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Author Topic: Metroplex Oddities  (Read 3351 times)

ethanhopkin14

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Metroplex Oddities
« on: July 28, 2020, 06:28:46 PM »

There are a few things I have seen in the Metroplex that I haven't seen in Texas anywhere else. 

1) I am pretty sure I am not dreaming this, but I do recall in the 1980s, particularly traveling southbound on I-35E at the Mixmaster, the BGSes only had city destinations, not accompanying shields.  They were set up like this:

Texarkana                             Waco                                 Ft Worth
      |                                        |                                          |
      |                                        |                                          |
      V                                       V                                         V

Not sure if anyone else remembers this, and if they do, why were there no shields?

2)  Downtown Ft Worth on I-35W is the only place in Texas I have seen mile markers placed on the jersey rail in the middle of the freeway and two mile posts on the same post, one for northbound one for southbound.  I thought this was some old signing thing until I drove through there this weekend and saw the newly finished express lanes for I-35W has new mile posts signed the same way.  I may remember someone mentioning this is how I-2 is signed as well, but then again, the Valley also does things a bit different.  I have never understood why in Ft Worth, with all the freeways with mileposts, this was the only one that got that treatment.

3) I always was fascinated with how so many stack interchanges in the Metroplex looked exactly the same. (I-20 and I-35E, I-20 and US 67, I-635 and US-80 all look identical).  I kinda liked it because they were unique to Dallas from the rest of the state, but not unique to each other.

4) I remember I-30's mile markers east of downtown Dallas being signed so the bottom of the sign was flush with the ground.  I also remember statewide Texas mile posts being lower than they are now, but this was excessively low.  Does anyone else remember this?  Not a major thing, just things I remember from a time when it was rare to have your camera with you at all times so you just had to remember things. 


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sprjus4

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2020, 07:05:13 PM »

1) I am pretty sure I am not dreaming this, but I do recall in the 1980s, particularly traveling southbound on I-35E at the Mixmaster, the BGSes only had city destinations, not accompanying shields.  They were set up like this:

Texarkana                             Waco                                 Ft Worth
      |                                        |                                          |
      |                                        |                                          |
      V                                       V                                         V

Not sure if anyone else remembers this, and if they do, why were there no shields?
A similar situation still exists up in here Virginia for the I-664 North to I-64 East ramp in Hampton.

The I-64 West sign has the shield on it, though the I-64 East one does not, though is posted on a standalone trailblazer next to it.

Always wondered why they never put the shield on it.

https://goo.gl/maps/sRV3mHRUz9yGh7126
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wxfree

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2020, 08:36:16 PM »

Regarding Item 2, most of I-35W is trenched between I-20 and I-30.  There are places where the markers can be put on the edges of the freeway, but most of the way the only place to put them is in the middle.  It makes sense to put all of them there so drivers know where to look for them.  South of I-20, where there's again room, they go back to the edges.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2020, 03:16:49 PM »

I always was fascinated with how so many stack interchanges in the Metroplex looked exactly the same. (I-20 and I-35E, I-20 and US 67, I-635 and US-80 all look identical).  I kinda liked it because they were unique to Dallas from the rest of the state, but not unique to each other.

Those specific interchanges have been referred to as the "cookie-cutter stacks" since the early days of the online road enthusiast community.  They are all pylon stacks, meaning that at the center, there is a column (marked as "pylon" on the original construction plans) with arms that provides part of the deck support for the two sets of left-turning direct connectors.

All of the stacks from I-20/US 67 to I-635/I-30 inclusive (going east and then north) are in fact pylon stacks.  This includes the following, in order, for a total of six:  I-20/US 67, I-20/I-35E, I-20/I-45, I-20/US 175, I-635/US 80, and I-635/I-30.

Most newer stacks have tended to have wider lateral displacement between opposite-facing left-turning direct connectors, making it impractical to use a shared pylon for support.  However, NTTA has revived the pylon stack concept for the much more recently constructed PGBT/DNT and PGBT/US 75 interchanges.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2020, 05:06:17 PM »

I always was fascinated with how so many stack interchanges in the Metroplex looked exactly the same. (I-20 and I-35E, I-20 and US 67, I-635 and US-80 all look identical).  I kinda liked it because they were unique to Dallas from the rest of the state, but not unique to each other.

Those specific interchanges have been referred to as the "cookie-cutter stacks" since the early days of the online road enthusiast community.  They are all pylon stacks, meaning that at the center, there is a column (marked as "pylon" on the original construction plans) with arms that provides part of the deck support for the two sets of left-turning direct connectors.

All of the stacks from I-20/US 67 to I-635/I-30 inclusive (going east and then north) are in fact pylon stacks.  This includes the following, in order, for a total of six:  I-20/US 67, I-20/I-35E, I-20/I-45, I-20/US 175, I-635/US 80, and I-635/I-30.

Most newer stacks have tended to have wider lateral displacement between opposite-facing left-turning direct connectors, making it impractical to use a shared pylon for support.  However, NTTA has revived the pylon stack concept for the much more recently constructed PGBT/DNT and PGBT/US 75 interchanges.


Yes.  I love how tight they are that they use one pylon to hold up the intersection of 4 bridges.  I love geometry so anything mathematically perfect I love.  Most people love crazy angles and unique architecture.  Give me 90 degree corners and perfect curves any day. 
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2020, 11:43:29 PM »

I have a section in the Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways book which I call "The Cookie-Cutter Interchanges"

http://dfwfreeways.com/book/ExCookieCutter?startOdd=False

radDFW

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2020, 05:20:22 PM »

I have a section in the Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways book which I call "The Cookie-Cutter Interchanges"

http://dfwfreeways.com/book/ExCookieCutter?startOdd=False
Bumping this thread... I never really liked the old design of the cookie cutter interchanges (not the design itself but the ramp planning.) I prefer the new interchanges where the bottom four direct connectors don't exist and that both direct connectors elevate up and then create a fork.
Here's an example in case my wording is too confusing:
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nolia_boi504

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2020, 09:51:11 PM »

If I understand what you are describing correctly, we have them all over Houston. Most of the new interchanges are built that way, and I consider them our standard cookie cutter arrangement (although they aren't exact replicas like the original DFW ones mentioned in Slotboom's book). Lowest level has feeder roads going through all 4 sides of the intersection, with dedicated turning lanes and u-turns on all sides. It's wonderful!

Although I love how the newer DFW interchanges have direct connectors between Express lanes. I wish we had those here.

Pixel 4
« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 09:54:50 PM by nolia_boi504 »
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radDFW

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2020, 10:40:23 PM »

If I understand what you are describing correctly, we have them all over Houston. Most of the new interchanges are built that way, and I consider them our standard cookie cutter arrangement (although they aren't exact replicas like the original DFW ones mentioned in Slotboom's book). Lowest level has feeder roads going through all 4 sides of the intersection, with dedicated turning lanes and u-turns on all sides. It's wonderful!

Although I love how the newer DFW interchanges have direct connectors between Express lanes. I wish we had those here.

Pixel 4
Yup, the Houston cookie cutters are my favorite interchanges.
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amroad17

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2020, 03:17:52 AM »

1) I am pretty sure I am not dreaming this, but I do recall in the 1980s, particularly traveling southbound on I-35E at the Mixmaster, the BGSes only had city destinations, not accompanying shields.  They were set up like this:

Texarkana                             Waco                                 Ft Worth
      |                                        |                                          |
      |                                        |                                          |
      V                                       V                                         V

Not sure if anyone else remembers this, and if they do, why were there no shields?
A similar situation still exists up in here Virginia for the I-664 North to I-64 East ramp in Hampton.

The I-64 West sign has the shield on it, though the I-64 East one does not, though is posted on a standalone trailblazer next to it.

Always wondered why they never put the shield on it.

https://goo.gl/maps/sRV3mHRUz9yGh7126
When I-664 was completed from Roanoke Ave. to I-64, the I-64 shield was on the sign with Norfolk and Va. Beach.  Sometime before the MMMBT opened, Downtown Hampton was placed over I-64 EAST--probably because of some Hampton bigwig wanting a mention of "downtown Hampton" on the BGS even though, at this point, one is already within the Hampton city limits.  There could have been an auxiliary sign placed before the interchange with Downtown Hampton EXIT 1B on it instead of having that questionable sign.

The 1/2 Mile approach BGS does not have "Downtown Hampton" on it--just I-64 EAST//Norfolk//Va Beach.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 03:20:44 AM by amroad17 »
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2020, 06:54:46 PM »

I have a section in the Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways book which I call "The Cookie-Cutter Interchanges"

http://dfwfreeways.com/book/ExCookieCutter?startOdd=False
Bumping this thread... I never really liked the old design of the cookie cutter interchanges (not the design itself but the ramp planning.) I prefer the new interchanges where the bottom four direct connectors don't exist and that both direct connectors elevate up and then create a fork.
Here's an example in case my wording is too confusing:


I personally prefer the old cookie cutter design, with an exit for each direction of the junctioning freeway.  The design in the picture has been done in Texas so often now that it is more the cookie cutter than the original cookie cutter. 
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Bobby5280

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2020, 11:59:11 PM »

I prefer the newer design, where one exit ramp rises to then fork into two different fly-overs. The old standard where each flyover has its own dedicated exit ramp off the main highway creates more chances for weaving conflicts. Those conflicts can only be cured by widening the main lanes of the highway to include enough dedicated lane drops in advance for the separate exits. The newer standard where the exit ramp rises and then forks has an advantage that it can consume less real estate (important in tight urban environments). The US-281/Loop 1604 stack on the North side of San Antonio has one of the smallest foot prints of a directional stack I've seen in the US. 
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nolia_boi504

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2021, 07:51:11 AM »

BW8/I-10 on the west side of Houston is the best implementation of this IMO. Two dedicated exit and entrance lanes on each end of the ramps in all directions. It eliminates merging, which helps tremendously in high traffic areas.

Further west at TX-99/I-10, there is only one dedicated exit/entrance lanes (on all but one flyover on ramp, I believe), so traffic backs up quickly due to the merging. It never made sense why they only built one exit lane, just to split to 2 approx 1/3 of the way up the ramp. Likewise two lanes merge into one as the flyover merges onto the highway (99 or I-10) Hopefully this is resolved with the upcoming expansion of 99 south of I-10.

Pixel 4

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roadman65

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2021, 11:38:05 AM »

I have a section in the Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways book which I call "The Cookie-Cutter Interchanges"

http://dfwfreeways.com/book/ExCookieCutter?startOdd=False
Bumping this thread... I never really liked the old design of the cookie cutter interchanges (not the design itself but the ramp planning.) I prefer the new interchanges where the bottom four direct connectors don't exist and that both direct connectors elevate up and then create a fork.
Here's an example in case my wording is too confusing:


I miss the old shields.
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radDFW

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2021, 08:41:21 PM »

I have a section in the Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways book which I call "The Cookie-Cutter Interchanges"

http://dfwfreeways.com/book/ExCookieCutter?startOdd=False
Bumping this thread... I never really liked the old design of the cookie cutter interchanges (not the design itself but the ramp planning.) I prefer the new interchanges where the bottom four direct connectors don't exist and that both direct connectors elevate up and then create a fork.
Here's an example in case my wording is too confusing:


I miss the old shields.
what old shields? are you talking about the older DNT shield?
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radDFW

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2021, 07:35:12 PM »

Wasn't sure where to post this, but I found this old (assuming 60s?) exit sign of Lancaster Ave with the US 80 shield on top. Viewable from both southbound and northbound Beach St approaching Lancaster Ave interchange.
https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7397615,-97.2894935,3a,15y,8.79h,95.97t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sbovnaDWvg3La9RoFs3NKhw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Interesting how they didn't even bother removing this sign with a new one, especially when US 80 doesn't even exist in Fort Worth anymore.
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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2021, 08:09:29 AM »

Amazing that it is still there.  It pretty much has to be a city sign, not a TxDOT one.  Makes me wonder how proactive the city is about its signage.  I know there are many instances of old wayfinding signage still present despite installations of newer versions.  I'm not sure how much Fort Worth cares about keeping things like that up-to-date.
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radDFW

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Re: Metroplex Oddities
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2021, 11:15:12 PM »

Amazing that it is still there.  It pretty much has to be a city sign, not a TxDOT one.  Makes me wonder how proactive the city is about its signage.  I know there are many instances of old wayfinding signage still present despite installations of newer versions.  I'm not sure how much Fort Worth cares about keeping things like that up-to-date.
I don't think Fort Worth cares about keeping anything up to date. 90% of it's infrastructure is terribly outdated.
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