U.S. 181

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U.S. 181 travels just 138 miles, wholly within South Texas, from Downtown Corpus Christi to Interstate 37 (Exit 132) in southeast San Antonio. U.S. 181 begins and initially crosses the Harbor Bridge over the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. Overlapping with SH 35, U.S. 181 extends north along a freeway to span Nueces Bay along a causeway to the city of Portland.

U.S. 181 - Nueces Bay Causeway
Looking northward at the Nueces Bay Causeway, which carries U.S. 181 and State Highway 35 from Corpus Christi Beach to Portland. Photo taken by Kevin Trinkle (07/11/05).

Northward at Gregory, SH 35 turns east toward Aransas Pass while U.S. 181 angles northwest toward Taft. Further west, U.S. 181 bypasses Sinton along a controlled access expressway, where it meets U.S. 77 and future IH 69E.

8th Street leads U.S. 181 through the Skidmore business district as a five-lane boulevard. U.S. 181 expands again into a divided highway north from the community to Beeville. There a 9.3 mile long freeway bypass takes U.S. 181 around the east side of the Bee County seat.

U.S. 181 reverts to a two lane highway north to Kenedy in Karnes County, where it begins the western turn toward San Antonio. U.S. 181 otherwise stays somewhat rural in between the small cities of Karnes City, Falls City, Poth and Floresville.

U.S. 181 Texas Guides

Construction started in August 2016 to replace the aging Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi. The $900 million Harbor Bridge Replacement Project will realign U.S. 181 and SH 35 west onto a new cable-stayed bridge spanning Corpus Christi Ship Channel, and connecting with Interstate 37 and SH 286 (Crosstown Expressway) at a redesigned interchange. The project is scheduled for completion in April 2021.

Harbor Bridge - Corpus Christi
Facing north from the small park under the Harbor Bridge, next to the Texas State Aquarium. Photo taken 07/11/05.
Looking south at the Harbor Bridge toward Downtown Corpus Christi and the U.S. 181 freeway connecting with IH 37. Photo taken 07/11/05.
The High Bridge opened to traffic in 1959 to replace a low level span across the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. A new cable-stayed bridge under construction through 2021 replaces this crossing further west. Photo taken 07/11/05.
The central arch and the steel structure of the Harbor Bridge. The deck accommodates six overall lanes, but without shoulders. Photo taken 07/11/05.

Photo Credits:

07/11/05 by Kevin Trinkle

Connect with:
Interstate 37
U.S. 77

Page Updated 08-29-2017.