Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Interstate 14

Texas is getting another interstate. Eventually:
Interstate 14 will be cobbled together mostly from U.S. 190 and other existing roads to create a new freeway from western Texas to the Louisiana border. The Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, based in Austin, announced the designation Tuesday.

The interstate will take years to build as highway segments must be brought up to freeway standards such as no at-grade intersections and various safety upgrades to allow for higher speeds.

According to the coalition, I-14 will connect Killeen, Belton, Bryan-College Station, Huntsville, Livingston, Woodville and Jasper before terminating at Texas 63 at the Sabine River.
To be clear, I-14 wouldn't "terminate" at that location; it would simply continue into Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and potentially South Carolina as part of the "14th Amendment Highway."

I've known that this is been in the works for awhile. I'm less clear on the purpose Interstate 14 is supposed to serve. It's being billed as a "Forts to Ports" highway, even though it doesn't directly serve any ports here in Texas (and the military is likely to continue to rely on railroads to move the bulk of their material to and from port facilities anyway). Given that Texas is one of the few states in the country without an Interstate link between its capital in its largest city, it seems like it would make more sense for Interstate 14 to generally follow the route of US 290, rather than 190.

At any rate, it will be a long time before I-14 comes to full fruition. As of today, the only section of US 190 here in Texas that could possibly meet interstate standards is the stretch that runs from Copperas Cove to Belton and serves Fort Hood. Maybe a few miles of H. K. Dodgen Loop running along the south side of Temple would qualify as well, if direct connectors from I-35 were built. Otherwise, as is the case with Interstate 69, the realization of I-14 will be a slow and piecemeal process.

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