• US 281 Planning Study Looking at Interstate Upgrades

July 4, 2013

The Texas Department of Transportation is conducting a study to determine what upgrade improvements will be necessary to bring US 281 up to interstate highway standards along the Interstate 69 Central route.

The study area begins at the intersection of US 59 and Interstate 37 in Live Oak County. It extends west on US 59 to George West and then south on US 281 to the intersection with Interstate 2/US 83 in the Lower Rio Grande Valley as shown on the adjacent illustration.

A draft Interstate Development Plan will be compiled in the coming months and a final Feasibility Study Report is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

The study area covers a five mile stretch on US 59 and 149 miles on US 281. All of the route is at four-lane divided standard and sections at Alice, Ben Bolt, Falfurrias, Edinburg and McAllen are at full interstate standard. A separate US 281 study is underway to determine the routing and schematic designs for freeway lanes through the town of Premont in southern Jim Wells County.

A total of 13.5 miles of US 281 freeway in Edinburg and Pharr were designated at Interstate 69 Central in May. New signs will begin going up on that section soon.

Projects to upgrade sections of US 281 to freeway standard are currently underway at Alice, Rachal and at the north edge of Edinburg. The Alice project includes an overpass at FM 1554, now approximately 50% complete. Work on an overpass at FM 755 in Rachal began earlier this year. The $20 million Edinburg project will deliver 2.4 miles of new freeway near the Edinburg Airport.


TxDOT will hold three open house meetings for the public during July to discuss the US 281 study and encourage public input on potential highway improvements. These meetings will follow a come-and-go format allowing participants to review materials, visit with TxDOT and consultant staff, and provide comments and input.

Meetings will be as follows:

Tuesday - July 16
4 - 7 p.m.
TxDOT District Conference Center
600 W. Expressway US 83

Wednesday - July 17
4 - 7 p.m.
TxDOT Area Office, 1071 N. US 281 Relief Route

Wednesday - July 24
4 - 7 p.m.
George West High School, 1013 W. Houston St.

Public involvement activities for the feasibility study have been ongoing for the past two years. The study will:

>> Inventory and assess current roadway conditions relative to interstate standards.

>> Evaluate traffic patterns including origins and destinations.

>> Identify key environmental and plnning features

>> Identify potential individual upgrade projects.

>> Assess potential funding sources.



US 281 Study Area