(most recently updated 4/21/2023)
US 96 is one of the worst numbering violations in the US route system, because it is wrong on several levels:
At the time, the south terminus of US 59 was in Port Arthur, and the diagonal highway between Houston and Laredo was designated US 96:
In June 1939, the Texas State Highway Dept. sent a letter to AASHO; the relevant portion is reproduced below:
(Note there was a typo in the last sentence: instead of "...between Timpson and Beaumont", it should have read "...between Tenaha and Port Arthur".) This proposed extension of US 59 would completely subsume the original US 96... and, since that would cause the US 96 designation to become available, Texas wanted to apply it to what had been the southernmost segment of US 59 (between Tenaha and Port Arthur). Presumably that was requested for the sake of cost-effectiveness, because it would allow Texas to simply swap route signs (rather than manufacture new ones with a new number). Although US 96 was not an appropriate designation for the north-south Tenaha-Port Arthur corridor, I have not come across any objection to that effect from AASHO. Instead, that very same month, they approved the request; below are those items from their meeting minutes:
Those changes were to become effective the first day of 1940, and the next issue of Texas' official state highway map reflected the route swap:
Obviously that did not happen, and today US 96 stands out as a blatant violator of route numbering guidelines. As a part of the aforementioned 1937 policy, AASHO also stated, "U. S. routes, less than three hundred miles in length, heretofore established and located wholly in one State, shall be eliminated either by consolidation with other U. S. routes or by reverting to State routes, as rapidly as the State Highway Department and the executive committee of the American Association of State Highway Officials can reach agreement with reference thereto." Clearly that has not been done either. It should be noted that there are several other routes in addition to US 96 that meet these criteria, and in some cases there is not really an acceptable way to eliminate them. However -- by involving a couple other US routes -- there is a relatively graceful way to eliminate the US 96 designation. This preview map provides all the details, or you can click the icon in the upper right to bring up the full version in Google Maps:
1/26/2017 06:39:07 am
Sensible proposition. But this is Texas, which convinced AASHTO to approve the designation of I-69C, because a three digit interstate number wasn't good enough for a major metropolis like McAllen-Edinburg.
8/20/2018 09:39:08 pm
i wonder if somebody out there (TxDOT or otherwise) likes that US 69 and US 96 overlap, making a cute and clever signposting arrangement. This would be similar to the I-69 and I-96 overlap in Michigan. Just a thought, I guess. But, I do like the possibility of the rearrangement by involving US 271 and US 259. Ah, but would TxDOT and AASHTO go for it?
8/21/2018 06:53:36 am
I'm sure that US 259 and US 271 going to happen in the future, I have looked up the road work proposal in Texas that TX 135 north of I-20 to the current US 271 would become 4 lanes divided and that is where they would be rerouting US 271 to and also that TX 149 would also become 4 lanes divided throughout most of it's route and that is where US 259 would be rerouted to, to get to US 96! I have a feeling that they're going to do that in the future but probably after all of the road work to be done first, it could be years before they will do that. TxDOT is complying with the AASHTO policy and I think that AASHTO wants to get rid of US 96 because it's wrong!
1/9/2020 01:14:40 pm
1/9/2020 01:13:01 pm
Texas has little respect for AASHTO as it is. They intend to leave the intersection of US 69 and Interstate 69 in Lufkin. There are some proposals to mitigate it, but the only one with any real traction is to reroute US 287 to somehow take the place of 69 from Alto more or less.
1/9/2020 12:10:43 pm
Texas has a lot of 911 addresses or that are XXX US HWY ## W.
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