A plan to modernize Mexico's highway system was implemented for the 1995-2000 period. As such, the roads were categorized by how important they were to the country's transportation network. The two categories were basic network and state network. The Secretary of Commerce and Transport placed its focus on the basic network, and came upon 10 main highways that held a large percentage of both passenger and freight traffic. The following is a list of the highways focused on by the SCT:

MEX-1: Mexico City to Nogales, Sonora, with branches to Acapulco and Tijuana. Major cities this route passes through are Toluca, Morelia, Uruápan, Lázaro Cárdenas, Guadalajara, Tepic, Mazatlán, Culiacán, Los Mochis, Ciudad Obregón, Hermosillo and Mexicali.

MEX-2: Mexico City to Nuevo Laredo, with a branch to Piedras Negras. Major cities this route passes through are Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Matehuala, Saltillo, Monterrey and Monclova.

MEX-3: Querétaro to Ciudad Juárez. Major cities this route passes through are Celaya, Irapuato, León, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, Fresnillo, Torreón and Chihuahua.

MEX-4: Acapulco to Tuxpan. Major cities this route passes through are Chilpancingo, Cuernavaca and Mexico City.

MEX-5: Mexico City to Chetumal, with branches to Oaxaca and Chiapas. Major cities this route passes through are Puebla, Córdoba, Coatzacoalcos, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Villahermosa, Campeche, Mérida, Cancún.

MEX-6: Mazatlán to Matamoros. Major cities this route passes through are Durango, Torreón, Saltillo, Monterrey and Reynosa.

MEX-7: Manzanillo to Tampico. Major cities this route passes through are Colima, Guadalajara, Lagos de Moreno and San Luis Potosí.

MEX-8: Veracruz to Acapulco. Major cities this route passes through are Orizaba, Puebla, Cuernavaca and Chilpancingo.

MEX-9: Veracruz to Monterrey, with a branch to Matamoros. Major cities this route passes through are Poza Rica, Tuxpán, Tampico and Ciudad Victoria.

MEX-10: Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. Major cities this route passes through are Ensenada and La Paz.

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