs. West Freeway was renamed for a reason I can't remember but it was supposed to be named that, Gulf Freeway, no idea but at least the "Gulf" makes sense, and "Eastex"? Where did that even come from?

 

You forgot the La Porte Freeway (aka Pasadena Freeway)

 

I believe the Gulf Freeway name was picked from a contest.

 

Eastex freeway goes to EAST TEXas.  *Also named from a contest

 

Also, I think, officially the East Freeway was renamed the Baytown East Freeway after a campaign by the City of Baytown in 90s.

Edited by gnu

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You forgot the La Porte Freeway (aka Pasadena Freeway)

 

I believe the Gulf Freeway name was picked from a contest.

 

Eastex freeway goes to EAST TEXas.  *Also named from a contest

 

Also, I think, officially the East Freeway was renamed the Baytown East Freeway after a campaign by the City of Baytown in 90s.

 

I don't think I-10 East has ever been officially renamed "Baytown-East Freeway."

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I don't think I-10 East has ever been officially renamed "Baytown-East Freeway."

unofficially, the "Beast" Fwy ;)

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You forgot the La Porte Freeway (aka Pasadena Freeway)

 

I believe the Gulf Freeway name was picked from a contest.

 

Eastex freeway goes to EAST TEXas.  *Also named from a contest

 

Also, I think, officially the East Freeway was renamed the Baytown East Freeway after a campaign by the City of Baytown in 90s.

Well, La Porte Freeway TX-225 I left out because even it goes off of 610 but doesn't go anywhere after that. US-59 goes to Laredo at the Mexican border and Texarkana at the other end. Northwest Freeway goes to Austin and beyond, I-45 goes to Dallas and terminates at Galveston, I-10 stretches from coast to coast, and 288 goes to Freeport (admittedly not as long as others) but 225 goes from the Loop to La Porte.

And yes, I realize that the highways have different names in other cities too...(Santa Monica Freeway is also I-10, but not here!)

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Katy Freeway - I-10W (I read that early on this was "West Freeway" but I don't know if when it opened it was known as that or changed before)

 

It's been called the Katy Freeway for as long as I can remember, which goes back to when it stretched all the way from Post Oak to Bunker Hill.  It was built over Katy Road, which was a four lane undivided road, similar to Hempstead Highway; Old Katy was on the other side of the MKT railroad tracks.  

 

There were some West Fwy street signs put up at some frontage road intersections (in the 70s IIRC), but they didn't last very long. 

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It's been called the Katy Freeway for as long as I can remember, which goes back to when it stretched all the way from Post Oak to Bunker Hill. It was built over Katy Road, which was a four lane undivided road, similar to Hempstead Highway; Old Katy was on the other side of the MKT railroad tracks.

There were some West Fwy street signs put up at some frontage road intersections (in the 70s IIRC), but they didn't last very long.

I have a Key Map from 1993-94 that labels the inner loop stretch of I-10 West from I-45 to I-610, as the "West Freeway". But outside of the loop it's labeled "Katy Freeway". Maybe since the inner loop stretch of I-10 West is so short, the "West Freeway" moniker never took off?

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I believe it will be named Aggie Expressway once after upcoming expansions.

Yeah, but 249 doesn't even factor in to the directional freeways at all. As a freeway, it's only that past the Outer Belt, so it was just a blip on the radar as far as highways were concerned when the others were named. I don't think it became a freeway at all until the early 1980s.

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I believe it will be named Aggie Expressway once after upcoming expansions.

I always thought it was the tomball freeway? I've heard a few people call it that.
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Officially, Spur 527 is also the Southwest Freeway, since it was where US 59 formerly transitioned from the Southwest Freeway and onto city streets until the early 70s.

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Officially, Spur 527 is also the Southwest Freeway, since it was where US 59 formerly transitioned from the Southwest Freeway and onto city streets until the early 70s.

That's interesting. So the US-59 portion south of Midtown should actually be the Eastex Freeway and not Southwest Freeway?

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Southwest Fwy is also titled Lloyd Bensten highway. I'm not sure how long this has been the case but I recently noticed brown signs indicating this designation. Personally I'm not a fan of naming highways after people because the name is arbitrary to the direction. In a huge fan of naming based of direction or major city/town in the path (I.e. Katy). Naming after senators and the like seems very chicagoish

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Yeah, but 249 doesn't even factor in to the directional freeways at all. As a freeway, it's only that past the Outer Belt, so it was just a blip on the radar as far as highways were concerned when the others were named. I don't think it became a freeway at all until the early 1980s.

For that matter, it didn't even become 249 at all until the 1980s. It used to be highway 149 when I was growing up, also known as West Mount Houston Rd. None of the freeway portion existed, nor did what's now the Sam Houston Tollway.

Freeways like 45 south were named way back when they were first constructed, in the Gulf freeway's case, as Highway 35. The age of what's now Texas 249 Tomball Parkway is a contributing factor to the lack of a directional name for it, as is the fact that it originates outside of the present day Beltway system. That and what would it be? The North-Northwest Freeway, lol.

225 is a little different, as it originates off of the Loop, and it is around 3 decades older than 249. It has always been named the La Porte Freeway as far as I go back. It might have had a chance at being named the Southeast Freeway, had it ever been completed.

It used to be that the directional names for the various freeways stopped outside of Houston, even the original Gulf. It has always stopped at the causeway, where it then becomes Highway 87 as Broadway. There is no North Freeway in The Woodlands or Spring, it's IH-45 North.

The Katy Freeway naming had as much to do with the train line that ran next to it, as it did the town in went to.

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Southwest Fwy is also titled Lloyd Bensten highway. I'm not sure how long this has been the case but I recently noticed brown signs indicating this designation. Personally I'm not a fan of naming highways after people because the name is arbitrary to the direction. In a huge fan of naming based of direction or major city/town in the path (I.e. Katy). Naming after senators and the like seems very chicagoish

Well, that and a "true rename" it's just not all that known. For instance, did you know that 290 from Beltway 8 to Waller County is actually the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway, and even put up real signage to that effect? Like Reagan's nickname, "the Teflon President"...it just doesn't stick. Raise of hands, how many of you actually were aware of 290's other name? I wasn't.

As for the Gulf Freeway, the reason it's not called the Southeast Freeway was because the Gulf Freeway, as I'm remembering, was a pre-Interstate "freeway".

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Well, that and a "true rename" it's just not all that known. For instance, did you know that 290 from Beltway 8 to Waller County is actually the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway, and even put up real signage to that effect? Like Reagan's nickname, "the Teflon President"...it just doesn't stick. Raise of hands, how many of you actually were aware of 290's other name? I wasn't.

As for the Gulf Freeway, the reason it's not called the Southeast Freeway was because the Gulf Freeway, as I'm remembering, was a pre-Interstate "freeway".

 

Oh yeah, Gulf Freeway started out as U.S. 75 before it was designated as I-45.  Anyways I always thought the Gulf Freeway was sort of a directional name. After all it is telling you where it's going, to the Gulf. Same with Eastex, it's going to East Texas although Eastex is slightly difficult to decipher. 

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Southwest Fwy is also titled Lloyd Bensten highway. I'm not sure how long this has been the case but I recently noticed brown signs indicating this designation. Personally I'm not a fan of naming highways after people because the name is arbitrary to the direction. In a huge fan of naming based of direction or major city/town in the path (I.e. Katy). Naming after senators and the like seems very chicagoish

I believe it's been called that since the mid 80's.

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I believe it will be named Aggie Expressway once after upcoming expansions.

 

   I may have to move...

 

   610 should be called the Aggie Expressway, since it's the official hurricane evacuation route for Aggies.

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Southwest Fwy is also titled Lloyd Bensten highway. I'm not sure how long this has been the case but I recently noticed brown signs indicating this designation. Personally I'm not a fan of naming highways after people because the name is arbitrary to the direction. In a huge fan of naming based of direction or major city/town in the path (I.e. Katy). Naming after senators and the like seems very chicagoish

 

When they make me king of the world, one of my first edicts will be to ban naming infrastructure after politicians.  Right after I ban calling non-parkways "parkways".

 

The Bentsen name for the Southwest Fwy never caught on, thank god.  I'm surprised there are still signs for it. 

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When they make me king of the world, one of my first edicts will be to ban naming infrastructure after politicians.  Right after I ban calling non-parkways "parkways".

 

The Bentsen name for the Southwest Fwy never caught on, thank god.  I'm surprised there are still signs for it. 

 

Right arm, S'dude.

 

Sports heroes are a different deal, IMO.  I wouldn't mind calling 288 the Nolan Ryan all the way into town (and I don't think I ever hear anyone call it "the South Freeway").  And if Spur 5 / TX 35 ever gets built out, I'm all for naming it after Jack Johnson (the Galveston Giant, not the musician).

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When they make me king of the world, one of my first edicts will be to ban naming infrastructure after politicians.  Right after I ban calling non-parkways "parkways".

 

The Bentsen name for the Southwest Fwy never caught on, thank god.  I'm surprised there are still signs for it. 

 

I'm not wholly against the naming infrastructure after politicians, but it should be after they're dead. Lots of things were named after Roosevelt, Lincoln, Washington, or Kennedy, but not before they were long passed out of the world of the living.

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Technically "Nolan Ryan Freeway" is a tad misguided since it doesn't go through Alvin.  If the Alvin Freeway had been built it would make sense there.  As a rule of thumb I would stick to naming freeways after their destination (eg Katy) and where they don't go anywhere in particular, the direction.  So 288 could be the Freeport Freeway, which has a nice ring, or even Clute Freeway.  

 

I would avoid even dead politician naming, since it only encourages them.

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When they make me king of the world, one of my first edicts will be to ban naming infrastructure after politicians.  Right after I ban calling non-parkways "parkways".

 

Big +1 on this, Subdude.

 

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I don't like anything named after politicians either, but I am all for tollways being named after politicians, especially busy and trafficy tollways.

 

That way it reminds us (even if on a subliminal level) that all they really do is take money from us and don't  provide any real benefit.

 

However, there are and should be exceptions to this, politicians that history names particularly influential in shaping our country. Naming things after Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, or Kennedy. I mean, these guys have monuments named after them and most have been carved into the sides of mountains. They deserve to have freeways named after them.

 

I'd say that a good way to make a distinction is to say when their impact transcends politics, but at that point, we're remembering them not as the politician.

Edited by samagon

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I'd say that a good way to make a distinction is to say when their impact transcends politics, but at that point, we're remembering them not as the politician.

 

Remember politicians (most at least ^_^ ) are also human beings capable of doing distinguished things. Is the Johnson Space Center named for the former senator and president because he was able to finagle that important facility for Texas or because he championed many other social programs for people throughout the nation? BTW, notable achievements for his nation or not, what does Ronald Reagan have to do with a stretch of U. S Highway 290?

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Remember politicians (most at least ^_^ ) are also human beings capable of doing distinguished things. Is the Johnson Space Center named for the former senator and president because he was able to finagle that important facility for Texas or because he championed many other social programs for people throughout the nation? BTW, notable achievements for his nation or not, what does Ronald Reagan have to do with a stretch of U. S Highway 290?

 

290 runs through a solid suburban voting block that is hardcore repulbican..... most of whom are republican b/c of the 'Reagan revolution'. Without Reagan, the suburban white voting block of the republican party may not exist.

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Either way, roads are never named after politicians unless they're well-liked by the area/nation as a whole. While I think Culberson gets more hate than he actually deserves, rest assured, he'll never get a road or a highway named after him. On the issue of Ronald Reagan Highway, how far should the N/S/E/W designations actually extend? Should/does the East Freeway remain that name out to Beaumont? Should the Northwest Freeway designation terminate at Hempstead officially?

I like the naming scheme for the highways, they're simple, they're to the point, and they're a description of where they go. Gulf. East Texas. Northwest. Katy. South.

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If the rail line on Richmond ever happens, I'll do everything I can to petition people to have that rail line officially named the Culberson line.

 

That would be super sweet.

 

As to how far the name extends, it really depends on whether the name carries any recognition with it wherever you are. When I was out in LA a few years ago, I called i10 the katy freeway, people were all  :blink: and I was all  :blush:

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1. I-45 

A. North Freeway- To DFW, Witchita Falls , Red River/OK Border

B. Gulf Freeway - To Galveston/Gulf of Mexico 

 

I-45 is named North Freeway because it runs directly to Witchita Falls and DFW as a northern trade route from the port and the gulf and named Gulf Freeway as a inland shipping trade route to the gulf aswell as a tourist/vacation route to Galveston thus why it is named the Gulf Freeway .

 

2. I-59/69 

A. EasTex Freeway - To Texarkana/East Texas

B. Southwest Freeway - To Brownsville,Corpus Christi,Kingsville/Mexico Border

 

I-59/69 was named EasTex Freeway because it runs northeast through the eastern portion of the state to the borders of Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma where Texarkana is located . It is known as a Big Thicket interstate because of the heavy woodlands ,red dirt ,swamp and lake areas along the interstate . It is also named to connect the midwest to texas . It is named Southwest Freeway as a trade route coastal interstate to and fro Mexico Border via Corpus Christi , Brownsville, Kingsville .

 

3. I-10

A. I-10E- To Vidor/Louisiana Border

B. Katy Freeway - To Katy, San Antonio ,Ft. Stockton , El Paso 

 

I-10 Known as a major US southern region east/west artery, was named Katy Freeway because of the Missouri KansasTexas Railroad or MKT that ran west of Houston well before I-10 was established .Katy was a station stop along the line this how the city of Katy was named . The same as the cities of Santa Fe,TX and Frisco ,TX. Because the MKT followed I-10 west along the westbound feeder on the northside of the freeway is how the freeway earned its name. I-10 E runs to Vidor a eastern border town on the Texas/Louisiana border .

 

4. US288

A. Coastal Highway - To Freeport/Surfside, Victoria

 

Was supposed to be a freeway . It is a coastal highway that runs to the fishing , crab and shrimping towns of Freeport and Victoria and follows the coastline from Houston to the south/southwest .

 

5. US290 

A. Presidential Highway - To Austin 

B. Northwest Freeway

 

290 was nicknamed recently the Presidential Highway because of George Bush then governor and it runs northwest to Brenham and the capital Austin with a ramp leading to Bryan , Prairie View , Waco , Ft Worth . It is the governor's corridor and college route because of Texas A&M ,Baylor ,UT ,Prairie View. 

 

6. US90A 

A. Alternate - To Sugarland , Fort Bend , Stafford 

 

7. US249 

A. West Mount Houston - To Waco , Bryan , Austin , Prairie View

 

249 is known as the college route . Like 290 , it runs to Texas A&M , UT , Baylor , Prairie View A&M . This corridor has many college resident communities , towns , and neighborhoods along the route . Ends near Waco to the north/northwest .

 

The reason Houston has directional freeways aptly named is due to trade , imports/exports and history .

 

 

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290 runs through a solid suburban voting block that is hardcore repulbican..... most of whom are republican b/c of the 'Reagan revolution'. Without Reagan, the suburban white voting block of the republican party may not exist.

 

That explains that. What then is the rational behind naming the US 59/I-69 - S. H. 288 interchange after Lloyd Bentsen? Perhaps it could be renamed the John Boehner/Harry Reid interchange since it is always so gridlocked.  <_<

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BTW, my last remark was meant as a joke. Don't anyone get all up about it. I certainly do not blame only those two individuals for the difficulty congress is having these days. Perhaps I should have used this emoticon,  :)

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Either way, roads are never named after politicians unless they're well-liked by the area/nation as a whole. 

 

 

you have never been to West Virginia, have you.

 

Everything in the state, except the state itself, is named the Robert C Byrd this, the Robert C Byrd that....

 

:)

 

i have no problems with things like the William J. Le Petomane Thruway 

Edited by Tumbleweed_Tx

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you have never been to West Virginia, have you.

 

Everything in the state, except the state itself, is named the Robert C Byrd this, the Robert C Byrd that....

 

:)

 

i have no problems with things like the William J. Le Petomane Thruway

Yes, I should've included an addendum for rather corrupt areas--I was well aware, of say, Louisiana and Huey Long...

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Reading "Houston Freeways" indicates that the name of Crosby Freeway was Northeast Freeway, and was to be complete by the 1980s, but budget cuts put it on ice and it renamed in 1987. To date, there are STILL parts of it not done, and a major part of it was done in the last 5-10 years.

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That explains that. What then is the rational behind naming the US 59/I-69 - S. H. 288 interchange after Lloyd Bentsen? Perhaps it could be renamed the John Boehner/Harry Reid interchange since it is always so gridlocked.  <_<

 

The interchange isn't named after Bentsen. Only the stretch of US 59 between I-35 and I-45 carries that designation. Now, there is a named interchange in town. The 610/225 interchange was named the "Juan N. Seguín Memorial Interchange" a few years back.

 

Now if we're renaming freeways, let's rename 288 inside the loop as the "Beyonce and Bun B Trillway". :P

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the gulf and named Gulf Freeway as a inland shipping trade route to the gulf aswell as a tourist/vacation route to Galveston thus why it is named the Gulf Freeway .

 

http://www.texasfreeway.com/Houston/photos/45s/i45s.shtml

 

The gulf freeway was the first freeway built in Houston, it was named in a contest in 1948 where people submitted name ideas and Gulf Freeway was the winner.

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The interchange isn't named after Bentsen. Only the stretch of US 59 between I-35 and I-45 carries that designation. Now, there is a named interchange in town. The 610/225 interchange was named the "Juan N. Seguín Memorial Interchange" a few years back.

 

Now if we're renaming freeways, let's rename 288 inside the loop as the "Beyonce and Bun B Trillway". :P

 

Correct about Bentsen, JM. My mistake though the reasoning of why his name is on a highway that goes to Laredo when he was born in Mission, Texas eludes me.

 

I pass through the Juan N(epomuceno). Seguin interchange several times during a given week (S. H. 225 is often a preferable alternate to the Gulf Freeway when traveling to or from the bay area. For those unaware of who Seguin was his story is interesting: www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fse08. You might have to copy/paste this web address.The naming of this interchange in honor of Seguin is appropriate IMO due to his involvement in the battle of San Jacinto.

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how far should the N/S/E/W designations actually extend? Should/does the East Freeway remain that name out to Beaumont? Should the Northwest Freeway designation terminate at Hempstead officially?

 

 

Many of the older roads are also named after destinations, and end up having the name peter out at some point.  For example, people stopped referring to old 290 as Hempstead Highway at some uncertain point beyond Cypress; Almeda Genoa goes from what was those communities, etc.

 

Some of the directional names get a bit confusing for the uninitiated.  We know where West Belt North and South Loop East are, but it can really befuddle people who ain't from here.  

 

IIRC, there was a time when people sometimes called 45 north the Dallas Freeway, but it never really caught on.

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Correct about Bentsen, JM. My mistake though the reasoning of why his name is on a highway that goes to Laredo when he was born in Mission, Texas eludes me.

 

I pass through the Juan N(epomuceno). Seguin interchange several times during a given week (S. H. 225 is often a preferable alternate to the Gulf Freeway when traveling to or from the bay area. For those unaware of who Seguin was his story is interesting: www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fse08. You might have to copy/paste this web address.The naming of this interchange in honor of Seguin is appropriate IMO due to his involvement in the battle of San Jacinto.

 

I too appreciate the naming of the Seguin interchange.  On the other point, FWIW when I'm driving to the Valley I often take 59 at least to Victoria. 

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Good point Mollusk.

 

Alief-Clodine road becomes harwin past Alief, and just carries 1093 once Westheimer (road, not parkway) joins up with it.

 

HW6 is referred to as Addicks-Satsuma north of i10, and Addicks-Howell south of i10, then there's Sugarland-Howell. 

 

Barker Cypress road.

 

I'm sure there's tons more, and I doubt that's unique to Houston.

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8. SH149

A. West Tomball Parkway-To Tomball , Montgomery
B. West Montgomery - To Shepard @ Tidwell 
 
149 was named Tomball Parkway because it merges into what is now West Mount Houston 249 that runs north to Montgomery , Tomball and Conroe it also crosses 249 north to Beltway 8 known as Old Tomball Parkway . 249 was and is now a freeway terminus . It is aptly named West Montgomery because of its history of being the only state highway to reach Montgomery via Tomball and 249. 249 was a later phase 2 extention of149 as a truck and business route from I-45 to Montgomery, Tomball , Conroe , and Waco .

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I too appreciate the naming of the Seguin interchange.  On the other point, FWIW when I'm driving to the Valley I often take 59 at least to Victoria. 

 

U.S. 59 does get us pointed in the general direction of the lower Rio Grande Valley but eventually one has to get onto U.S. 281 to complete the trip. IIRC, Senator Bentsen did have business connections in Houston as well (and as a U.S. senator he did represent the entire state) so there is some logic to the naming of the highway in his honor.

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U.S. 59 does get us pointed in the general direction of the lower Rio Grande Valley but eventually one has to get onto U.S. 281 to complete the trip. IIRC, Senator Bentsen did have business connections in Houston as well (and as a U.S. senator he did represent the entire state) so there is some logic to the naming of the highway in his honor.

Didn't 281 get the new IH-69 designation as well as 59? I thought that was the point of coverting from U.S. highways to Interstates, so that it appears as a continuous, single highway to the border.

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Didn't 281 get the new IH-69 designation as well as 59? I thought that was the point of coverting from U.S. highways to Interstates, so that it appears as a continuous, single highway to the border.

 

Only part of 281 will get an I-69 designation. Once I-69 gets to Victoria, it's going to split into I-69E and I-69W. I-69E will follow US 77 from Victoria to Corpus and Brownsville. I-69W will follow US 59 from Victoria to the World Trade Bridge in Laredo. There's another branch called I-69C which will branch off from I-69W at George West and follow 281 to Pharr.

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Only part of 281 will get an I-69 designation. Once I-69 gets to Victoria, it's going to split into I-69E and I-69W. I-69E will follow US 77 from Victoria to Corpus and Brownsville. I-69W will follow US 59 from Victoria to the World Trade Bridge in Laredo. There's another branch called I-69C which will branch off from I-69W at George West and follow 281 to Pharr.

 

I had no idea the interstate designation would extend to three different highways. Of course precedent in Texas can be found with Interstates 35E and 35 W in Dallas and Fort Worth respectively.

 

I believe there is a significant amount of traffic that crosses the border in Laredo and I know the lower Rio Grande valley sees a huge amount of traffic. I guess I am in awe since I remember so well traveling to Mission, Texas on several occasions in the early 1980s via the two-lane highway that was U. S. 281 and hating like all Hell getting stuck behind some slow moving vehicle and looking for an opportunity to pass. True the road was flat as a table but there always seemed to be a long line of cars coming from the opposite direction.

 

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