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Why is U.S. 59 also called I-69 in Houston?

While it might confuse Houston drivers there is a reason for the double name.

HOUSTON — Why is the highway most Houstonians know as 59 also called 69?

It may seem like a minor inconvenience when giving directions but the shared names are actually part of a much larger plan to spur trade connecting the Mexican border to the Canadian border way up north.

For Houston this all started in 2015 when the Texas Transportation Commission approved calling 11 miles of US 59 inside the 610 Loop I-69 as well.

New signs were put up with both names and drivers in Houston went on with their lives.

So where did the I-69 name come from? It is a multi-state freeway still only partially finished. When done it is supposed to connect the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to Port Huron, Michigan on the Canadian border.

It is nicknamed the NAFTA superhighway because it is designed to facilitate moving goods between the trade agreement partners.  

But for right now that superhighway remains at a standstill. It consists of 10 unconnected segments ranging from Corpus Christi to Evansville Indiana.

It was originally designated as a corridor of the future by the Department of Transportation, making it eligible for federal funding and streamlined planning. But that funding has been withheld and the project is moving slower than Houston traffic.

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