El Paso @ LoneStarRoads


El Paso is located next to the Rio Grande in a pass between two mile high mountains, hence the name. The current city grew from a settlement founded by Ponce de León in 1827, however missions date back to 1677 and the first known settlement in the area dates back to 1598. The city has grown out of the original valley to surround the Franklin Mountains, which are now crossed by SH 375.

El Paso is unique for it's distance from the major population centers of Texas. Historically, El Paso has been rather isolated from the more populous eastern half of Texas due to the extremely long drive across West Texas. In some ways, El Paso seems more a part of Mexico, particularly due to Ciudad Juarez on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.

Due to the unique geography of El Paso, traffic is funneled on IH 10 through downtown, leading to increased congestion. IH 10 is currently operating at capacity most of the day, and with heavy truck traffic, El Paso does not meet air quality standards. In addition to plans for widening the eastern half of IH 10 through the city, TxDOT is currently studying a project called the Northeast parkway.

Plans for the Northeast Parkway call it to branch off IH 10 at Anthony, and follow NM 404 across the "Anthony Gap" through the mountains. After crossing the mountains, the road would turn southeast to meet Loop 375 in Fort Bliss. TxDOT is designing the project and will reimburse NMDOT for construction costs in New Mexico.

Additional plans call for widening of IH 10 east of US 54, and improvements to Loop 375 and US 85 to make the set of roads another alternate to IH 10.


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East
West

Interstate 10

Interstate 10 was opened between 1961 and 1969 through El Paso. The section from Paisano (US 62) east was open by 1961, and the section from the NM state line to Paisano (west) was open by 1966. The final link through downtown, a 0.4 mile section between Santa Fe and Campbell streets, was opened in mid-1969. Interstate 10 has been widened numerous times to it's present eight to ten lane with frontage road configuration.


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Interstate 110

Interstate 110 is a short route between IH 10 and Mexico via the Bridge of the Americas. The route was previously unsigned, running parallel to U.S. 54.


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East
West

Patriot Freeway

US 54 was one of the original US Highways serving El Paso, commissioned in 1926. It runs from the Mexican border downtown north to the New Mexico state line. US 54 was upgraded to the North-South freeway starting in 1970, and renamed the Patriot Freeway in 1993 after the Gulf War.


 


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Paisano Drive / Montana Ave

US 62 was commissioned in 1932 to replace former US 366, one of the original US routes in El Paso. US 62 starts at the Mexican Border in downtown El Paso, at the Santa Fe Port of Entry before turning east on Paisano Drive (former US 80). US 62 follows Paisano Drive east to Montana Ave, then continues east out of El Paso. The US 62 corridor was planned as a freeway but ultimately cancelled.


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Mesa Street / Alameda Street

US 80 was commissioned in 1926 through El Paso, and decommissioned in 1989. There are several old alignments through El Paso. Originally US 80 entered New Mexico on Doniphan Drive (present-day SH 20) before being realigned in 1955 to the present-day IH 10 alignment. The original 1926-1939 alignment turned east as Mesa Drive, looping around the mountains enroute to downtown. Mesa St turned to Texas Ave, then Alameda Ave east of downtown. The section between Mesa Drive and the Alameda/Paisano intersection was resigned US 80A in 1939, and re-resigned as US 80 in the late 1950s. Currently this alignment is signed as SH 20.

US 80 was realigned in 1939 south from the Doniphan Dr/Mesa St intersection and headed south to paralell the Rio Grande as Paisano Drive. This alignment continued east through downtown to meet US 80A at Alameda Drive/Paisano Drive intersection. This alignment was signed as US 80 from 1939 until the late 1950s, and is currently part of US 85 (IH 10 at Sunland Park to Stanton St) and US 62 (Santa Fe St to Paisano/Alameda intersection).

The third alignment of US 80 was along present-day IH 10 - this was commissioned from 1969 to 1989.

More details on US 80's path through El Paso are coming in the future.


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Paisano Drive

US 85 was extended to El Paso in 1935 south from Las Cruces. US 85 was co-signed with US 80 until downtown, but remained on the Mesa Street alignment to Texas Street, then south on Stanton Street to the Mexican border. After 1969, US 85 was shifted to old US 80 (alignment 2) along Paisano from Sunland Park south to Stanton/Santa Fe Streets.


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Montana Ave

US 180 was extended into El Paso in 1944, co-signed with US 62 from downtown east. US 180 was later extended to the New Mexico State line, co-signed with US 80 and later IH 10 west of downtown. Today, US 180 starts at the New Mexico state line and is co-signed with IH 10 until Montana Ave, then follows US 62 to Carlsbad, New Mexico.


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Border Freeway

Joe Battle Boulevard

Woodrow Bean Trans-Mountain Drive

Loop 375 over the Franklin Mountains opened on August 5, 1969 as TxDOT's largest excavation project. SL 375 has been extended east and around the city, forming a partial loop from downtown along the Rio Grande, turning inland south of the city and meeting IH 10. The road loops around the east side of El Paso, meeting US 62/180 before proceeding northeast through Fort Bliss and meeting US 54 on the west side of the base. West of US 54 is the original section of Loop 375. Loop 375 was planned in the 1963 freeway plan, but is only partially constructed as a freeway.



Page Updated October 20, 2008.

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