INTERSTATE 10: THE CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
TRANSCONTINENTAL HIGHWAY

December 13, 2011
Interstate 10

Interstate 10 goes by many names. In Palm Springs, California it's known as the Sonny Bono Memorial Freeway. In Arizona (and Jacksonville, Florida for some reason), it is appropriately named the Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway. In Houston, it's the Katy Freeway. But Interstate 10 is actually The Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway, and Columbus would have been proud of this honor.

Interstate 10 is the southernmost east-west, coast-to-coast Interstate Highway, stretching from the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida. It is one of three coast-to-coast Interstates (along with 80 and 90), and, at 2,460 miles, the fourth longest Interstate, after 90, 80 and 40 respectively. It can move at a brisk pace if you so desire most of the time (barring urban traffic) through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida.

Across California, Interstate 10 is probably its busiest and most congested, starting with a bang in Los Angeles. California calls 10 by some interesting names: besides the tribute to Sonny Bono we have the Rosa Parks Freeway and the Doctor June McCarroll Memorial Freeway.

Arizona is much more leisurely. The highway does go through Phoenix and Tucson, but the rest of the way its not relatively busy. The brief journey through New Mexico is sleepy except for Las Cruces.

Interstate 10 meanders through more than 1,400 miles of Texas, the most mileage of the seven states. It commences in El Paso and traverses a long way before bisecting San Antonio and Houston. It crosses into Louisiana west of Beaumont.

In Louisiana, an 18-mile elevated highway between Lafayette and Baton Rouge is labeled the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway because, naturally, it rises over the Atchafalaya River and adjacent swamps. Baton Rouge gets its taste of Interstate 10 before the highway steers through New Orleans.

On 10 you are in and out of Mississippi before you know it (124 miles) and even quicker through an itty bitty slice (106 miles) of Alabama, highlighted by one of the few road tunnels in the state, the George C. Wallace Tunnel.

Interstate 10 concludes by travelling in Florida through Tallahassee to Jacksonville. Much of the rest of the route through the state is sparsely populated.

So, if you travel the complete Interstate 10, you will have seen both of our oceans - the Pacific on the west end and the Atlantic on the right. And if you only take advantage of some of the highway, there is still plenty to see and do.