U.S. Route 84

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U.S. Route 84 marker

U.S. Route 84
Route information
Length: 1,919 mi[1] (3,088 km)
Existed: 1926[1] – present
Major junctions
North end: US 160 at Pagosa Springs, CO
 

I‑25 / US 85 / US 285 at Santa Fe, NM
I‑40 / US 54 at Santa Rosa, NM
I‑27 / US 87 at Lubbock, TX
I‑20 at Roscoe, TX
I‑20 at Abilene, TX
I‑35 / US 77 at Waco, TX
I‑45 at Fairfield, TX
I‑49 near Mansfield, LA
I-55 near Brookhaven, MS
I‑65 at Evergreen, AL

I‑75 at Valdosta, GA
East end: I‑95 / SR 38 near Midway, GA
Highway system

U.S. Route 84 (US 84) is an east–west U.S. Highway. It started as a short GeorgiaAlabama route in the original 1926 scheme, but now extends all the way to Colorado. The highway's eastern terminus is a short distance east of Midway, Georgia, at an interchange with Interstate 95. The road continues toward the nearby Atlantic Ocean as a county road. Its western terminus is in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, at an intersection with U.S. 160.[2]

The section from Brunswick, Georgia to Roscoe, Texas has been designated by five state legislatures as part of the El Camino East/West Corridor. The designation was in recognition of its history as a migration route from the Atlantic coast to the present Mexico–United States border, one of the routes that Spanish settlers called El Camino Real. (In Louisiana, the route was called the Harrisonburg Road.) The designation is intended to promote the route for both tourism and NAFTA-facilitated trade with Mexico.[3][4] States are asking for Federal funds to four-lane the US 84 El Camino East/West Corridor.

Route description[edit]

Colorado[edit]

The western terminus of US 84, Pagosa Springs, Colorado, was made famous by C. W. McCall in the 1975 song and album Wolf Creek Pass. US 84 actually ends approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) east of downtown Pagosa Springs at a T-intersection with US 160 (Main Street).

South of Pagosa Springs, the 28 miles (45 km) of the Colorado section of US 84 pass through a portion of San Juan National Forest. The highway climbs over a drainage divide between the Rio Blanco and Navajo River to the village of Chromo before passing into New Mexico.

New Mexico[edit]

US 84 enters Rio Arriba County, New Mexico 28 miles (45 km) south of its terminus at US 160. About 6 miles (9.7 km) south of the Colorado–New Mexico state line, US 64 comes from the west and travels concurrently with US 84 for the next 28 miles (45 km). Only 3 miles (4.8 km) east of this intersection, the concurrency crosses the Continental Divide at Sargent Pass, elevation 7,718 feet (2,352 m) above sea level or more than 3,100 feet (940 m) lower than Wolf Creek Pass, the next Continental Divide highway pass to the north. Therefore, only 37 miles (60 km) of US 84 is located west of the Continental Divide. About 12 miles (19 km) east of the intersection, US 64/US 84 enter the town of Chama. At a T-intersection, New Mexico State Road 17 enters from the north and terminates at said intersection, while US 64/US 84 enter from the south and west.

After heading south from Chama, US 64/US 84 combine for about 14 miles (23 km) until US 64 departs from US 84 and heads southeast, with US 84 continuing south. About 57 miles (92 km) down the road, US 84 is joined by US 285 south of the small community of Chili. About 5 miles (8.0 km) further, US 84/US 285 enter the city of Española from the north as North Paseo de Onate Street. At the south end of the town, US 84/US 285 become the Santa Fe Highway and an expressway. About 9 miles (14 km) further, US 84/US 285 becomes a limited-access freeway. 15 miles (24 km) further south, the two return to surface street status and then travel through downtown Santa Fe. On the south side of Santa Fe at Interstate 25's exit 282A, US 84/US 285 merge with southbound I-25/US 85. All four highways then head travel south to avoid the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Just before turning north, US 285 exits the freeway at exit 290 and travels due south. After winding north and south, the freeway finally begins heading solely north, and US 84 exits about 55 miles (89 km) later at exit 339 near Romeroville and travels in an east/southeastern direction, while I-25/US 85 continue north to Colorado. Following a path southeast and then south for 42 miles (68 km), US 84 merges with I-40 (and Historic US 66) at I-40's exit 256. After 17 miles (27 km) I-40/US 84 enter Santa Rosa. About 21 miles (34 km) from its confluence with I-40, US 84 diverges at exit 277.

The highway then travels south/southeast for 42 miles (68 km) until merging with US 60 in downtown Fort Sumner. From the intersection with US 60, US 60/US 84 travel east, passing through Taiban and Melrose before intersecting US 70 after 61 miles (98 km) in Clovis. From the intersection with US 70, US 64/US 70/US 84 travels east 8.7 miles (14.0 km) entering Texico. Here, about 280 feet (85 m) before the Texas–New Mexico state line, US 60 splits from US 70/US 84 with US 70/US 84 continuing east into Farwell, Texas.[5][better source needed]

Texas[edit]

BNSF freight train running parallel to US 84 while crossing the Llano Estacado.
US 84 is known in Lubbock as Avenue Q, a major downtown thoroughfare.

US 70/US 84 cross into Texas at Farwell. After passing through Farwell, US 70/US 84 veer to the southeast, continuing as a concurrency until Muleshoe.

From Muleshoe, US 70 leaves the route, while US 84 continues on a southeasterly direction across the level plains of the Llano Estacado. Along this stretch, US 84 travels parallel to the BNSF Railway, crosses a sandy section called the Muleshoe Dunes, and then passes Littlefield, the birthplace of country singer Waylon Jennings. US 84 continues in a southeasterly direction through cotton fields and small towns such as Anton and Shallowater, eventually entering Lubbock, the largest city in the South Plains and the birthplace of Buddy Holly. Signed as Avenue Q, US 84 passes through the heart of downtown Lubbock before making a sharp easterly turn on the southeast side of the city, where it is known as the Slaton Highway. After bypassing the town of Slaton, US 84 makes another gentle turn to the east, following a generally southeasterly heading through Post, Snyder, and Roscoe, where it merges with I-20.

US 84 sign north of Snyder

From this point, US 84 follows I-20, unsigned, until Abilene, where it leaves the interstate, making a hard southerly turn and forming the western side of a three-quarter loop around the city (along with US 83 and US 277). From the south side of Abilene, US 84 continues as a concurrency with US 83 (signed as US 84 West/East and US 83 South/North) until the two highways split approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) northeast of Tuscola, and, though still signed as east/west, maintains a due south/north heading. US 84 makes a gentle turn back to the southeast at Lawn, following this bearing until Santa Anna, where it merges with US 67 and takes a more due easterly turn.

US 84 merges with US 183 at Brownwood, and once again turns to the southeast, continuing as a concurrency until Goldthwaite, where it leaves US 283 and yet again makes a sharp turn to the east. It follows this heading all the way to McGregor. From McGregor, the highway makes a turn to the northeast to Woodway; this stretch of US 84 is also signed as the George W. Bush Parkway. US 84 then crosses into Waco, passing through the heart of downtown as Waco Drive, and then northeast into the suburb of Bellmead. After a brief concurrency with State Highway 31 (SH 31) through Bellmead, US 84 continues fairly due east until Teague, where it takes yet another turn to the north before turning back to the east at an intersection with I-45 in Fairfield.

US 84 merges with US 79 and makes another northerly turn southwest of Palestine, and then splits from US 79 just southwest of downtown before making another turn eastward and passing through town. The highway follows a gentle northeasterly path all the way to Timpson, passing through the towns of Maydelle, Rusk where it intersects with US 69, Reklaw, Mount Enterprise where it intersects US 259 and Timpson where it merges with US 59, and serves as the northern terminus of SH 87. From Timpson to Tenaha it is briefly concurrency with US 59 to its intersection with US 96. From this point, US 84 continues its easterly path through to rest of eastern Texas, passing through Joaquin before crossing into Louisiana across the Sabine River into the town of Logansport.

Louisiana[edit]

Abandoned section of US 84 east of Jena

Once the highway leaves Logansport, it travels through Stanley and then northeast into Mansfield, where it merges for a brief stretch with US 171. It continues east, crossing under I-49, until it reaches Grand Bayou, where it turns to the southeast, merging with Louisiana Highway 1 (LA 1). After approximately 2 miles (3.2 km), it turns back again to the east, where it merges with US 71 in Coushatta and stays with that highway until Clarence. It then heads northeast towards Winnfield, where it merges for a short time with US 167. It turns to the northeast towards Joyce, then begins a long stretch to the southeast, passing through Tullos, where it intersects US 165, through the parish seat of Jena, and continues in that direction until it crosses into Catahoula Parish. It bears east through Jonesville until Ferriday, where it merges with both US 65/US 425. It then heads southeast through Vidalia where it crosses the Mississippi River into Natchez, Mississippi.

Mississippi[edit]

The four-laned Natchez–Vidalia Bridge, crossing the Mississippi River, carries US 84 into Natchez. Here, it merges with US 61. It then travels approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) to the northeast where it reaches the western terminus of US 98 at Washington, where it is paired with US 98 until Bude/Meadville. The road continues east, crossing under I-55 and heads east towards Collins.

A new bypass of Collins opened in March 2009, relieving the heavily-congested original route through downtown. The new bypass provides improved access to US 49, another of Mississippi's major four-lane highways connecting Jackson and points north through the Mississippi Delta with the Mississippi Gulf Coast.[6] US 84 travels concurrent with I-59 for a short distance through Laurel, including a segment currently under reconstruction to remove a notorious 'S' curve. It then heads east to Waynesboro and continues to the Alabama state line.

Alabama[edit]

In Alabama, US-84 is paired with unsigned Alabama State Route 12 (SR-12). Parts of the route have been widened in recent years to four-lane status. The most significant exist from River Falls eastward to Andalusia, near Opp where a recent bypass of the downtown area now carries US-84 in a southern arc around the town, and from Enterprise eastward thru Daleville and on to the Dothan area and then the Georgia state line at the Chattahoochee River.

Plans exist of widening the US-84 corridor to four lanes elsewhere in Alabama but due to funding issues the projects are in various stages of development. One such stretch is just east of Opp, where construction began on a four lane eastward towards Elba but has stalled due to funding.

US-84 has brief stretches concurrent with other US Highways in Alabama. US-84 shares a routing with US-31 from just southwest of Evergreen to a few miles east of the town. It briefly shares a routing with US-29 in the city of Andalusia. It also shares a routing with US-331 near the Opp. At Dothan, US-84 shares a concurrency with US-231 and US-431 on the Ross Clark Circle which is the circular bypass of downtown.

US-84 crosses three major navigable waterways in Alabama. They are the Tombigbee River at Coffeeville, the Alabama River at Claiborne, and the Chattahoochee River at the Alabama–Georgia state line. US-84 passes very near the large military facility of Fort Rucker which is the United States Army's helicopter training school. Most of US-84 in Alabama traverses the Gulf Coastal Plain which is relatively lowlying land with some sand content. The area is heavily agricultural with little heavy industry. Dothan is the largest city in Alabama traversed by US-84 and it is the business and agricultural center of Southeast Alabama. The area is commonly referred to as the Wiregrass Region.

Georgia[edit]

End US Route 84/Georgia State Route 38 sign at Interstate 95 east of Midway, Georgia.

History[edit]

The original 1926 route of US 84 skirted the southern state line of Georgia, from Brunswick to the north edge of the Okefenokee Swamp, then west to Dothan, just across the Alabama line.[citation needed]

In 1934, US 84 was extended to Grove Hill, Alabama, then south on US-43 to Wagarville, Alabama, west to State Line, Mississippi, north on US 45 to Waynesboro, Mississippi, and then across Mississippi and Louisiana to Farwell, Texas. State Line was bypassed in the 1960s by a direct connection between Grove Hill and Waynesboro. A few sources report that the part between Natchez, Mississippi and Wagarville was planned as US 86 a year before. The Alabama Department of Transportation library in Montgomery, holds state-issued maps and documents from that era with the stretch from US 43 to Mississippi labeled that way. At one point, funding was not secure for building a bridge over the Alabama River, and a US 86 designation would have made the absence of a bridge less obvious.[7]

The east ends of US 84 and US 82 were swapped in 1989 after the roads around Waycross, Georgia, were reconfigured.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b US Highways from US 1 to US 830 Robert V. Droz
  2. ^ "End of US highway 84". USEnds.com. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ "El Camino East/West Commission website". Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Designating U.S. Highway 84 the "El Camino East/West Corridor."". Alabama House of Representatives. Retrieved October 2014. 
  5. ^ Google Maps ©2009 , Tele Atlas
  6. ^ http://www.gomdot.com/Home/MediaRoom/newsreleases/PressReleaseDetail.aspx?ID=32200995618. Retrieved 2013-01-26.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  7. ^ "Endpoints of U.S. 86". Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
Browse numbered routes
SH 83 list US 85
SH 83 TX US 85
LA 83 LA LA 85
US 82 MS US 90
SR-83 AL I‑85