U.S. Route 281 in Texas

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US Highway 281 marker

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

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 (US 281) is a United States Numbered Highway that runs from the Mexican border in the Rio Grande Valley to the Canadian border near Dunseith, North Dakota. In the state of Texas, the highway is a major south–north corridor, connecting Brownsville to the Oklahoma state line at the Red River in Burkburnett. Several segments of U.S. 281 are concurrent with Interstate routes, including I-69C in the Rio Grande Valley, I-37 in San Antonio, and I-44 north of Wichita Falls.

Route description[edit]

US 281 has two signed segments near its southern terminus in the Rio Grande Valley, both of which are signed west–east. The eastern segment, considered mainline US 281 by TxDOT, begins in Brownsville at an intersection with Business US 77 and SH 48 about 2 miles (3.2 km) from the Mexico border, and travels west through several communities along the border to Pharr.[1][2] The western segment, officially listed as a spur connection by TxDOT and often labeled on maps as US 281 Spur, begins just north of the McAllen–Hidalgo–Reynosa International Bridge in Hidalgo and travels north along International Boulevard before turning east onto Coma Avenue and entering Pharr.[1][3] The two segments (along with Spur 600, which provides access to the Pharr–Reynosa International Bridge) meet at Cage Boulevard, where signage changes to south–north, and the highway turns to the north.[4] North of the interchange with I-2, US 281 is concurrent with I-69C to that route's northern terminus (as of December 2015) in Edinburg.[5] US 281 travels through small towns and sparsely-populated areas, alternating between a divided highway and a main street, until joining I-37 north of Three Rivers. The two routes split south of Pleasanton and separately travel northward to San Antonio.

In San Antonio, US 281 overlaps I-410 on the south side of the city until another 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 the McAllister Freeway, intersecting I-410 again at a stack interchange in Uptown San Antonio, with access to the San Antonio International Airport. The freeway ends at Loop 1604, and US 281 continues through Bexar County as a superstreet. In Central Texas, it serves as the main street of Blanco before beginning a concurrency with US 290 south of Johnson City. As US 290 continues toward Austin, US 281 and US 290 provide a scenic and less congested alternative to I-35 between San Antonio and Austin. The two routes split in the city, with US 281 continuing toward Marble Falls, Burnet, and Lampasas.

North of Stephenville, US 281 crosses I-20 and continues through North Central Texas, passing through Mineral Wells and Jacksboro. Upon reaching Wichita Falls, US 281 becomes a freeway. It begins a concurrency with I-44 at that route's western terminus, and the two routes travel north, crossing the Red River into Oklahoma near Burkburnett.

History[edit]

A project to construct a stack interchange at I-410 (the "San Antonio Web"[6]) was completed June 9, 2008;[7] 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[8] 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.

In 2010, US 281 from Loop 1604 to Bulverde Road in north San Antonio was re-constructed as a superstreet.[9] Groundbreaking was held on March 11, 2010 with construction finishing later that year in September.[10]

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.[11] 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.

The section of US 281 from Loop 1604 to the Bexar–Comal county line currently experiences heavy congestion during peak hours, being the most congested highway in Bexar County.[12] TxDOT plans to upgrade this section of highway from a superstreet to a limited–access freeway, with construction slated to begin in 2017 and conclude in 2022. Section 1, from Loop 1604 to Stone Oak Parkway, is planned to be constructed from 2017 to 2020. Section 2, from Stone Oak Parkway to Borgfeld Drive, is planned to be constructed from 2019 to 2022.[13] The project will cost $532 million.[14] Ground breaking for the project was held on March 31, 2017 with construction officially beginning on July 17.[15][16]

Major intersections[edit]

US Highways in Texas use green reflective labels about every 2 miles on sign posts which also include route markers. They are located immediately below route markers. Numbers increase as one goes south (for north–south routes) or east (for east–west routes). These markers are part of the Texas Reference Marker (TRM) System, introduced in 1990. The Texas Department of Transportation Statewide Planning Map includes an optional overlay with reference markers.


County Location mi 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; road continues east as SH 48 (Boca Chica Boulevard)
2.0 3.2 FM 802 east (Ruben M. Torres Boulevard)
2.5 4.0 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 23.7 38.1 FM 506 north – La Feria
Santa Maria 25.6 41.2 FM 2556 north (Jo-Ed Road)
Hidalgo 28.9 46.5 FM 491 north – Mercedes
ProgresoProgreso Lakes line 32.0 51.5 FM 1015 – International Bridge
Progreso 32.4 52.1 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 (Dicker Road)
54.8 88.2
Bus. US 83 – McAllen, Harlingen
55.6 89.5 I-2 / US 83 – McAllen, Harlingen
55.9 90.0 SH 495 (Ferguson Avenue)
56.3 90.6 I-2 / US 83 – McAllen, Harlingen South end of I-69C overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance; I-2 exit 146; I-69C exits 0A-B
see I-69C
Edinburg 72.8 117.2 FM 490 Interchange; north end of I-69C overlap
Linn 79.8 128.4 SH 186 / FM 1017 Interchange
Brooks Rachal 103.8 167.0 FM 755 west – La Gloria, Rio Grande City
106.0 170.6
Bus. US 281 north – Encino
108.8 175.1
Bus. US 281 south – Encino
124.7 200.7 FM 3066 interchange; south end of freeway
Falfurrias 125.2 201.5
Bus. US 281 north
126.8 204.1 SH 285 – Hebbronville, Riviera
127.8 205.7
Bus. US 281 south
128.5 206.8 FM 1418 interchange; north end of freeway
Jim Wells 133.4 214.7 FM 1538 west
Premont 137.5 221.3 FM 716 west
149.8 241.1 SH 141 / FM 2295 – Kingsville, Benavides Interchange
152.4 245.3 FM 735 west
Ben Bolt 156.6 252.0 FM 2508 – Ben Bolt Interchange
159.8 257.2 FM 625 west
160.0 257.5
Bus. US 281 north / FM 1930 – Alice
Interchange
163.4 263.0 FM 1554
164.4 264.6 SH 44 / SH 359 – Alice, San Diego Interchange
167.7 269.9
Bus. US 281 south – Alice
Interchange
171.9 276.6 FM 2044 east – Alfred
Midway 183.5 295.3 FM 624 – Orange Grove, Cotulla Interchange
Live Oak 190.0 305.8 FM 3162 east – Lagarto
George West 205.1 330.1 US 59 – Freer, Laredo, Beeville, Houston South end of Bus. US 59 overlap
205.6 330.9
Bus. US 59 north (Houston Street) to I-37 – truck route to US 59 north
North end of Bus. US 59 overlap
207.5 333.9 FM 889 west
212.5 342.0 FM 1042 west – Simmons City
Three Rivers 215.5 346.8 SH 72 west (Thornton Street) – Choke Canyon State Park, Calliham, Tilden, Federal Prison South end of SH 72 overlap
216.2 347.9 SH 72 east (King David Drive) – Kenedy North end of SH 72 overlap
219.9 353.9 I-37 south – Corpus Christi South end of I-37 overlap; US 281 south follows exit 72
see I-37
Atascosa 251.1 404.1 I-37 north – San Antonio North end of I-37 overlap; northbound exit and southbound entrance; US 281 north follows exit 103
252.3 406.0 Spur 199 east (Leal Road) / Jim Brite Road
Pleasanton 255.9 411.8 FM 1334 east – Coughran
256.2 412.3 SH 97 west – Jourdanton South end of SH 97 overlap
257.0 413.6 SH 97 east to I-37 – Floresville North end of SH 97 overlap
257.3 414.1 Spur 242 to SH 97 – Poteet, Coastal Bend College
260.1 418.6 FM 3006 east to I-37
Leming 264.0 424.9 FM 1470 south – Poteet
Las Gallinas 267.2 430.0 FM 536 east – Floresville
Bexar 274.7 442.1 Loop 1604 (Anderson Loop) – Elmendorf, Somerset Interchange
276.2 444.5 FM 2537 west
San Antonio 280.7 451.7 FM 1937 south – Losoya
281.8 453.5 I-410 west / SH 130 south / Spur 536 north (Roosevelt Avenue) – Stinson Airport
283.0 455.4 Espada Road - San Antonio Missions National Historical Park interchange
283.2 455.8 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
284.3 457.5 Spur 122 (South Presa Street) / Southton Road I-410 exit 42
285.3 459.1 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
294.5 474.0 I-35 – Laredo, Austin North end of I-37 overlap; I-37 exit 142; I-35 exit 158
295.4 475.4 Josephine Street / Grayson Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance
295.9 476.2 St. Mary's Street / Mulberry Avenue / Stadium Drive
297.0 478.0 Hildebrand Avenue
298.8 480.9 Basse Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
299.5 482.0 Jones-Maltsberger Road
300.3 483.3 Sunset Road Southbound exit only
300.4 483.4 I-410 I-410 exit 21A
300.7 483.9 Airport Boulevard Northbound exit and southbound entrance
301.0 484.4 San Antonio International Airport Terminals
301.3 484.9 Jones-Maltsberger Road / Isom Road
302.9 487.5 San Pedro Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance; former Spur 537
302.2 486.3 Nakoma Drive no direct southbound exit (signed at Wurzbach Parkway)
303.4 488.3 PA 1502 (Wurzbach Parkway) signed with Nakoma Drive southbound; additional signage southbound for Sandau Road and Rhapsody Drive
304.0 489.2 Bitters Road
304.7 490.4 Oak Shadows Drive / Winding Way Drive no direct southbound exit (signed at Brook Hollow Boulevard)
305.4 491.5 Brook Hollow Boulevard
305.8 492.1 Thousand Oaks Drive / Mecca Drive no direct southbound exit (signed at Donella Drive)
306.7 493.6 Donella Drive
307.3 494.6 Loop 1604 / Frontage Road
307.9 495.5 Sonterra Boulevard interchange; current north end of freeway; no direct southbound exit (signed at Loop 1604), access to North Central Baptist Hospital and Methodist Stone Oak Hospital
Redland Road Planned future interchange
Encino Rio / Evans Road Planned future interchange
Stone Oak Parkway, TPC Parkway Planned future interchange
Marshall Road Planned future interchange
Overlook Parkway Planned future interchange
Bulverde Road Planned future interchange
Borgfeld Drive Planned future interchange; future north end of freeway
Comal Bulverde 317.3 510.6 FM 1863 – Bulverde Interchange
321.2 516.9 SH 46 – Boerne, New Braunfels Interchange
Spring Branch 327.0 526.3 FM 311 east
331.3 533.2 FM 306 east – Canyon Lake North
Blanco 334.0 537.5 RM 473 west – Kendalia South end of RM 473 overlap
Twin Sisters 335.8 540.4 RM 473 east North end of RM 473 overlap
340.6 548.1 RM 32 east – San Marcos, Canyon Dam
340.9 548.6 Loop 163 north to RM 165 – Wimberley
Blanco 342.2 550.7 PR 23 – Blanco State Park interchange
342.7 551.5 Loop 163 south / RM 1623 west (4th Street) to RM 165 – Stonewall, Henly, Wimberley
350.4 563.9 US 290 east – Austin South end of US 290 overlap
Johnson City 355.8 572.6 RM 2766 east – Pedernales Falls State Park
356.0 572.9 US 290 west – Fredericksburg, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park North end of US 290 overlap
356.8 574.2 Spur 356 south – Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
358.8 577.4 RM 1323 west – Sandy
Round Mountain 367.3 591.1 RM 962 east – Cypress Mill South end of RM 962 overlap
367.5 591.4 RM 962 west – Llano North end of RM 962 overlap
Burnet Marble Falls 373.3 600.8 SH 71 – Llano, Austin Interchange
376.1 605.3 RM 2147 east South end of RM 2147 overlap
377.7 607.8 RM 2147 west – Wirtz Dam, Horseshoe Bay, Lake LBJ North end of RM 2147 overlap
378.8 609.6 RM 1431 – Granite Shoals, Kingsland, Lago Vista, Cedar Park
383.2 616.7 RM 1855 west – Fairland
Demarco 386.7 622.3 PR 4 west – Longhorn Cavern State Park, Inks Lake State Park, Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery
Burnet 391.7 630.4 SH 29 – Buchanan Dam, Llano, Georgetown
392.4 631.5 RM 963 east – Watson, Oakalla
401.2 645.7 RM 2340 east – Lake Victor
Lampasas Lampasas 413.0 664.7
US 281 Truck north (E.E. Ohnmeiss Drive) to US 190 east – Copperas Cove, Killeen
413.4 665.3
US 183 south / US 190 east / US 281 Truck south – Belton, Austin
South end of US 183 / US 190 overlap
413.7 665.8 Loop 257 east (4th Street) – Lampasas Downtown Historic District
414.0 666.3 FM 580 west (North Avenue) – Colorado Bend State Park South end of FM 580 overlap
414.6 667.2 FM 580 east (East Avenue J) North end of FM 580 overlap
415.2 668.2 US 183 north / US 190 west – Goldthwaite, Brownwood, San Saba, Lometa North end of US 183 / US 190 overlap
425.2 684.3 FM 1690 north
429.9 691.9 FM 581 west – Lometa South end of FM 581 overlap
Adamsville 430.5 692.8 FM 581 east North end of FM 581 overlap
Coryell
No major junctions
Hamilton Evant 443.2 713.3 US 84 – Gatesville, Goldthwaite Interchange
451.3 726.3 FM 221 west – Shive
Hamilton 459.3 739.2 SH 22 east / SH 36 (Main Street) – Comanche, Gatesville, Meridian
460.1 740.5 FM 2905 east
Olin 471.3 758.5 FM 219 – Dublin, Cranfills Gap
478.8 770.6 FM 1744 south – Carlton
479.2 771.2 FM 1602 south – Fairy, Jonesboro
Hico 480.1 772.6 SH 6 south (2nd Street) to SH 220 – Meridian, Downtown Historic District South end of SH 6 overlap
Erath 484.5 779.7 SH 6 north – Dublin, Eastland North end of SH 6 overlap
486.0 782.1 FM 1824 east – Duffau
492.4 792.4 FM 913 east – Selden
497.8 801.1 SH 108 north – Stephenville
Stephenville 498.5 802.3 US 67 – Dublin, Glen Rose
498.8 802.7 US 377 – Dublin, Granbury
499.1 803.2 FM 205 east
499.6 804.0
Bus. US 377 – Stephenville, Fort Worth
500.8 806.0 FM 8 west – Tarleton Agricultural Center
501.8 807.6 FM 3025 west
Morgan Mill 511.0 822.4 FM 1188 / FM 1189 north – Lipan
519.5 836.1 FM 2803 north – Patillo
Palo Pinto 521.1 838.6 FM 4 – Santo, Lipan
527.0 848.1 I-20 – Abilene, Fort Worth I-20 exit 386
527.3 848.6 FM 2201 west – Santo
528.1 849.9 FM 129 west – Brazos
537.6 865.2 FM 1195 east – Lake Mineral Wells State Park, Municipal Airport
539.6 868.4 FM 2256 south
Mineral Wells 541.3 871.1 US 180 east (South 1st Street) One-way couplet
541.4 871.3 US 180 west (Hubbard Street)
542.5 873.1 FM 3027 east (Northeast 23rd Street) South end of FM 3027 overlap
543.1 874.0 FM 3027 west – Union Hill North end of FM 3027 overlap
544.8 876.8 FM 1821 east – Weatherford, Lake Mineral Wells State Park
548.8 883.2 FM 2270 west
Peadenville 549.5 884.3 SH 254 west / FM 1885 east – Graford, Possum Kingdom Lake, Weatherford
551.8 888.0 FM 52 – Oran, Whitt
Jack Perrin 557.6 897.4 FM 2210 – Gibtown
564.8 909.0 SH 199 east – Fort Worth south end of SH 199 overlap
568.2 914.4 FM 3324 south
569.8 917.0 US 380 east / SH 114 east – Runaway Bay, Bridgeport, Dallas South end of US 380 / SH 114 overlap
Jacksboro 571.4 919.6 PR 61 – Fort Richardson State Park
572.3 921.0 US 380 west / SH 59 north (Belknap Street) North end of US 380 / SH 199 overlap
572.9 922.0 FM 3344 north (Post Oak Road)
573.0 922.2 SH 148 north – Henrietta
579.6 932.8 SH 114 west – Olney North end of SH 114 overlap
588.4 946.9 FM 1191 south – Jermyn
589.7 949.0 FM 2190 east – Squaw Mountain
592.6 953.7 Loop 187 north – Antelope
595.4 958.2 Loop 187 south – Antelope
Archer 599.2 964.3 SH 16 south – Graham
603.2 970.8 FM 2581 north
Windthorst 605.9 975.1 SH 25 north / FM 174 east – Archer City, Bowie
Scotland 611.9 984.8 FM 172 – Bluegrove
622.5 1,001.8 FM 1954 – Holliday, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Arrowhead State Park
Wichita Wichita Falls 624.8 1,005.5 Loop 473 / Rathgeber Road interchange; south end of freeway
625.5 1,006.6 FM 369 west (Southwest Parkway) / SH 79 south – Archer City South end of SH 79 overlap; no direct southbound entrance
626.5 1,008.3 Hatton Road
627.1 1,009.2 Midwestern Parkway - Midwestern State University
627.6 1,010.0 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
628.2 1,011.0 Loop 473 (Old Jacksboro Highway) / Spur 477 / Galveston Street
628.7 1,011.8 US 82 west / US 277 south – Lubbock, Abilene North end of US 82 overlap; south end of US 277 overlap
629.2 1,012.6 Broad Street – Business District northbound exit and southbound entrance
630.0 1,013.9 6th Street – MPEC no direct southbound exit
overlap; see I-44
645.1 1,038.2 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

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Length does not account for concurrencies along Interstate Highways and U.S. Highways with lower numbers

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "U.S. Highway No. 281". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (2014). Texas County Map Book (PDF) (Map) (2014 ed.). 1:120,000. Texas Department of Transportation. p. 412. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (2014). Texas County Map Book (PDF) (Map) (2014 ed.). 1:120,000. Texas Department of Transportation. p. 352. Retrieved December 29, 2015. 
  4. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (2014). Texas County Map Book (PDF) (Map) (2014 ed.). 1:120,000. Texas Department of Transportation. p. 382. Retrieved December 29, 2015. 
  5. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Interstate Highway No. 69-C". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 30, 2015. 
  6. ^ Driscoll, Patrick (2006-01-16). "Now there's a name for it". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved June 20, 2008. 
  7. ^ Driscoll, Patrick (2008-06-10). "U.S. 281/Loop 410 interchange ramps are complete". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved June 20, 2008. 
  8. ^ Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe
  9. ^ Gerber, Tim (December 2, 2011). "ARMA: Highway 281 Super Street is working". KSAT. Retrieved May 18, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Construction to begin on 281 superstreet". My San Antonio. March 11, 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2017. 
  11. ^ "US 281 - Spring Branch". TxDOT. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  12. ^ Selcraig, Bruce (April 2, 2017). "Work begins on widening U.S. 281, most congested highway in San Antonio". My San Antonio. Retrieved May 17, 2017. 
  13. ^ "US 281 from Loop 1604 to Borgfeld Drive". TxDOT. Retrieved May 17, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Residents get updated look at 281 expansion project". KSAT. May 12, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2017. 
  15. ^ Brnger, Garrett (March 31, 2017). "Long-awaited U.S. 281 expansion breaks ground". KSAT. Retrieved July 31, 2017. 
  16. ^ Hernandez, Michael (July 17, 2017). "Construction begins today on US 281 expansion". WOAI. Retrieved July 31, 2017. 


U.S. Route 281
Previous state:
Terminus
Texas Next state:
Oklahoma