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U.S. Route 59 is a north-south United States highway (though it is signed east-west in parts of Texasmarker). A latecomer to the U.S. numbered route system, U.S. 59 is now a border-to-border route. It parallels U.S. Route 75 for nearly its entire route, never much more than away, until it veers southwest in Houston, Texasmarker. Its number is out of place since U.S. 59 is either concurrent with or entirely west of U.S. Route 71.

The highway's northern terminus is nine miles (14 km) north of Lancaster, Minnesotamarker, at the Canadian border, where it continues as Manitoba Highway 59. Its southern terminus is in Laredo, Texasmarker, at an interchange with Interstate 35 and U.S. Route 83 just north of the Mexican border.

U.S. Route 59 is known for its role in transporting many illegal immigrants from Mexico into the United States, ending up in such places as Worthington, Minnesota.

Route description

Major cities


From the southwestern suburbs of Houstonmarker to Downtown Houston, U.S. 59 is commonly referred to as the "Southwest Freeway," sometimes derisively as the "South's Worst Freeway." Supporting 371,000 vehicles per day, it is one of the busiest freeways in the United States. U.S. 59 is known as the "Eastex Freeway" in the north/northeast part of the Houstonmarker region.


In Arkansasmarker, U.S. 59 is concurrent with U.S. Route 71 from Interstate 30 at Texarkanamarker to Acornmarker, and with U.S. Route 270 from Acorn to the Oklahomamarker state line.


U.S. 59 and U.S. Route 412 are co-signed for in Delaware Countymarker, Oklahomamarker.

U.S. 59 is co-signed with U.S. Route 270 from the Arkansas State Line to Heavenermarker and U.S. Route 271 from Poteaumarker to west of Spiromarker. Also with U.S. Route 64 in Sallisawmarker


U.S. 59 enters the state just south of Chetopamarker and runs nearly directly north across the state. U.S. 59 runs concurrently with U.S. 169 starting about four miles (6 km) south of Garnettmarker and diverges north again immediately south of Garnett. The intersection immediately south of Garnett used to be a "braided" intersection with Stop and Yield signs. It was identified as a high crash location in 2001, and was rebuilt as a roundabout that opened in April 2006. The Kansas Department of Transportation is rebuilding or planning to rebuild several other rural intersections as roundabouts for increased safety. U.S. 59 passes through Lawrencemarker, home of the University of Kansasmarker Jayhawks. The street name of U.S. 59 in Lawrence is Iowa Street, then 6th street as it joins U.S. 40 and jogs east to cross the Kansas Rivermarker near downtown. North of the bridge, it splits with U.S. 40 as it joins U.S. 24 briefly and jogs back west before resuming a northerly course. It continues north to Nortonvillemarker, then northeast to Atchisonmarker, where it crosses the Missouri Rivermarker over the Amelia Earhart Bridgemarker. U.S.59 is currently being rebuilt and rerouted just to the east between Lawrence and Ottawamarker as a divided highway, as the current road has become one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the state.[56302]


In Missourimarker, U.S. 59 roughly follows the Missouri Rivermarker in the northwest corner of the state, from its entrance at Winthrop. In Saint Joseph the highway is paired with Interstate 229 through downtown. U.S. 59 departs from I-229 as Saint Joseph Avenue, joining with U.S. Route 71 at Interstate 29. The two highways then separate in Savannahmarker. U.S. 59 then follows Interstate 29 very closely until turning northward at Craigmarker. It exits the state ten miles (16 km) north of Tarkiomarker.


In Iowamarker, U.S. 59 is a main north-south artery in the far western part of the state. It enters Iowa south of Shenandoahmarker, Everly Brothers Ave. in Shenandoah's city limits, and junctions Interstate 80 at Avocamarker. It passes through the county seats of Harlanmarker, Denisonmarker, and Cherokeemarker. Except for small stretches of expressway near Avocamarker, Denison, and Holsteinmarker, the entire length of U.S. 59 in Iowa is an undivided two-lane road. U.S. 59 exits the state near Hawkeye Pointmarker, the highest point in the state of Iowa.


U.S. 59 enters Minnesotamarker south of Worthingtonmarker, just one mile east of Bigelowmarker. It passes through rural western Minnesota for its entire length in the state. Some cities along the way include Marshallmarker, Clarkfieldmarker, Montevideomarker, and Morrismarker. U.S. 59 overlaps Interstate 94 in the Fergus Fallsmarker area. North of Fergus Falls, U.S. 59 passes through Pelican Rapidsmarker, Detroit Lakesmarker and Thief River Fallsmarker before ending at the Canadian border north of Lancastermarker.

The Minnesota section of U.S. 59 is legally defined as all or part of Routes 265, 16, 17, 88, 66, 144, 3, 30, and 174 in Minnesota Statutes ยงยง 161.115(19), (75), and (196) and 161.114(2).


In 1934, a coalition of government officials from Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota agreed to sign the current U.S. Route 59 as Highway 73 in an attempt to extend U.S. Route 73 north from Atchison, Kansasmarker. However, AASHO approved the route as U.S. Route 59 instead.

The part in Missourimarker was defined in 1922 as Route 52 from Kansasmarker to St. Joseph, Route 1 from St. Joseph to Tarkiomarker, and Route 61 from Tarkio to Iowamarker. Route 61 became Route 9 in 1926, and Route 52 became part of Route 4 in the late 1920s, before being removed in favor of U.S. 59 in the 1930s.

U.S. 59 originally crossed into North Dakotamarker at Pembinamarker until the early 1950s.

Historic termini

Before the 1960s, U.S. 59 headed northwest to U.S. 75, crossed the Red River of the Northmarker at St. Vincentmarker and terminated at U.S. 81 in Pembina, North Dakotamarker. A new highway and border crossing was built north of Lancaster on the present alignment. The former segment of U.S. 59 between Lancaster and U.S. 75 became Kittson County 6, and the extremely short segment between U.S. 75 and U.S. 81 became Minnesota State Highway 171 and North Dakota Highway 59. ND Route 59 still exists in Pembina from the MN-ND border to Interstate 29.

From 1934 to 1935, the U.S. 59 designation referred to a 50-mile-long route across southeastern Minnesotamarker, from Lake City, Minnesotamarker, to the Iowamarker border just short of Chester, Iowamarker. That entire route is now part of U.S. Route 63, and nowhere close to the present U.S. 59, established in 1935.


A large portion of U.S. 59 is proposed to become part of the future extension of Interstate 69 through Texas, allowing the current alignment and right-of-way to be upgraded without the need for extensive eminent domain proceedings.

Major intersections

See also

Bannered routes

Related U.S. Routes


External links

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