Interstate 69C Texas

Interstate 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 was estimated to cost $750 million in 2019. Work includes the addition of new lanes and overpasses.2 The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) indicated at forum held at the McAllen Convention Center on March 11, 2022 that projects completing the upgrade along U.S. 281 to Interstate standards from Edinburg to George West will cost approximately $700 million.  The first section, from FM 490 to the San Manuel area will cost $145 million, with construction anticipated to start in 2024, if not 2023. The ensuing segment, from San Manuel to FM 755 south of Encino, will cost $200 million.3

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 for a 13.5 mile section of the freeway along U.S. 281 within Hidalgo County by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on November 16, 2012. 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.4

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 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), this designation became official during Fall 2015, following formal notification that work was completed bringing U.S. 281 to Interstate standards.5

Route Information

  • North End – Edinburg, TX

  • South End – Pharr, TX

  • Mileage – 18.00

  • Cities – McAllen

  • JunctionsI-2

Source: Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) – Highway Designation File for INTERSTATE HIGHWAY NO. 69C, December 31, 20121 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

Rio Grande Valley Texas - 1983
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 long 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). 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 08/04/19

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

Construction underway from September 2020 to December 2023 upgrades the directional T interchange with two lane flyovers replacing the direct connectors joining IH 69C with IH 2. 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 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 146 A/B) with IH-69C and U.S. 281 on IH 2/U.S. 83 westbound. 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. 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. 08/04/19

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

Exit 146 A 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. 08/04/19

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

A single lane flyover (Exit 146 B) departs IH 2/U.S. 83 east for IH 69C/U.S. 281 north to Edinburg. 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. “Alvarez: TxDOT needs $400 million more to build an interstate from Edinburg to I-37.” Rio Grande Guardian, March 11, 2022.
  4. SCOH Report from Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering Annual Meeting, November 16, 2012.
  5. “Another 6.1 Miles Added to I-69 Texas System.” Alliance for I-69 Texas web site, November 30, 2015.

Page updated June 4, 2022.