U.S. Route 281 in Texas

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This article is about the section of U.S. Route 281 in Texas. For the entire length of the highway, see U.S. Route 281.
See also: Interstate 69C

US Highway 281 marker

US Highway 281
Route information
Maintained by TxDOT
Length: 580.608 mi[1] (934.398 km)
Existed: 1935 – present
Major junctions
South end:
Bus. US 77 / SH 48 in Brownsville
 

I-2 / US 83 in Pharr
I-69C from Pharr to Edinburg
I-37 in Three Rivers
I-10 / US 87 / US 90 in San Antonio
I-35 in San Antonio
I-20 north of Stephenville

I-44 / US 82 / US 277 / US 287 in Wichita Falls
North end: I‑44 / US-277 / US-281 at Texas-Oklahoma state line in Burkburnett
Highway system

U.S. Route 281 in Texas is a major north-south highway in the U.S. state of Texas. U.S. 281 runs from Brownsville, just north of the US-Mexico Border to the Texas-Oklahoma state line in Burkburnett north of Wichita Falls, concurrent with I-44.

Route description[edit]

US 281 begins at an intersection with Business US 77 and SH 48 about 2 miles (3.2 km) from the Mexico border.[2] It travels along the border through the Rio Grande Valley, turning north at Pharr, travelling through many small towns, alternating as a divided highway and main street, until joining I-37. It splits with I-37 and travels through Pleasanton, travelling north to San Antonio. In San Antonio, US 281 overlaps I-410 on the south side of the city until the interchange with I-37. US 281 and I-37 then overlap north into Downtown San Antonio until I-37 ends at I-35. US 281 continues north from Downtown San Antonio as a freeway, intersecting I-410 again in Uptown San Antonio, with access to the San Antonio International Airport. A project to construct a stack interchange at I-410 (the "San Antonio Web"[3]) was completed June 9, 2008;[4] formerly there was no direct access between the two freeways and surface streets were required travel between the freeways. The reason for this initial lack of direct interchange was due to litigation filed in the late 1960s against the Texas Highway Department over the highway's original construction alignment through portions of Brackenridge Park and Olmos Park that were alleged to be in violation of several Federal laws, ultimately including NEPA. As a result of the Supreme Court decision[5] in a more advanced and very similar case involving the proposed construction of I-40 through Overton Park in Memphis, Tennessee which upheld and affirmed the plaintiffs in that circumstance and precluded that highway's construction through the parkland with Federal funding, the Texas Highway Department chose instead to construct the McAlister Freeway entirely with State funding using a modified design that would increase curvature but limit encroachment into and noise impact on the Sunken Gardens area within Brackenridge Park. Funding of various highway projects from around Texas was re-allocated to the McAlister Freeway project, which was initially completed with only the indirect interchange via existing surface streets to Loop 410 since it required no Federal funding or approval and the Loop 410 overpass of that location where the McAlister Freeway main lanes would pass beneath had already been completed many years earlier. North of San Antonio, US 281 is not a freeway and forms the Main Street of Blanco. It overlaps US 290 south of Johnson City. US 290 continues toward Austin, so US 281 and US 290 between San Antonio and Austin are available as a scenic and less congested alternate to I-35.

North of San Antonio, US 281 continues through central and north-central Texas, passing through many towns, including Stephenville, Mineral Wells and Jacksboro before reaching Wichita Falls, where the highway begins a concurrency with I-44 north across the Red River into Oklahoma.

Freeway portions[edit]

U.S. Route 281 is a freeway three different times over its course in Texas, not counting overlaps with interstates. The first freeway portion is Cage Boulevard in the McAllen area that runs from I-2/US 83 north to Business US 281. This freeway is designated as I-69C. The second time Hwy 281 becomes a freeway is in San Antonio. The freeway is known as the McAllister Freeway from its beginniing at the end of I-37 at an interchange with I-35. Just north of I-410, the freeway changes names to San Pedro Avenue, which used to be a surface street. The freeway ends just north of Loop 1604 at Sonterra Boulevard. From here, US 281 becomes a superstreet. The highway has two interchanges in Bulverde. The third freeway runs on the east side of Wichita Falls. The highway then begins an overlap with US 287 that runs to I-44. The highway crosses the Red River into Oklahoma with I-44 and US 277.

Future[edit]

The highway is currently being expanded from a two-lane highway to a four-lane divided highway from River Crossing to the Comal-Blanco county line at a cost of $30.5 million.[6] The section of US 281 from I-2/US 83 in Pharr to George West is steadily being upgraded to an interstate-grade freeway as part of the Interstate 69 expansion, and will be signed as Interstate 69C.

Major intersections[edit]

County Location Mile km Destinations Notes
Cameron Brownsville 0.0 0.0
Bus. US 77 (Central Boulevard) / SH 48 east (Boca Chica Boulevard) – Port Brownsville, Port Isabel, Harlingen
Southern terminus
2.0 3.2 FM 802 east (Ruben M. Torres Boulevard)
FM 3248 east (Alton Gloor Boulevard)
7.7 12.4 FM 1421 north
9.5 15.3 FM 1732 east – Olmito
Ranchito 10.9 17.5 FM 1577 north (Esparza-Domanski Highway)
La Paloma 13.6 21.9 FM 732 north – San Benito
Los Indios 15.6 25.1 FM 2520 north – San Benito
18.0 29.0 FM 509 – Free Trade International Bridge
19.6 31.5 FM 1479 north (Fred Elizondo Highway) – Rangerville, Harlingen
Bluetown 23.8 38.3 FM 506 north – La Feria
Santa Maria 25.5 41.0 FM 2556 north (Jo-Ed Road)
Hidalgo   28.8 46.3 FM 491 north – Mercedes
Progreso / Progreso Lakes FM 1015 – International Bridge
Progreso Bus. FM 1015 north
34.6 55.7 FM 88 north (Ruben Hinojosa Highway) – Weslaco
Run 38.9 62.6 FM 493 – Mexico, Donna, Donna Rio Bravo International Bridge
  43.9 70.7 FM 907 north – Alamo
San Juan 45.4 73.1 FM 2557 north – San Juan
Pharr 47.5 76.4
US 281 Spur west (West Military Highway) / Spur 600 south – Hidalgo, Pharr / Reynosa International Bridge
Interchange
49.7 80.0 FM 3072
54.7 88.0
Bus. US 83 – McAllen, Harlingen
55.6 89.5 I-2 / US 83 – McAllen, Harlingen
56.2 90.4 SH 495 (Ferguson Avenue)
I-2 / US 83 – McAllen, Harlingen South end of I-69C overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance
see I-69C
Edinburg 72.3 116.4 FM 490 Interchange; north end of I-69C overlap
Linn 79.8 128.4 SH 186 / FM 1017 Interchange
Brooks Rachal FM 755 west – La Gloria, Rio Grande City
 
Bus. US 281 north – Encino
 
Bus. US 281 south – Encino
  FM 3066 interchange; south end of freeway
Falfurrias
Bus. US 281 north
SH 285 – Hebbronville, Riviera

Bus. US 281 south
  FM 1418 interchange; north end of freeway
Jim Wells   FM 1538 west
Premont FM 716 west
  SH 141 / FM 2295 – Kingsville, Benavides Interchange
  FM 735 west
Ben Bolt FM 2508 – Ben Bolt Interchange
  FM 625 west
 
Bus. US 281 north / FM 1930 – Alice
Interchange
  FM 1554
  SH 44 / SH 359 – Alice, San Diego Interchange
 
Bus. US 281 south – Alice
Interchange
  FM 2044 east – Alfred
Midway FM 624 – Orange Grove, Cotulla Interchange
Live Oak   FM 3162 east – Lagarto
George West US 59 – Freer, Laredo, Beeville, Houston South end of Bus. US 59 overlap

Bus. US 59 north (Houston Street) to I-37 – truck route to US 59 north
North end of Bus. US 59 overlap
  FM 889 west
  FM 1042 west – Simmons City
Three Rivers SH 72 west (Thornton Street) – Choke Canyon State Park, Calliham, Tilden, Federal Prison South end of SH 72 overlap
SH 72 east (King David Drive) – Kenedy North end of SH 72 overlap
  I-37 south – Corpus Christi South end of I-37 overlap; US 281 south follows exit 72
see I-37
Atascosa   I-37 north – San Antonio North end of I-37 overlap; northbound exit and southbound entrance; US 281 north follows exit 103
  Spur 199 east (Leal Road) / Jim Brite Road
Pleasanton FM 1334 east – Coughran
SH 97 west – Jourdanton South end of SH 97 overlap
SH 97 east to I-37 – Floresville North end of SH 97 overlap
Spur 242 to SH 97 – Poteet, Coastal Bend College
  FM 3006 east to I-37
Leming FM 1470 south – Poteet
Las Gallinas FM 536 east – Floresville
Bexar   Loop 1604 (Anderson Loop) – Elmendorf, Somerset Interchange
  FM 2537 west
San Antonio FM 1937 south – Losoya
I-410 west / SH 130 south / Spur 536 north (Roosevelt Avenue) – Stinson Airport
Espada Road - San Antonio Missions National Historical Park interchange
I-410 west / SH 130 south South end of I-410 / SH 130 overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance; US 281 south follows exit 44
Spur 122 (South Presa Street) / Southton Road I-410 exit 42
I-37 south / I-410 north / SH 130 north to US 181 south / SH 130 (toll) – Corpus Christi, Rio Grande Valley, Floresville, Austin, Waco North end of I-410 / SH 130 overlap; south end of I-37 overlap; US 281 north follows exit 41; US 281 south follows exit 133
see I-37
I-35 – Laredo, Austin North end of I-37 overlap; I-37 exit 142; I-35 exit 158
Josephine Street / Grayson Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance
St. Mary's Street / Mulberry Avenue / Stadium Drive
Hildebrand Avenue
Basse Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Jones-Maltsberger Road
Sunset Road Southbound exit only
Airport Boulevard Northbound exit and southbound entrance
I-410 I-410 exit 21A
San Antonio International Airport Terminals
Jones-Maltsberger Road / Isom Road
Spur 537 (San Pedro Avenue) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Nakoma Drive / Sandau Road / Rhapsody Drive
Wurzbach Parkway under construction
Bitters Road
Oak Shadows Drive / Winding Way Drive no direct southbound exit (signed at Brook Hollow Boulevard)
Brook Hollow Boulevard
Thousand Oaks Drive / Mecca Drive no direct southbound exit (signed at Donella Drive)
Donella Drive
Loop 1604 / Frontage Road
Sonterra Boulevard interchange; north end of freeway; no direct southbound exit (signed at Loop 1604)
Comal Bulverde FM 1863 – Bulverde Interchange
SH 46 – Boerne, New Braunfels Interchange
Spring Branch FM 311 east
  FM 306 east – Canyon Lake North
Blanco   RM 473 west – Kendalia South end of RM 473 overlap
Twin Sisters RM 473 east North end of RM 473 overlap
  RM 32 east – San Marcos, Canyon Dam
  Loop 163 north to RM 165 – Wimberley
Blanco PR 23 – Blanco State Park interchange
Loop 163 south / RM 1623 west (4th Street) to RM 165 – Stonewall, Henly, Wimberley
  US 290 east – Austin South end of US 290 overlap
Johnson City RM 2766 east – Pedernales Falls State Park
US 290 west – Fredericksburg, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park North end of US 290 overlap
  Spur 356 south – Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
  RM 1323 west – Sandy
Round Mountain RM 962 east – Cypress Mill South end of RM 962 overlap
RM 962 west – Llano North end of RM 962 overlap
Burnet   SH 71 – Llano, Austin Interchange
  RM 2147 east South end of RM 2147 overlap
Marble Falls RM 2147 west – Wirtz Dam, Horseshoe Bay, Lake LBJ North end of RM 2147 overlap
RM 1431 – Granite Shoals, Kingsland, Lago Vista, Cedar Park
  RM 1855 west – Fairland
Demarco PR 4 west – Longhorn Cavern State Park, Inks Lake State Park, Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery
Burnet SH 29 – Buchanan Dam, Llano, Georgetown
RM 963 east – Watson, Oakalla
  RM 2340 east – Lake Victor
Lampasas Lampasas
US 281 Truck north (E.E. Ohnmeiss Drive) to US 190 east – Copperas Cove, Killeen

US 183 south / US 190 east / US 281 Truck south – Belton, Austin
South end of US 183 / US 190 overlap
Loop 257 east (4th Street) – Lampasas Downtown Historic District
FM 580 west (North Avenue) – Colorado Bend State Park South end of FM 580 overlap
FM 580 east (East Avenue J) North end of FM 580 overlap
  US 183 north / US 190 west – Goldthwaite, Brownwood, San Saba, Lometa North end of US 183 / US 190 overlap
  FM 1690 north
  FM 581 west – Lometa South end of FM 581 overlap
Adamsville FM 581 east North end of FM 581 overlap
Coryell
No major junctions
Hamilton Evant US 84 – Gatesville, Goldthwaite Interchange
  FM 221 west – Shive
Hamilton SH 22 east / SH 36 (Main Street) – Comanche, Gatesville, Meridian
FM 2905 east
Olin FM 219 – Dublin, Cranfills Gap
  FM 1744 south – Carlton
  FM 1602 south – Fairy, Jonesboro
Hico SH 6 south (2nd Street) to SH 220 – Meridian, Downtown Historic District South end of SH 6 overlap
Erath   SH 6 north – Dublin, Eastland North end of SH 6 overlap
  FM 1824 east – Duffau
  FM 913 east – Selden
  SH 108 north – Stephenville
Stephenville US 67 – Dublin, Glen Rose
US 377 – Dublin, Granbury
FM 205 east

Bus. US 377 – Stephenville, Fort Worth
FM 8 west – Tarleton Agricultural Center
  FM 3025 west
Morgan Mill FM 1188 / FM 1189 north – Lipan
  FM 2803 north – Patillo
Palo Pinto   FM 4 – Santo, Lipan
  I-20 – Abilene, Fort Worth I-20 exit 386
  FM 2201 west – Santo
  FM 129 west – Brazos
  FM 1195 east – Lake Mineral Wells State Park, Municipal Airport
  FM 2256 south
Mineral Wells US 180 east (South 1st Street)
US 180 west (Hubbard Street)
FM 3027 east (Northeast 23rd Street) South end of FM 3027 overlap
FM 3027 west – Union Hill North end of FM 3027 overlap
  FM 1821 east – Weatherford, Lake Mineral Wells State Park
  FM 2270 west
Peadenville SH 254 west / FM 1885 east – Graford, Possum Kingdom Lake, Weatherford
  FM 52 – Oran, Whitt
Jack Perrin FM 2210 – Gibtown
  SH 199 east – Fort Worth south end of SH 199 overlap
  FM 3324 south
  US 380 east / SH 114 east – Runaway Bay, Bridgeport, Dallas South end of US 380 / SH 114 overlap
Jacksboro PR 61 – Fort Richardson State Park
US 380 west / SH 59 north (Belknap Street) North end of US 380 / SH 199 overlap
FM 3344 north (Post Oak Road)
SH 148 north – Henrietta
  SH 114 west – Olney North end of SH 114 overlap
  FM 1191 south – Jermyn
  FM 2190 east – Squaw Mountain
  Loop 187 north – Antelope
  Loop 187 south – Antelope
Archer   SH 16 south – Graham
  FM 2581 north
Windthorst SH 25 north / FM 174 east – Archer City, Bowie
Scotland FM 172 – Bluegrove
  FM 1954 – Holliday, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Arrowhead State Park
Wichita Wichita Falls Loop 473 / Rathgeber Road interchange; south end of freeway
FM 369 west (Southwest Parkway) / SH 79 south – Archer City South end of SH 79 overlap; no direct southbound entrance
Hatton Road
Midwestern Parkway - Midwestern State University
US 82 east / US 287 south / SH 79 north – Texarkana, Fort Worth North end of SH 79 overlap; south end of US 82 / US 287 overlap
Loop 473 (Old Jacksboro Highway) / Spur 477 / Galveston Street
US 82 west / US 277 south – Lubbock, Abilene North end of US 82 overlap; south end of US 277 overlap
Broad Street - Business District northbound exit and southbound entrance
6th Street - MPEC northbound exit and southbound entrance
overlap; see I-44
  I‑44 east / US-277 north / US-281 north – Lawton Oklahoma state line (bridge over the Red River)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division. "U.S. Highway No. 281". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ Texas Department of Transportation (2014) (PDF). Texas County Map Book (Map). 1:120,000. Cartography by Transportation Planning and Programming Division (2014 ed.). p. 412. http://www.dot.state.tx.us/apps-cg/grid_search/_includes/countymapbook/Pages/412.pdf. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  3. ^ Driscoll, Patrick (2006-01-16). "Now there's a name for it". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved June 20, 2008. 
  4. ^ Driscoll, Patrick (2008-06-10). "U.S. 281/Loop 410 interchange ramps are complete". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved June 20, 2008. 
  5. ^ Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe
  6. ^ "US 281 - Spring Branch". TxDOT. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
U.S. Route 281
Previous state:
Terminus
Texas Next state:
Oklahoma