Arcing across the state, U.S. 59 covers 631 miles in Texas from Laredo to Houston and Texarkana. As decided by state lawmakers in 1992, U.S. 59 is named the Senator Lloyd Bentsen highway between IH 35 and IH 45. The freeway is also a part of High Priority Corridor 18, future Interstate 69. IH 69 overlays U.S. 59 through the Houston area, and signs posted along the route further south reference it as part of the future Interstate corridor.
H 69 splits into three branches through South Texas. U.S. 59 coincides with IH 69W from Laredo east to George West and Victoria. IH 69C accompanies U.S. 281 north from McAllen to George West with IH 69E following U.S. 77 north from Brownsville to Corpus Christi and Victoria. All three branches are written into law. East Texas boosters hope the new road will draw NAFTA traffic away from IH 35. However, U.S. 59 from Houston south to George West remains lightly traveled.
U.S. 59 Highway Guides
U.S. 59 enters the Lone Star State in Texarkana at IH 30, dropping south through Jefferson and Marshall to cross IH 20. U.S. 59 continues south through Carthage to turn west at Tenaha, aiming for Nagodoches and Livingston.
Continuing southwest, U.S. 59 becomes a full freeway in Cleveland en route to the Houston metropolitan area. Passing the suburbs of Kingwood and the city of Humble, U.S. 59 travels a linear route along the Eastex Freeway toward Downtown. A 35-mile section of U.S. 59, from the Liberty / Montgomery County line south to the north loop of IH 610 was established as IH 69 in 2012. The Eastex Freeway was rebuilt in the 1990s, and is one of Houston's least congested freeways. The Eastex Freeway was named from a contest held in 1953, where three participants split a $100 prize for submitting the winning name.1
Swinging around the east and south side of Downtown, US 59 becomes the Southwest Freeway, Houston's most congested freeway. Construction from the central business district southward lowered the old Montrose elevated section into a trenched and widened the freeway to support the high volumes of traffic. U.S. 59 remains a freeway southwest of the Sam Houston Tollway (Beltway 8) and reaches the suburb of Sugar Land. IH 69 accompanies U.S. 59 through central Houston, and southwest to Rosenburg, with the section between north and south Loop 610, signed in April 2015.
Leaving Rosenburg, U.S. 59 resumes as an expressway, with freeway bypasses slowly being constructed around towns. The highway passes Wharton and Edna before reaching Victoria, the largest city in the region. Named for General Guadalupe Victoria, Mexico's first president, Victoria is a center of agriculture and it marks the point where U.S. 77 and U.S.59 meet. Most traffic takes U.S. 77 south to Corpus Christi, leaving U.S. 59 with just two lanes southwest until reaching IH 37.
U.S. 59 makes a beeline for Goliad, then Beeville. Beeville was the home of Chase NAS, but has suffered greatly since the base closed in 1987. Beyond Beeville, U.S. 59 meets IH 37 and passes just south of George West, where U.S. 59 crosses U.S. 281. U.S. 59 advances southwest from U.S. 281 to Freer, before making the lightly traveled trek across the South Texas plains to Laredo, where it ends at IH 35.
Business loops for U.S. 59 in Texas:
- BU-59D - Carthage
- BU-59F - Nagodoches
- BU-59G - Lufkin
- BU-59J - Livingston
- BU-59L - Splendora
- BU-59R - Wharton
- BU-59S - El Campo
- BU-59T - Victoria
- BU-59X - George West
- "Freeways' names a mystery to most." Houston Chronicle (TX), May 9, 1996.
Page Updated 01-27-2018.