4

According to this source and several others (like Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston), a section of I-10 in West Houston called the Katy Freeway is the widest highway on Earth. Its widest point is when it intersects Beltway 8 with a total of 26 lanes.

However, some other sources dispute that claim. According to this article, there are many highways with more lanes than the Katy. For instance, there's a highway in Beijing with 50 lanes at a tolling point. I forgot where I read this, but another website says that Canada also has a freeway wider than I-10.

Is the Katy Freeway the widest highway in the world or not?

  • 2
    I don't know if you're gonna get a more definitive answer than what Politifact stated. – DenisS Jul 26 '18 at 19:25
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    The question of whether that highway has 50 lanes has already been asked and answered. It’s only 50 lanes wide at the one toll place which is only for a small amount of highway. You can see this on the map in the highest voted answer there – Laurel Jul 27 '18 at 0:31
7

By my count, there are 27 lanes at US route 95 here at the infamous Springfield, Virginia, Mixing Bowl. A few hundred feet further south, if Augusta Drive where it acts as a frontage road is included, there are 28 lanes.

For Katy Freeway at beltway 8 there are 24 lanes, but where it intersects Gessner Road there are 26.

  • @MichaelK The satellite photos are a google maps reference. No original research here, unless he was up on the satellite taking snapshots himself. – Ben Barden Jul 27 '18 at 16:11
  • @MichaelK The consensus itself only says original research is mainly bad if it can't be verified without unreasonable effort, more or less. Dave's original research is quite straightforward to verify. – Kamil Drakari Jul 27 '18 at 17:43
  • 1
    @KamilDrakari Ah, good point. I see what you mean. Comment withdrawn. – MichaelK Jul 27 '18 at 17:44
  • @MichaelK The original research rule only prohibits "nontrivial" calculations or analyses. I quote from Sklivvz's comment: 'the general idea is "high-school level or lower" is trivial'. I hope this clears things up. – Laurel Jul 27 '18 at 18:13
3

No.

I personally lived in Houston for several years and I drove that stretch of road many times. It is definitely not 26 lanes.

Here's how the Houston Chronicle contrives that number (and I still come up short on my count):

  • There are only 4 thru lanes in each direction for a total of 8.
  • There are an additional 2 interchange lanes in each direction, used for merging onto the Beltway (Hwy. 8). That's 4 more lanes for a total of 12.
  • There are also 2 toll lanes in each direction. These are controlled-access thru lanes that you can pay to use if you don't want to sit in traffic during rush hour. That brings us to a total of 16 lanes.

Now here's where they're really cheating:

The Chronicle is counting the additional lanes of the feeders on each side of the highway. A "feeder" is a Texas-ism for a frontage road that runs parallel down the length of the highway to which the on- and off-ramps "feed" into (See? A feeder!).

Anyway, the feeder is not part of the freeway. It's just a regular road with normal intersections, traffic lights, and businesses on it. Those businesses have addresses like "12345 I -10 W", so technically they're on I-10. But it's pretty shady to count those as lanes. It's a totally separate road.

That brings us to 24 "lanes". I don't know where they're getting 26. The article says there are 3 "managed" (i.e. HOV) lanes in each direction instead of the two toll lanes. Maybe they're counting the crossovers? But those are official-use-only for emergency and construction vehicles. Those hardly count.

I also don't recall there being 4 lanes on the feeder, and indeed in Google Maps satellite view I only see 3 on one side and 4 on the other. But whatever. It's been a while since I've lived there.

Point is, the Katy freeway is absolutely, definitely not 26 lanes.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • 3
    The question is not about whether Katy freeway has 26 lanes or not. It's about whether Katy freeway is the widest highway in the world. Saying "No" you must name a road which is wider than Katy freeway. – Common Guy Jul 27 '18 at 9:07
  • What about where the highway intersects Gessner Road? I count 26 lanes there. – DavePhD Jul 27 '18 at 12:37
  • Please provide some references to support your claims. – Oddthinking May 26 at 15:13
-5

Nope. It just looks like.

The average main freeway lanes are 8 lanes. The toll lanes are 4 lanes. The frontage lanes are 6 lanes. Where there's acceleration lanes are 10 lanes. It then averages to 18 lanes. Where there's acceleration lanes will be 20 lanes. However, the West Loop north of the Katy Freeway is wider since reconstruction is done with. By this of the West Loop, the main freeway lanes are 16 lanes. Frontage roads are 6 lanes. The HOV Lane is 2 way 2 lanes. That'll be a total of 24 lanes, which outnumbers the Katy's 20 lanes. Plus, the West Loop south of the Katy Freeway, shoulder lanes will give way for extra lanes. That'll raise the lanes from 8 to 12. While feeder lanes will be narrowed to be raised to lanes from 6 to 8. That'll be a total of 20 lanes for the rest of the West Loop to outnumber the Katy. Where there's acceleration lanes will jump to 22 lanes.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • 2
    Welcome to Skeptics.SE! Could you edit this to make your answer clearer and add in some references? This is very hard to read right now, as every sentence is six words lone, unnecessarily abbreviated, and ends with an exclamation mark. – F1Krazy May 26 at 10:16
  • Welcome to Skeptics! Please provide some references to support your claims. – Oddthinking May 26 at 15:12

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