End of US highway 181

View a map showing this route.

Photo credits: Robert Brooks; Karin and Martin Karner; Stephen Taylor; Kevin Trinkle; Mike Wiley; me

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1926-1977 San Antonio, TX Corpus Christi, TX
1977-present (near San Antonio, TX) Corpus Christi, TX

Originally, before I-37 was built, US 181 used to extend a few miles further northwest from its current terminus on the outskirts of San Antonio. Heading northbound, just before its terminus, we come to this junction:

Google Maps Street View, 2009

Spur 122 to the right is the original alignment of US 181 along Presa Street and into downtown (you can view photos and maps from there on this page). Today the north end of US 181 is just ahead, at its junction with I-37, just outside the I-410 loop. The photo below shows the last northbound marker:

me, Mar. 2012

It seems a little odd to have a trailblazer here, since this is the merge point with I-37. The photo below was looking south on I-37:

Wiley, 2000

That exit marks the north beginning of US 181 - traffic exits to the right and then crosses the freeway via the overpass visible in the distance. Those signs have since been replaced with Clearview versions:

me, Mar. 2012

If you take that exit, the first southbound confirming marker is right on the overpass...

Karners, Jan. 2015

...but that was not there at the time of my visit, and the first one wasn't posted for another mile or so:

me, Mar. 2012


The south end of US 181 is in Corpus Christi TX... also at its junction with I-37. Shown below is the last southbound trailblazer:

Karners, Jan. 2015

That's posted after the on-ramp from Burleson Street. Just ahead is the elevated portion that aligns with the Harbor Bridge, which carries traffic over the Corpus Christi Industrial Channel and into the downtown area. There, US 181 doesn't have an obvious endpoint, as the highway simply curves a bit and transitions into I-37. However, the sign bridge below shows one's options at the south terminus:

Trinkle, July 2005

Drivers can take the left exit, or the right exit, or else commit to heading north on I-37.

The shot below is basically at the south end of I-37, and it shows the ramp that marks the south beginning of US 181:

Trinkle, July 2005

That's Corpus Christi Bay straight ahead. About 15 miles in that direction is Mustang Island, which separates Corpus Bay from the Gulf of Mexico.

Heading west from the Bayfront, the sign bridge shown below references the south beginnings of both US 181 and I-37:

Brooks, July 2010

Likewise, heading north on Carancahua Street, there is signage indicating the south terminus of both routes:

Karners, Jan. 2015

To the left is an overpass that leads to a frontage road for I-37. To the right, Carancahua becomes an on-ramp for US 181. Drivers heading that direction will see the first confirming marker in the form of a BGS...

Brooks, July 2010

...but just beyond that sign bridge is also the first standalone trailblazer:

Karners, Jan. 2015


Before all these freeways and the Harbor Bridge were built, US 181 ended at a different location in Corpus; you can view this page for more info.