Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sam Rayburn Turnpike & Other Texas Freeway Honorariums

Lately I've noticed an awful lot of ink being devoted to the naming of a toll road here in the D/FW Metroplex. The toll road being named is a 21 mile section of State Highway 121. It is proposed that this section of highway be named after Sam Rayburn. Mr. Sam was a legendary Speaker of the House from Bonham, Texas. He and Lyndon Johnson, working together, were a formidable pair of legislators.

I don't know why it has come to be, but, as Wikipedia put it...

"For those new to the Metroplex, the area's elaborate highway system can be a bit confusing. The D/FW area has long had a tradition of naming numbered highways."

Some of the freeway and highway naming seems really goofy to me. I know other areas of America also name their freeways, like in the Los Angeles zone I-5 is the Golden State Freeway. They also have the Hollywood Freeway, Ventura Freeway and a lot more. The only freeway named after a person in the LA zone, that I know of, is I believe there may be a section of freeway named after Richard Nixon.

The Seattle zone does no freeway renaming. Up there they just stick with I-5, I-405, I-90, I-520, you get the drift.

Here in the Metroplex the same road can go by various names. Like right where I live on one side of I-820 the road is called John T. White Road, cross over the freeway and it becomes Bridge Street. A couple miles to the east of me Green Oaks Boulevard turns into Dottie Lynn Parkway for no discernible reason.

Here in the D/FW Metroplex we have the LBJ Freeway (I-635), the George Bush Turnpike and the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway (I-20 in Arlington).

Those are our Presidential Freeways. We also have a section of U.S. Highway 287 in Fort Worth renamed as Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway.

I-30 from the Tarrant County line on east to the Dallas Mixmaster is called Tom Landry Freeway. Landry coached the Dallas Cowboys at some point in time and is apparently highly regarded. The Tom Landry Freeway signs have a strange hat as its symbol.

I have no idea who the other people are who have freeways named after them. We have the East R. L. Thornton Freeway and the South R. L. Thornton Freeway.

And then there is the Marvin D. Love Freeway, which is U. S. Highway 67.

U.S. Highway 175 is known as C.F. Hawn Freeway.

Spur 366 is known as the Woodall Rogers Freeway.

Texas State Highway 360 is Angus Wynne Freeway. I think he may be the guy who started Six Flags.

Texas State Highway 114 is known as the John Carpenter Freeway. The movie maker? I have no idea.

Interstate 45 in known as the Julius Schepps Freeway. I don't believe it is called that all the way to Houston.

Texas State Highway Loop 12 has a lot of names. Depending on where you are on the loop it is known as Walton Walker Boulevard, Northwest Highway, Ledbetter Drive, Military Parkway and Kiest Boulevard.

We also have parts of freeways named after other sports figures besides Tom Landry. Golfer Byron Nelson, car racer Dale Earnhardt and baseballer Nolan Ryan all have freeway signs with their names on them.

Anyway, like I said, I don't know what caused the bizarre practice to be so, well, frequently practiced. What I do know is I would like someone to explain Randoll Mill Road to me. No matter where I drive in this huge Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex I seem to run into Randoll Mill Road meandering about.


Stenotrophomonas said...

Some of these highways have names and plenty of signs trying to convince folks to use them, but I have yet to hear of anyone calling I-20 the "Ronald Reagan Highway."
I do avoid 161, however. Anything named after a Bush is probably bad news.
There was once a mill owned by a fellow named Randol. You may want to check out the site:
Musta been the local equivalent of Rome - all roads led there.
Then you can check out Ederville. According to this link there are flights to there and even hotels:

Brad Smith said...

Well the Nolan Ryan Expressway isn't actually an expressway. Ryan is the EXPRESS so the expressway runs adjacent to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Coach Landry actually wore that hat on the sidelines for his entire career. He is as large an icon as any player the 'Boys have ever heard. by the way the name is actually Tom Landry Highway, even though it is a 12 lane controlled access freeway.

I will give you that Randol Mill Road is the place where i got the most lost i have ever been in my life. It goes from Great Southwest Parkway in Arlington to Fort Worth and Meanders west then North for miles before coming back to its end at its second meeting with I-30 which is also the end of the Tom Landry Highway.