Interstate 69E Texas
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 designated from a point south of FM 2826 and Robbstown north to IH 37 at Calallen in Corpus Christi.
The Texas Transportation Commission approved a request to add an additional 3.3 miles of IH 69E concurrent with U.S. 77, from a point 0.4 miles south of FM 892 in the city of Robstown to 0.6 miles south of FM 2826 in Nueces County on June 30, 2021. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved this segment as an addition to the Interstate Highway System on May 25, 2021
Grade separation under construction for the future main lanes of IH 69E along U.S. 77 in southern Kenedy County. This section of future IH 69E was completed in Fall 2021. 08/03/19
Two projects completed by Fall 2021 upgraded U.S. 77 north from Raymondville into southern Kenedy County to Interstate standards with the construction of grade separations and main lanes. The 6.5 mile long segment can be formally added to IH 69E once a post-construction technical review is completed and with final designation approved sometime in 2022.2 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.3 Project letting dates vary from 2024 to 2032.
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 Relief Route in March 2017,3 and work got underway along the new alignment by February 2019. Estimated to cost $118 million, construction on the 10.4 mile long Driscoll bypass runs through December 2022.4 The northbound lanes opened to traffic in November 2021.
U.S. 77 north at the wye interchange with U.S. 77 Business (BU-77) along the Driscoll Bypass. A greenout covers a shield for IH 69E. Photo by Jeff Royston (12/21/21).
An IH 69E confirming marker posted along the northbound lanes of the Driscoll Bypass opened in November 2021. Photo by Jeff Royston (12/21/21).
The four mile long Rivera bypass is a future project anticipated for the 2024-29 time frame.3 The 10-year 2022 Unified Transportation Program approved by the Texas Transportation Commission in September 2021 allocated $118 million for the US 77 Riviera Relief Route, and another $118 million for the US 77 upgrade at Ricardo.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 north 6.2 miles from SH 44 at Robstown to IH 37 was dedicated as the first section of IH 69 in Texas on December 5, 2011. As suggested by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), it was redesignated as IH 69E and the Texas Transportation Committee on May 28, 2013. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) however disapproved of the designation on May 5, 2013 as it was not in compliance with AASHTO Policy HO21. However, the Robstown portion was approved by FHWA on July 31, 2013 and so AASHTO concurred on October 21, 2013. The branches of IH 69C and IH 69E will come together north of this segment.
An additional 1.6 miles of IH 69E 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.
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,5 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.