End of US highway 96

View a map showing this route.

Photo credits: Justin Cozart; Steven Nelson

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1939-1980s(?) Tenaha, TX (central) Port Arthur, TX
1980s(?)-present Tenaha, TX (east) Port Arthur, TX

I have to begin by saying that Texas has a few oddball intra-state US routes. US 96 is one of them. It runs about as north/south as they come, but it has an east/west number. On the other hand, there's US 57. Even though it clearly runs east/west, it has a north/south number, and it is signed north/south, too. The universe would be much more harmonious if we could switch the numbers on these two routes. In fact, if those two numbers were reversed, they'd fit so perfectly into the "grand design" of the US route numbering system that one has to wonder whether some kind of mistake was made, in which the two route numbers were accidentally switched and assigned to the wrong highways. But historic maps show that US 96 had been around for years before US 57 was commissioned in 1970... and that US 57's number came from the route it replaced: TX 57 (which in turn came from Mexico hwy 57, to which it connects). And don't confuse that for the different but equally-misnumbered US 96[I], which was also in Texas. You can read about that road here.


Today's US 96 was commissioned in 1939, the same year US 96[I] was retired. It took over the highway which since 1934 had been designated US 59 between Tenaha and Port Arthur TX (which probably explains where the number "96" came from: Texas just re-applied its old number to a route that needed a new number). The south end of US 96 was (and still is) in Port Arthur; you can view photos from there on this page.


Likewise, the north end of US 96 has always been in Tenaha. However, the exact location of the terminus has changed. Originally, US 96 came into town on Center Street, which is now designated Loop 157. The route ended at its junction with Bowers Drive, which carries US 59 and US 84:

Nelson, Feb. 2006

The photo below is looking east on US 59/84 - while FM 947 begins to the left, Loop 157 actually begins to the right ahead:

Nelson, Feb. 2006

If you turn that direction, the confirmation assembly is posted where perhaps the first southbound US 96 sign once was...

Nelson, Feb. 2006

...however, in recent years, a bypass was built around the south and east sides of town. US 96 traffic was rerouted onto the bypass, so the terminus changed. The photo below shows the current north end of US 96 in Tenaha, at its junction with US 59 and US 84:

Cozart, Apr. 2003

The assembly is shown close-up below:

Cozart, Apr. 2003

Below we're looking south on US 59; if you stay straight, you'll soon be on the north beginning of US 96:

Cozart, Apr. 2003

And finally, the assembly for the beginning of US 96 as seen from westbound US 84:

Cozart, Apr. 2003