• More Houston Area Freeway Added to Interstate 69
The Texas Transportation Commission has given final approval to designation of an additional 28.4 miles of US 59 as part of Interstate 69.
The existing section of US 59 from the south side of Rosenberg in Fort Bend County north to Loop 610 in southwest Houston is now part of the Interstate Highway System and will soon be signed as both I-69 and US 59. This entire section is known locally as the Southwest Freeway, much of which is now 16 lanes wide including frontage roads and HOV lanes.
The southern 10 miles of this section has only two travel lanes in each direction and in some areas does not have frontage roads. Environmental clearance work has been underway for several years to expand this section in the future to match the urban section that exists through Sugar Land.
Addition of this section to the Interstate Highway System was approved in early February by the Federal Highway Administration. In January, TxDOT submitted FHWA a lengthy technical report evaluating the existing design features and operational conditions of US 59. The report found that almost all of the section meets interstate highway design standards. There were five design issues identified and exceptions were approved by FHWA.
Announcement of the FHWA action was made by Commissioner Jeff Austin in a briefing for legislators and Alliance for I-69 Texas members on February 6th at the State Capitol. Gov. Rick Perry participated in the announcement.
The announcement event prompted substantial media coverage across the state highlighting I-69 progress and the value to Texans of completing individual upgrade projects and connecting more and more pieces of I-69 to the Interstate Highway System.
“I-69 represents a vital component in our thriving and growing economy, not just in eastern Texas or in South Texas but across the entire state” Gov. Rick Perry said. “The quality of our transportation system plays a decisive role when employers consider expanding or relocating here. That’s why we need to continue investing in infrastructure projects like I-69.”
“Interstate 69 is important in providing safety, mobility and connectivity between rural and urban Texas” said Commissioner Jeff Austin, Texas Transportation Commission. “The Interstate links three major East Texas and West Texas interstates: I-10, I-20 and I-30, and provides a critical national connection as well.”
TxDOT officials updated lawmakers on the progress on I-69 noting that communities across the state will see the economic benefits of I-69. The interstate is expected to be a critical artery for moving agricultural, energy and industrial exports through the nation and beyond. It is also expected to attract more businesses to the Lone Star State.
“Economic development, commerce, safety and quality of life are all tangible benefits Texans will experience with the development of I-69,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “The I-69 expansion can mean growth for communities in Texas and attract businesses that want to move products in all directions throughout Texas and the nation.” Additionally, he said, due to its proximity to our seaports, I-69 will serve as a vital artery for exporting Texas products.