Texas State Highway 255
|Camino Colombia Toll Road|
|Maintained by TxDOT|
|Length:||22.451 mi (36.131 km)|
|Existed:||2004 – present|
|West end:||Colombia Solidarity International Bridge at the International Border|
|US 83 near Laredo|
|East end:||I-35 near Laredo|
State Highway 255 (SH 255) toll road owned by the state of Texas that has operated since 2000 that allows international traffic to bypass Laredo. The route stretches from the Colombia Solidarity International Bridge to Interstate 35 at exit #24. It is one of the few operating toll roads in the United States to have gone through the legal process of foreclosure.
SH 255 begins at the Colombia Solidarity International Bridge on the United States-Mexico border. SH 255 heads northeast from there as a 4-lane divided highway, crosses FM 1472 (Mines Road), then merges down to a 2-lane road just west of the former toll barrier. SH 255 continues northeast to an intersection at FM 3338 and a diamond interchange with US 83. It continues to the northeast to its eastern terminus at I-35. Although the portion from the United States–Mexico border to FM 1472 is officially an extension of SH 255, it is still signed in the field as FM 255.
Since June 1, 2009, use of the TxTag electronic toll collection system (or the interoperable EZ TAG and TollTag system) has been mandatory; unlike other TxDOT-operated toll roads, there is no pay-by-mail option, although there is the option to set up a prepaid day pass account. Laredo Trade Tags may also be used if they are tied to a TxTag account.
The route was originally approved in 1997 as a privately owned toll route for mainly truck traffic to bypass the city of Laredo for traffic congestion. The route was opened as the Camino Colombia Toll Road in October 2000, costing around $90 million.
In August 2001, landowners that were shareholders of the route filed a lawsuit, claiming that profits and traffic usage were less than expected. The failure of the route was attributed to the price for truck traffic ($16), the continuation of U.S. government policies banning Mexican trucks from the interior of the United States (which had been expected to be abolished under the North American Free Trade Agreement), and the approval of a new freeway connecting route from the World Trade International Bridge crossing along Loop 20 to Interstate 35.
The toll road was foreclosed on late in 2003, and was auctioned off on the steps of the Webb County courthouse January 6, 2004. It was purchased by its main creditor, the John Hancock Life Insurance Company, for the minimum $12 million, 1/6 of the construction value. The only other bidder was the Texas Department of Transportation at $11 million. The route was subsequently closed to all traffic. In May 2004, TxDOT purchased the route from John Hancock for a negotiated $20 million, and reopened the route in September, dropping the toll to $2 toll for cars and $2 per additional axle.
The entire route is in Webb County.
|Rio Grande||0.0||0.0||Colombia Solidarity International Bridge – Mexico Border||Western terminus|
|Laredo||0.2||0.3||Laredo Colombia Solidarity Port of Entry|
|1.3||2.1||FM 1472||At-grade intersection|
|1.9||3.1||Las Minas Boulevard||At-grade intersection|
|3.7||6.0||Port Industrial Boulevard||At-grade intersection|
|4.5||7.2||CCTR Admin Building|
|8.2||13.2||FM 3338 south (Las Tiendas Road)||At-grade intersection, north end of FM 3338|
|17.8||28.6||Jeffries Road||At-grade intersection|
|19.3||31.1||US 83 – Laredo, Carrizo Springs||Interchange|
|19.8||31.9||Camino Colombia Automated Gantry ($3.00 TxTag, $3.99 Prepaid Day Pass)|
|22.7||36.5||I-35 – Laredo, San Antonio||Interchange, eastern terminus|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division. "State Highway No. 255". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- Google (2008-03-14). "overview map of SH 255" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- "Camino Colombia TR in creditor hands, fate uncertain". TOLLROADSnews. 2004-01-15. Retrieved 2008-03-14.[unreliable source?][dead link]
- "Camino Colombia TR begins operations under TXDOT". TOLLROADSnews. 2004-09-09. Retrieved 2008-03-14.[unreliable source?][dead link]
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division. "Farm to Market Road No. 255". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division. "Farm to Market Road No. 46". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
- Google (September 29, 2013). "SH 255" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved September 29, 2013.