U.S. Route 79

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U.S. Route 79 marker

U.S. Route 79
Route information
Length: 855 mi[1] (1,376 km)
Existed: 1935[1] – present
Major junctions
South/West end: I‑35 in Round Rock, TX
 

I‑45 in Buffalo, TX
I‑20 in Shreveport, LA
I‑55 in West Memphis, AR
I‑40 in Memphis, TN

I‑24 in Clarksville, TN
North/East end: US 431 in Russellville, KY
Highway system

U.S. Route 79 is a United States highway. The route is officially considered and labelled as a north-south highway, but it actually more of diagonal northeast-southwest highway. The highway's northern/eastern terminus is in Russellville, Kentucky, at an intersection with U.S. Highway 68 and KY 80. Its southern/western terminus is in Round Rock, Texas, at an intersection with Interstate 35, ten miles (16 km) north of Austin.[2]

US 79, US 68, and Interstate 24/US 62 are the primary east–west access points for the Land Between the Lakes recreation area straddling the Kentucky/Tennessee border.

Route description[edit]

Texas[edit]

U.S. 79 is the main street of Rockdale in Milam County, Texas.

US 79 begins at Interstate 35's Exit #253 north of Austin in Round Rock. The route travels eastward through Hutto and Taylor to Rockdale, where it intersects US 77. In Milano, US 79 turns to the northeast and begins a concurrency with US 190 until Hearne, Texas. The route continues through Franklin and Jewett before reaching Buffalo, where it intersects Interstate 45 at its Exit #178. US 79 has a brief duplex with US 84 that begins near Oakwood and continues through Palestine before separating; here US 79 also intersects US 287. The route continues to the northeast through Jacksonville, where it has a junction with US 69, and Henderson, where it crosses US 259. The highway then travels due east to Carthage, where it meets US 59 (Future I-369), before resuming a northeasterly direction and crossing into Louisiana near Panola. US 79 is also entwined with two tragedies of country music. Johnny Horton was killed by a drunk driver on the highway near Milano in 1960 and Jim Reeves, killed in a plane crash in 1964, is buried and memorialized on US 79 in his hometown of Carthage.

Louisiana[edit]

US 79 joins US 80 near Greenwood, and the two routes are cosigned through Shreveport. US 79/80 cross the Red River over the Texas Street Bridge and continue into Bossier City. The routes parallel Interstate 20 through the old Bossier City Entertainment District until Minden, where the two routes separate: US 80 continues eastward, while US 79 turns to the northeast toward Homer. In Homer, the route resumes a more northerly direction, traveling through Haynesville before crossing the Arkansas border about 7 miles (11 km) south of Emerson, Arkansas.

Arkansas[edit]

US 79 north of US 49 junction near Monroe. This segment is also a Arkansas Heritage Trail Trail of Tears route.

U.S. 79 continues northward from Louisiana into Magnolia, where it has a brief concurrency with US 82 through the city. From here, the route turns to the northeast, through Camden, where it intersects US 278, and Fordyce, in which it has a brief concurrency with US 167. East of Kingsland, the highway travels in a more northerly direction as it prepares to enter the Pine Bluff metropolitan area. In Pine Bluff, U.S. 79 joins the Interstate 530 freeway, while a business route continues through downtown. After the freeway ends, U.S. 79 and US 63, with which it is cosigned, leave the city toward the north. The two routes stay joined until Stuttgart. U.S. 79 continues to the east and northeast, through Marianna and Hughes, before turning due north to an intersection with Interstate 40 near Jennette. U.S. 79 joins I-40 and the two routes stay cosigned through the concurrency with Interstate 55 in West Memphis, before U.S. 79 joins I-55 to cross the Mississippi River at the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge into Memphis.

Tennessee[edit]

Directional assembly for U.S. Highways 64, 70, and 79 in Memphis, Tennessee.

U.S. Route 79 comes into Memphis, Tennessee with U.S. Route 70, U.S. Route 64, and Tennessee State Route 1. It travels east along E.H. Crump Boulevard, turns north on Third Street and travels through Downtown Memphis along both Second and Third Streets (3rd St is 3 lanes of northbound traffic and 2nd St is 3 lanes of southbound traffic). It continues east on Union Avenue, north along East Parkway, and east along Summer Avenue. At Stage Road in Bartlett, Tennessee, it continues along Summer Avenue with US 70 while US 64 turns east along Stage Rd.

From here, U.S. 79 continues north from Bartlett, passing through the rest of Shelby County as a 4-lane undivided highway. In Arlington, Tennessee, the road narrows to 2 lanes and passes through Fayette County, Tipton County, and Haywood County until Brownsville, Tennessee. In Brownsville, U.S 79, along with U.S. 70 and SR 1, goes to the south along a bypass (named Dupree Avenue). On the east side of the city, U.S. 70 and SR 1 turn east while U.S. 79 and 70A continue to the northeast, passing through Crockett and Gibson Counties. Recently, the section from Milan, Tennessee to the Carroll County line was widened to 4 lanes. U.S. 70A splits off from U.S. 79 near Atwood, Tennessee and U.S. 79 continues to the northeast into Henry County, passing through the city of Paris, Tennessee, and then crosses the Tennessee River. The portion from McKenzie, Tennessee to the Tennessee River is 4-lanes, and plans are in the works to widen the portion in between this section and the Milan section. The section from Brownsville to the Tennessee River is part of the "Austin Peay Memorial Highway" (the other portions being TN 14 from I-240 to TN 54, and the part of TN 54 from TN 14 to U.S. 79).

US 79 (Guthrie Highway) north of Clarksville

Once U.S. 79 comes into Stewart County, it passes to the south of the Land Between the Lakes recreation area and crosses the Cumberland River. The portion between the rivers is known as Donelson Parkway. Then it enters Montgomery County and the city of Clarksville, Tennessee. This portion between Dover, Tennessee and Clarksville is known as Dover Road. One through Clarksville, U.S. 79 continues northeast and enters Kentucky.

Wilma Rudolph Boulevard is the name given to the portion of U.S. Route 79 in Clarksville, Tennessee between the Interstate 24 (exit 4) in Clarksville to the Red River (Lynnwood-Tarpley) bridge near the Kraft Street intersection. This section of Highway 79 in Clarksville was previously called the Guthrie Highway, for nearby Guthrie, Kentucky, but in 1994, the name was changed to honor Wilma Rudolph, an Olympic runner from Clarksville, who won three gold medals in the 1960 Rome Summer Olympic Games.[3]

Between Clarksville and Dover, Tennessee, the road is known as "Dover Road".

Kentucky[edit]

Terminus of U.S. 79 at Russellville.

US 79 enters Kentucky from Tennessee in Todd County west of Guthrie and runs northeast into Logan County, terminating at a junction with US 431 in Russellville 21.319 miles (34.310 km) from the Tennessee state line. It currently does not touch KY 79, whose southern terminus is at Russellville. That highway extends northward to the Ohio River, into Indiana. It is unknown if KY 79 was meant to be a northern extension of US 79.

History[edit]

Until 1944, US 79's northern terminus was in West Memphis, Arkansas. Even then, the route was diagonal enough that it could have been numbered odd or even. Until 1991, US 79's southern terminus was in Austin, Texas.

See also[edit]

Bannered and suffixed routes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Droz, Robert V. U.S. Highways : From US 1 to (US 830). URL accessed 1 March 2006.
  2. ^ Endpoints of US highways
  3. ^ "Leaders of Afro-American Nashville". Archived from the original on 14 July 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
Browse numbered routes
SH 78 TX SH 79
LA 78 LA US 80
Hwy. 78 AR Hwy. 80
SR 78 TN SR 79
KY 78 KY KY 79