Interstate 69C in Texas
According to bestitude, Interstate 69 Central or I -69C is an Interstate Highway in the United States, located in the state of Texas. The highway is a branch of Interstate 69 in South Texas. The highway should eventually connect Pharr to I-69W in George West, but currently only a 29-kilometer stretch from Pharr north is completed as a continuous freeway. There are also freeway bypasses around Falfurrias and Alice, as well as some isolated grade separated connections elsewhere on the route.
I-69C begins at a stack interchange with Interstate 2 in Pharr and heads north with 2×3 to 2×4 lanes. In addition to I-69C passing through the town of Pharr, it also forms the eastern bypass of the small town of Edinburg. North of Edinburg, the highway narrows to 2×2 lanes and then ends, after which the US 281 continues north as a 2×2 divided highway.
According to biotionary, I-69C was originally constructed as part of US 281. In May 2013, the numbering of Interstate 69 Central was approved by the AASHTO and FHWA. The first signposts with I-69C were installed in Pharr on July 15, 2013. It is the first Interstate Highway to be designated “central”.
Pharr – Edinburgh
Originally a 2×2 divided highway in Pharr and Edinburgh, the road was upgraded to a 2×2 lane freeway in the early 1990s, including the stack with the I-2 (then US 83). In 2006 the highway in Pharr and Edinburg was widened to 2×3 to 2×4 lanes. Circa 2005, the first 5 miles of the highway between Edinburg and Faysville opened. The stack with I-2 was reconstructed in 2021 with larger flyovers.
Edinburgh – George West
On the route from Edinburgh to George West, a few short stretches of freeway were initially constructed around or along the towns. In between are long stretches of 2×2 divided highway that are not grade-separated. In the early 2000s, a short section opened at Linn, really no more than a connection with SH 186. The Falfurrias passage was transformed into a 7-kilometer freeway around 2012-2013. A western bypass has been constructed along Alice. This was originally laid out with frontage roadsand only main carriageways at the level of the connections. This was realized sometime between 1995 and 2005, around 2015 an additional grade separated intersection with FM 1554 opened. Before 1995 a connection with FM 624 opened to traffic north of Alice. In 2014-2015, the section between Edinburg and FM 490 north of Faysville will be provided with main carriageways and frontage roads.
Interstate 69 Central should eventually become a full-fledged freeway between Pharr and George West, where it connects to I-69W. Most of this route consists of current US 281 in Texas, which is largely a 2×2 divided highway. The section north of Edinburg will be addressed first, with plans to widen the section between FM 490 and SH 186 north of Edinburg to a freeway with frontage roads. There are three connections on this route. A FONSI was issued for this project in December 2019.
A bypass is being constructed at Premont, which should be opened in early 2024.
Every day 116,000 vehicles drive north of I-2 in Pharr, dropping to 77,000 vehicles on the south side of Edinburg and 32,000 vehicles north of it.
South Padre Island 2nd Access
The South Padre Island 2nd Access is a planned river crossing to South Padre Island in southern Texas in the Rio Grande Valley region. It is planned as an approximately 12-mile bridge, the longest in Texas.
The South Padre Island 2nd Access consists of a toll bridge over Laguna Madre and will run as a freeway with a design speed of 60 mph (100 km/h). The total connection will be 28 kilometers long. The length of the bridge is approximately 12 kilometers. The lagoon is quite uniformly 10 to 11 kilometers wide, and the bridge will cross the lagoon slightly obliquely. The bridge connects north of the Queen Isabella Causeway, the current approach road to South Padre Island. The approximately 12 kilometer long bridge will have a cross section of 2×2 lanes with emergency lanes and will be 80 ft (24.4 meters) wide.
South Padre Island is a barrier island off the coast of southern Texas. It is an elongated island 56 kilometers long and 1 to 5 kilometers wide and is separated from the rest of Padre Island by an artificial channel to Port Mansfield. On the southern part of the island is the eponymous town of South Padre Island, which is a major tourist destination. The island was originally uninhabited, and was partially cleared for development in 1962. The town of South Padre Island grew from 800 inhabitants in 1980 to 3,000 inhabitants in 2015. However, it has become a major tourist destination and wintering site. In 1974 the Queen Isabella Causeway, a 3.8 kilometer bridge from Port Isabel to South Padre Island, opened.
Due to the increasing recreational traffic to South Padre Island, a second cross-river connection is being considered. It is being developed by the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority and will be a toll road. The construction may be combined with the construction of the ‘Outer Parkway’, which connects the bridge with Interstate 69E.north of Harlingen. The procedures were started in 2008. 46 possible alternatives were later developed, all close together across the southern part of the Laguna Madre. This was later reduced to 20 provisional alternatives, which were filtered out again to 11 reasonable alternatives. These all cross the Laguna Madre east of the Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport. These 11 alternatives and a ‘no-build’ alternative have been examined in the draft environmental impact statement. The preferred alternative was subsequently established in 2012 as a bridge at Mesquite Drive north of Laguna Vista crossing the Laguna Madre in a northeasterly direction, with a length of approximately 12 kilometers. Construction costs have been estimated at $452-535 million. In 2018, planning was halted due to a moratorium on toll roads. Construction was originally planned to begin in 2018.