Interstate 10 or I -10 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of Texas. The freeway forms an east-west route through the south of the state, and is the longest interstate highway within a single state of the United States. Milestone 880 is also the highest milestone in North America. The route is also the longest toll-free road under a single road authority in North America. The state of Texas encompasses well over a third of the entire length of Interstate 10. El Paso is even closer to Los Angeles than it is to the other end of I-10 in Texas.
The highway connects 3 major cities in Texas, El Paso, San Antonio and Houston. The landscape ranges from the desert steppes west of San Antonio to the prairies towards Houston, and the subtropical landscape towards Louisiana. In addition to nature, the highway also runs large distances through urban areas, 190 kilometers alone through the 3 cities mentioned above. The appearance of the highway is often a contrast, from the deserted highway in West Texas to the very wide Katy Freeway in Houston. Traffic volumes range from just 5,000 vehicles per day in West Texas to more than 380,000 vehicles per day in Houston. The highway is 1,414 kilometers long.
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I-10 in El Paso.
The I-10 between Junction and Kerrville.
I-10 at Welfare, between Kerrville and Boerne.
El Paso & Western Texas
At Anthony, Interstate 10 in New Mexico turns into Texas, almost directly entering the El Paso metropolitan area. El Paso forms a twin city with Ciudad Juárez in Mexico. El Paso has 610,000 inhabitants, but with Ciudad Juárez together 2,381,000 inhabitants. Initially, the highway still runs north-south, but turns east on the west side of El Paso, parallel to the Rio Grande River. El Paso has a strange geography, due to the Franklin Mountains, and two military bases, with some suburbs stretching over rather narrow swaths of land for about 20 kilometers along the Rio Grande and to the north. After the first suburbs, the road widens to 2×3 lanes. The New Mexico border ends at Sunland Park, and the highway runs parallel to the Mexico border. A little further on, the road widens to 2×4 lanes. The highway runs north of downtown, sandwiched between I-10 and the border. The highway is sunken here, with many bridges of local roads and streets. East of the center the road widens even further, namely 2×5 lanes.
A few miles east of El Paso, it crosses Interstate 110, which leads to the border at Ciudad Juárez. This is one of the main border crossings at El Paso, and from there you can continue your journey to Chihuahua and Torreón in Central Mexico. Heading north is US 54, a short highway that heads toward Alamogordo, New Mexico. One can also take State Route 375, the Border Highway, which runs right along the Rio Grande and also the Mexican border. East of this junctionthe road narrows again to 2×4 lanes. The eastern suburbs are quite large in area, and I-10 is its only major access road. State Route 375 rejoins at Horizon City. The built-up area of El Paso currently ends here, but to the east of this, enormous spatial developments are taking place, including a new residential area or suburb of 15 by 20 kilometers. The highway still runs parallel to the Rio Grande, with some small villages here and there. At Esperanza, the road turns east, leaving the Rio Grande, which continues further south. This is also where the real solitude on the route begins. The next town that is somewhat larger than a hamlet is 275 kilometers to the east. The next big city is only about 760 kilometers away.
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The landscape is barren, steppe-like with mountain ridges in the distance. Just west of Van Horn one crosses the time zone boundary, going from the Mountain Time Zone to the Central Time Zone. Although Van Horn has only 2000 inhabitants, it is the most important place within 180 kilometers. Here the US 90 turns towards the remote south of Texas, including the Big Bend National Park. To the north, a road leads to Guadelupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Van Horn is also control city on I-10 in this area, for want of better. In remote areas, Interstate 20 branches off from Interstate 10, which runs north and northeast of Texas, among others to the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Interstate 10 continues east, and the landscape is still barren, with only some shrubbery for undergrowth. They have now reached 250 kilometers past El Paso. Although they are still far from being inhabited, there are already some more signs of life, such as small agricultural areas and some farming hamlets along the way. Fort Stockton is a relatively important interchange, where US 67 briefly meets I-10. US 67 comes from Alpine, and runs to San Angelo. It also crosses US 285, which runs from Pecos to Del Rio, and US 385, which runs south to Big Bend National Park. With nearly 8,000 inhabitants, it is the largest town between El Paso and San Antonio.
East of Fort Stockton are a number of at-grade intersections on I-10, but these are nothing as they are so-called “Ranch Roads”, dirt roads leading to remote farms. Here also the US 67 exits towards San Angelo, a somewhat larger town in central Texas. The highway here also has the so-called Frontage roads, parallel roads. At Iran, US 190 exits to parallel I-10 for some distance. Sometimes the lanes are hundreds of meters apart. At Sonora one crosses US 277, which leads to Del Rio in the south, and San Angelo in the north. The steppes have turned into prairies here. Junction is a major intersection with US 83 to Abilene and Laredo, and US 377 to Fort Worth and Del Rio. The highway curves to the southeast here, and a little further on, US 290 turns off, which leads to Austin, the capital of Texas. One comes a bit more in the civilized world, just before San Antonio.
San Antonio & Gulf Coast Plains
I-10 at Luling.
I-10 at Sealy.
San Antonio is the second largest city in Texas, and the seventh largest in the United States, but a relatively unknown city. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, with a population of 1.4 million, with 2.3 million in the metropolitan area. Continuous annexations by San Antonio of neighboring municipalities have limited the number of suburbs. One first crosses the Loop 1604, the outer ring of San Antonio, which is still incomplete. The interchange is a standard cloverleaf with shunting lanes. The road widens, 2×4 lanes, as it goes deeper into town. Many industrial estates are located along this corridor. A little further on, one crosses the via a large junctionInterstate 410, San Antonio’s 85-mile beltway.
Northwest of downtown, Interstate 35 merges with I-10. Austin and Dallas can be reached via I-35. Downtown San Antonio is quite large, and a number of Interstates form the ring road around it. On the southwest side of downtown is a large 4-level stack interchange, where I-10 exits east, and I-35 continues straight toward Laredo in the south, and on to Mexico’s Monterrey. The Mexican border is now well to the south, about 250 kilometers away. To the west, the US strikes 90down, towards Del Rio. Although San Antonio is a large city, the roads do not have very many lanes, I-10 is 2×4 lanes at its widest. On the southeast side of downtown, one intersects with Interstate 37, which leads to the coastal city of Corpus Christi, 225 kilometers to the southeast. On the east side of town, the highway intersects Interstate 410 again. After this, the urbanity quickly comes to an end.
The stretch between San Antonio and Houston is nearly 300 miles long, mostly farmland and prairies, with occasional small towns, and certainly not as sparsely populated as western Texas. They have now traveled 1,000 kilometers in the state. US 90 runs most of the way over I-10, with US 90 Alternate just south of it. This one starts in the town of Seguin. One passes Luling, where US 183to Corpus Christi to the south, and to Austin slightly to the north. Although this is an agricultural area, there is certainly not a grid pattern in the road network as is seen in the Midwestern United States. At Schulenburg one crosses US 77, an important north-south connection in Texas, to Victoria, Corpus Christi and Brownsville in the south, and to Waco and Dallas in the north. However, this section through Texas is a pretty boring stretch to drive, with hardly any height differences or forests. Just before Katy, the road widens, indicating the Houston metropolitan area.
Houston & Eastern Texas
The Katy Freeway at Beltway 8.
Katy is Houston ‘s westernmost suburb, located about 45 miles from downtown. The corridor between Katy and Houston is quite dense. The I-10 has frontage roads here, which run parallel to the I-10, but are not part of the Interstate. The highway already has 2×4 lanes here, excluding the Frontage Roads. Houston is very large, with 2.2 million inhabitants, with 6.3 million in the metropolitan area. Houston is a very sprawling city. A major junction crosses Beltway 8, the Sam Houston Tollway, a ring road of 134 kilometers long. Along the road are business parks, behind which are huge residential areas hidden in the woods.
Further on, you cross Interstate 610, Houston ‘s second ring road . Just north of downtown, it crosses Interstate 45, which runs from Galveston on the coast to Dallas. Here, I-45 and I-10 run side by side for a total of 22 lanes. I-10 runs north of downtown, intersecting US 59, the highway between Lufkin and Victoria. In total, I-10 runs for 90 kilometers through the built-up area of Houston. At Jacinto City, it crosses I-610 again via a 4-level stack interchange. On the east side of Houston they cross the Sam Houston Tollway again. Following are a few more suburbs, of which Baytown is the largest. The landscape has completely changed to subtropical, and the road here runs quite close to the coast, over the coastal plains. You pass Beaumont, the last major city in Texas, where US 69 runs to Port Arthur, a major port city. After Beaumont, the highway runs through woodland to Orange, after 1,414 miles to the Louisiana border, where Interstate 10 continues into Louisiana.