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I-14 in Texas

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sparker:

--- Quote from: Bobby5280 on December 12, 2016, 11:47:26 AM ---If I had to bet, I would bet connections between Austin and Houston will be built out long before this "I-14" concept.

I can understand people in Midland and Odessa wanting to cash in on this porky "I-14" thing. But the reality is money directed at that jaggy, crooked pipe dream will be money potentially taken away from unfinished road projects in Midland and Odessa. Loop 338, TX-191, Loop 250 and US-385 all need their own improvements.

San Angelo should be connected to the Interstate system. But I think an extension of I-27 through Big Spring is the best way to do it (via the Ports to Plains corridor effort). I also think I-44 should be extended from Wichita Falls to Abilene, if not to San Angelo. It's a point of debate where the road should go South of San Angelo. The Ports to Plains Corridor includes Del Rio. I think it would be cheaper and more beneficial to build it to Junction, TX (ending at I-10), creating a fairly direct link to San Antonio. The ports in Corpus Christi and Brownsville can be reached faster that way. How much NAFTA traffic crosses the border at Del Rio anyway?

There aren't any major destinations large enough along this proposed I-14 corridor to generate the traffic counts needed to justify building it through the hill country of West Texas. It would be pretty expensive to build the highway correctly -meaning building a more direct new terrain route rather than following existing roads along a very jagged, wasteful and ultimately pointless path.

--- End quote ---

For better or worse, like it or not, ad nauseum.........political will (particularly the regional variety) appears to prevail much more than "normal" deliberative methods when it comes to modern-day Interstate corridor placement.  Looking at W. Texas as a whole, the logical routings outlined in the above post are the ones that rationally should be planned and eventually constructed:  the original Port-to-Plains corridor using US 87 south from Lubbock to San Angelo, and US 277 south from there at least to Del Rio and probably on to  I-35 & Laredo.  The concept of following US 277 from San Angelo northeast to Wichita Falls via Abilene is also rational and should be considered.  At that point, San Angelo would have sufficient egress in all directions (but due east!) for all intents & purposes.  In addition, US 84 between I-20 and Lubbock, according to published data, is one of the commercially most heavily traveled non-Interstate corridors (not quite to CA 99 standards, but not too shabby indeed!) and probably, more than any other single W. Texas segment of highway, deserves consideration for I-status based on AADT/truck traffic alone. 

But interests in Lubbock & Abilene haven't been sufficiently active in the public arena to call attention to these matters; Midland-Odessa interests have been!.  Recall that soon after HPC 38 was legislated in the '90's, a study was commissioned to explore the possibilities of extending I-27 south to at least I-20.  It concluded that choosing one of the four available paths (intersecting I-20 at US 84, Big Spring, Midland, or Odessa) would not draw the traffic required to justify an Interstate facility because the dispersion of traffic at either Lubbock or Lamesa to the various destinations would continue at the expense of the selected corridor; and that spot improvements to US 84, TX 349, and US 87 should be the interim priority.  Of course, this didn't begin to satisfy the M-O folks; the 2005 Safetea-LU legislation (which brought us some 40 new HPC corridors) featured a rewrite of the original P-to-P language, specifying a western branch of HPC 38 using TX 158 from US 87 west into Midland before turning north along TX 349 to intersect the original US 87-based corridor at Lamesa.  They wanted a piece of that corridor and raised enough of a squawk that they got it.  When the legislation was enacted 11 years ago, I thought that eventually someone would propose a I-27W/I-27E split (encouraged by you-know-what further southeast!) via Midland and, alternately, Big Spring. 

However. it appears that the southern section of that corridor modification is being separately addressed as part of the nascent I-14 concept -- not surprising, considering the historical inaction on the P-to-P south of Lubbock.  It's more ego than egress at this point -- M-O (the "alpha" in this region), with San Angelo in tow, wants a 2nd interstate and is hitching their wagon to the I-14/HPC 84 concept to get it done.  Actually, from San Angelo east to I-35 at Belton, the existing US 87 and US 190 routes are reasonably direct already, with some deviation from a straight line to serve towns as well as optimally utilize topography.  The convolutions of the route occur east of I-35 all the way to the LA state line (it does resemble a broken saw blade!) -- but if it connects to Toll 249 into Houston, at least the portion east to Bryan will have some purpose (OK, maybe not directly to Waco).  Chances are that if this thing reaches fruition east of San Angelo it'll utilize as much of existing US 87 as possible to keep costs down; it'll probably have to deviate a bit more from US 190 in order to bypass the various towns along the corridor.

Yeah, it's cobbled together by political interests across the state -- but that's how things seem to get done these days.  Local interest groups are quite adept at two things:  getting local bond issues passed to cover any regional contribution to the project, and lobbying, lobbying,lobbying -- both at state and federal levels.  Let's put it this way -- if Lubbock, Big Spring, and San Angelo had been able to put the kind of effort into the original P-to-P corridor that is evidenced by the recent I-14 activity, there might be at least "Future I-27 Corridor" BGS's along US 87 and 277 right now!   


 

longhorn:
I still see a purpose for this interstate through Texas as an I-10 reliever bypassing Houston and San Antonio

Bobby5280:

--- Quote from: sparker ---For better or worse, like it or not, ad nauseum.........political will (particularly the regional variety) appears to prevail much more than "normal" deliberative methods when it comes to modern-day Interstate corridor placement.
--- End quote ---

When political will turns a highway's path into a jagged, sawtooth shape, adding a lot more miles (and cost) to the project then it's better not to build it in the first place.

If the proposed Interstate is only going to follow a patch work of existing roads then those roads should merely be upgraded as traffic needs increase on them. As it stands traffic counts on those existing roads in Central and West Texas aren't high enough to justify an Interstate quality upgrade.

It would be funny to see how well this I-14 pipe dream would progress if it had to do so only with Texas taxpayer dollars. There's no way it would get built. Hence slapping a "I-14" label on it and lobbying for lot of federal cash.


--- Quote from: sparker ---Actually, from San Angelo east to I-35 at Belton, the existing US 87 and US 190 routes are reasonably direct already, with some deviation from a straight line to serve towns as well as optimally utilize topography.
--- End quote ---

The path could still be improved. Good choices on bypass alignment around Brady, Rochelle, Richland Springs, San Saba, Lometa and Lampasas could straighten the route more.


--- Quote from: longhorn ---I still see a purpose for this interstate through Texas as an I-10 reliever bypassing Houston and San Antonio
--- End quote ---

This "I-14" concept, as currently drawn, is placed too far North and has a far too jagged, distance-adding path for it to work as any kind of relief route for Houston and San Antonio. Given the choice I'd much rather drive through both of those cities and use the beltways in the worst case scenario.

sparker:

--- Quote from: Bobby5280 on December 13, 2016, 12:13:59 PM ---
--- Quote from: sparker ---For better or worse, like it or not, ad nauseum.........political will (particularly the regional variety) appears to prevail much more than "normal" deliberative methods when it comes to modern-day Interstate corridor placement.
--- End quote ---

When political will turns a highway's path into a jagged, sawtooth shape, adding a lot more miles (and cost) to the project then it's better not to build it in the first place.

If the proposed Interstate is only going to follow a patch work of existing roads then those roads should merely be upgraded as traffic needs increase on them. As it stands traffic counts on those existing roads in Central and West Texas aren't high enough to justify an Interstate quality upgrade.

It would be funny to see how well this I-14 pipe dream would progress if it had to do so only with Texas taxpayer dollars. There's no way it would get built. Hence slapping a "I-14" label on it and lobbying for lot of federal cash.


--- Quote from: sparker ---Actually, from San Angelo east to I-35 at Belton, the existing US 87 and US 190 routes are reasonably direct already, with some deviation from a straight line to serve towns as well as optimally utilize topography.
--- End quote ---

The path could still be improved. Good choices on bypass alignment around Brady, Rochelle, Richland Springs, San Saba, Lometa and Lampasas could straighten the route more.


--- Quote from: longhorn ---I still see a purpose for this interstate through Texas as an I-10 reliever bypassing Houston and San Antonio
--- End quote ---

This "I-14" concept, as currently drawn, is placed too far North and has a far too jagged, distance-adding path for it to work as any kind of relief route for Houston and San Antonio. Given the choice I'd much rather drive through both of those cities and use the beltways in the worst case scenario.

--- End quote ---

Lots of good points made here.  Any San Antonio "relief route" involving traversing metro Austin is probably not much "relief" given Austin's own traffic issues; while a bit convoluted and admittedly a bit farther north than optimal, a TX 249/I-14 via Temple/Belton and San Angelo might be an easier (in terms of existing/potential choke points) run than I-10 is now; considering the east-to-west nearly right-angle route that I-10 takes through S.A. -- and I-410 or even Loop 1604 isn't viable relief either much of the time.  When one backs off and looks at the entire I-14 corridor across the Gulf States, it doesn't function as much as relief for any one I-10 or I-20 metro slog as an alternate for long-distance E-W regional traffic that essentially avoids those metro choke points on the existing corridors.  Remember that the '56 Interstate network was largely laid out along existing highly-trafficked U.S. and state corridors (which in turn more often than not, at least in the Midwest and Plains states, followed the railroads' alignments) -- which meant a "connect-the-dots" approach to the metro areas within the larger region.  With those metro areas growing dramatically over the past six decades, it's not surprising that corridors traversing less-populated regions have been deployed or at least proposed to serve through/long-distance traffic -- as, yes, "relief routes" of sorts.  But without a dedicated funding mechanism for these, they tend to appear as if they were cobbled together by a committee -- which is invariably an apt description of the process to get a corridor designated in the first place (at least since the last major top-down Interstate additions of 1968).  One can argue whether the Interstate concept was intended to be a "build the original plan as close as feasible and then we're done" undertaking or a type of "organic" system to be augmented as need and/or demographics are considered.  The "bar" for determining which, if any, I-addition projects are to reach fruition seems to raise or lower depending upon whose hand is on the lever and how successfully they're framed the rationales for such activity.  Folks in TX and NC seem to have figured out how to "game" the process (having a cooperative or at worst neutral DOT certainly helps!), so corridors seem to blossom quite regularly from those quarters; the strategy of adding HPC's, with their promise of 80% federal input, is the current modus operandi of choice.  But, as the overall history of the Interstate system shows, plans can change, modify, or evaporate when it comes time to actually implement.  As far as I-14, as a strictly TX server or a multi-state routing, we shall just have to see..................       

Scott5114:
Are we even certain that I-14 is going to exactly follow the jagged corridor shown on maps east of I-35? That may have been more of a "follow this route to this city and then this route to this city" type of corridor definition to give legislators a rough idea of where the road runs. I'm guessing there's no road that runs due east in that area because the road system is more of a skewed grid. (The county lines in that area are about 45 from N-S and E-W.)

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