End of US highway 79

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Photo credits: Justin Cozart; H.B. Elkins; Alex Nitzman; Steven Taylor; Johnnie Welborn, Jr; me

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1935-1944 West Memphis, AR Austin, TX
1944-1987 Russellville, KY (east) Austin, TX
1987-2007 Russellville, KY (east) Round Rock, TX
2007-present Russellville, KY (west) Round Rock, TX

US 79 wasn't among the original 1926 routes; it was commissioned in 1935. Originally its north end was near West Memphis AR. At the time, US 79 was routed north on what is now AR 147, ending at US 70:

Taylor, Oct. 2004

The overpass is I-40; in this area US 70 doubles as the southside frontage road for the interstate. Around 1940 US 79 was extended east, co-signed with US 70 to the Tennessee border (you can view photos from there on this page). Tennessee didn't pick up the route until 1944, which is when it was extended through that state and into Kentucky...


...since then the north end of US 79 has been in Russellville KY (although the specific location of the terminus there was changed in 2007). The photo below was taken looking east on 9th Street, or Business US 68:

me, July 2007

That used to be mainline US 68, but when the Russellville bypass was completed in 1998, it was re-signed as a business loop. To the right was the north beginning of US 79. The sign assembly in the background is for traffic at the north end of US 79; it's shown close-up in the photo below:

me, July 2007

To the right is actually Business 68, but it meets mainline 68 about a half-mile in that direction. The photo below shows what used to be the begin US 79 sign for westbound Business 68:

me, July 2007

To the left on 9th was the north beginning of US 79. If you were to turn that way, the shot below shows what was once the first US 79 sign heading south...

me, July 2007

...but in 2007, the US 79 designation was truncated by about two miles. About one mile ahead, 9th picks up US 431 traffic. Then, in about another mile, US 431 departs 9th to the north on the bypass, and straight ahead on 9th is where US 79 begins now:

Elkins, June 2006

That photo was taken before the truncation took place. There wasn't really any reason to change that particular assembly, but apparently the entire intersection has since been re-signed: the current assembly is similar, but there is no longer any reference to US 68. Below we're looking the opposite direction (northeast on 9th):

Welborn, Jan. 2011

You can see how US 79 ends at an "elbow" in US 431. Too bad that new US 79 shield has such an ugly shape. It's also a bit unfortunate, in my opinion, that US 79 now ends at a 3dus route. Not only does it no longer connect to US 68, but there's not even any mention of US 68 at the terminus. Compare that to the assembly that used to be at that junction:

me, July 2007

At the time of that photo, signage still reflected US 79's historic extent, which continued ahead for another two miles. It's interesting that the bypass was signed as "Truck 79", because that route never rejoined mainline 79, and actually continued about three miles further than mainline US 79. For a brief time in between those two photos, the road ahead was signed as "Formerly US 79". Below we're looking south on the bypass:

me, July 2007

That's southbound US 431, which continues to the left. US 79 used to go to the left as well, but now that sign has been changed to reflect the fact that it begins to the right:

Welborn, Jan. 2011

If you turn that direction, the first confirming assembly looks like this:

me, July 2007 (unchanged as of 2010)


Today the south end of US 79 is at its interchange with I-35 in Round Rock TX. Let's start with the view from northbound I-35:

Taylor, Sep. 2000

Those signs have since been replaced with Clearview versions (you'll see that in a shot below). The US 79 off-ramp takes you to the frontage road shown below:

Taylor, Sep. 2000

The white car is turning onto eastbound Palm Valley Boulevard, and the south beginning of US 79. Soon, the driver will see the first sign on northbound 79, shown below:

Taylor, Sep. 2000

If one were to continue past that sign for a ways, and then make a u-turn, they'd see the last southbound US 79 sign, shown below:

Taylor, Sep. 2000

Continuing south from there (which is actually west), one passes Mayes Street,which used to handle US 81 traffic through town, but is now Business Loop I-35 (more on that below). About a quarter-mile further is the interchange with I-35. That's shown in the photo below, and it marks the southern end of US 79:

Taylor, Sep. 2000

The shot below is from southbound I-35:

Cozart/Nitzman, Oct. 2007

You can see the new Clearview panels there. As you exit to the frontage road, these are the signs at the beginning of US 79:

Taylor, Sep. 2000

The partially-obscured green sign indicates that the town of Taylor is 17 miles to the left.


Originally US 79 was co-signed with US 81 about 10 miles further south from Round Rock, ending in Austin. From 1935 to about 1955, US 79/81 was routed along what is now Loop 275 through Austin: south on Lamar Boulevard and Guadalupe Street, then east on 1st Street (which today is also known as Cesar Chavez Street). At Congress Avenue, US 81 crossed the Colorado River and continued south, but the US 79 designation ended at that point:

Google Maps Street View, 2010

That's looking east on Chavez - US 79 ended here, but US 81 continued to the right on Congress. That direction was also westbound US 290, while eastbound was straight ahead. The shot below is looking north on Congress:

Google Maps Street View, 2010

About 10 blocks in the distance, you can see the gap in Congress where the Texas State Capitol is situated. That was eastbound US 290 (which continued to the right on Chavez) and northbound US 81 (which continued to the left). To the left was also the south beginning of US 79.

In about 1955, US 79/81/290 were re-routed along East Avenue - part of the "Interregional Highway" which would later become I-35. US 290 exited at 7th Street, joining TX hwy. 71 on a path through downtown. That's where the US 79 designation ended. The photo below shows this spot:

Taylor, Sep. 2000

We're looking west on 7th at I-35 (which was built over the alignment of East Av). Left from here was southbound US 81. Straight ahead was westbound US 290 and TX 71. Behind the camera was southeastbound TX 71. To the right was northbound US 79, northbound US 81, and eastbound US 290. That was the situation until sometime between 1979 and 1991 (depending which source you believe), when the US 79 designation was truncated back to Round Rock.