Texas continues to expand the Interstate system, with a number of additions to the IH 69 corridor at the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas, and the Houston area. Visited the Lone Star State earlier this month and drove all completed/signed sections of IH 69 and its branches.

IH 69E/US 77 north of FM 2826 - Robstown, TX

Progress is underway to extend the three suffixed branches, with IH 69E the furthest along with construction underway on a number or projects, and future work allocated funding to complete the route between Raymondville and Corpus Christi.

IH 69E currently is posted along two sections in South Texas. The northern portion overlays U.S. 77 from FM 2826 south of Robstown to IH 37 at Calallen in northwest Corpus Christi. Three separate projects are underway to extend IH 69E southward to Bishop:

  • Project ID 010202101 – constructs 2.42 miles of main lanes and frontage roads for IH 69E from south of CR 28 to north of FM 2826. Costing $12.7 million, work is estimated for completion in April 2022.
  • Project ID 010216001 – builds the Driscoll Relief Route, a new 5.09 mile long facility bypassing U.S. 77 to the east. The $82.4 million project runs through April 2022.
  • Project ID 010203082 – constructs 2.89 miles of main lanes and frontage roads from the Driscoll Relief Route south to the U.S. 77 freeway through Bishop. Work on the $23.2 million project continues to April 2022.
IH 69E construction south of FM 665 - Driscoll, TX

Grading work underway along the east side of U.S. 77, south of FM 655, for the Driscoll, Texas bypass of IH 69E. Photo taken 08/03/19.

US 77 south at CR 14 - Bishop, TX

Grading for IH 69E continues along the east side of US 77 leading south to Bishop, TX. Photo taken 08/03/19.

U.S. 77 upgrades to a freeway from Bishop southwest into Kingsville. The limited access portion concludes south of FM 1356. Intersections follow southward at  Trant Road, FM 1717, and the South Creek subdivision. Estimated to cost $45 million, Project ID 010204099 converts to a freeway this 3.39 mile stretch of U.S. 77 south to CR 2130. Construction is expected to start within the next four years.

Converting the remainder of U.S. 77 south through Kleberg County into IH 69E, including a four mile long bypass of Riviera, is programmed for future construction within five to ten years. Work is estimate to cost $215 million.

South into Kenedy County, with the exception of ongoing work from a point 1.34 miles north of the Willacy County line, construction to convert U.S. 77 into IH 69E is still another 5 to 10 years off. Completion of the main lanes and overpasses for IH 69E along a 6.26 mile section leading south into Raymondville is anticipated for May 2020. The southern 3.977 miles of work (project ID 032710057), to the split with U.S. 77 Business, wraps up this Fall.

IH 69E construction along US 77 at the Willacy County, TX line

Construction of the IH 69E mainlanes along U.S. 77 south at the Willacy County line in South Texas. Photo taken 08/03/19.

IH 69E construction along US 77 at the Willacy County, TX line

Work on upgrading U.S. 77 to IH 69E, from a point south of the Kennedy County line 3.977 miles to the split with U.S. 77 Business (BU-77W), costs $22.7 million with an anticipated completion of October 31, 2019. Photo taken 08/03/19.

IH 69E construction - Willacy County, TX

U.S. 77 north of the current IH 69E end at BU-77W at Raymondville. Photo taken 08/03/19.

IH 69E construction - Willacy County, TX

U.S. 77 north at the crossover being built for IH 69E north of Raymondville. Photo taken 08/03/19.