Interstate 69C Texas

I-69C Texas
History
North End
South End

Overview

IH 69C runs concurrent with U.S. 281 north from IH 2 at Pharr 17.46 miles to FM 490 by South Texas International Airport at Edinburg (EBG). The four to six lane freeway runs the height of Edinburg, bypassing the city center to the east. U.S. 281 extends north as a four lane, divided highway to a grade separated interchange with SH 186 and the Brooks County line. The suffix in IH 69C references the “I-69 Central” branch of IH 69 in planning documents.1

IH 69C will ultimately run north along U.S. 281 to IH 69W at George West. Construction to extend IH 69C another 44 miles north from Edinburg to Falfurrias along the U.S. 281 right of way is estimated to cost $750 million. Work includes the addition of new lanes and overpasses.2 Per the TxDOT Project Tracker, a 7.46 mile section of U.S. 281, from FM 490 to SH 186, will be upgraded to Interstate standards with construction starting by 2023 at the cost of $80 million. A subsequent $194 million project, anticipated for the 2024-29 time frame, continues upgrade work along U.S. 281 northward to the Brooks County line.

History

The Edinburg bypass of U.S. 281 opened to traffic in 1980 as the first project to upgrade the corridor in Hidalgo County to limited access standards.

Interstate 69C was approved at the AASHTO meeting on November 15, 2012 for a 13.5 mile section of the U.S. 281 freeway within Hidalgo County. The route initially ended a half mile north of the U.S. 281 junction with FM 2812, where the pre-existing freeway transitioned into an at-grade divided highway.3

A ceremony was held on July 15, 2013 in Pharr for the signing of both IH 2 and IH 69C on the same day a similar event took place in McAllen for IH 2 and IH 69E.

The Texas Transportation Commission approved another 4.5 miles of IH 69C on November 20, 2014. The section runs north from the previous freeway end to FM 490. Approved by the Administrator of the FHWA, this designation became official during Fall 2015, following formal notification that work was completed bringing U.S. 281 to Interstate standards.4

Route Information

  • North End – Edinburg, TX

  • South End – Pharr, TX

  • Mileage – 18.0

  • Cities – McAllen

  • JunctionsI-2

Texas Department of Transportation – Highway Designation File for INTERSTATE HIGHWAY NO. 69C, December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

Rio Grande Valley – 1983 Texas Official Highway Map

Old U.S. 281 through Edinburg was established as SL 113 on April 14, 1980. The 6.9-mile route was renumbered as Business U.S. Highway 281-W on June 21, 1990.

North End US 281 FM 490 – Edinburg, Texas

US 281 North at FM 490

IH 69C/US 281 north at FM 490 - Edinburg, TX

IH 69C/U.S. 281 northbound at the diamond interchange with FM 490 by South Texas International Airport at Edinburg (EBG). Photo taken 08/04/19.

IH 69C/US 281 north at FM 490 - Edinburg, TX

The final confirming marker for IH 69C stands just beyond the FM 490 underpass. U.S. 281 continues north to the settlement of Red Gate. Photo taken 08/04/19.

US 281 South at FM 490

US 281 south at IH 69C/FM 490 - Edinburg, TX

U.S. 281 heads south from SH 186 at Linn to Red Gate and the beginning of IH 69C south at FM 490. Photo taken 08/04/19.

US 281 south at IH 69C/FM 490 - Edinburg, TX

IH 69C and U.S. 281 combine southward from FM 490 to Edinburg and Pharr. FM 490 leads west to McCook and east to Harguill. Photo taken 08/04/19.

South End I-2 US 83 / Pharr, Texas

US 281 South at I-2 US 83

IH 69C/US 281 south at IH 2 - Pharr, TX

Commercialized frontage roads accompany the final mile of IH 69C south in the city of Pharr. Photo taken 08/04/19.

IH 69C/US 281 south at IH 2 - Pharr, TX

U.S. 281 separates from IH 69C to join Cage Boulevard south from IH 2/U.S. 83 to the Pharr city center. Photo taken 08/04/19.

IH 69C/US 281 south at IH 2 - Pharr, TX

U.S. 281 separates from IH 69C to join Cage Boulevard south from IH 2/U.S. 83 to the Pharr city center. Photo taken 08/04/19.

IH 69C/US 281 south at IH 2 - Pharr, TX

High speed flyovers join the south end of IH 69C with IH 2/U.S. 83 east to Harlingen and Brownsville and west to adjacent McAllen and Mission. Photo taken 08/04/19.

IH 69C/US 281 south at IH 2 - Pharr, TX

High speed flyovers join the south end of IH 69C with IH 2/U.S. 83 east to Harlingen and Brownsville and west to adjacent McAllen and Mission. Photo taken 08/04/19.

I-2 US 83 West at US 281

IH 2/US 83 west at IH 69C/US 281 - Pharr, TX

Reflecting the ultimate planned extension to Laredo, exit numbers were added along IH 2 in the Rio Grande Valley by 2016. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (03/16/16).

IH 2/US 83 west at IH 69C/US 281 - Pharr, TX

One half mile ahead of the directional T interchange (Exits 146A/B) with IH-69C and U.S. 281 on IH 2/U.S. 83 westbound. Photo taken 08/04/19.

IH 2/US 83 west at IH 69C/US 281 - Pharr, TX

IH 69C/U.S. 281 join Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley with Falfurrias and Alice. Photo taken 08/04/19.

I-2 US 83 East at US 281

IH 2/US 83 east at IH 69C/US 281 - Pharr, TX

IH 2/U.S. 83 curve northeast from McAllen and pass north of the Pharr city center to meet U.S. 281 and IH 69C north. Photo taken 08/04/19.

IH 2/US 83 east at IH 69C/US 281 - Pharr, TX

Exit 146A departs IH 2/U.S. 83 east next for U.S. 281 (Cage Boulevard) south. U.S. 281 extends another 55.77 miles from IH 69C to BU-77Z and SH 4 in Brownsville. Photo taken 08/04/19.

IH 2/US 83 east at IH 69C/US 281 - Pharr, TX

A single lane flyover (Exit 146B) departs IH 2/U.S. 83 east for IH 69C/U.S. 281 north to Edinburg. Photo taken 08/04/19.

Sources:

  1. I-69 from McAllen to Victoria, I69Info.com: Interstate 69, web site (Chris Lawrence).
  2. “Expansion of US 77-I69E making progress.” Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, TX), January 6, 2019.
  3. SCOH Report from Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering Annual Meeting, November 16, 2012.
  4. “Another 6.1 Miles Added to I-69 Texas System.” Alliance for I-69 Texas web site, November 30, 2015.

Page updated August 10, 2019.