• Where Interstate 69 in Texas Stands Today

» 250 Miles of Freeway Already Built

More than 250 miles of the Interstate 69 route in Texas are already at freeway standard with controlled access and about 100 more miles are near freeway standard. The first 6.2 miles of I-69, located near Corpus Christi, was added to the Interstate Highway System in 2011. Since then more that 200 more miles have been added to the interstate system including the new Interstate 2 which connects two legs of I-69 in the Rio Grande Valley.  A total of 75 miles of US 59 in the greater Houston area is now Interstate 69 reaching from Rosenberg on the south through Downtown and north on the Eastex Freeway to south of Cleveland. Completed freeway sections have been marching steadily north and south from Houston for the past two decades.

US 59, US 77, US 281, US 84, Loop 20/US 59 in Laredo and State Highway 44 in South Texas are being incrementally transformed into Interstate 69 in Texas. TxDOT and the Alliance for I-69 were successful in winning congressional approval of adding State Highway 44 as a key future I-69 connector in 2015.


The Texas Department of Transportation has been at the upgrade task on these highways since the 1960s. In some locations right-of-way needed for the interstate was acquired decades ago.  And for years TxDOT has been designing and constructing upgrade projects to meet interstate design standards.

CONNECTING TEXANS
The existing highways that will comprise I-69 connect Texans and Texas businesses in Texarkana, Marshall, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Houston, Wharton, Victoria, Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Harlingen, Brownsville, McAllen, Laredo and dozens of smaller communities.  The colorful interstate highway shields are going up and large sections of highway are now safer to drive on because they are at interstate highway standard with fully controlled access.

With each overpass and every additional mile of I-69 upgrades, new doors open for economic development, new jobs and more efficient freight movements.  Reduced travel times create new opportunities for families, giving them improved access to better jobs, university campuses, regional medical centers, shopping and greater recreational choices.

The state long-range transportation plan stresses the need for improved linkage between Texas cities to serve freight traffic and to connect cities and rural areas.  It emphasizes that I-69 is a high priority for the state because of the important role these highways play in moving goods including cargo handled by Texas seaports and freight moving back and forth across the border with Mexico.

The US 59, US 77 and US 281 upgrade program has had strong local support for decades.  Five regional segment committees made up of dozens of local officials and community representatives developed a set of recommendations for what should be built along the I-69 route and which improvements should come first in each region.  TxDOT's I-69 Advisory Committee continues to review progress and update recommendations to the Texas Transportation Commission on which projects should be priorities for funding.

JOINING THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM
The Alliance was successful in getting federal law changed to authorize Texas to post Interstate 69 signs on portions of US 77, US 59, US 281 and SH 44 that meet interstate standards but that do not yet connect to an existing interstate.  This allowed 118 miles of freeway in the Lower Rio Grande Valley to be designated as interstate highways - I-69 East, I-69 Central and I-2. More such sections are under review for signing.

FUNDING CHALLENGES FOR INTERSTATE 69
Completing Interstate 69 in Texas will take billions of dollars invested over the coming decades. When most of the Interstate Highway System was built in the 1960s and 1970s almost all the cost was paid for by the federal government. That funding formula is no longer available. While Congress has designated I-69 and several other future interstates, it has left the project funding up to each individual state. The cost to complete the entire I-69 Texas route as a single project is prohibitive under this arrangement. That means a slower pace of winning funding for and developing incremental projects.

Federal Designations
The U.S. Congress has designated four highway segments in South Texas as equal parts of the I-69 Priority Corridor.  The Alliance supports the upgrade of all four routes so they can become part of the Interstate Highway System.  In establishing a long list of national High Priority Corridors, federal law designates the US 77 route from Brownsville to Victoria as I-69 East, the US 281 route north from McAllen as I-69 Central, and the US 59 route from Victoria to Laredo as I-69 West. The section of the US 59 route from Victoria through Houston and on to the Sabine River is to be “I-69.” The section of US 59 from Tenaha to Texarkana is considered an I-69 connector and has been designated to be signed as Interstate 369. Interstate 2/US 83 in the Lower Rio Grande Valley is also an interstate highway connector. .