El Paso (American English pronunciation: /ɛlˈpæsoʊ/) is a large city in the westernmost part of the US state of Texas. With a population of 678,000, the city is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 22nd largest in the United States. The agglomeration has 871,000 inhabitants on the American side (2021), but also includes the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez, which is considerably larger with 1.5 million inhabitants. Together, the metropolis has 2,700,000 inhabitants.
I-10 in El Paso.
According to topmbadirectory, El Paso is located in the far west of Texas. It is even closer to Los Angeles than Texas’ eastern border with Louisiana. The city is eccentric to the rest of the population centers of Texas: San Antonio is 880 kilometers to the east and Dallas is 1000 kilometers to the northeast. 350 km to the south is Chihuahua. Albuquerque is approximately 370 km north of El Paso and westward is another 450 km to Tucson.
The Rio Grande, a border river, divides the metropolis in two. On the Mexican side is Ciudad Juárez, a city of 1.5 million inhabitants. Furthermore, El Paso is very unevenly urbanized: The Franklin Mountains and the Biggs Army Field ensure that the city has expanded in a strange way. The metropolitan area of El Paso stretches for a great distance in a northwestern, northern and eastern direction. There are a number of small suburbs along the Rio Grande. The extreme south of New Mexico along the I-10 can be counted as the commuter area.
The area around El Paso can be called mountainous. The dry steppe climate gives the region a desert-like character. Its arid character is enhanced by the lack of lakes and the fact that the Rio Grande almost dries up in summer. Despite its location at 1140 meters altitude, it can be 35 degrees or warmer for weeks in the summer. In contrast, downpours sometimes occur with flooding for parts of the city.
The freeways of El Paso.
El Paso is located on Interstate 10, the highway from Los Angeles to Jacksonville in Florida. This road runs for more than 50 kilometers through the city, which has grown mainly along I-10. In addition, there is Interstate 110. US 54 and Loop 375 complete the network. The older parts of El Paso are in a fine -mesh grid network built, but the newer neighborhoods, especially in the east and west and the far north, are built in a less intricate grid. There are few major urban roads outside the motorways, which means that the motorways are quite busy despite the limited size of the agglomeration, this mainly applies to I-10.
The Mexican city of Ciudad Juaréz is mainly built in a square grid, but has a less clear hierarchy in the road network, because there are fewer through roads and (semi) highways. A grade separated highway runs along the west side of town, and Carretera Federal 45 runs south to Chihuahua. Ciudad Juárez is relatively remote by Mexican standards. Mexico City is 1,500 kilometers away. There are only a limited number of border crossings, with I-110 being the busiest with 84,000 vehicles. Many Mexicans work in the United States and Americans do cheap groceries and other services in Mexico. Border control in the United States is strict due to problems with illegal immigration. As a result, the waiting time can be several hours.
Until the 1950s, El Paso was a small city with approximately 100,000 inhabitants. The city began to grow rapidly from the 1950s onwards, mainly due to its proximity to Fort Bliss, the United States military’s second largest base. In the late 1980s, El Paso reached the limit of 500,000 inhabitants. After that, growth was somewhat more moderate.
Initially, the construction of the highway network in El Paso was focused on the construction of Interstate 10, which was opened mainly in the period 1968-1969. In 1973, the interchange opened with US 54, also known as the Patriot Freeway. In the 1970s and 1990s, the construction of motorways focused mainly on US 54, which was given an unusually wide route in El Paso, with a double parallel structure, in addition to the main carriageways, parallel lanes were also built, plus additional frontage roads. Later in the 1980s, the Border Highway was developed, which was numbered Loop 375. In the period 1996-1998 the primary border crossing with Mexico was expanded considerably.
After 2000, the focus shifted to the Loop 375 around El Paso, and the Spur 601. In 2005-2006 the Loop 375 opened as a freeway along the east side of El Paso and in 2007-2011 the Spur 601 opened through the north of El Paso. In 2014, the last stretches of the Loop 375 freeway opened on the north side of El Paso, giving the city a bypass for through traffic.
In 2014, the first toll lanes in El Paso opened to traffic, the Loop 375 express lanes. The toll lanes were hardly used, which is why the toll collection was discontinued again in 2017. In 2019, the Border West Expressway, also part of Loop 375, opened on the west side of El Paso. The Border West Expressway runs so close to I-10 that it can also be seen as solitary express lanes. Tolling was also planned on the Border West Expressway but has subsequently been continuously postponed and eventually cancelled.
The first section of the Montana Freeway opened in 2022, transforming Montana Avenue (US 62/180) in eastern El Paso.
There is not a lot of congestion in El Paso, because there is no large commuter area around the city, flows into the city are limited, and most traffic takes place internally in the city. I-10 can be very busy. However, the largest queues are at the border with Mexico.