State Highway, Loop, and Spur Facts

State Highway, Loop and Spur Facts

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  • The first definite route of travel established in Texas was made in 1715, when St. Denis led an expedition from San Juan Bautista (near present Eagle Pass) through San Antonio to Nacogdoches and eastward.  This road was later known as El Camino Real and still later to Texans as the Old San Antonio Road. It is the only state-maintained highway without a number and it runs through north Brazos County. The highway is identified on the signs as OSR, but the full legal name is Old San Antonio Road, so designated on March 26, 1942.
  • Old San Antonio Road, or El Camino Real (The King's Highway) is the oldest highway in the United States. It was blazed in 1691 between the Spanish missions of Texas and Louisiana. In Texas, it was 1,000 wide and extended 539 miles from the Sabine River to the Rio Grande. At a width of 1,000 varas, it was wider than three football fields end to end.
  • The longest state highway in Texas is State Highway 16, which extends 541.8 miles from Zapata in South Texas to 30 miles south of Wichita Falls. Even at more than 500 miles, though, Texas 16 is only the ninth longest highway in Texas.
  • The shortest state highway in Texas is State Highway 168, a distance of approximately 0.885 mile long.
  • State Highway Loop 1604 is the longest state loop in Texas at 94.4 miles.
  • State Highway Loop 168, 0.074 miles long or about 391 feet, in downtown Tenaha in Shelby County is the shortest Texas highway.
  • State Highway Spur 303 is the longest state spur at 17.4 miles.
  • State Highway Spur 200 is the shortest state spur at 0.050 mile.
  • The highest state-maintained highway is a spur from Texas 118 leading to the McDonald observatory on Mount Locke in West Texas. The highway is 6,791 feet above sea level.
  • State highways are numbered sequentially: TxDOT assigns the next number available to the next highway designated.

For more information, you can go to the Statistical Roadway Information page.

FACTS COURTESY OF TRANSPORTATION NEWS, OCTOBER 1997, TEXAS HIGHWAY MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 1967, AND TRANSPORTATION PLANNING & PROGRAMMING DIVISION