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Laredo @ LoneStarRoads

Laredo marks the southern end of I-35 and is positioned on the Rio Grande at the Mexican border. Along with Nuevo Laredo across the river - these cities form "Los Dos Laredos" - one of the largest inland port areas in both the US and Mexico.

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Laredo overview
These two views show the business district of Laredo from a vantage point a few miles north. The upper photo gives a view of what little skyline Laredo has. To the west, outside of the photo's range, is the cylindrical shaped Marriott Hotel built in the 1960s, Laredo's tallest. The lower photo shows the southern end of I-35. The freeway is 6 lanes and ends at the red customs building in the distance. The towers further away are all in Mexico.
Looking north along I-35 from the same vantage point. The freeway continues northward through the desert to San Antonio, and BL I-35 runs parallel just to the left of the interstate.
The Rio Grande at Laredo, the river here is bigger than would be expected, with Mexico on the right in this photo. The bridge in the distance is Puente Intl II, which is the southern continuance of I-35 into Mexico.
I-35 (Pan American Freeway)
I-35 southbound before it's end, this sign tells drivers in Spanish to buckle up and save a life. Many signs in the Laredo area put up by TxDot are bilingual.
I-35 southbound at Park/Sanchez Sts near downtown Laredo. This is the first indication of the end of the interstate. Throughout the city, I-35 is 6 lanes and is separated by a jersey barrier.
One exit further south on I-35, for Scott/Washington Sts. This half-diamond interchange marks the last southbound exit on the interstate.
The last end freeway warning just after Scott St. A this point the end of the freeway becomes visible, with a few communication towers in Mexico in the distance.
At the end of the freeway, turning right will put drivers on to Business Loop I-35, which heads west into downtown before turning north and rejoining the interstate about 3 miles north.
I-35 ends it's nearly cross-country trek from Minnesota at this traffic light in Laredo. Turning left will take drivers south to the Rio Grande valley on US 83, and straight ahead is Puente Intl II, the main route for I-35 drivers into Mexico.
The northbound beginning of I-35 carries with it US 83. US 83 is multiplexed with I-35 for about 20 miles, at which point it splits off and heads north and west.

A view of I-35 in Laredo headed north about 1 mile past Scott St. Laredo is filled with palm trees that remind the visitor of California or Florida, rather than Texas.
Continuing north to Exit 3, Business Loop I-35 rejoines the interstate here at San Bernardo Ave. This is the newer retail section of the city, with the local mall and most chain restaurants near this exit.
Further north, the city thins out a bit. Looking to the right while headed south, the driver can see Mexico. The city begins to thin out around mile marker 5, with desert scrub showing up for the first time.
Advance warning of exit 8, Laredo's Loop 20. Killam Indl Blvd serves the industrial park areas to the north of the city, while Loop 20 provides a freeway access point to the Mexican border, and a quicker route to Laredo's airport.
Headed south on I-35, the freeway stack for Loop 20 is visible in the distance. When this photo was taken in 2002, the stack was still under construction. Loop 20 connects directly to Mexico's Autopista Monterrey.
Closer in towards the Loop 20 interchange. For now, the freeway will only continue west from I-35 to Mexico. Along with Autopista Monterrey, the freeway provides a complete loop around Los Dos Laredos.
The stack matches the color of the desert, during construction, I -35 was reduced to just one lane in each direction.
An unusual sight on an American interstate, mileage the Mexican city of Monterrey is displayed along with Laredo. Many drivers headed south on I-35 are ultimately headed for the large city of Monterrey.
Headed north on I-35, the ghost ramps on the Loop 20 stack are visible. These ramps will provide for a future eastern extenstion of the freeway.
After Loop 20, I-35 is reduced to two lanes until San Antonio. There is a Texas welcome center located along the interstate at Exit 18.
Headed further north, the Camino Colombia Toll Road rises suddenly from the sand. The road is a private toll road managed jointly by TxDot and Camino Colombia, Inc.
The Camino Colombia is the only direct Hazardous Cargo route into Mexico from I-35 and is equipped with it's own transfer station.
The 22 mile toll road is a super 2, with a few interchanges before reaching Mexico. Tolls are $2 per axle. After being constructed, the road did not perform as well as was expected and the private company that maintained it nearly went bankrupt.
I-35 north of the Camino Colombia provides views of the south Texas desert. It looks just like this until the driver reaches San Antonio.
Nuevo Laredo, Mexico
The two main federal highways through Nuevo Laredo are MX 2 and MX 85. MX 2 parallels the Rio Grande, while MX 85 provides a mostly-freeway link to Monterrey.
Within Nuevo Laredo, the Via Rapida provides a partially limited access road through the dense older city. The road is usually very highly utilized by the local population, as evidenced by the traffic in this photo.
This is a typical view of the MX 85 freeway headed north into Nuevo Laredo from Monterrey. The road is two lanes with frontage roads separated by a small ridge of concrete. MX 2 joins MX 85 into the city as a multiplex.
Coming into Nuevo Laredo the driver is presented with billboards and industrial areas. Mexico uses large green overhead signs which are very similar to those used in the US.
Still outside of Nuevo Laredo, this photo is near the village of Kilometro Catorce. The freeway changes to a more urban road at this point with left turn lanes and continuous frontage roads.
The exit at Paseo Loma Real outside of Nuevo Laredo. "Zona Centro" is the control city for MX 85/2 northbound. Continuing ahead drivers will eventually reach the US border.
Further north into downtown, MX 85 and MX 2 eventually split and MX 2 continues northwestward to Piedras Negras. Many overhead signs in Mexico omit the route numbers of the roads they serve, only showing the federal highway marker.
The airport interchange just a bit further north along MX 85/2. The freeway here is slightly elevated with the frontage roads on either side.
This is a photo of the overhead sign southbound at the same interchange. The graphic indicates that traffic headed south will eventually reach Monterrey. Many freeway interchanges in Mexico feature a "Retorno" lane, a U-turn lane for traffic to head the opposite direction.
As MX 85 enters Nuevo Laredo, traffic is directed locally to the Via Rapida or through the city to Laredo, TX. The bank tower in the background is brightly colored, and visible from far away as the tallest building on the Mexican side of the border.
MX 85 northbound near Nuevo Laredo's zona centro. Finally, MX 2 splits off to continue northward to Piedras Negras. MX 85 ends directly ahead at Puente Intl II.

Page Updated April 29, 2005.