Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
U.S. Highway 96
US 96 is a north-south United States highway. Its number is a violation of the standard US highway naming convention on two counts: even numbered highways are generally east-west routes, and it lies entirely to the east of US 59 and mostly north of US 90. Odd 9x routes should run north-south in the western US, west of US 89, like US 95. Even 9x routes should run east-west in the southern US, south of US 90. US 96 thus is correctly in the southern US; however it runs in the wrong direction. And, since it is primarily north of US 90 it should be a lower unused number, say 86 or 88.
One theory about the highway's designation is that it was intended as a mirror-image of nearby US 69, which shares thirty miles (48 km) of its route and its southern terminus. For reference, another "misnamed" Texas US route is US 57, an east-west route which is named for the Texas state route it replaced, SR 57, which connects to Mexican Federal Highway 57. The actual reasons follow later in the article.
As of 2004, the highway's northern terminus is in Tenaha, Texas at an intersection with U.S. Highway 59 and U.S. Highway 84. Its southern terminus (as well as those of US 287 and US 69) is in Port Arthur, Texas at an intersection with Texas State Highway 87, five miles (8 km) up the Sabine River from the Gulf of Mexico.
The US 96 designation was originally applied in 1926 to an entirely different route, from Rosenberg, Texas near Houston to Pharr in the Rio Grande valley. This diagonal route, south of U.S. Highway 90, did not violate the convention of even numbers for east-west routes. The highway's east-west credentials were boosted in 1934, when US 96 was extended from Pharr to Laredo. In 1939, though, the US 96 designation was moved to the modern route, for reasons that defy understanding by some road buffs to this day.
The actual explanation is simple, and begins at the intersection of US 96 and US 59: Current US 96 was originally the southern section of US 59. Current US 59 was originally US 96. To make US 59 a Canada-Mexico route, Texas switched the numbers.
The highway passes through the following states:
Related US Routes
- US 96 has no "child" routes
- List of U.S. Highways
Sources and external links
- Endpoints of US highways (used with permission)
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