Interstate 69E overlays all of U.S. 77 from University Boulevard / East Avenue in Brownsville to the Raymondville bypass. A second section of IH 69E is posted along the 6.2-mile stretch of freeway along U.S. 77 between SH 44 at Robstown and IH 37 at Calallen in Corpus Christi.
An additional 1.6 miles of IH 69C was added from SH 44 to FM 892 at Robstown in Fall 2015 to coincide with upgrades of U.S. 77 to Interstate standards.1 This was pre-approved by the Texas Transportation Commission on November 20, 2014.
Grade separation under construction for the future main lanes of IH 69E along U.S. 77 in southern Kenedy County. Photo taken 08/03/19.
Two projects underway through Fall 2020 upgrade U.S. 77 north from Raymondville into southern Kenedy County with the construction of grade separations and main lanes. Northward through Kenedy County, five separate projects will extend IH 69E another 45 miles with additional overpasses and main lane construction along U.S. 77. Totaling $320 million, these projects were in design by January 2019, and partially funded for construction anticipated to begin in 2022.2
Within the TxDOT Corpus Christi District, new bypasses for U.S. 77 around Riviera and Driscoll will complete IH 69E north to IH 37. $104 million in funding was allocated for the Driscoll bypass in March 2017, and work got underway along the new alignment by Summer 2019. Estimated completion on the 5.09 mile Driscoll Relief Route is estimated for April 2022. The four mile long Rivera bypass is a future project anticipated for the 2024-29 time frame.2
U.S. 77 through the Lower Rio Grande Valley was upgraded to an expressway by 1965 and to a limited access highway between Harlingen and La Paloma in 1972, and southward to Brownsville by 1985. The stretch between SH 4 and the border crossing south of University Boulevard was upgraded in 2004.
Interstate 69E between Robstown and IH 37 was dedicated as the first section of IH 69 in Texas on December 5, 2011. As suggested by the FHWA, it was redesignated as IH 69E by AASHTO at their Spring 2013 meeting and the Texas Transportation Committee on May 28, 2013. The Robstown portion was approved by FHWA on July 31, 2013 and by AASHTO on October 21, 2013. The branches of IH 69C and IH 69E will come together north of this segment.
The designations of IH 69C and IH 69E were made possible by the 2012 legislation, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). The previous law regarding interstates required that new Interstate highway segments must be connected to an existing system route. The legal revision, supported by several Texas members of Congress and the entire Texas Delegation,3 states that
routes can be designated as part of the Interstate system if the route or a segment of the route meets current Interstate design standards and connects to, or is planned to connect to, an existing Interstate within 25 years.