U.S. Highway 83 North - Abilene vicinity

U.S. 83 north
This view looks northbound at US 83/84 on the far southern side of Abilene, Texas. This large interchange serves traffic headed north into the city on the west side, east side, or right through downtown. The junction is named for local civic leader Sam Waldrop, owner of Waldrop's Fine Furniture and Abilene mayor pro tem. Photo taken 09/23/07.
The three choices for northbound traffic are all noted here. Loop 322, while not signed here, is a freeway and the fastest route to IH 20 on the north side of town. With a population of about 130,000 - the Abilene area mainly sprawls north and south, with Loop 322 / US 83/84 as the main arteries in that direction. Photo taken 09/23/07.
A view of the US 83/84 and Loop 322 interchange on the south side of the city. As is popular in many places, Abilene has erected a welcome sign here with the name of the city and some landscaping. Photo taken 09/23/07.
A northbound reassurance marker entering Abilene. It would appear that the US 84 sign was here at one time and has been removed or lost, but today it is missing and only US 83 is shown. Photo taken 09/23/07.
FM 89 is the first exit in the city headed northbound. This diamond interchange connects with FM 89 / Buffalo Gap Road. This is the old route southwest out of town, and heads toward the community of Buffalo Gap. The town is currently a historic "old west" style heritage village, and sits in the Callahan Divide - a gap in the hills that divides the Colorado and Brazos River basins. Photo taken 09/23/07.
US 83/84 at FM 89 in Abilene. This is an important intersection here in the city, and on it sits the regional mall as well as major retailers and restaurants. Traffic here gets busy on weekends and during the holiday shopping season. Photo taken 09/23/07.
At Buffalo Gap road the 4 lane asphalt rural-feeling roadway expands into a 6-lane concrete urban freeway with a jersey barrier in the center. The freeway, originally built in the late 1960s, is called the Winters Freeway locally. Photo taken 09/23/07.
Looking northbound past Buffalo Gap Road at a US 83/84 reassurance marker. Photo taken 09/23/07.
Southwest Drive is the next exit headed north. During reconstruction of the freeway in 2003, several ramps were moved or removed from the old freeway design. Local groups held meetings with TxDot to complain about the lack of ramps. Residents were frustrated that they had to spend most of their time on the frontage roads rather than the freeway itself - while TxDot explained that the freeway was primarily built for through-traffic and refused to add more ramps. Photo taken 09/23/07.
Looking north on the Winters Freeway at Southwest Dr. Southwest Dr. connects the central area of Abilene with the many sprawling subdivisions on the southwest side of the city. The economy of Abilene is varied and is centered on the energy industry, cattle, cotton, other agriculture, and Dyess Air Force Base. Photo taken 09/23/07.
A view of the freeway looking northbound past Southwest Dr in 2007, and before the reconstruction was completed in 2003. The reconstruction was proposed in 1998 and completed in 2004. In addition to widening the road and removing some ramps, other ramps were changed from a merge-on-freeway configuration to a merge-on-frontage-roads configuration. Photos taken 09/23/07 & 05/31/03.
Another view looking north, again with a US 83 reassurance marker that is missing its US 84. Rather than being named for a person, the Winters Freeway was so named because if one travels south for about 40 miles along US 83, they will meet the town of Winters. Photo taken 09/23/07.
The first advance signage for US 277 south. US 277 connects Oklahoma City with points southwest, and eventually the Mexican border. Its route through Texas is mostly rural, and it never meets a major metropolitan area in the state. Photo taken 09/23/07.
US 83/84 meet up with US 277 in Abilene. Notice the signs here are in the new Clearview font. During the construction project here, TxDot decided to go with the new Clearview font, thus the signs here were among the first to use the new font in the state. Conversely, the Highway Gothic signs along the freeway here were among the last to be put up in Texas. Photo taken 09/23/07.
As the freeway curves around the west side of Abilene, the new addition to the US highway overlap, US 277, has been added to the reassurance markers. Photo taken 09/23/07.
The next exit at S 7th St signals the end of the 6 lane concrete roadway as a large banner warns that the right lane is exit-only. Photo taken 09/23/07.
US 83/84/277 northbound at S 7th St in Abilene. The $12 million reconstruction project meets its northern limit here, and the freeway goes back down to its original 4 lanes. Photo taken 09/23/07.
The next exit serves downtown Abilene to the east as well as the Air Force Base and other large employers. US 84 leaves the overlap here and resumes its trek westward. Until 1993, this sign would have shown US highway 80 instead of BL 20. While US 80 has been decommissioned for some time, locals still refer to the road as "Highway 80" and it is still signed as such on local street signs. Photo taken 09/23/07.
A view of US 83/84/277 northbound at BL 20 / US 84 west in Abilene. This folded diamond interchange is abutted by a railroad to the north. Abilene, originally settled in the 1880s, was primarily a railroad town and a center for cattle transport. Photo taken 09/23/07.
As the freeway, now carrying only US 83/277, flies over the railroad, the next exit for N 1st St appears. This is also a folded diamond ramp configuration and is abutted to the railroad on the south. Photo taken 09/23/07.
US 83/277 northbound at N 1st St. This street mainly serves industrial areas on the west side of town. Photo taken 09/23/07.
Reassurance markers on the Winters Freeway, just past N 1st St. Photo taken 09/23/07.
The freeway's next exit is here at N 10th St. Exit here for Abilene's north-side residential areas Photo taken 09/23/07.
The next exit northbound is Ambler Ave. Ambler was the location of a popular streetcar line from 1908 to 1931, in those years many of Texas' smaller cities had multiple streetcar lines. Photo taken 09/23/07.
Northbound reassurance markers in an industrial area just south of Ambler Avenue. Photo taken 09/23/07.
US 83/277 at Ambler Avenue in Abilene. Abilene has a history in culture and movie roles. The city played a part in Richard Kelly's 2007 film Southland Tales, where it was notably destroyed by a nuclear attack. Photo taken 09/23/07.
Dallas and Midland/Odessa are absent from this, the first mention of IH 20 along the Winters Freeway northbound. Photo taken 09/23/07.
US 83/277 northbound at IH 20 on the northwest side of Abilene. Photo taken 09/23/07.
As of 2007, construction work is underway to widen and reconstruct this interchange to have better turning radii and more collector/distributor lanes. The project is the first of many to widen and rebuilt IH 20 through Abilene. Photo taken 09/23/07.

Page Updated January 20, 2008.

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