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Interstate 10 (Texas)

 

Interstate 10 (Texas)

This article is about the section of Interstate 10 in Texas. For the entire length of the highway, see Interstate 10.

Interstate 10
;">Route information
Maintained by TxDOT
Length:
Existed: 1959 – present
;">Major junctions
West end: Template:Jct/extra I-10 / US 85 / US 180 at New Mexico state line
 

Template:Jct/extra I-20 between Kent and Balmorhea
Template:Jct/extra I-35 in San Antonio
Template:Jct/extra I-37 in San Antonio

Template:Jct/extra I-45 in Houston
East end: Template:Jct/extra I-10 at Louisiana state line
Length:
Length:
Length:
Length:
;">
;">Highway system

Interstate 10 is the major east–west Interstate Highway in the Southern United States. In the U.S. state of Texas, it runs east from Anthony, at the border with New Mexico, through San Antonio and Houston to the border with Louisiana in Orange, Texas.

At just under 879 miles (1,415 km), the stretch of Interstate 10 crossing Texas, maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation, is the longest continuous untolled freeway under a single authority in North America, a title formerly held by Ontario's Highway 401. Mile marker 880 (and the corresponding exit number) near Orange are the highest numbered mile marker and exit on the Interstate Highway System or, for that matter, on any freeway in North America.

Texas alone contains more than a third of the interstate's entire length. El Paso, near the Texas-New Mexico border, is 785 miles (1,263 km) from the western terminus of Interstate 10 in Santa Monica, California, making it closer to Los Angeles than it is to Orange, Texas, 857 miles (1,379 km) away. Likewise, Orange, on the Texas–Louisiana border, is only 789 miles (1,270 km) from the eastern terminus of Interstate 10 in Jacksonville, Florida.

History

El Paso and West Texas

Interstate 10 replaced and currently runs concurrent with U.S. Highway 85 from the New Mexico border up until the two diverge at mile marker 13. The two highways parallel each other for several miles until Highway 85 continues to head south to the border with Mexico and I-10 turns east towards Downtown El Paso. Prior to the interstate system, Highway 85 ran concurrent with U.S. Highway 80 from the New Mexico border until the two diverged in Downtown El Paso. When I-10 was constructed in downtown El Paso, several blocks were demolished, and a sub-grade trench was built for the freeway. A series of overpasses now carry the preexisting north-south surface streets over the east-west stretch of I-10 through downtown. I-10 replaced Highway 80 through El Paso and to the southeast and east to the present day junction of I-10 and Interstate 20. Highway 80 along this route has been completely removed from the highway system in favor of I-10.[1]

At the junction with I-20, I-10 replaced U.S. Highway 290 eastward to the present day junction of I-10 and Highway 290 southeast of Junction. This section of Highway 290 was deleted from the highway system.[2] From this point to near Comfort, I-10 replaced State Highway 27. State Highway 27 still exists along this stretch, mostly paralleling I-10 to the south. From Comfort southeast to San Antonio, I-10 directly replaced U.S. Highway 87.

San Antonio and Central Texas

I-10 generally follows the alignment of US 87 on the northwest side of San Antonio into downtown. A new alignment was built to the south of downtown for the freeway since it was impossible to upgrade the surface streets in downtown that US 87 and US 90 followed prior to the Interstate Highway System. Southeast of downtown, I-10 curves back to the northeast to connect with the pre-interstate alignment of US 90.

Construction of portions of I-10 were well underway and completed prior to the commissioning of the highway in 1959. The section from Culebra Road to Woodlawn Road opened as the first freeway in San Antonio in 1949, but was signed as US 87. Expansion and construction continued in the 1950s, but the bulk of the construction occurred in the 1960s after the interstate was commissioned. The current alignment was completed by 1968.

Rapid growth in San Antonio has resulted in the original highway becoming quickly inadequate, resulting in the highway being in perpetual construction and expansion. In the 1980s the portion just northwest of downtown was reconstructed to add a double deck feature to expand the freeway to five lanes in each direction. In 1990, the interstate had only two lanes in each direction from Loop 1604 to where the double deck freeway begins near downtown. Recent construction has expanded the freeway to five lanes in each direction from just outside the I-410 loop all the way into downtown. The I-10/I-410 interchange was reconstructed into a four-level stack interchange.[3]

Houston and East Texas


As part of the construction of Interstate 10 in the 1960s, the Katy Freeway was named for the connection to Katy from Houston. Because West Houston was empty farmland, the freeway was made small and simple for its drivers. Not counting the side lanes, it was only 6-8 lanes wide, which compared to many other freeways in Houston, was tiny. Despite the small size of the freeway at the time, population growth in the area had caused considerable traffic congestion. By 2001, the AADT was 238,000 vehicles just west of the West Loop.[4]

It was not until 2000 that the Katy Freeway was forced to upgrade. It had become inadequate due to the increased traffic and West Houston's bustling communities. In 2002, the old railway immediately north of the freeway had been demolished and the area was cleared for the freeway's renovation.

In 2004, construction began on the freeway. Planned to be at least 16 lanes wide, the new stretch would have to hold up to 200,000 cars per day. Two highway intersections would have to be rebuilt (Beltway 8 and I-610), toll booths would be a new addition, including major landscaping as part of Houston's Highway Beautification Project.

The first completed sections, from just west of Highway 6 to the Fort Bend/Harris county line, opened in late June 2006.[5] As of September 2006, most of the freeway between Beltway 8 and State Highway 6 has been laid, while the stretch to Washington Avenue inside I-610 will be completed later. The completion of the Katy Freeway took place in October, 2008.

Between Template:Jct/extraSH 6 and west Template:Jct/extraI-610, the interior two lanes in each direction are maintained by the Harris County Toll Road Authority as the Katy Freeway Managed Lanes, indicated as the Katy Tollway on overhead signage. Tolls change based on time of day, vehicle occupancy, and axle count. During certain hours, high occupancy vehicles may travel for free.[6]

Route description

West Texas

I-10 enters Texas northwest of El Paso near Anthony and travels southward, concurrent with U.S. Highway 85 and U.S. Highway 180. The US 85 splits off in West El Paso at exit 13 (Sunland Park Drive, Paisano Drive), with US 85 heading south on Paisano Drive, through downtown El Paso, and ending at the Stanton Street Bridge and the border with Mexico via local streets. I-10/US 180 continues turning to the east towards downtown El Paso. I-10 then interchanges with Interstate 110 and US Route 54 (the "Patriot Freeway", or North-South Freeway) in a complex, three-level interchange referred to by locals as the "Spaghetti Bowl." I-10 and US 180 diverge east of downtown at Exit 23B (Paisano Drive) as US 180 heads off to the northeast (joining US Route 62 and Paisano Drive northbound) and I-10 to the southeast. I-10's frontage road system is called Desert Boulevard in West El Paso, and Gateway Boulevard in Central and East El Paso. Of these, Gateway East Boulevard is the longest, extending continuously for roughly 22 miles. Heading towards Tornillo and Fabens, I-10 turns to the southeast and begins to parallel the Rio Grande and Mexican border for approximately 60 miles (97 km).

I-10 leaves the Rio Grande with a primarily eastward heading. Just east of Kent, the western terminus of Interstate 20 intersects with I-10. I-20 heads northeast towards the Dallas-Fort Worth area and I-10 continues to head east. US Highway 67 runs concurrently with I-10 for a stretch and the La Entrada al Pacifico trade corridor is a part of this stretch of I-10. Near Junction, I-10 begins a more southeastwardly course as it heads toward the San Antonio metropolitan area. Near Comfort, I-10 and U.S. Highway 87 begin a concurrency that carries on into San Antonio.

Due to I-10 crossing some of the most rural and sparsely inhabited parts of the United States, notably the Trans-Pecos Region it has several unique features that differentiate it from other Interstate Highways. I-10 is one of the very few Interstates that has at-grade intersections (roads that intersect it at a 90 degree angle, as opposed to an overpass or underpass with on and off ramps). These are private access roads (mostly from large ranches) which occur over a limited stretch in western Texas.

The stretch from Kerr County to El Paso County has an 80 mph (130 km/h) speed limit, the highest in the nation until the opening of the 85 mph (137 km/h) southern section of State Highway 130 on October 24, 2012.

San Antonio and Central Texas

I-10 is the busiest freeway in San Antonio with nearly 200,000 vehicles on an average day.[7] On the northwest side, I-10 is known as the McDermott Freeway, named after Robert F. McDermott, former dean of the United States Air Force Academy as well as CEO of San Antonio-based USAA. The highway enters the city concurrent with US 87 from the north and travels more in a north–south direction into downtown, rather than the east–west designation found on the Interstate Highway signs. The northern section from Loop 1604 to downtown serves one of the fastest growing areas of the city. A majority of the region's suburban office space is located along the corridor as are the headquarters for USAA, gasoline refiner and retailer Valero, South Texas Medical Center, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and the Shops at La Cantera. I-10 intersects Interstate 410 for the first time near Balcones Heights, a suburban city within San Antonio. The construction of a four-level interchange to accommodate the growing northwest side has been completed. Heavy commercial development dominates the landscape between I-410 and Loop 1604. Inside I-410, the route is lined with light industrial and residential areas.

As I-10 heads south into downtown, it splits into an upper level with three lanes in each direction and a lower level with two lanes in each direction. It was necessary to design the freeway this way in order to accommodate the amount of traffic heading into downtown and to fit into the narrow corridor that was surrounded by existing infrastructure. I-10 meets Interstate 35 on the northwest side of downtown and it multiplexes with I-35 South to form the west side of the downtown loop. The I-35 exit numbers are carried through during the multiplex. I-10 and I-35 end their concurrency at a four-level interchange on the southwest side of downtown with the junction of U.S. Highway 90 from the west. I-35 continues to the south and I-10 and US 90 run multiplexed to the east to form the south side of the downtown loop. This section of I-10 is known as the Jose Lopez Freeway, named after the Medal of Honor recipient. A four-level interchange with Interstate 37 occurs approximately 2 miles (3 km) east of the I-35 interchange. I-10 heads east away from downtown through mainly residential neighborhoods on the east side of San Antonio. I-10's multiplex with U.S 87 ends just east of downtown when US 87 heads south towards Victoria. I-10 provides access to the AT&T Center, home of the San Antonio Spurs, and to the Freeman Coliseum. Leaving San Antonio, I-10 again passes the loops I-410 and Loop 1604. I-10 is known as the 90th Infantry Division Memorial Highway on this stretch east of San Antonio. I-10 and US 90 continue their multiplex until they diverge in Seguin. They continue from there on to Houston nearly paralleling each other with short stints of multiplexing along the route.

Houston and East Texas

In Houston, from the western suburb of Katy to downtown, I-10 is known as the Katy Freeway. This section was widened in 2008 to as many as 26 total lanes, counting the 6 lanes of the access road, which are not limited-access and therefore technically not part of the freeway itself, but are directly adjacent.[8] Between the West Beltway and the West Loop, the minimum lane count is 22 total lanes. In this section, the width is 24 lanes at multiple locations and up to 26 lanes east of Gessner road (12 main lanes, 8 lanes of access roads, and 6 mid-freeway HOT/HOV lanes). From the Fort Bend county line to I-610, there is a minimum of 4 main lanes in each direction.[9] The maximum number of undivided lanes at any point on the freeway is 9 (though this includes one exit-only lane), in the eastbound direction approaching Antoine Drive; in the world, this is one of the widest sections of undivided highway in a single direction.[10]

Between I-610 and I-45 west of downtown, the interstate contains at least 5 main lanes in each direction. Before 2008, this section had traditionally been the widest section of I-10 in the Houston area and the only one with a significant portion below grade. Starting in 2010, a project was started to widen the freeway, adding one extra main lane in each direction between Shepherd Drive and Taylor Street. In addition, the eastbound feeder road which ends at Studemont is being extended to Taylor Street. As I-10 travels through downtown, it interchanges with Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59, the future corridor of Interstate 69 through Texas. Both interchanges feature left exits causing several lane shifts for through traffic. I-10 provides access to Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, and also runs through the campus of the University of Houston–Downtown.

The section east of downtown Houston is officially known as the "East Freeway," although it is widely known by locals as the Baytown East Freeway, or colloquially shortened to the Beast, due to a marketing push by Baytown, one of the largest cities in the Greater Houston Area.

In Beaumont, it is designated Eastex Freeway between both splits with U.S. Highway 69. Eastex is not to be confused with the designation for U.S. Highway 59 in Houston.

Business routes

I-10 has four business loops within the state. All of these routes are in the far western Trans-Pecos region. These routes are located along the former routes of US 80 and US 290 and include Bus. I-10-C in Sierra Blanca, Bus. I-10-D in Van Horn, Bus. I-10-F in Balmorhea, and Bus. I-10-G in Fort Stockton.

Exit list

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See also

References

External links

Template:Attached KML
  • Katy Freeway In West Houston


Interstate 10
Previous state:
New Mexico
Texas Next state:
Louisiana

Template:Roads of Austin, Texas

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