An intrastate route, Interstate 45 joins Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast with the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex along the former route of U.S. 75. Beginning on Galveston Island, IH 45 replaced U.S. 75 along the Gulf Freeway, a pre-Interstate era route constructed between Galveston and Houston. Angling northwest, the freeway passes by NASA’s Johnson Space Center toward South Houston, Park Place and Downtown Houston. Within central Houston, the route briefly runs side by side with Interstate 10 and U.S. 90. IH 45 ventures north from there to North Houston, Aldine, Spring and other northern Houston suburbs.
Beyond Conroe, Interstate 45 transitions to a rural freeway through Sam Houston National Forest. Exiting the forest, the freeway turns more west from Huntsville to Madisonville while remaining rural to Coriscana. Increasingly busy, IH 45 proceeds from there to Ennis, Ferris, Wilmer and Downtown Dallas.
The northern terminus of Interstate 45 is at the southern terminus of Interstate 345, which is signed as the southernmost portion of U.S. 75. An exit numbering anomaly occurs here. The exit numbers of I-45 continue northward along U.S. 75 and the hidden I-345 to the Woodall Rogers Freeway (Texas Spur 366), approximately 1.4 miles north of Interstate 30. Traveling southbound on U.S. 75, the Woodall Rogers Freeway is signed as Exit 1A. Just beyond the ramp to Spur 366, U.S. 75 encounters Exit 285 to Ross Avenue. The IH 30 junction is signed as Exit 284A.1
A section in the ISTEA (1991) legislation indicates that U.S. 69 will become part of the Interstate highway system once it is up to Interstate standards; the most logical designation would be Interstate 45, assuming that the highway connects to U.S. 75 in southern Oklahoma. This is taken from ISTEA Section 1074, Designation of United States Route 69, which states, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon the request of the Oklahoma State highway agency, the Secretary shall designate the portion of United States Route 69 from the Oklahoma-Texas State line to Checotah in the State of Oklahoma as a part of the Interstate System pursuant to section 139 of title 23, United States Code.” A current plan is to construct a new segment of the Oklahoma Turnpike along the U.S. 69 corridor to bring it to corridor standards.
North End – Dallas, TX
South End – Galveston, TX
Branch Routes – 1
Mileage – 284.91
Cities – Galveston, Texas City, Houston, Huntsville, Corsicana, Ennis, Dallas
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2017 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Interstate 45 ran north from Galveston to Madisonville by 1964. The route was extended north to Buffalo in 1971.
In Texas, Interstate 45 was an original Interstate Highway, and it was approved by the Texas State Highway Commission in 1962 with 286 miles.2 IH 45 was the recipient of the first Interstate Highway contract to be let in Texas; it was authorized in 1956 to complete a section in Navarro County near Corsicana.2 However, the first section of Interstate 45 to be built was the U.S. 75 / Gulf Freeway segment, which opened in September 1948. After being upgraded to Interstate standards, the Gulf Freeway was signed as IH 45 in 1971. The North Freeway segment of Interstate 45 in Houston started construction in December 1959 and was completed (north to Spring) by February 1963.
Additional sections of Interstate 45 opened in stages: during the 1960s, sections opened included the stretch from Conroe to Madisonville, the section from Madisonville to Centerville, and the bypass around Corsicana. During the early 1970s, the section from Centerville to Buffalo opened. The final gap of rural freeway was opened on October 13, 1971, between Fairfield and Streetman in Freestone County along a 12-mile section. Remaining sections opened in the mid to late 1970s included the relocated Central Expressway in Dallas and the stretch of IH 45 connecting Buffalo, Richland and Fairfield.3
North End – Dallas, Texas
South End – Galveston, Texas
- Michael R. Wilson, email: “I-45/I-345/US-75 in Dallas” August 11, 2003
- “From Anywhere to Everywhere: The Development of the Interstate Highway System in Texas.”
http://tti.tamu.edu/interstate_anniversary/white_paper/by Penny Beaumont, Rhonda Brinkmann, David Ellis, Chris Pourteau, and Brandon V. Webb, Texas Transportation Institute, page 29 and 34.
- Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System: Previous Interstate Facts of the Day by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
- Chapter 6 Excerpt: US 175, S.M. Wright and C.F. Hawn Freeways, Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways, 2014 ebook.
Page updated September 27, 2018.