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I-14 in Texas

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sparker:

--- Quote from: Scott5114 on December 14, 2016, 04:04:26 AM ---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.)

--- End quote ---

East of I-35, there's absolutely nothing that has been written in stone re an I-14 alignment; the only reasonably safe bet is that it will pass near the College Station/Bryan area (population center + Texas A&M).  Scott is absolutely correct about the "skew" of the existing roads in the area; most of the major highways follow the major rail lines (TX 36 follows the Temple-Galveston/Houston main line, while TX 6/TX 14 is adjacent to the UP Dallas-Houston main (ex-SP).  These in turn more or less followed the river topology of the region.  However, except for the Texas exit point specified in the HPC 84 language (along TX 63 east of Jasper), the alignment of I-14 east of Bryan is even less defined -- and because that section has little value as a intra-TX metro connector, it is less likely to be prioritized in the near term. 

longhorn:
And since the route east of I-35 is not defined it may still be straighter route than the present 190 route now. Have a connection to I-10 at either Beaumont or Lake Charles and voila, the "Texas I-12" becomes viable. It would make for a better business case to build such a section first before continuing east.

Bobby5280:
In my humble opinion US-290 between Austin and Houston should be addressed as a higher priority than these I-14 concepts. If an "I-12" route can include that and even extend over to Beaumont that's cool. But even a Westward extension of US-290 as a superhighway to I-10 in West Texas should be a big priority.


--- Quote from: sparker ---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.
--- End quote ---

That's too far North to drive for avoiding I-10. A bypass for I-10 traffic going around San Antonio would be far better shooting the gap between Austin and San Antonio, from the East beginning around Flatonia, hitting I-35 near San Marcos and reaching I-10 again at Kerrville. Bypassing Houston is another animal.

Metro Houston covers so much area. The northern quadrant of the Grand Parkway could function as one part of an Interstate bypass beginning around Beaumont. Huntsville is 45 miles North of the I-45/Grand Parkway interchange. That's one possible route for "I-14," with another alternative being Madisonville another 25 miles farther North on I-45. That's way too far for bypass functions for Houston and San Antonio.


--- Quote from: sparker --- 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.
--- End quote ---

A true relief route doesn't stray far from the original route for which it is providing the relief or take the motorist way out of his way. This I-14 concept would add hundreds of miles to a trip for anyone avoiding cities on the I-10 or I-20 corridors.


--- Quote from: sparker ---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.
--- End quote ---

Yeah, far be it the most obvious reason for building an Interstate highway: responding to traffic needs. It's probably a safe bet there is a lot more traffic on the US-290 corridor between Austin and Houston than there is any other route inside the I-45/I-35/I-10 triangle. Yet that route seems to be way down the list of priorities for super highway conversion.

I still think it's laughable for the I-14 highway backers to use military posts/bases as a justification for building this road. If Interstates so were vital to the Army, Air Force, etc. we would already have a North-South Interstate connection between Fort Hood in Killen and Fort Sill here in Lawton (with Sheppard AFB getting connected in Wichita Falls). There is a great deal of activity going on between Fort Hood and Fort Sill. Fort Bliss in El Paso is involved those operations. Maybe they need to extend I-44 from Wichita Falls to Lubbock and thru New Mexico to run to El Paso.
:-P


--- Quote from: sparker ---East of I-35, there's absolutely nothing that has been written in stone re an I-14 alignment; the only reasonably safe bet is that it will pass near the College Station/Bryan area (population center + Texas A&M).
--- End quote ---

Final alignments would only be "written in stone" after all of the EIS, public comment and FONSI process was finished. Nevertheless, comments from the highway's backers strongly suggest they would upgrade along existing highways as much as possible. I don't think they would illustrate such a jagged path through East Texas in all their concept maps otherwise.

There is also only so many potential paths I-14 could take through Central and East Texas. Aside from dodging existing development there are large lakes and wetlands areas North of those lakes to dodge (Lake Conroe, Lake Livingston, Lake Sam Rayburn, B. A. Steinhagen Lake, Toldeo Bend Resevoir).

Anthony_JK:

--- Quote from: longhorn on December 14, 2016, 03:14:23 PM ---And since the route east of I-35 is not defined it may still be straighter route than the present 190 route now. Have a connection to I-10 at either Beaumont or Lake Charles and voila, the "Texas I-12" becomes viable. It would make for a better business case to build such a section first before continuing east.

--- End quote ---

I'm not so sure about a Beaumont or Lake Charles connection. I-14 at its most "effective" needs to be as much a straight west-to-east connection through Central Texas and on to central Louisiana. If you really want to create a "Texas I-12", it would be better to use US 90 via the Crosby Freeway east of Houston to near Dawes, then go on new alignment north of Beaumont to meet with existing TX 12 near Deweyville, then upgrade TX 12/LA 12/US 190 all the way to Baton Rouge to connect with existing I-12. Then, you could justify running I-12 through US 290 to Austin (with either I-10 or I-610 being the connection between the two) and further west.

Personally, I'm with the consensus that only the freewayized portion of US 190 between Bryan and Fort Hood needs an I-shield (I-x35). Maybe upgrade 190 east to connect with an extended TX 249 tollway or an upgraded TX 6 or US 290. But more pressing priorities exist than this boondoggle.

Bobby5280:
I don't think there is much hope or even any need really to connect I-12 in Louisiana with another possible I-12 in Texas. We already have a few disconnected/duplicate 2-digit Interstates in the system (I-74, I-76, I-84, I-86, I-88) and potentially more (I-66 and I-87).

I could see US-90 between upgraded between Houston, Dayton and Beaumont, with a western connection from Dayton attaching into the Grand Parkway to get a bypass up over the northern part of Houston. Overall, if there will be new I-12 shields going up in Texas (and "I-14" is congressionally gobbled up by a bunch of pork barrel nonsense) those I-12 shields ought to be going up between Houston and Austin along the US-290 corridor. Running I-12 on the northern quadrant of the Grand Parkway would unite both roads, giving I-10 in coming from Louisiana a fairly straight shot at 2 million people in metro Austin.

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