Antonio Area Freeway System
State Loop 1604 (Charles W. Anderson Loop)
|This page last updated November 14, 2020
||This page covers the freeway segment of Loop 1604
across North and West San Antonio from FM 78 in Converse to US 90 West.
remainder of the 95 mile loop is non-freeway, most of which is a
two-lane rural road.
Length (freeway section): 39
the first segments were built
1960s, it would have been hard to fathom that Loop 1604 North would
become the busy
that it is today. While the southern half remains mostly in its
configuration as a two-lane rural state highway (for now), the northern
been expanded to a four-lane freeway.
1604 forms the
Antonio's two beltways and the freeway portion serves Joint Base San
Antonio Randolph and Camp Bullis,
the Forum and Live Oak Town Center shopping centers, Rolling
Oaks Mall, the Stone Oak area, the University of Texas at
San Antonio's (UTSA) main campus, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the Shops at
Cantera and the La Cantera development, The Rim development, the
headquarters campuses for Valero
Energy and NuStar, the Alamo Ranch area, Sea World and the Westover
Hills area, and the suburban cities of Converse, Universal City, Live
Selma, Hollywood Park, Shavano Park, and Helotes. The
increasingly dense suburban residential areas interspersed
with moderate to
commercial development, especially at the main nodes near I-35,
Bulverde Rd., US 281,
Blanco Rd., I-10, Bandera
Rd., Culebra Rd./SH 151, and Potranco Rd. The area outside
1604 from Bandera Rd. to US
is expected to add roughly 200,000 people between 2020 and 2030.
five-level "stack" interchange exists at US 281 (the final two
conenctors will open in early 2021.) Cloverleaf interchanges exist at
I-35. There is a single flyover connector from
southbound Loop 1604 to eastbound SH 151 as well as from
southbound Loop 1604
to US 90 eastbound.
||Loop 1604 is sometimes mistakenly referred
to as FM 1604. However, FM
1604 is in North Texas. (See the History
section below for more info.)
- 4 lanes (2 x 2) along entire
- Continuous access roads along all of route except:
- Northbound between Kitty
Hawk Rd. and Pat Booker Rd. (under construction)
- Between Kitty Hawk Rd. and FM 78 (under construction)
- At I-35
- At the railroad tracks between Nacogdoches Rd. and
Green Mountain Rd.
- Northbound through the SH 151 interchange
for a list of Loop 1604 exits.
- 70 mph from Nacogdoches Rd. to
- 65 mph from Nacogdoches Rd. to
SPECIAL FEATURES &
- TransGuide coverage from
Lockhill-Selma to US 90 West
- Partial directional interchanges
at SH 151, and US 90 West
- VIA Metropolitan Transit University Park
& Ride located under I-10 interchange
- Carpool parking area on
northbound ramp to/from FM 78
- Unusual yield sign arrangement
at I-10 interchange; click here
for more information
1604 experienced ridiculously blistering traffic growth during the
1990s and early 2000s with average 10-year traffic counts up well over
300% along nearly the
entire route, and up nearly 1000% near Bandera Rd. However,
has moderated substantially during the past decade, although most of
the western arc, as well as the eastern end, have continued to see
substantial growth over the past decade. Generally,
volume is moderate to heavy along entire route. Recurring congestion
occurs during morning
evening peak periods between Bandera Rd. and US 281.
ANNUAL DAILY TRAFFIC
|E of FM 78
|W of FM 78
|S of Pat Booker Rd.
|N of Pat Booker Rd.
|W of I-35N
|N of Lookout Rd.
|E of Green Mountain Rd.
|W of O'Connor Rd.
|E of US 281N
|W of US 281N
|E of Bitters Rd.
|Vance Jackson Rd.
|W of I-10W
|N of Hausmann Rd.
|N of Bandera Rd.
|S of Bandera Rd.
|N of Culebra Rd.
|S of Culebra Rd.
|N of Potranco Rd.
|N of US 90W
- I-35 to FM 78: Click
details on this project.
view information for all projects in this
2018, plans were announced to upgrade the section from FM 78 to I-10
East to a full freeway, now estimated to start after 2030. Details of
those plans are here.
had been in the works since 2005 to expand Loop 1604 from Bandera Rd.
I-35 by adding tolled managed lanes in the median between the existing
lanes. The environmental study for that project, however, was
delayed several times over the years due to changes in its scope caused
by the unexpected availability of funding for toll-free expansions in the western
corridor and, later, due to funding shortages for the study itself.
funding available and tolling deprecated, the MPO removed the toll
component of the planned expansion from Bandera Rd. to I-35. TxDOT now
plans to expand 1604 from Bandera
to I-35 to eight general purpose lanes (i.e. four in each direction)
plus one HOV lane in each direction. Funding for first
construction phase-- from Bandera Rd. to US 281--
has been secured with construction planned to start in phases beginning
in late 2021. That phase will also include a new five-level "stack"
at I-10. Funding for the second phase--
from US 281 to I-35-- has not yet been secured.
plans to expand all of Loop 1604 south of US 90 to a four-lane divided
highway. The first two projects are now underway with two more planned
to start by 2022.
by Transportation Commission Minute
Order 72928 (June 30, 1977). Named "Anderson Loop" for former Bexar
Judge Charles W.
Anderson who advocated for an outer loop during the mid 1950s. Anderson
served as Bexar County Judge from 1939 until his death in 1964.
first plans for an outer loop around San Antonio emerged in 1956. Most
of the northern half was built as new route while most of the southern
half usurped the existing routes of FM 2173 and FM 1518. As those
southern sections were incorporated into the loop, improvements were
made such as straightening some of the more crooked sections and
building bypasses at Somerset, Elmendorf, and Lone Oak.
Loop 1604 was originally planned to be numbered
Loop 26. In 1958,
the western arc of today's Loop 1604, from I‑10 south to Macdona, was
reportedly planned to be numbered Loop 334. However, the first sections
of the loop to be built were instead numbered FM 1604. When the loop
was nearing completion in 1977, state
were ready to
change the designation from FM to Loop. Because loops are
typically not assigned a four-digit number, this should have resulted
in a new number being assigned. However, the route number
already become so ingrained with area residents that state officials
decided to simply switch the route
designation from FM to Loop, keeping the route number as 1604. As a
1604 is the only four-digit loop and one of just four four-digit state
highways in Texas that is not a
Farm-to-Market road. The FM
designation has since been recycled and is in use on a short route in
Irene, Texas, east of Hillsboro. Regardless, many locals
still continue to incorrectly refer to Loop 1604 as FM 1604.
In the late '70s and most of the '80s, the
northern and western sections of Loop 1604, which were still mostly
two-lane farm road, became known as "The Death Loop" due to a high
number of fatal accidents.
The opening dates below up to 1981 are for the original
two-lane rural road.
- 1956: The general
route that is Loop 1604 today appears in the master
expressway plan for Bexar County.
The section between I-10 West and US 281 North is
completed as FM 1604.
- 1961: The segment
from I-10 West to Bandera Rd. is completed.
- 1967: The sections
from Bandera Rd. to US 90 West and from US 281 North
to Pat Booker Rd. are completed.
- 1969: The segment
from Pat Booker Rd. to I-10 East is completed.
- 1970: The section
from US 90 West to Macdona Lacoste Rd. is completed.
- 1973: FM 2173 from
Macdona Lacoste Rd. to Somerset and FM 1518 from
Somerset to SH 16 South is improved and renumbered as FM 1604.
- 1975: The section
from I-35 North to FM 78 is expanded to a four-lane divided
- 1978: The segment
from I-10 East to La Vernia Rd. is completed. At this
point, the loop is essentially complete with a stretch of FM 1518
connecting the two ends of Loop 1604 at St. Hedwig and SH 16
- 1980: The section of
FM 1518 from SH 16 South to I-37 is improved and
renumbered as Loop 1604.
- 1981: The section of
FM 1518 from I-37 to La Vernia Rd. is improved and
renumbered as Loop 1604. This was the final section of road
become Loop 1604 and marked the official completion of the loop.
- 1982: The first half
of the cloverleaf interchange at I-10 West was completed.
- 1986: The current
interchange at I-35 North was completed.
The remainder of the cloverleaf at I-10 West was completed, and the
section between I-10 West and US 281 North was upgraded to a
four-lane freeway except for the overpass at Lockhill-Selma Rd., which
completed in 1991.
- 1988: The segment
from I-35 North to Green Mountain Rd. was upgraded to a four-lane
The section from US 281 North to Redland Rd. was upgraded to a
four-lane freeway except for the mainlanes and overpass at Gold Canyon
those were completed in 1995.
The overpass and interchange at Kitty Hawk Rd. was built and the
segment between Kitty Hawk Rd. and Pat Booker Rd. was improved.
- 1992: The sections
from Redland Rd. to Green Mountain Rd. and from I-10 West to Babcock
Rd. were upgraded to a four-lane freeway.
- 1996: The segment
from Babcock Rd. to Braun Rd. was upgraded to a four-lane freeway.
- 1999: The section
from Braun Rd. to near Culebra Rd. was expanded to a
four-lane divided highway and TransGuide covereage was added to the
section between Babcock Rd. and Tradesman Dr.
- 2002: The access
roads between NW Military Hwy. and Bitters Rd. were completed.
- 2003: TransGuide
coverage was extended from Babcock Rd. to Bandera Rd.
- 2004: The overpass
and interchange at Culebra Rd. was completed.
- 2007: The section
from SH 151 to US 90 West was expanded to a
four-lane divided highway.
- June 2007: TxDOT
and the Alamo
Regional Mobility Authority announced a $1.8
mega-project to upgrade and expand Loop 1604 across northern San
Military Dr. West around to I-10 East. This project would
have added tolled freeway lanes where there were no freeway
Braun Rd. and south of FM 78). Between Braun and FM 78, the
project would have
added new tolled managed lanes in the median between the
free freeway lanes, which would have remained toll-free. Additionally,
would have built new interchanges at SH 151, I-10 West, US 281 North,
I-10 East. That project was eventually broken-up into smaller,
- February 2009:
Congress approved a national economic "stimulus" plan
that poured additional
federal money into road construction projects. The
Organization (MPO) approved allocating San Antonio's share of
stimulus funding to be used as matching funds to leverage state funding
first half of a 281/1604 interchange.
- 2011: The segment
from FM 78 to Lower Seguin Rd. was expanded to a
four-lane divided highway.
- May 2012: Local
officials identified funding to construct new toll-free freeway
Bandera Rd. south to SH 151. After a funding swap to remove
funding from the project, it was removed from the overarching
federal environmental study
for the corridor, which allowed the state to begin
construction after a state environmental approval. After work began,
the project was expanded to include an overpass for SH 151 to Alamo
Ranch Parkway and a flyover from southbound Loop 1604 to SH 151.
- November 8th, 2012:
The first flyovers in the US 281/Loop 1604 interchange open.
- December 2012: The
remainder of the flyovers in the first phase of the US 281/Loop 1604
- 2013: The overpass
at Vance Jackson Rd. is completed.
- January 2014: TxDOT
and ARMA officials announced funding had been secured to extend
the non-toll freeway south from SH 151 to US 90 and build an
direct connector from southbound Loop 1604 to eastbound US
- 2015: The section
from Lower Seguin Rd. to I-10 was expanded to a four-lane divided
- April 2016: The
southbound freeway lanes from Braun Rd. to SH 151 opened.
- May 2016: The
northbound freeway lanes from SH 151 to Braun Rd. opened.
- July 2016: The
flyover from southbound Loop 1604 to SH 151 opened.
- December 2016: The
overpass from SH 151 to Alamo Ranch Parkway opened.
- April 2019: The
section from SH 151 to Potranco Rd. was upgraded to a four-lane freeway.
- June 2019:
The section from Potranco Rd. to US 90 West is upgraded to a four-lane
freeway and the flyover from southbound Loop 1604 to eastbound US 90
1604 north of Culebra Rd. looking south in 1988
courtesy of TxDOT)
1604 at Green Mountain Rd. looking southeast in 1991
courtesy of TxDOT)
Loop 1604 in 1983
courtesy of TxDOT)
it "Loop" 1604 or "FM" 1604?
It is Loop
1604. The first segment of what is now Loop 1604 to be built from
scratch after it was first proposed was numbered FM 1604 and segments
were added to it over the years. When the loop was completed, the
designation was changed in 1977 from FM to Loop. Besides the
obvious meaning of the "loop" nomenclature for motorists, a Loop
designation is equivalent to a State Highway, which makes
it eligible for more types of
funding than FM roads. The FM 1604 designation was re-cycled in 1980
for use on a short stretch of road in the town of Irene in
North Texas, where it is still in use today.
is Loop 1604 four digits while other loops in Texas are three or fewer
first section of new route built for San Antonio's outer loop was
originally designated as a farm-to-market road and numbered FM 1604. As
loop was being built, the new sections were built as continuations
1604. Once the loop was completed in 1977 and the designation
was ready to be changed to "Loop", the route number of 1604
already become well used among locals, so they opted to keep the number
1604 and simply changed the designation from FM to Loop. It is
exception to Texas'
numbering rules and is one of just four four-digit state roads
that's not an FM road.
- Why are the new sections of Loop 1604 only
four lanes? It needs to be six lanes or more.
A lot of
the congestion on Loop 1604 North and assert that the new sections of
Loop 1604 should to
be wider to start with. However, those sections of Loop 1604 carry
than a third of the traffic that most sections of Loop 1604 North do
(for example, 34,000 vehicles per day at Potranco vs. 123,000 at
current volume, and the projections for the next 20 years,
indicate that four lanes should
be adequate for those new sections Twenty
years is the accepted
planning horizon because that's the length of
time before a road will need major repairs and upgrades simply due to
age (i.e. the road's expected lifespan), and because that's the length
of time that any projections can be considered even remotely
reasonable. Will those new sections experience congestion
before 20 years? Maybe. Nobody has a crystal ball, so traffic
projections are "educated guesses" based on the
best data available for future development in an area and past growth,
and road capacity is always theoretical-- many other factors other than
just the number of lanes affect congestion levels. But as
a steward of taxpayer dollars, TxDOT cannot spend more than they can
empirically justify, a policy I'm sure most
taxpayers support to prevent "pork" projects. And spending now on extra
lanes that may or may not be needed in
the future takes away funding for other projects that are needed today.
- Why didn't they build Loop 1604 between
Bandera and I-35 with more than four lanes?
the point above regarding how the number of lanes to be built is
determined. Then keep in mind that Loop 1604 between I-10 and I-35 was
planned nearly 40 years ago and that it was an upgrade from a two-lane
road to the four-lane freeway that's there today-- a dramatic increase
in capacity at the time. Loop 1604 between Bandera and I-10 was planned
around 1990 and also was an upgrade from a two-lane rural road. In both
cases, significant recurring traffic congestion didn't develop until
the 15 to 20 year mark, which shows the validity of the planning done.
An expansion has been planned for over a decade now but has been
- Why haven't they added more lanes to Loop
1604 North? Don't they know how bad the traffic is?
have been in the works to expand Loop 1604 from Bandera to
well over a decade. However, such an expansion is a very expensive
approaching $1 billion. Due to substantial funding shortages that began
early 2000s, TxDOT was required to incorporate tolling to pay for mega
projects like this. With local
opposition to tolling and the drama over a similar plan on US 281 that
delayed that project for over a decade, the
plan for 1604 has had to be reworked several times. Additionally,
because of the
project's location over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, an extensive
and lengthy Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is required. With new
funding mechanisms now in place and tolling deprecated, the toll
component has since been removed from the project. This has required
the project to be redesigned yet again and additional
funding allocated in order to complete it. As of this
anticipates that work on the first phase-- from Bandera Rd. to I-10 West--
could start in 2021.