Turning Away from Tucumcari

Bypass US 54 and US 54 near Tucumcari, New Mexico Bypass US 54 near Tucumcari, New Mexico

Years ago, there were designated bypass routes around many major cities. For example, what is now Missouri 291 used to be Bypass US 71 around Kansas City. Most if not all such highways have been redesignated.

But here was a newer one in Tucumcari in 1999. Approaching the city from the northeast on US 54, the traveler is given the option of bypassing the city to the east and connecting directly with Interstate 40. US 54 still goes through Tucumcari until it eventually meets up with I-40.

This route was built, or at least significantly upgraded, sometime in the 1990s. It wasn't there when I travelled with my family to New Mexico in 1988. But there it was in January 1999.

All of that said, there is no route in the official New Mexico state or US highway route logs that correspond to this route, and the AASHTO route logs for all US highways do not indicate a business route for US 54 in Tucumcari. I believe this may, in fact, be Mountain Road on the east side of Tucumcari. The NMDOT US route log indicates that this is the route of US 54 in Tucumcari:

US 54 continues east [from Santa Rosa], subordinate to I-40, to the Mountain Rd. interchange (Exit 333) in Tucumcari. US 54 becomes dominant on Mountain Road, and continues northeasterly via Logan and Nara Visa to end at the New Mexico/Texas state line.

So, if this is Mountain Road, then the "bypass" is the actual route of US 54. It would be interesting to go back now (years after I last was at this location in 1999) to see if this intersection is signed differently now.