Any time we leave the Boggy Thicket headed for Houston, Porter or Humble, We take FM-1485 to New Caney and turn left on US 59. Looks like that won’t be possible much longer.
Oh, we’ll still take the same road, but TXDOT has decided to change the name to I-69. They have authorized the changing of the road signs from US 59 to I-69 on a stretch of highway from Loop 610 on the north side of downtown Houston to FM-797 at Cleveland, Texas.
The I-69 corridor, the so-called NAFTA Superhighway that is supposed to connect the Texas-Mexico border with Canada, via America's heartland, has been on the drawing board since at least 2002. Plans to make the corridor wide enough to include tollways, rail and utility lines were phased out in 2009 in favor of a more traditional corridor that will be built in small increments.
That I-69 super- project met with strong opposition from farmers and ranchers championing private property rights and others who opposed a large toll-road component of the plan.
The state's director of transportation planning and development, James Koch, said recently that the Interstate 69 corridor was a "priority" and that the state would be assigning I-69 designations to existing highways that could be upgraded to interstate status. With the new I-69 designation on US 59, the portion of the highway north of New Caney that has ground-level streets crossing the highway will have to be upgraded, and that construction has been completed in some spots, and is underway in others.
"That means there will be overpasses built, access roads and normal entrances and exits," said Mark Cross, Texas Department of Transportation spokesman. "You can't have people crossing an interstate at slow speeds."
This is only the second segment of Interstate 69 to be designated so far. The other piece is a 6-mile portion of US 77 south of Corpus Christi.