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Author Topic: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study  (Read 2722 times)

Bobby5280

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #50 on: June 17, 2020, 11:39:03 AM »

Quote from: sparker
Bit of a news flash courtesy of the AASHTO DTU, to which I subscribe.  A move is afoot to officially append the I-27 designation to the Laredo-Lubbock portion of HPC #38/Port-to-Plains corridor.

Which of course makes perfect sense. There really isn't any other logical number designation that could be applied other than I-27. Ultimately, perhaps multiple decades from now, I-2 and I-27 would converge in Laredo.

I'm not opposed to a I-27W & I-27E "double leg" approach to connect both Midland-Odessa and Big Spring. Nevertheless, Big Spring is on the more direct, big picture, main line route. The main thing that warrants splitting I-27 into East & West legs is the Midland-Odessa CSA has around 230,000 residents and has a lot of heavy industrial business there. Big Spring has only about 30,000 residents, but it sits on an important junction between US-87 and I-20. 

Regarding the extension of I-27 North of Amarillo, obviously the different segments of the Ports of Plains Corridor are going to be developed and funded in separate SIU's. Plans have been germinating for years regarding I-27 North. I think the freeway bypass for Dumas would be one of the first projects built.

Quote from: sparker
With all due respect, I think some level of cooperation will actually be necessary to see that either or both corridors reach fruition

The only location where the interests of the Ports to Plains Corridor and I-14 align is the segment between Midland and San Angelo. For all the other segments one corridor will be fighting to take funding from the other. I think the Ports to Plains Corridor is a hell of a lot more important to the overall Interstate highway system than I-14.

The main development activity with I-14 will be within the Texas triangle. And even in that region there will be battles over funding with other corridors in need of development, like the corridor spokes between Austin and Houston (US-290, TX-71) and closer to San Antonio (San Marcos to Luling and New Braunfels to Seguin). The region between Austin and San Antonio is growing rapidly. The I-35 corridor is getting over-loaded; that may turn US-281 into an important N-S relief route in that region. All of that stuff going on will make it pretty difficult to push I-14 out West of Copperas Cove and Lampasas. With that being said, I think the best hope Midland-Odessa has on getting an Interstate connection to San Angelo is by way of the Ports to Plains Corridor.

At the risk of getting into politics, President Trump is floating a $1 trillion infrastructure project idea, with a lot of it going into roads. It's a big "if" for the legislation to get passed, but if it does it could speed along a bunch of "shovel ready" highway projects.
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sprjus4

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #51 on: June 17, 2020, 12:15:41 PM »

Which of course makes perfect sense. There really isn't any other logical number designation that could be applied other than I-27. Ultimately, perhaps multiple decades from now, I-2 and I-27 would converge in Laredo.
Reasonable, IMO, I can't see I-27 being constructed south of I-10.

I'm not opposed to a I-27W & I-27E "double leg" approach to connect both Midland-Odessa and Big Spring. Nevertheless, Big Spring is on the more direct, big picture, main line route. The main thing that warrants splitting I-27 into East & West legs is the Midland-Odessa CSA has around 230,000 residents and has a lot of heavy industrial business there. Big Spring has only about 30,000 residents, but it sits on an important junction between US-87 and I-20.
Midland-Odessa would still gets it outlet to San Angelo and I-27 South by way of the proposed I-14, I think the biggest thing is Midland-Odessa's potential connection to Lubbock and I-27 North.

One way to go about it is to create something similar to the how I-41 and I-43 operate in Wisconsin. I-43 provides a direct routing between Milwaukee and Green Bay, whereas I-41 provides a less direct U shaped routing to the west, but serves the Ford du Lac / Oshkosh / Appleton region and connects them to the north and south. Applying that setup here, I-27 would naturally follow US-87 between San Angelo and Lubbock, whereas I-14 could be extended from its proposed terminus at Midland-Odessa northward along SH-358 to meet back up with I-27 North at Lamesa.

The main development activity with I-14 will be within the Texas triangle. And even in that region there will be battles over funding with other corridors in need of development, like the corridor spokes between Austin and Houston (US-290, TX-71) and closer to San Antonio (San Marcos to Luling and New Braunfels to Seguin). The region between Austin and San Antonio is growing rapidly. The I-35 corridor is getting over-loaded; that may turn US-281 into an important N-S relief route in that region. All of that stuff going on will make it pretty difficult to push I-14 out West of Copperas Cove and Lampasas. With that being said, I think the best hope Midland-Odessa has on getting an Interstate connection to San Angelo is by way of the Ports to Plains Corridor.
One important thing to note is that none of those projects, US-290 / TX-71 or US-281, are even official proposals on paper. I-14 and I-27 have at least made it onto paper and are now only being  held up by lack of funding. Once funding is enabled, those projects would get the green light before any non-proposed projects.

At the risk of getting into politics, President Trump is floating a $1 trillion infrastructure project idea, with a lot of it going into roads. It's a big "if" for the legislation to get passed, but if it does it could speed along a bunch of "shovel ready" highway projects.
Continuing to keep politics aside, I agree that we need a revived and reliable federal program, and have for the past 30 years. I'd say the biggest issue is funding. In the past, toll financing was proposed to fund the majority of improvements, and that is one element I'm largely against. I'd rather see a gas tax increase nationwide, though with the Republican administration being against tax increases, it's hard to see this one through. The only option would be adding to the deficit, which seems to have no problem piling up with other bills with larger spending that have been passed.

If we can get a successful program up and running, especially in light of COVID-19, I think funding should be largely dedicated to -
- Overhauling the original interstate highway system. Funding allocated for major 6 to 8 lane widening on long-haul corridors that have high truck volumes / congestion issues, such as I-81, I-70, I-40, I-95, I-85, and multiple others.
- Urban projects. Funding allocated for urban road improvements, both arterial and interstate, with a likely bias toward major interstate projects such as bridge projects.
- "Future" interstate highway corridors. Funding allocated to speed along a new generation of interstate highways. This includes many corridors such as the incomplete portions of I-69, I-49, I-73, I-11, I-14, I-27, I-42, I-87, I-57, I-86, and others. This could also include new corridors if any are desired.
- Other rural road projects that are not on the interstate highway system. Funding allocated for safety improvements on thousands of miles of rural road, could include four-lane widening on regional corridors, etc.

There's a lot of potential, and if another round of a large federal program as seen in the later 1900s is on the books, I think it's worthwhile to get it passed and shovels turned.
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sparker

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #52 on: June 17, 2020, 04:54:27 PM »

^^^^^^^^^^^
If and when a comprehensive transportation measure -- maybe not the $1T floated but perhaps half to two-thirds that -- is passed, I would agree that fixing substandard or outdated sections of the current system should be Job #1A, with 1B being completion of corridors that have seen substantial work since '91's ISTEA (i.e., I-49, I-69, most of I-11, even I-86/NY!).  In short, if the states have taken it on themselves to get as much done as possible considering eked-out Federal support, supply them the wherewithal to get the job(s) done.  Newer corridors being studied -- like the two in TX (P-to-P/I-27, I-14) would be job #2, along with obvious commercial corridors either designated future Interstates or undesignated but warranting action (in CA, CA 99 and CA 58; US 287 DFW>Amarillo in TX; US 69/I-45 in OK).  Let's not Fritz it -- but face it, there are some deserving corridors out there that if Nixon hadn't FU'd the process back in the '70's, would have periodically been added to the system. 

One main problem is the perception of state equity.  There are quite a few states that just won't contain much -- or even zero -- in the way of arguably warrantable Interstate corridor mileage.  Neither of the Dakotas will fall under consideration (unless the Heartland corridor is included south of Rapid City); can't see Montana getting anything significant, nor much of New England unless Interstate upgrades to extant freeways are considered.  Florida might piss and moan about competition with their pending toll roads (except in the Panhandle), so they may not be terribly cooperative.  But you can damn well bet that they'll ask for compensation in some form.  Maybe an expanded expressway/Super 2 program for highways deemed problematic in terms of safety or efficiency can be instituted in the states without significant Interstate development activity; that would be a reasonable addendum to any Interstate expansion. 

This is the type of program -- though obviously a pre-election "incentivization" by the current administration in its present form/state -- that would probably survive an administrative change in November.  Once a positive set of projects has been proposed by any party, a successor administration would be loath to pull it back even if internally unpopular by some of its adherents and/or factions.  This is particularly significant given the recent unforeseen economic downturn; injection of funding into local projects promising jobs, particularly in regards to the greater labor force is something that tends to survive ideological attack (ironically, the $1T figure originally floated was immediately criticized as excessive/wasteful by many on the right side of the fence).  This is going to be a "serve-and-volley" process between the administration, Congress, and (likely) the Biden campaign, with all sides attempting to claim some high ground.  But if at this economic juncture the greater public sees the potential for money shoveled in their direction, it'll be difficult to assume and maintain a naysaying position, both pre- and post-election.  Remember -- it's one short electoral cycle until the 2022 campaigns; taking the proverbial candy away from the baby might not be the optimal strategy!
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Bobby5280

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #53 on: June 18, 2020, 01:55:16 PM »

Quote from: sprjus4
Reasonable, IMO, I can't see I-27 being constructed south of I-10.

It would not be worth doing if the road was only built to Del Rio. If that was the case it would be far better to build I-27 from San Angelo direct to Junction where it would merge into I-10 and create a direct Interstate link between Amarillo and Lubbock down to San Antonio.

I-27 would become a far important corridor if the Ports to Plains Corridor was built out fully from the Front Range of the Rockies down to the Gulf Coast. If I-27 was extended to Laredo and I-2 extended up to Laredo such a corridor would link Amarillo, Lubbock and maybe Midland-Odessa with Laredo (a fairly big city) and the over million residents down in the Rio Grande Valley. An I-27 route to Laredo combined with I-2 would link all the major ports of entry along the Rio Grande to the Interstate system. The port in Brownsville would have improved access to the rest of the Interstate system. Same goes for the tourism industry at South Padre Island.

Quote from: sprjus4
Applying that setup here, I-27 would naturally follow US-87 between San Angelo and Lubbock, whereas I-14 could be extended from its proposed terminus at Midland-Odessa northward along SH-359 to meet back up with I-27 North at Lamesa.

It would be really goofy looking to have an I-14 route do a 90 degree hook up to Lamesa to meet a highway it already had crossed in San Angelo. An Interstate route along the TX-359 corridor between Midland and Lamesa only makes sense as an I-27 variant, be it "I-27W," "I-227" or even I-27 itself if interests in Midland pull the whole route over there at the expense of the broader P2P corridor.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 02:01:53 PM by Bobby5280 »
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sprjus4

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #54 on: June 18, 2020, 01:58:41 PM »

It would be really goofy looking to have an I-14 route do a 90 degree hook up to Lamesa to meet a highway it already had crossed in San Angelo. An Interstate route along the TX-359 corridor between Midland and Lamesa only makes sense as an I-27 variant, be it "I-27W," "I-227" or even I-27 itself if interests in Midland pull the whole route over there at the expense of the broader P2P corridor.
See I-43 and I-41 in Wisconsin.
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sparker

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #55 on: June 18, 2020, 04:37:59 PM »

It would be really goofy looking to have an I-14 route do a 90 degree hook up to Lamesa to meet a highway it already had crossed in San Angelo. An Interstate route along the TX-359 corridor between Midland and Lamesa only makes sense as an I-27 variant, be it "I-27W," "I-227" or even I-27 itself if interests in Midland pull the whole route over there at the expense of the broader P2P corridor.
See I-43 and I-41 in Wisconsin.

Given that the only "common ground" among the P-to-P boosters and their I-14 counterparts is that TX 158 segment, it's likely that any "meeting of the minds" will put I-27 through Big Springs and I-14 to Midland, where it'll either snake around the south side of town and terminate somewhere in Odessa (plans to that effect have been floated) or simply interchange with I-20 as its terminus (probably depending upon whether TxDOT is in the mood to spend extra $$ on a localized project).  Unless there's serious safety issues with TX 349 between Midland & Lamesa that can be conflated into near-term action, that segment might just be kicked down the road for a while.  But it sounds like the P-to-P coalition includes voices from its south reaches (Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and even Laredo), so while that section is set up to be addressed separately from the coalition's press releases and documentation, sooner or later a freeway from Sonora to I-35 will be at least formally planned (adoption, some ROW purchase, etc.) -- IMO the first step would be to upgrade the Del Rio bypass as the "keystone" for the segment; the ROW's already there, and it would have local value in addition to starting the ball rolling on the remainder. 

I've mentioned this before -- and it sort of verges on fictional -- but if the P-to-P southern section could somehow be curved just a wee bit north to cross I-35 and utilize/parallel the west end of TX 44 to Freer it could dovetail with the nascent Freer-Corpus I-69 auxiliary branch.  Really turn the whole shooting match into a real undeniable Ports to Plains by not only addressing the various ports of entry from Brownsville up to Del Rio but also the now-Panamax port at Corpus -- while providing an additional source of commercial traffic for I-27. 
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sprjus4

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #56 on: June 18, 2020, 05:02:08 PM »

I've mentioned this before -- and it sort of verges on fictional -- but if the P-to-P southern section could somehow be curved just a wee bit north to cross I-35 and utilize/parallel the west end of TX 44 to Freer it could dovetail with the nascent Freer-Corpus I-69 auxiliary branch.  Really turn the whole shooting match into a real undeniable Ports to Plains by not only addressing the various ports of entry from Brownsville up to Del Rio but also the now-Panamax port at Corpus -- while providing an additional source of commercial traffic for I-27.
I-10, I-37, and the future I-69 spurs provide an adequate connection from the west to Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and McAllen.

There's little need for another connection, especially considering those highways can be improved for much lower of cost.
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sparker

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #57 on: June 18, 2020, 10:12:35 PM »

I've mentioned this before -- and it sort of verges on fictional -- but if the P-to-P southern section could somehow be curved just a wee bit north to cross I-35 and utilize/parallel the west end of TX 44 to Freer it could dovetail with the nascent Freer-Corpus I-69 auxiliary branch.  Really turn the whole shooting match into a real undeniable Ports to Plains by not only addressing the various ports of entry from Brownsville up to Del Rio but also the now-Panamax port at Corpus -- while providing an additional source of commercial traffic for I-27.
I-10, I-37, and the future I-69 spurs provide an adequate connection from the west to Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and McAllen.

There's little need for another connection, especially considering those highways can be improved for much lower of cost.

Which would obviate the Freer-Corpus segment as well, since from that seaport pretty much everything north and west can be accessed by I-37 in any case, parsed out at San Antonio for specific destinations.  And the amount of commercial traffic heading for Corpus from the Laredo POE would be, in the long run, dwarfed by that heading straight up US 59/I-69W to the more established distribution center of Houston -- can't envision much inbound Laredo merchandise simply being trans-loaded to ships; that would have occurred previously in Mexico.  But the Freer-Corpus "branch" was established anyway.  My I-27 extension concept was simply to provide a relief route for I-37 avoiding the San Antonio chokepoint -- no more, no less, based on the principle that if you're going to build something, have it perform as many functions as feasible.  On a purely relative basis, the portion of the P-to-P between the Laredo area and I-10 is markedly less vital and useful than the segment north of there -- but this being TX and the political implications of such, the southern portion will likely be constructed at some point.  But I have no compunctions about "tweaking" a corridor to render it a bit more useful than without such modifications -- especially if said corridor is redundant or subject to potential underutilization anyway. 
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Bobby5280

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #58 on: June 19, 2020, 02:27:25 PM »

The Ports to Plains Corridor does not need to go to Freer at all. That's way out of the way. It's far better for the road to meet up with I-2 in Laredo. Freer is already at the intersection with I-69W and I-69C, plus any I-x69 route that could be built over TX-44 from Freer to Corpus Christi.

If any alteration was going to be made to the Future I-27 route I'd have it hug closer to the Rio Grade for a more direct connection bewteen Laredo and Eagle Pass. For now the Ports to Plains Corridor is routed along US-83 up to Carrizo Springs and then US-277 to Eagle Pass.

Mines Road on the North side of Laredo has a lot of industrial and distribution activity. The road is four laned and divided between the Bob Bullock Loop and TX-255 to the North. Over the long term it may have to be upgraded into a freeway. Mines Road (aka FM-1472) turns into Eagle Pass Road. A more direct Interstate route could be built on top of or parallel with that road. Of course the folks in Carrizo Springs would not like that at all.

Quote from: sprjus4
See I-43 and I-41 in Wisconsin.

I'm not really a big fan of I-41 in Wisconsin, particularly the goofy multiplex with I-94 down to the Illinois border. Nevertheless, neither I-43 or I-41 turn into East-West routes for significant amounts of their paths. They're still primarily North-South roads with only short exceptions in Milwaukee, Appleton and Green Bay.

Routing I-14 from Midland up to Lamesa would turn that highway into a North-South route for roughly 50 miles. That's not good.
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kphoger

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #59 on: June 19, 2020, 02:55:07 PM »

Mines Road on the North side of Laredo has a lot of industrial and distribution activity. The road is four laned and divided between the Bob Bullock Loop and TX-255 to the North. Over the long term it may have to be upgraded into a freeway. Mines Road (aka FM-1472) turns into Eagle Pass Road. A more direct Interstate route could be built on top of or parallel with that road.

For what it's worth...

52,709 = AADT @ FM-1472 (Mines Road, Laredo) / Las Cruces Drive
32,124 = AADT @ FM-1472 / Sombreretito Creek
22,979 = AADT @ FM-1472 / Millennium Park
16,556 = AADT @ FM-1472 / west of FM-3338
6,132 = AADT @ FM-1472 / Phelps Road
8,882 = AADT @ FM-1472 / Scot Camp Tank
1,244 = AADT @ FM-1472 / Galvan Road
125 = AADT @ FM-1021 / middle of nowhere
278 = AADT @ FM-1021 / FM-2644
1,033 = AADT @ FM-1021 / Canal Street
1,030 = AADT @ FM-1021 / El Indio Park
13,647 = AADT @ FM-1021 / Rosita North
23,486 = AADT @ FM-1021 (El Indio Highway, Eagle Pass) / Camarinos Drive
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sprjus4

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #60 on: June 19, 2020, 03:11:39 PM »

The Ports to Plains Corridor does not need to go to Freer at all. That's way out of the way. It's far better for the road to meet up with I-2 in Laredo. Freer is already at the intersection with I-69W and I-69C, plus any I-x69 route that could be built over TX-44 from Freer to Corpus Christi.
I-69C will not pass through Freer, it's slated to traverse the US-281 corridor east of there.

I've not heard of any discussion regarding any potential Interstate 2 extension outside of this forum.

If any alteration was going to be made to the Future I-27 route I'd have it hug closer to the Rio Grade for a more direct connection bewteen Laredo and Eagle Pass. For now the Ports to Plains Corridor is routed along US-83 up to Carrizo Springs and then US-277 to Eagle Pass.

Mines Road on the North side of Laredo has a lot of industrial and distribution activity. The road is four laned and divided between the Bob Bullock Loop and TX-255 to the North. Over the long term it may have to be upgraded into a freeway. Mines Road (aka FM-1472) turns into Eagle Pass Road. A more direct Interstate route could be built on top of or parallel with that road. Of course the folks in Carrizo Springs would not like that at all.
Highly unlikely any new routing would be built in that desolate area, considering US-277 and US-83 already exist and could be upgraded on existing alignment largely, assuming any interstate is built in this area.

I'm not really a big fan of I-41 in Wisconsin, particularly the goofy multiplex with I-94 down to the Illinois border. Nevertheless, neither I-43 or I-41 turn into East-West routes for significant amounts of their paths. They're still primarily North-South roads with only short exceptions in Milwaukee, Appleton and Green Bay.
That segment with I-94 is north-south, yet signed east-west because the overall route is. The supposed reason for signing I-41 was indicate clearly was "north" and "south" was, but I do agree it's an unnecessary overlap.

Routing I-14 from Midland up to Lamesa would turn that highway into a North-South route for roughly 50 miles. That's not good.
For a route that would traverse over 500 miles in Texas, even more if ever extended eastwards into Louisiana, that's insignificant. Highways with east-west designations don't strictly have to only go east-west, and the same for north-south. I-40 in North Carolina was extended in the 1980s from Raleigh to Wilmington on a mostly north-south routing. I-94 between Milwaukee and Chicago is a north-south routing. I-44 between Oklahoma City and Wichita Falls is a mostly north-south routing. I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix is a largely north-south routing. I-26 between Charleston and Asheville is a mostly north-south routing, and the more recent 2002 extension from Asheville to Kingsport is a north-south routing. I-69 between Lansing and Port Huron is an east-west routing, and even changes cardinal directions on signs to represent such. Plenty other examples exist of the same nature.

It's just one idea, you could also go with I-27W and I-27E with an overlap with I-14 between Midland and Sterling City, or pull a Michigan and make I-14 between Midland and Lubbock "north-south".
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sparker

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #61 on: June 19, 2020, 06:03:12 PM »

^^^^^^^^
If I-14 is indeed applied to the TX 158 portion of the P-to-P, rather than multiplex it with another number the best bet would be to apply a different number to Midland-Lamesa, particularly if the local plans to extend I-14 west to Odessa materialize.  Suggestion: I-227 for that largely N-S segment.  Whereas the southern leg, after merging with the I-27 main line at Sterling City, will diverge again into the two separate trunks at San Angelo, the northern leg simply merges with I-27 -- hence the "child" designation is more than appropriate.
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Bobby5280

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Re: TX: Ports to Plains corridor study
« Reply #62 on: June 25, 2020, 04:21:43 PM »

Quote from: sprjus4
I-69C will not pass through Freer, it's slated to traverse the US-281 corridor east of there.

My mistake. I-69C will go through Alice, TX. But there is the potential of an I-x69 route starting in Freer at I-69W and going through Alice and Robstown on the way to Corpus Christi. And then there's the fictional "I-6" concept that would link Laredo and Corpus Christi, pretty much on this same path.

Neverthless an I-27 route extended along the Southern reaches of the Ports to Plains Corridor would be extremely better going to Laredo and hitting Del Rio and Eagle Pass along the way. Diverting I-27 to Freer instead of Laredo just doesn't work.

Quote from: sprjus4
I've not heard of any discussion regarding any potential Interstate 2 extension outside of this forum.

Yet the exit numbers on I-2 correspond with the notion of its "exit 0" starting in Laredo.

Quote from: sprjus4
For a route that would traverse over 500 miles in Texas, even more if ever extended eastwards into Louisiana, that's insignificant.

It's still a very stupid looking end to an Interstate. It's more appropriate to end a 2-digit Interstate at a more significant destination (Midland) and at a more significant highway intersection (I-20). Making it bend North for 50 additional miles up to Lamesa is only absurd and nothing more. If I-27 is ever going to be extended down across the I-20 corridor then a Midland-Lamesa leg could only ever be a variant of I-27, be it I-227 or I-27W[/i].
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