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Regional Boards => Mid-South => Topic started by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 29, 2020, 02:38:39 PM

Title: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 29, 2020, 02:38:39 PM
Austin Texas has the Population of 964,000 (As of 2018) and its only Served by 1 Interstate? i know in the 1950's and 60's Austin only Had 100,000-250,000 People but still should've been served by another Interstate. Also why did TXDOT build so many Loops in Austin...
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: silverback1065 on March 29, 2020, 06:55:49 PM
if you look at Austin, the only other interstate that makes any sense would have been an east west interstate, i.e. 10, which went to san antonio instead.  It's interesting that they dont have a real loop though, although that's slowly changing.  Austin's layout is a bit weird to me, it doesn't really have a lot of suburbs either.  The completely useless i-14 should have gone through Austin to make it somewhat useful.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 29, 2020, 07:14:22 PM
if you look at Austin, the only other interstate that makes any sense would have been an east west interstate, i.e. 10, which went to san antonio instead.  It's interesting that they dont have a real loop though, although that's slowly changing.  Austin's layout is a bit weird to me, it doesn't really have a lot of suburbs either.  The completely useless i-14 should have gone through Austin to make it somewhat useful.

yea I'm not a fan of I-14 either, and they ran I-35 straight through the city and they should've bypassed I-35 to the east
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Ryctor2018 on March 29, 2020, 07:57:18 PM
Austin, like many cities in the West/Southwest developed later in the 20th Century. That plus politics and NIMBYism contribute to the city not having freeways like other places of similar population.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: In_Correct on March 29, 2020, 08:18:31 PM
A second North South Interstate would end up being U.S. 281. It is west of Austin, so there is your bypass. Project Tracker has numerous upgrade projects for U.S. 281 so it will be here eventually. ... Some of the projects are supposed to happen this year.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 29, 2020, 08:21:37 PM
A second North South Interstate would end up being U.S. 281. It is west of Austin, so there is your bypass. Project Tracker has numerous upgrade projects for U.S. 281 so it will be here eventually. ... Some of the projects are supposed to happen this year.

1. Probably I-37 Extension,
2. not from that far, i mean like a 15-25 mile Bypass 3di Route
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on March 29, 2020, 10:52:19 PM
There's already a north-south bypass for I-35... SH-130. For those who are willing to use it, it's very effective at avoiding the mess that I-35 through Austin is. More than once, I've been able to travel from Georgetown to San Antonio and vice versa during peak hours without hitting any congestion. It costs almost $20 for toll-by-plate from I-10 to I-35 North, but well worth it for a long-distance trip. It's about 90 miles long, and has a speed limit of at least 80 mph, 85 mph south of SH-45.

SH-45 is a loop around the east side that utilizes a segment of SH-130.

US-183 between SH-71 and US-290 is currently being upgraded into a toll freeway with frontage roads, again built to interstate standards. That will form an "inner" loop utilizing I-35 near Downtown, SH-71, and US-290.
It's not interstate highway, but is toll freeway built to interstate standards.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 29, 2020, 11:39:24 PM
There's already a north-south bypass for I-35... SH-130. For those who are willing to use it, it's very effective at avoiding the mess that I-35 through Austin is. More than once, I've been able to travel from Georgetown to San Antonio and vice versa during peak hours without hitting any congestion. It costs almost $20 for toll-by-plate from I-10 to I-35 North, but well worth it for a long-distance trip. It's about 90 miles long, and has a speed limit of at least 80 mph, 85 mph south of SH-45.

SH-45 is a loop around the east side that utilizes a segment of SH-130.

US-183 between SH-71 and US-290 is currently being upgraded into a toll freeway with frontage roads, again built to interstate standards. That will form an "inner" loop utilizing I-35 near Downtown, SH-71, and US-290.
It's not interstate highway, but is toll freeway built to interstate standards.

I don’t think making US 290 a toll wouldn’t be worth it but it gives them the funds to make I-69, I-369, and I-14
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on March 30, 2020, 12:08:57 AM
There's already a north-south bypass for I-35... SH-130. For those who are willing to use it, it's very effective at avoiding the mess that I-35 through Austin is. More than once, I've been able to travel from Georgetown to San Antonio and vice versa during peak hours without hitting any congestion. It costs almost $20 for toll-by-plate from I-10 to I-35 North, but well worth it for a long-distance trip. It's about 90 miles long, and has a speed limit of at least 80 mph, 85 mph south of SH-45.

SH-45 is a loop around the east side that utilizes a segment of SH-130.

US-183 between SH-71 and US-290 is currently being upgraded into a toll freeway with frontage roads, again built to interstate standards. That will form an "inner" loop utilizing I-35 near Downtown, SH-71, and US-290.
It's not interstate highway, but is toll freeway built to interstate standards.

I don’t think making US 290 a toll wouldn’t be worth it but it gives them the funds to make I-69, I-369, and I-14
The freeway portion of US-290 west of US-183 is a toll road. The tolls are to fund the construction of that highway, not other roads.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Scott5114 on March 30, 2020, 04:11:37 AM
A second North South Interstate would end up being U.S. 281. It is west of Austin, so there is your bypass.

SH-130...
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on March 30, 2020, 10:49:24 AM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on March 30, 2020, 12:49:13 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

It's a miracle we have half the freeways we do. MoPac would never have been built today, or any freeway segments of 290, or Loop 360. The US 290 freeway extension to Circle Dr, Oak Hill Parkway, took over two decades to get through local opposition. Same thing with 45SW, the highway in my flair. I-35 funding got passed, but the local response has been strongly against widening I-35 (somehow.) Hell, even the SH130 widening was an intense debate, and it's miles outside of town.

It would at least make sense if we had a decent transit system, but we've been voting down major transit packages since 2000. People complain about traffic nonstop, then advocate against widening freeways, then vote against public transit. It's ridiculous.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on March 30, 2020, 01:08:07 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

It's a very very blue city the "don't build it they won't come" mentality that exists.  My 90 minute drive home (14 miles)
now takes 18 it is truly amazing.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on March 30, 2020, 01:09:02 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

It's a miracle we have half the freeways we do. MoPac would never have been built today, or any freeway segments of 290, or Loop 360. The US 290 freeway extension to Circle Dr, Oak Hill Parkway, took over two decades to get through local opposition. Same thing with 45SW, the highway in my flair. I-35 funding got passed, but the local response has been strongly against widening I-35 (somehow.) Hell, even the SH130 widening was an intense debate, and it's miles outside of town.

It would at least make sense if we had a decent transit system, but we've been voting down major transit packages since 2000. People complain about traffic nonstop, then advocate against widening freeways, then vote against public transit. It's ridiculous.

Mayor Adler has this idea that his plans will work.  Maybe something like an el train.  High speed buses are not the answer. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on March 30, 2020, 01:13:50 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

Austin is / was a college town and a state Capitol when state capitols were seats of small government.  As long as the Universities were the center of Austin, it was a liberal, intimate collegial environment.  State government was small. The real government (the legislature) met for 6 weeks every other year. Back when, they might have an ocasional special session, but the bulk of the time, none of the legislators were there. Boards and commissions back when, the comissioners met in convenient places (often the chaiman's location) and held public but little publicised meetings.  Let's just say, state government was smaller and not concentrated in Austin. 
Plus before the 1980's Austin was an intellectual not a productive place. Dell and Whole Foods (which is mostly owned by Amazon) are the only fortune 500 companies headquartered there; even now.  It is that education that has led to Austin's growth.

Intelectuals EVERYWHERE hold a freeway bias. They seem to not want to build any more and even tear down what is there.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on March 30, 2020, 01:18:16 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

Austin is / was a college town and a state Capitol when state capitols were seats of small government.  As long as the Universities were the center of Austin, it was a liberal, intimate collegial environment.  State government was small. The real government (the legislature) met for 6 weeks every other year. Back when, they might have an ocasional special session, but the bulk of the time, none of the legislators were there. Boards and commissions back when, the comissioners met in convenient places (often the chaiman's location) and held public but little publicised meetings.  Let's just say, state government was smaller and not concentrated in Austin. 
Plus before the 1980's Austin was an intellectual not a productive place. Dell and Whole Foods (which is mostly owned by Amazon) are the only fortune 500 companies headquartered there; even now.  It is that education that has led to Austin's growth.

Intelectuals EVERYWHERE hold a freeway bias. They seem to not want to build any more and even tear down what is there.

They wanted to remove the upper deck of I-35.  Where you gonna put that traffic?  plus even if you have a plan you're talking 3 years of orange cones to get there
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on March 30, 2020, 01:19:00 PM
About the only route for another Austin Interstate would have been to route I-20 along US 79 from Shreveport. US-80 was already established as a MAJOR east / west thoroughfare. 

As far as that goes the three predominate historic auto routes east to west through Texas were the Dixie Overland Highway (US80 now I-20) and the Bankhead Hwy (US 67 from Texarkana to Dallas Now I-30)then MOSTLY concurrent with DOH to ElPaso,  and the OLD Spanish Trail (US 90, now I-10) .  The interstates followed them.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on March 30, 2020, 03:51:04 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

It's a miracle we have half the freeways we do. MoPac would never have been built today, or any freeway segments of 290, or Loop 360. The US 290 freeway extension to Circle Dr, Oak Hill Parkway, took over two decades to get through local opposition. Same thing with 45SW, the highway in my flair. I-35 funding got passed, but the local response has been strongly against widening I-35 (somehow.) Hell, even the SH130 widening was an intense debate, and it's miles outside of town.

It would at least make sense if we had a decent transit system, but we've been voting down major transit packages since 2000. People complain about traffic nonstop, then advocate against widening freeways, then vote against public transit. It's ridiculous.

Well, there is this incompetent agency called Cap Metro that populace do not trust one bit to run mass transit.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on March 30, 2020, 03:53:30 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

Austin is / was a college town and a state Capitol when state capitols were seats of small government.  As long as the Universities were the center of Austin, it was a liberal, intimate collegial environment.  State government was small. The real government (the legislature) met for 6 weeks every other year. Back when, they might have an ocasional special session, but the bulk of the time, none of the legislators were there. Boards and commissions back when, the comissioners met in convenient places (often the chaiman's location) and held public but little publicised meetings.  Let's just say, state government was smaller and not concentrated in Austin. 
Plus before the 1980's Austin was an intellectual not a productive place. Dell and Whole Foods (which is mostly owned by Amazon) are the only fortune 500 companies headquartered there; even now.  It is that education that has led to Austin's growth.

Intelectuals EVERYWHERE hold a freeway bias. They seem to not want to build any more and even tear down what is there.

Just reminiscing what Austin used to be, when it was a fun city and Mueller Airport was only 15 minutes from downtown.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on March 30, 2020, 05:16:03 PM
I strongly believe Austin needs 1 or 2 East-West freeways connecting to and thru the metro area.

US-290 needs to be improved to Interstate standards 100% of the way between Austin and Houston. That is do-able. It's also feasible to improve TX-71 to Interstate standards from the I-10 exit in Columbus, TX up to the Southern side of Austin. The Austin metro has over 2 million people. Houston's metro has over 6 million. Plus the zone between Austin and San Antonio is growing rapidly.

US-290 needs to be improved to Interstate standards going West out of Austin, to/near Johnson City, Fredericksburg and then I-10. That's the harder project to build, but it needs to be built somehow. There is one expansion project to convert US-290 into a freeway just past the "Y" split at Circle Drive. But it's going to be difficult pushing the expansion farther West through Bear Creek and Dripping Springs. Parts of the existing route can be expanded, but others may require a new terrain path.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 30, 2020, 05:40:32 PM
I strongly believe Austin needs 1 or 2 East-West freeways connecting to and thru the metro area.

US-290 needs to be improved to Interstate standards 100% of the way between Austin and Houston. That is do-able. It's also feasible to improve TX-71 to Interstate standards from the I-10 exit in Columbus, TX up to the Southern side of Austin. The Austin metro has over 2 million people. Houston's metro has over 6 million. Plus the zone between Austin and San Antonio is growing rapidly.

US-290 needs to be improved to Interstate standards going West out of Austin, to/near Johnson City, Fredericksburg and then I-10. That's the harder project to build, but it needs to be built somehow. There is one expansion project to convert US-290 into a freeway just past the "Y" split at Circle Drive. But it's going to be difficult pushing the expansion farther West through Bear Creek and Dripping Springs. Parts of the existing route can be expanded, but others may require a new terrain path.

US 290 connects with I-610 in Houston, so thats a 3di spur right there
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on March 30, 2020, 06:04:14 PM
US 290 connects with I-610 in Houston, so thats a 3di spur right there
In addition, there's also dedicated ramps that take traffic from US-290 directly to I-10 without merging with I-610.

A western I-12 or similar 2di would be appropriate for the US-290 corridor between I-10 in Houston to I-35 in Austin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 30, 2020, 06:08:08 PM
US 290 connects with I-610 in Houston, so thats a 3di spur right there
In addition, there's also dedicated ramps that take traffic from US-290 directly to I-10 without merging with I-610.

A western I-12 or similar 2di would be appropriate for the US-290 corridor between I-10 in Houston to I-35 in Austin.

i did make a map of that one, but i didn't really like it,
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on March 30, 2020, 06:19:22 PM
i did make a map of that one, but i didn't really like it,
So there should be no connection between the two cities... because it didn't look good?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 30, 2020, 06:52:20 PM
i did make a map of that one, but i didn't really like it,
So there should be no connection between the two cities... because it didn't look good?

No, the Concurrency of I-10/I-12 From Baton Rouge to Houston, and if i routed it onto US 190 to Houston, it would be too Close to I-10, there would be no need for a freeway
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on March 30, 2020, 06:59:26 PM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. It’s a separate route.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: wxfree on March 30, 2020, 09:44:15 PM
I-12W
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 30, 2020, 09:50:26 PM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. It’s a separate route.

Or (I know this is fictional that i'm about to say) But you could have Current I-12 be I-410, then I-12 is transferred from Midland to Houston going through San Angelo and Austin
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Brian556 on March 30, 2020, 10:24:46 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb1DTsxBOfE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb1DTsxBOfE)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on March 31, 2020, 02:37:50 PM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. It’s a separate route.

Or (I know this is fictional that i'm about to say) But you could have Current I-12 be I-410, then I-12 is transferred from Midland to Houston going through San Angelo and Austin

The current I-12 has now been in use over 50 years; no need to effect any changes at this point in time.  The potential Austin corridor is in a separate state, so the number could be readily re-used in TX regardless of exact alignment (TX 71 or US 290 -- or possibly a combination of both).   These days, existing designations aren't terribly exclusionary (e.g., I-87!). 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on March 31, 2020, 03:27:59 PM
I'd make a freeway from Columbus to Junction.  Great way for cross country traffic to stay out of San Antonio.  Though that's about the last Austin freeway that is not overpacked.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: CoreySamson on March 31, 2020, 07:36:40 PM
I made a thread in Fictional Highways extending I-12 westward. My plan includes a 3di to Austin.

Here’s the link:

https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=26645.0
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on March 31, 2020, 11:57:19 PM
Good grief.

The Interstate highway system already has several duplicate 2-digit routes that are not connected to each other and will never connect with each other. Those routes include I-74, I-76, I-84, I-86, I-87 and I-88. There is an outside chance the disconnected segments of I-49 and I-69 will eventually be connected. With that said, who really should care if one I-12 route in Louisiana doesn't connect to an even bigger I-12 route in Texas? There's really no need for that.

But chances are likely if US-290 is ever brought up fully to Interstate standards from its split with I-10 in West Texas, going through Austin and over to Houston TX DOT will probably just keep US-290 named as US-290. TX DOT and the higher-ups in the Texas state legislature don't appear all that fond of getting new Interstate route designations.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 01, 2020, 01:50:40 PM
Texas is as a whole a compliance hawk. If new guidance comes down, TXDOT tries to retrofit even existing Interstates (ex: the bridge & culvert widing from the 90's and 00's.) An interstate designation just brings compliance issues with no significant income to offset them.

That in a nutshell is why Texas is not overly apt to make it an interstate.  Even the initial phases of I-69 had extra federal funding.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 01, 2020, 04:31:11 PM
Texas is as a whole a compliance hawk. If new guidance comes down, TXDOT tries to retrofit even existing Interstates (ex: the bridge & culvert widing from the 90's and 00's.) An interstate designation just brings compliance issues with no significant income to offset them.

That in a nutshell is why Texas is not overly apt to make it an interstate.  Even the initial phases of I-69 had extra federal funding.

Except for certain specified projects, the maximum Federal share of road projects is currently 80%; the major in progress and/or planned TX Interstate corridors are both Federally-legislated high priority corridors, slated to receive that 80-point share (HPC 18 & 20 for I-69, HPC #84 for I-14).  Of course, these days there's no guarantee that the money will be available at any given point; the state's congressional delegation has to stand in line and press for a portion of the yearly outlay like with every other state.  But when it comes, it's in the form of that eighty percent.  But then the state and/or locality has to come up with the other 20%, which has perpetually been a major issue. 

Adding an interstate designation to HPC legislation -- new or existing -- has been the default method of getting new Interstate trunks developed since the 1995 NHS legislation.  Originally these were "tacked on" to new corridors in omnibus legislation (like with the 30-odd corridors designated with 2005's SAFETEA-LU act); but in 2004 a new corridor (#45) was inserted into that year's transportation outlay; it contained the I-22 designation -- the first to be designated outside a major nationwide program.  Since then, others have followed, tacking on I-designations to existing corridors (such as I-11 onto HPC #26 Phoenix-LV -- and then later onto #68 LV-I-80; this was also used for I-87 on HPC #13) as well as new ones like the aforementioned HPC #84/I-14.  Of the five new Interstates designated from 2012 to 2016, only one, I-2, went through the "usual" AASHTO-approved method; the others were Congressionally mandated, bypassing AASHTO vetting.  Of course, FHWA still has to sign off on the routes once deployed, but if constructed to standard, that's usually not an issue. 

If by chance an E-W corridor through Austin is proposed, it'll almost certainly utilize the new-HPC/I-designation route, whether inserted into yearly USDOT outlays or the next phase of major nationwide legislation.  That way when actual development commences, it'll garner that 80% federal share (more, if the state's congressfolks can weasel some special consideration).   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on April 05, 2020, 01:13:15 PM
Long-distance routes to and from Austin are largely fine. The only real expansion that's needed is conversion of SH71 to an interstate (likely I-12 or I-510, would've easily been I-10N before the '70s).

Within town, the few expansions that are needed have largely been planned - the extension of 183 Toll and further expansion north of Mopac will be a big help. The current plans for 35 in town are good as well - that freeway does need to be sunk and expanded. Austin is trying to take the best examples of urban infrastructure from the other Texas cities, with Klyde Warren Park being the crown jewel.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 05, 2020, 02:52:40 PM
Long-distance routes to and from Austin are largely fine. The only real expansion that's needed is conversion of SH71 to an interstate (likely I-12 or I-510, would've easily been I-10N before the '70s).

Within town, the few expansions that are needed have largely been planned - the extension of 183 Toll and further expansion north of Mopac will be a big help. The current plans for 35 in town are good as well - that freeway does need to be sunk and expanded. Austin is trying to take the best examples of urban infrastructure from the other Texas cities, with Klyde Warren Park being the crown jewel.

I'll probably take some flack for this, but even if an eastern Interstate approach along either TX 71 or US 290 ever sees upgrades to Interstate status, the western section back to I-10 east of Junction could be replaced -- if and only if I-14 is developed along US 190 and US 87 west of Lampasas to San Angelo and beyond -- by an extension of the US 183 tollway/freeway north to meet I-14, giving Austin a westerly outlet.  The rationales here are simple -- (a) cost; if I-14 is going to be built to West Texas anyway, connecting to it via US 183 would require about 40 miles of new construction versus about 110-115 miles to I-10 generally via US 290; and (b) the presence of considerably more regional destinations (San Angelo, Midland/Odessa, etc.) via I-14 than the vast emptiness that is I-10.  Not all commercial traffic west of I-35 is headed only to El Paso and beyond; TX is a huge state that is still seeing growth in its western reaches.   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 05, 2020, 07:08:10 PM
No one needing to drive West out of Austin is going to drive clear up to the Killeen area if they're intending to connect to I-10. Such a path is way way out of way. That traffic is going to stay on US-290.

If I-14 can ever get extended to Lampasas and farther West (it's a long shot) chances are likely I-14 would only go to San Angelo and then to Midland. That second proposed Southern leg splitting off to I-10 is never going to happen.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 05, 2020, 11:38:10 PM
No one needing to drive West out of Austin is going to drive clear up to the Killeen area if they're intending to connect to I-10. Such a path is way way out of way. That traffic is going to stay on US-290.

If I-14 can ever get extended to Lampasas and farther West (it's a long shot) chances are likely I-14 would only go to San Angelo and then to Midland. That second proposed Southern leg splitting off to I-10 is never going to happen.

The idea was not to particularly connect with I-10 (well, not until the I-20 merge!) but to effect a general movement west from Austin via an extended US 183 tollway/freeway toward other populated areas in west Texas.  I-10 from US 290 west to I-20 wouldn't figure into that equation.   If one absolutely positively has to access that part of I-10 from Austin, then, yes, US 290 would remain in the picture as the routing of choice.   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TravelingBethelite on April 06, 2020, 12:17:42 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. It’s a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 06, 2020, 12:24:35 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. It’s a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.
An interstate highway along the US-290 would be around 150 miles long, linking two major metros along with I-10 and I-35.

I wouldn't call it a "spur" or "bypass". I think a 2di such as a western "I-12" would be an appropriate designation as opposed to be a 3di, which would become the longest in the country.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on April 06, 2020, 02:16:15 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. It’s a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.

I-210 has been reserved for El Paso since the start of the system, and if you don't think that matters, you don't know local politics.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 06, 2020, 02:34:27 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. It’s a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.

I-210 has been reserved for El Paso since the start of the system, and if you don't think that matters, you don't know local politics.

Most likely local El Paso politicos/interests are holding out hope that the Loop 375 alignment -- or at least the part of it north of I-10 -- will still eventually be part of the Interstate system (if they can deal with or realign around the steep gradients between US 54 and I-10 to the west).  That would, of course, be the most likely I-210 candidate. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TravelingBethelite on April 06, 2020, 02:44:33 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. It’s a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.

I-210 has been reserved for El Paso since the start of the system, and if you don't think that matters, you don't know local politics.

I can't say I do. What proves that? Who says that 210 is reserved for El Paso?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: BrandonC_TX on April 06, 2020, 04:32:58 PM
I guess you could number it I-810 if the need to reserve I-210 for El Paso remains.  Though the only reason I see to reserve I-210 in El Paso would be to allow for a west-east numerical increase in 3di routes (I-210 in El Paso, I-410 in San Antonio, I-610 in Houston, perhaps I-810 for Beaumont?), although this reflects practice with primary Interstates with higher numbers to the east.  Considering that this route also connects with Interstate 35, I-235, I-435, and I-835 are also options, with I-435 or I-235 probably making the most sense if you wanted to have higher 3di numbers to the north (since I-635 is in Dallas, possibly reserving I-835 for something like the northern DFW Outer Loop or Loop 288/US 380 between Denton & McKinney if US 75 north of Dallas becomes I-45); however, this route is more of a spur of I-10 than of I-35.

Although the route connects two Interstates, viewing the highway as a spur could allow for the use of a odd-first-digit 3di, such as I-310, I-510, I-710, or I-910 (I-110 is already in use in El Paso), but this would slightly break from convention.  I guess you could use I-310 for TX 71 and I-510 for US 290 (to reflect the higher number of primary Interstates with northward extent), or make one of those routes part of a western I-12 (US 290 most likely, because it directly connects Houston with Austin).
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 07, 2020, 09:54:48 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. It’s a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.

210 would be a loop. I-310 would be the correct demarcation for a spur.  Even though Texas doubtfully will number it an interstate.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 07, 2020, 10:39:17 AM
210 would be a loop. I-310 would be the correct demarcation for a spur.  Even though Texas doubtfully will number it an interstate.
While I disagree with the aspect of numbering an Austin to Houston corridor as a 3di, if it were to be, an even 3di would be appropriate.

Since it is connecting two interstates, I-35 and I-10, it would work.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 07, 2020, 12:37:52 PM
If people want to be anal retentive about it, that there can be only one I-12 route, then maybe the original I-12 in Louisiana should be re-numbered as a 3-digit I-10 route. The Louisiana version of I-12 is only 85 miles in length. The "I-12" I'd like to see built in Texas would be around 270 miles in length. The leg along US-290 between Houston and Austin alone is around 140 miles. It's another 130 or so miles West out of Austin to I-10. And then if the route were to actually begin in Beaumont and go West to the Grand Parkway that would add another 80 miles. It wouldn't make any sense at all for an Interstate 270 or 350 miles long to carry a 3 digit label.

Quote from: sparker
The idea was not to particularly connect with I-10 (well, not until the I-20 merge!) but to effect a general movement west from Austin via an extended US 183 tollway/freeway toward other populated areas in west Texas. I-10 from US 290 west to I-20 wouldn't figure into that equation. If one absolutely positively has to access that part of I-10 from Austin, then, yes, US 290 would remain in the picture as the routing of choice.

The concept of upgrading US-290 to the West out of Austin to I-10 is to provide high speed access to destinations out to the West that are far larger in population than San Angelo or Midland. Cities such as El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles are going to be accessed from Austin via the US-290 route to I-10. Going up to Killeen and Midland and then back down again from I-20 to I-10 is a wasteful diversion. Drivers and commerce coming from those major Southwest cities heading to Austin are going to take the same route.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: BrandonC_TX on April 07, 2020, 02:31:19 PM
You could even have I-10 share its designation with I-12 between Houston and Baton Rouge, if there were an insistence on a single I-12.  Both I-12 corridors (Houston-Austin-N of Kerrville and Slidell-Baton Rouge) would serve a similar purpose, to be a shortcut for the main I-10 corridor.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: wtd67 on April 07, 2020, 03:43:33 PM
Being that this is in Texas, it would be numbered I-10N and rename the other section of I-10 to I-10S.  :-D
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: CoreySamson on April 07, 2020, 06:12:29 PM
You could even have I-10 share its designation with I-12 between Houston and Baton Rouge, if there were an insistence on a single I-12.  Both I-12 corridors (Houston-Austin-N of Kerrville and Slidell-Baton Rouge) would serve a similar purpose, to be a shortcut for the main I-10 corridor.

My I-12 thread I posted about earlier in this thread does have a 10/12 concurrency, however, the concurrency goes from Baton Rouge to Beaumont, where I-12 splits off onto the TX-105 corridor, effectively turning 12 into a Houston bypass.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 07, 2020, 08:13:18 PM
There isn't any need for an I-10/I-12 concurrency. I think it would look pretty silly on a map to have I-10 and I-12 signed on the same road for roughly 180 miles from Beaumont to Baton Rouge for I-12 to only exist another 85 miles before ending in Slidell.

Another (long shot) alternative: upgrading US-190 to Interstate standards from Baton Rouge to Ragley and then LA-12/TX-12 down back to I-10 in Vidor, TX (just East of Beaumont). That would create a pair of short I-10/I-12 concurrences, one in Baton Rouge and one in Beaumont.

There might be value in an extended I-12 route across Southern Louisiana to the North of I-10. It might help serve as an alternate route in case of hurricanes. Plus those really long I-10 bridges over those swamps are going to need to be replaced in the not too distant future. An extended I-12 would be a major relief route for such efforts. Unfortunately Louisiana already has its plate full with a few other Interstate projects, I-49 being the main one, I-69 being a lower priority and I-14 being another long shot prospect. It looks like Louisiana's plans for the US-190 corridor from Baton Rouge thru Opelousas are no better than a regular 4-lane divided expressway with at grade crossings.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 08, 2020, 03:20:07 PM
Being that this is in Texas, it would be numbered I-10N and rename the other section of I-10 to I-10S.  :-D

Given the proclivity toward suffixed numbers back in 1957, I'm just surprised that what's now I-12 wasn't originally designated I-10N as part of a split I-10N/I-10S, with the former addressing cross-country traffic and the latter serving N.O.  But in 1980 it would likely have been renumbered as it is today when suffixes were no longer considered generally acceptable (except, as later demonstrated, by Congressional decree!). 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 15, 2020, 12:43:20 PM
Refocusing to an actual project in Austin, the Mopac Intersections Project should wrap up tomorrow with the opening of the La Crosse Avenue bridge over the new Mopac mainlanes. This will finally make Mopac a freeway for its entire length, as La Crosse Avenue is currently the last light on the highway. The bridge was delayed for months after the contractors found karst formations under the original bridge pillars, so they had to fill in the caves and change the bridge's design. The project's sound walls, landscaping, and signage will still be worked on for a few months, but all new structures should be open tomorrow.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: silverback1065 on April 15, 2020, 05:51:34 PM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 15, 2020, 06:34:39 PM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?

That's still in planning at this point but it's definitely a priority. There won't be much opposition from residents that live by 45 itself but the SOS folk will protest any highway. If I had to bet I'd say 45 in the gap will open around 2030.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on April 15, 2020, 06:46:55 PM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?

1? lol.  My roommate once called it Loop 1.   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 15, 2020, 06:54:48 PM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?

1? lol.  My roommate once called it Loop 1.
Texas Loop 1, MoPac Expressway.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on April 15, 2020, 11:18:17 PM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?

1? lol.  My roommate once called it Loop 1.
Texas Loop 1, MoPac Expressway.

Mopac!  Mo-park is also acceptable.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: rlb2024 on April 16, 2020, 10:53:38 AM
Being that this is in Texas, it would be numbered I-10N and rename the other section of I-10 to I-10S.  :-D

Given the proclivity toward suffixed numbers back in 1957, I'm just surprised that what's now I-12 wasn't originally designated I-10N as part of a split I-10N/I-10S, with the former addressing cross-country traffic and the latter serving N.O.  But in 1980 it would likely have been renumbered as it is today when suffixes were no longer considered generally acceptable (except, as later demonstrated, by Congressional decree!).
I don't believe I-10 and I-12 were initially planned to come back together on the east end of I-12 near Slidell.  If I remember right I-10 was originially going to take a slightly more southerly route along US 90, with I-59 extending southward to meet I-10 south of Lake Pontchartrain by roughly following the path of US 11.  I-12 and I-59 were to intersect north of the lake as they currently do.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 16, 2020, 11:56:33 AM
Being that this is in Texas, it would be numbered I-10N and rename the other section of I-10 to I-10S.  :-D

Given the proclivity toward suffixed numbers back in 1957, I'm just surprised that what's now I-12 wasn't originally designated I-10N as part of a split I-10N/I-10S, with the former addressing cross-country traffic and the latter serving N.O.  But in 1980 it would likely have been renumbered as it is today when suffixes were no longer considered generally acceptable (except, as later demonstrated, by Congressional decree!).
I don't believe I-10 and I-12 were initially planned to come back together on the east end of I-12 near Slidell.  If I remember right I-10 was originially going to take a slightly more southerly route along US 90, with I-59 extending southward to meet I-10 south of Lake Pontchartrain by roughly following the path of US 11.  I-12 and I-59 were to intersect north of the lake as they currently do.

Actually I12 and I59 were supposed to meet North of Slidell, out near Pearl River LA.  Knowing the geography of the Riggolets and Venician Isles, cannot imagine they ever thought about running a freeway out that way unless they planned on sticking it in Lake St Catherine or  Lake Borgne.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: rlb2024 on April 16, 2020, 02:02:54 PM
Being that this is in Texas, it would be numbered I-10N and rename the other section of I-10 to I-10S.  :-D

Given the proclivity toward suffixed numbers back in 1957, I'm just surprised that what's now I-12 wasn't originally designated I-10N as part of a split I-10N/I-10S, with the former addressing cross-country traffic and the latter serving N.O.  But in 1980 it would likely have been renumbered as it is today when suffixes were no longer considered generally acceptable (except, as later demonstrated, by Congressional decree!).
I don't believe I-10 and I-12 were initially planned to come back together on the east end of I-12 near Slidell.  If I remember right I-10 was originially going to take a slightly more southerly route along US 90, with I-59 extending southward to meet I-10 south of Lake Pontchartrain by roughly following the path of US 11.  I-12 and I-59 were to intersect north of the lake as they currently do.

Actually I12 and I59 were supposed to meet North of Slidell, out near Pearl River LA.  Knowing the geography of the Riggolets and Venician Isles, cannot imagine they ever thought about running a freeway out that way unless they planned on sticking it in Lake St Catherine or  Lake Borgne.
I can't imagine it either, but this would have been before Hurricanes Betsy, Camille, and Katrina.  The thought processes changed a lot after those storms.  Before that they may have thought about an elevated freeway like I-10 through the Atchafalaya Basin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: BrandonC_TX on April 17, 2020, 07:48:22 AM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?

That's still in planning at this point but it's definitely a priority. There won't be much opposition from residents that live by 45 itself but the SOS folk will protest any highway. If I had to bet I'd say 45 in the gap will open around 2030.

Here's how I would close the gap on SH-45 between FM-1626 and I-35. (https://drive.google.com/open?id=19K8lmW_COrtgRXMjotKJGI_33haLB464&usp=sharing)  To discourage development in that area, I would have no intermediate interchanges between FM-1626 and I-35, except for access to and from FM-1327 (essentially the end of FM-1327 would default onto westbound SH-45).  The stack interchange with I-35 would have only 4 levels (rather than 5); the current WB-to-SB ramp is only the third level of the interchange (not the fourth), so a five-level stack there would require that SH-45 go under I-35 (much like the design of the interchange between I-30 and the President George Bush Turnpike in Grand Prairie, TX), unless there is a desire to rebuild that ramp entirely. 

Rather than rebuild the existing ramps, or build additional bridges for I-35 (2nd level) and its frontage roads (3rd level), it may be more economical to have the SH-45 mainlanes cross I-35 at the current location of the southern "frontage road" bridge, which looks to have empty pillars on its southern edge (presumably for U-turn lanes, as the FM-1327 bridge has them too).  Also at the point where it crosses over I-35, SH-45 would narrow to the 4-lane, median-barrier configuration currently seen between FM-1626 and Loop 1.  Where the ramps to/from I-35 merge with SH-45 on the west side of the stack, a 6-lane, median-barrier configuration could be used between I-35 and FM-1626 (with a short fourth acceleration lane where traffic from FM-1327 merges onto westbound SH-45).  Nevertheless, it would still be necessary to build new bridges over the I-35 frontage roads (which would drop to level 1 of the interchange at the SH-45 overpass, and also flare out to allow more room for the frontage roads to rise to the grade of the FM-1327 bridge north of the SH-45 overpass)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 17, 2020, 11:40:00 AM
That's a very well thought out plan and probably close to what CTRMA has in mind for the long-term, especially the lack of intersections between I-35 and FM-1626. However, I think the main reason 45 won't be extended eastward in the near future isn't environmental or local opposition but the cost of building a new stack at I-35. I feel pretty certain that any connection project will include a full stack at I-35, probably not a 5-level like Ben White/I-35 but still quite a large interchange.

The intersection at FM-1626 will probably be reconfigured to a typical diamond once 45 is extended, but I guess it could be changed slightly to a SPUI. Whatever's planned for 1626 is probably the cheapest part of the project anyway so it doesn't matter much. The mainlanes will probably keep the 2-2 median barrier layout for as long as possible due to environmental impact. It is the recharge zone after all, and the existing 45SW was marketed on sustainability with a shared-use trail and PFC roadway surfacing. I don't think 45SC will be different.

I think your depiction of the 45/I-35 stack is pretty close to what the final product will be. Maybe the FM1327 connectors will be cut out for cost saving, but I think that 45 running along the south of the intersection is likely and I-35's frontage roads running level with I-35 is very likely for avoiding a 5-level stack.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: CoreySamson on April 17, 2020, 02:18:58 PM
That's a very well thought out plan and probably close to what CTRMA has in mind for the long-term, especially the lack of intersections between I-35 and FM-1626. However, I think the main reason 45 won't be extended eastward in the near future isn't environmental or local opposition but the cost of building a new stack at I-35. I feel pretty certain that any connection project will include a full stack at I-35, probably not a 5-level like Ben White/I-35 but still quite a large interchange.

The intersection at FM-1626 will probably be reconfigured to a typical diamond once 45 is extended, but I guess it could be changed slightly to a SPUI. Whatever's planned for 1626 is probably the cheapest part of the project anyway so it doesn't matter much. The mainlanes will probably keep the 2-2 median barrier layout for as long as possible due to environmental impact. It is the recharge zone after all, and the existing 45SW was marketed on sustainability with a shared-use trail and PFC roadway surfacing. I don't think 45SC will be different.

I think your depiction of the 45/I-35 stack is pretty close to what the final product will be. Maybe the FM1327 connectors will be cut out for cost saving, but I think that 45 running along the south of the intersection is likely and I-35's frontage roads running level with I-35 is very likely for avoiding a 5-level stack.

Does there really need to be a stack interchange there within the next 10 years? They could simply just add feeder roads, make them intersect, and then build a bridge for 45 over the entire thing, looking something like this interchange:

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.6133881,-95.4935916,16z/data=!3m1!1e3

That would be much simpler and much more cost-efficient than building a full-blown stack. Then if they wanted to, they could build the ramps over that to complete the stack in 10-20 years or so, unless that interchange really needs a stack.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 17, 2020, 02:48:36 PM

Does there really need to be a stack interchange there within the next 10 years? They could simply just add feeder roads, make them intersect, and then build a bridge for 45 over the entire thing, looking something like this interchange:

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.6133881,-95.4935916,16z/data=!3m1!1e3

That would be much simpler and much more cost-efficient than building a full-blown stack. Then if they wanted to, they could build the ramps over that to complete the stack in 10-20 years or so, unless that interchange really needs a stack.


The reason I think a stack is required at the 45/I-35 intersection has less to do with total volume and more to do with direction of traffic (but the volume is probably high enough to justify it alone.)

Traffic heading North on I-35 is coming from the suburban cities of Buda/Kyle, both of which have grown at a blistering pace in 2000s and are continuing to grow. Much of this traffic will be heading onto 45 Westbound to access The Domain and other job centers along Mopac in West Austin. Not as much will head Eastbound on 45 but that flyover already exists so it's not relevant.

Traffic heading West on SH 45 already has ramps in both directions so it's irrelevant, but there's a lot of open land along 45 in that direction that has future plans for more homes.

Traffic heading South on I-35 will be coming back from Downtown and other East Austin job clusters, and they'll want to get to their homes around Hays and North Buda which are difficult to access from existing I-35 crossings but easy to access from FM 1626 on SH 45 Westbound. Eastbound 45 will again be in lower demand but that will change with the new construction planned out East.

Traffic heading East on SH 45 will want to go home to Buda and Kyle, which would demand a SB I-35 connection. Frankly the EB 45 -> NB I-35 flyover probably isn't needed at this point but with more development spurred on by 45's extension it might eventually demand it. All the other ramps have enough existing traffic that would shift to the connected SH 45 to warrant them.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on April 17, 2020, 03:35:54 PM
They tend to build those stub ramps then wait years to finish e.g. 183 & 35
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 17, 2020, 03:36:20 PM
That's a very well thought out plan and probably close to what CTRMA has in mind for the long-term, especially the lack of intersections between I-35 and FM-1626. However, I think the main reason 45 won't be extended eastward in the near future isn't environmental or local opposition but the cost of building a new stack at I-35. I feel pretty certain that any connection project will include a full stack at I-35, probably not a 5-level like Ben White/I-35 but still quite a large interchange.

The intersection at FM-1626 will probably be reconfigured to a typical diamond once 45 is extended, but I guess it could be changed slightly to a SPUI. Whatever's planned for 1626 is probably the cheapest part of the project anyway so it doesn't matter much. The mainlanes will probably keep the 2-2 median barrier layout for as long as possible due to environmental impact. It is the recharge zone after all, and the existing 45SW was marketed on sustainability with a shared-use trail and PFC roadway surfacing. I don't think 45SC will be different.

I think your depiction of the 45/I-35 stack is pretty close to what the final product will be. Maybe the FM1327 connectors will be cut out for cost saving, but I think that 45 running along the south of the intersection is likely and I-35's frontage roads running level with I-35 is very likely for avoiding a 5-level stack.

Does there really need to be a stack interchange there within the next 10 years? They could simply just add feeder roads, make them intersect, and then build a bridge for 45 over the entire thing, looking something like this interchange:

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.6133881,-95.4935916,16z/data=!3m1!1e3

That would be much simpler and much more cost-efficient than building a full-blown stack. Then if they wanted to, they could build the ramps over that to complete the stack in 10-20 years or so, unless that interchange really needs a stack.

TXDOT built the simple intersection you outlined at US75 / US82 in Sherman. It is scheduled for replacement with a stack.
NETRMA did it at Loop49 and I-20 it is probably not going anywhere in the immediate future, but it is universally hated by those who go from I-20 To 49Toll.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 17, 2020, 04:57:02 PM

NETRMA did it at Loop49 and I-20 it is probably not going anywhere in the immediate future, but it is universally hated by those who go from I-20 To 49Toll.

That intersection is a mess and one of the worst parts on my trips from Austin to Jackson. However the other linked interchange at US 75/US 82 seems much more efficient with the Texas U-turns and better signage but still low-capacity for 45/I-35.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 20, 2020, 01:51:43 PM
I started writing this as there is no need..... Then I looked at the map.  I still do not see the need for an interstate from the Austin or even Temple area to Midland Odessa.

On the other hand, It makes perfect sense to build freeway from I-10 west of Fredricksburg to Austin. Follow along US290 to Loop 99 then the North side of Loop99 to US 90. Then Build US90 out as freeway to Beaumont or perhaps go on down to I-10 near Winnie on the proposed Loop99.

It bypasses SanAntonio and most of Houston.  There needs to be some straighening on 290 that probably won't happen, but it does lessen the load on I-10 in Houston and San Antonio which particularly in Houston is severe and unavoidable without a HUGE loop around. (I-610 is nearly as congested as I-10)

Beltway 8 is congested AND dramatically out of the way. Loop 99 (when completed) from I-10 is so circumnavigous as to make a hour sitting still in gridlock preferable .
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 20, 2020, 02:33:18 PM
I started writing this as there is no need..... Then I looked at the map.  I still do not see the need for an interstate from the Austin or even Temple area to Midland Odessa.

On the other hand, It makes perfect sense to build freeway from I-10 west of Fredricksburg to Austin. Follow along US290 to Loop 99 then the North side of Loop99 to US 90. Then Build US90 out as freeway to Beaumont or perhaps go on down to I-10 near Winnie on the proposed Loop99.

It bypasses SanAntonio and most of Houston.  There needs to be some straighening on 290 that probably won't happen, but it does lessen the load on I-10 in Houston and San Antonio which particularly in Houston is severe and unavoidable without a HUGE loop around. (I-610 is nearly as congested as I-10)

Beltway 8 is congested AND dramatically out of the way. Loop 99 (when completed) from I-10 is so circumnavigous as to make a hour sitting still in gridlock preferable .
What you're proposing is a freeway that bypasses San Antonio and Houston, by dumping traffic through Austin, which would only make the horrific traffic problem along I-35 (which US-290 overlaps) worse.

If you want an effective bypass, a routing through Temple, which avoids Austin, San Antonio, and Houston entirely, would be the best solution.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 20, 2020, 09:24:58 PM
I started writing this as there is no need..... Then I looked at the map.  I still do not see the need for an interstate from the Austin or even Temple area to Midland Odessa.

On the other hand, It makes perfect sense to build freeway from I-10 west of Fredricksburg to Austin. Follow along US290 to Loop 99 then the North side of Loop99 to US 90. Then Build US90 out as freeway to Beaumont or perhaps go on down to I-10 near Winnie on the proposed Loop99.

It bypasses SanAntonio and most of Houston.  There needs to be some straighening on 290 that probably won't happen, but it does lessen the load on I-10 in Houston and San Antonio which particularly in Houston is severe and unavoidable without a HUGE loop around. (I-610 is nearly as congested as I-10)

Beltway 8 is congested AND dramatically out of the way. Loop 99 (when completed) from I-10 is so circumnavigous as to make a hour sitting still in gridlock preferable .
What you're proposing is a freeway that bypasses San Antonio and Houston, by dumping traffic through Austin, which would only make the horrific traffic problem along I-35 (which US-290 overlaps) worse.

If you want an effective bypass, a routing through Temple, which avoids Austin, San Antonio, and Houston entirely, would be the best solution.

Something tells me that the rationale behind I-14 included the metro bypass notion, along with serving previously unserved but decidedly smaller metros like Bryan/College Station and San Angelo. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 20, 2020, 10:52:52 PM
Quote from: sprjus4
What you're proposing is a freeway that bypasses San Antonio and Houston, by dumping traffic through Austin, which would only make the horrific traffic problem along I-35 (which US-290 overlaps) worse.

First thing: the Austin area is in far greater need of an East-West Interstate highway connecting to the rest of the system (I-10 in this case) than freaking Killeen. Austin is a major destination. Killeen is not. The horrific traffic problems along I-35 in the middle of Austin were created by Austin itself when it chose to grow like crazy into a city of almost 1 million people within the city limits and over 2 million in the metro area. More and more people are moving to that region every day. Continued growth is THE thing that will make those horrific traffic problems worse. The need for improving highway corridors going in and out of Austin only grows much worse as that metro continues to grow.

Now, a completed TX-45 partial loop on the South side of Austin could help bypass long distance US-290 traffic around the middle of Austin and away from the I-35 corridor. Making long distance traffic do stupid zig-zags along the jagged, nonsensical paths proposed for I-14 won't work so well. Long distance traffic will just stick to the long established I-10 and I-20 routes.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 21, 2020, 12:35:01 AM
First thing: the Austin area is in far greater need of an East-West Interstate highway connecting to the rest of the system (I-10 in this case) than freaking Killeen. Austin is a major destination. Killeen is not. The horrific traffic problems along I-35 in the middle of Austin were created by Austin itself when it chose to grow like crazy into a city of almost 1 million people within the city limits and over 2 million in the metro area. More and more people are moving to that region every day. Continued growth is THE thing that will make those horrific traffic problems worse. The need for improving highway corridors going in and out of Austin only grows much worse as that metro continues to grow.
I'd argue improving the western connection - US-290 - to I-10 West - is a greater need than US-290 or TX-71 to the east.

Now, a completed TX-45 partial loop on the South side of Austin could help bypass long distance US-290 traffic around the middle of Austin and away from the I-35 corridor. Making long distance traffic do stupid zig-zags along the jagged, nonsensical paths proposed for I-14 won't work so well. Long distance traffic will just stick to the long established I-10 and I-20 routes.
I-14 isn't a "jagged" route as refuted umpteenth times.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 21, 2020, 11:54:38 AM
I started writing this as there is no need..... Then I looked at the map.  I still do not see the need for an interstate from the Austin or even Temple area to Midland Odessa.

On the other hand, It makes perfect sense to build freeway from I-10 west of Fredricksburg to Austin. Follow along US290 to Loop 99 then the North side of Loop99 to US 90. Then Build US90 out as freeway to Beaumont or perhaps go on down to I-10 near Winnie on the proposed Loop99.

It bypasses SanAntonio and most of Houston.  There needs to be some straighening on 290 that probably won't happen, but it does lessen the load on I-10 in Houston and San Antonio which particularly in Houston is severe and unavoidable without a HUGE loop around. (I-610 is nearly as congested as I-10)

Beltway 8 is congested AND dramatically out of the way. Loop 99 (when completed) from I-10 is so circumnavigous as to make a hour sitting still in gridlock preferable .
What you're proposing is a freeway that bypasses San Antonio and Houston, by dumping traffic through Austin, which would only make the horrific traffic problem along I-35 (which US-290 overlaps) worse.

If you want an effective bypass, a routing through Temple, which avoids Austin, San Antonio, and Houston entirely, would be the best solution.

Something tells me that the rationale behind I-14 included the metro bypass notion, along with serving previously unserved but decidedly smaller metros like Bryan/College Station and San Angelo.

I-14 is just a BRACC point. While you will hear ongoing discussions of expanding it, it is just that: discussion.  There is no real appetite for a cross country interstate especially one that totally misses the major cities. Oil travels by pipeline. Not highway. Copperas cove to Midland then to wherever is a lot of extra lane-miles. And doesn't change much. It still links El Paso and points west to the deep south just like I-10

I69 works because 1) congress mandated and funded it (with local matching). 2) It goes from Mexico and the Texas Gulf ports to the upper midwest. 3) US-59 was already a very busy corridor in spite of its journeys through Corrigan, Diboll, and Atlanta.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 21, 2020, 07:19:44 PM
I-14 is just a BRACC point. While you will hear ongoing discussions of expanding it, it is just that: discussion.  There is no real appetite for a cross country interstate especially one that totally misses the major cities. Oil travels by pipeline. Not highway. Copperas cove to Midland then to wherever is a lot of extra lane-miles. And doesn't change much. It still links El Paso and points west to the deep south just like I-10

I69 works because 1) congress mandated and funded it (with local matching). 2) It goes from Mexico and the Texas Gulf ports to the upper midwest. 3) US-59 was already a very busy corridor in spite of its journeys through Corrigan, Diboll, and Atlanta.

I-69, in TX and elsewhere, has no dedicated fund for development; being a high-priority corridor, it is eligible for the maximum 80% federal share (a bit more if other fund pools can be tapped) -- but like multiplying anything by zero, if those funds aren't allotted, it's still zero.  Funding comes from a state congressional delegation queueing up yearly, submitting their requests to get their projects into the yearly USDOT budgetary outlay; sometimes that quest isn't successful.  Since I-14 is also a designated HPC (#84), the funding process is technically identical.  But the mechanism for actually squeezing federal funds out for the project for I-69 has been in place since 1995 and has been reasonably successful at doing so; besides the existing 26 miles of freeway near Killeen, the portion of I-14 from Temple to Huntsville is presently undergoing an alignment study to determine a specific routing -- a very preliminary step; in that respect, that corridor's backers are more than 20 years behind the I-69 effort, which has amassed one hell of a lot of in-state support within both public and private sectors over its 25-year lifespan.  Because I-69 extends in two directions from Houston along egress corridors long sought within that city's corporate circles, it's kept in the public eye.  I-14 is just getting started; if segments are built within the "triangle", it'll start getting more notice -- but compared with the more immediate benefits promised by the I-69 (and 369 for that matter) corridor cluster, it'll draw less attention, at least until there's continuous rather than sporadic progress on I-69, particularly north of Houston.  That is to be expected; I-69, at least to Houston and environs, is considered a necessity; I-14 still falls in the "it'd be nice to have" category, a situation that will likely persist until I-69 is substantially completed.   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 22, 2020, 11:37:25 AM
I-14 is just a BRACC point. While you will hear ongoing discussions of expanding it, it is just that: discussion.  There is no real appetite for a cross country interstate especially one that totally misses the major cities. Oil travels by pipeline. Not highway. Copperas cove to Midland then to wherever is a lot of extra lane-miles. And doesn't change much. It still links El Paso and points west to the deep south just like I-10

I69 works because 1) congress mandated and funded it (with local matching). 2) It goes from Mexico and the Texas Gulf ports to the upper midwest. 3) US-59 was already a very busy corridor in spite of its journeys through Corrigan, Diboll, and Atlanta.

I-69, in TX and elsewhere, has no dedicated fund for development; being a high-priority corridor, it is eligible for the maximum 80% federal share (a bit more if other fund pools can be tapped) -- but like multiplying anything by zero, if those funds aren't allotted, it's still zero.  Funding comes from a state congressional delegation queueing up yearly, submitting their requests to get their projects into the yearly USDOT budgetary outlay; sometimes that quest isn't successful.  Since I-14 is also a designated HPC (#84), the funding process is technically identical.  But the mechanism for actually squeezing federal funds out for the project for I-69 has been in place since 1995 and has been reasonably successful at doing so; besides the existing 26 miles of freeway near Killeen, the portion of I-14 from Temple to Huntsville is presently undergoing an alignment study to determine a specific routing -- a very preliminary step; in that respect, that corridor's backers are more than 20 years behind the I-69 effort, which has amassed one hell of a lot of in-state support within both public and private sectors over its 25-year lifespan.  Because I-69 extends in two directions from Houston along egress corridors long sought within that city's corporate circles, it's kept in the public eye.  I-14 is just getting started; if segments are built within the "triangle", it'll start getting more notice -- but compared with the more immediate benefits promised by the I-69 (and 369 for that matter) corridor cluster, it'll draw less attention, at least until there's continuous rather than sporadic progress on I-69, particularly north of Houston.  That is to be expected; I-69, at least to Houston and environs, is considered a necessity; I-14 still falls in the "it'd be nice to have" category, a situation that will likely persist until I-69 is substantially completed.   

You are technically correct on the funding. The long term funding is not already authorized. This said, congress and US-DOT have made a comittment to follow through. Funding for a continuing project is easier to obtain than for a new project. This said, TXDOT could theorethetically scrap I-69 and spend the money somewhere else. How congress would react to that in future budgets is a different issue. It is kind of like if your family is saving up for the down payment on a house. It would either be in the checking (general) funds or savings (transportation) funds. While not legally bound, there will be repercussions if you take the money and buy an ORV or some other recreational vehicle.  Likewise with highway funds.

The HPC's are not all freeway (Such as LA1 south of Baton Rouge). On I-14, the points west might have a good rural divided highway design applied to US190 all the way to near Iraan (I-10). My belief is the portion of I-14 that exists may be extended to I-45 because of the burgeoning population of Bryan - College Station. Maybe not. By 2050 it might make it to I-69. Beyond US59/ I69 I again see at best Rural Divided Highway especially since any possible construction in Louisiana is a non-starter. More likely nothing beyond Woodville.

I also think it is naive to dismiss the powers of BRACC in getting the current section of I-14 built and numbered. While Ft Hood doesn't seem a likely target for BRACC, it is subject to missional realignment both positive and negative. When one base is closed or its mission reduced, that mission usually moves somewhere else. Part of the BRACC game is getting additional missions, not just staying open.  Texas CHOSE to spend the money to UPGRADE a relatively small stretch of  us 190 to interstate specs and to get it branded as Interstate. I am not of the opinion that extending it additionally as interstate is in the cards.

Sure they are studying it. Just because it is / was labeled a high priority corridor just means the congressional delegation had it labeled as such not that TXDOT, the State Legislature, or the people of Texas really want to upgrade it beyond a good rural divided highway.

I want a Polaris Ranger and a new house. I might get one. I might get both. I have studied the reality. I am getting NEITHER. So goes regional transportation studies. Just because you study something you want doesn't mean you get it.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 22, 2020, 03:05:39 PM
^^^^^^^^^^^
At this juncture, this thread seems to have drifted away from Austin matters and toward the I-14 corridor, which originally was used simply for comparison in earlier thread posts.  There are a couple of specific I-14 threads that would be more appropriate for any further in-depth discussion of the various issues concerning that corridor.  I'll be replying to the above post (#76) in one of those shortly.  S.P. (sparker)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on April 23, 2020, 07:23:57 PM
^^^^^^^^^^^
At this juncture, this thread seems to have drifted away from Austin matters and toward the I-14 corridor, which originally was used simply for comparison in earlier thread posts.  There are a couple of specific I-14 threads that would be more appropriate for any further in-depth discussion of the various issues concerning that corridor.  I'll be replying to the above post (#76) in one of those shortly.  S.P. (sparker)

yea i was trying to get the point about traffic in Austin and about the population but I-14 seems to be the focus
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 23, 2020, 09:50:02 PM
Quote from: bwana39
I also think it is naive to dismiss the powers of BRACC in getting the current section of I-14 built and numbered. While Ft Hood doesn't seem a likely target for BRACC, it is subject to missional realignment both positive and negative. When one base is closed or its mission reduced, that mission usually moves somewhere else. Part of the BRACC game is getting additional missions, not just staying open.  Texas CHOSE to spend the money to UPGRADE a relatively small stretch of  us 190 to interstate specs and to get it branded as Interstate. I am not of the opinion that extending it additionally as interstate is in the cards.

Base Realignment and Closure proceedings are not really an effective argument at getting something like I-14 built, especially when the efforts are likely going to come at the expense of other corridors in Texas in need of improvement and expansion, like TX-71 and US-290 in the Austin region as well as TX-6 within the Texas Triangle.

The leadership of the US Army and US military in general don't really give two farts about local economic development when those efforts try to conflict with military strategy and planning. Politicians are the ones who manage to maintain outdated programs or unneeded programs as a jobs thing. But the Generals get blamed for the pork anyway.

Sometimes even politicians can't save a military related jobs building effort. Here in the Lawton area almost 20 years ago United Defense had big plans to build a factory for a mobile artillery platform called the Crusader. A bunch of elected officials in Oklahoma were all on board with it. But deep down the Army really didn't want it. The system was too big, heavy and cumbersome and it designed with an outdated Cold War purpose in mind. Donald Rumsfeld ended up pulling the plug on Crusader. Since then BAE Systems has continued to improve the M109 platform. They build the latest versions at a new plant in Elgin, OK and test them nearby at Fort Sill.

Just like the oil industry doesn't move oil by highway, the military doesn't move a lot of its might by the highways either. Aircraft and railroads move a lot more gear. The I-14 concept would not help the Army at all strategically. If it was really important for military bases to be linked by freeways US-281 would already be an Interstate between Fort Sill and Fort Hood.

Fort Hood is one of the most important posts in the entire US Army. I-14 makes no difference in the future of that Army post. It would pretty much take dismantling much of the Army itself for Fort Hood to come under any threat of closure or serious mission reduction. Even if people in the US government or Texas state government wanted to shut down Fort Hood where would they relocate those missions without costing the Army (and taxpayers) a lot of money? The cost of living and cost of doing business in the Killeen area is relatively low compared to other more populated areas nearby. There are very few other temperate places around the nation that offer the same cost equations. A little over 10 years ago Fort Sill was under greater threat of getting its missions cut. But the BRAC proceedings determined Fort Sill was actually a great place to relocate missions from other posts due in part to the cost advantages in the Lawton area and local community support of the military. However Fort Sill is not big enough to replace the functions of Fort Hood. Most of Fort Sill's real estate is artillery ranges.

Quote from: bwana39
exas CHOSE to spend the money to UPGRADE a relatively small stretch of  us 190 to interstate specs and to get it branded as Interstate. I am not of the opinion that extending it additionally as interstate is in the cards.

US-190 in the Killeen-Copperas Cove area has been a freeway for many years. Aside from spot improvements to ramps and a couple of exits the freeway is not much different than it was 30 or more years ago. It's not like a whole bunch of work was done to get I-14 shields installed on that existing route.

A great deal of upgrade work is needed on other corridors in Texas, as I said before. I suppose one can make a case for building I-14 from Belton to College Station and Huntsville. I can make a better case of upgrading the Texas corridors I mentioned earlier, particularly the ones going through Austin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 24, 2020, 12:02:52 AM
I suppose one can make a case for building I-14 from Belton to College Station and Huntsville. I can make a better case of upgrading the Texas corridors I mentioned earlier, particularly the ones going through Austin.
2 lane, zig-zag road through towns vs. 4-lane divided 75 mph highway with town bypasses.

How is the latter more important?

If the I-14 corridor was already served by a 4-lane divided highway, I could understand the rationale of a US-290 or SH-71 corridor having more importance, but it's not. I'd rather see a 2-lane route improved before an adequate 4-lane divided highway is fully upgraded.

If you've noticed, for the most part, the only segments of I-69 currently built are town bypasses. The upcoming long-distance upgrades of US-59, US-77, and US-281 are the first of those kind on the I-69 system. One major segment - Corpus Christi to Houston - will not be improved for decades to come, but it's already a 75 mph expressway with zero traffic signals between Refugio and Houston. The most I could see immediately needed are town bypasses of Refugio and Odem. Yes, I would like to see the entire thing completed one day, but they are much lower priorities than the town bypasses. The same principal I'd say for 2 lane routes, especially the largely unimproved one I-14 follows. I'd like to see an I-69 routing via US-59 and SH-44 constructed between Laredo and Corpus Christi before US-77 and US-59 is improved between Corpus Christi and Houston.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 24, 2020, 12:34:40 AM
Quote from: sprjus4
If the I-14 corridor was already served by a 4-lane divided highway, I could understand the rationale of a US-290 or SH-71 corridor having more importance, but it's not. I'd rather see a 2-lane route improved before an adequate 4-lane divided highway is fully upgraded.

Adequate? You've gotta be kidding. Austin is literally the only large metro area in the United States with a MSA population of over 2 million people that is not served by both North-South and East-West super highway corridors. But you insist on diverting any East-West Interstate corridor development to an area with a comparatively TINY population. That's completely nuts.

If ordinary 4-lane divided non-freeway routes are good enough to serve East-West movements thru Austin we might as well down-grade I-10 thru San Antonio. The Austin metro is just as populous as the San Antonio metro and the city limits population of Austin is growing faster than San Antonio. If the current trend holds Austin will pass San Antonio in city limits population.

US-190 does have a crooked zig-zag route through the Texas Triangle. The US-290 and TX-71 corridors between Austin and Houston are far more direct than that even with the bypasses around towns. Some of those bypasses are already freeways. US-290 and TX-71 don't run on a "W" shape or saw-tooth shape like US-190. Both corridors would be relatively easy to upgrade. And both corridors are direct links between two metros that are in the top 10 of the nation's largest metros. I don't see how Killeen trumps that.

Quote from: sprjus4
If you've noticed, for the most part, the only segments of I-69 currently built are town bypasses.

And the only section of I-14 currently on the map is a merely re-signed section of a I-35 freeway stub that has already existed for many years.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 24, 2020, 12:54:31 AM
Adequate? You've gotta be kidding. Austin is literally the only large metro area in the United States with a MSA population of over 2 million people that is not served by both North-South and East-West super highway corridors. But you insist on diverting any East-West Interstate corridor development to an area with a comparatively TINY population. That's completely nuts.

If ordinary 4-lane divided non-freeway routes are good enough to serve East-West movements thru Austin we might as well down-grade I-10 thru San Antonio. The Austin metro is just as populous as the San Antonio metro and the city limits population of Austin is growing faster than San Antonio. If the current trend holds Austin will pass San Antonio in city limits population.
I-10 between San Antonio and Houston at its lowest point has 33,500 AADT, we can assume that's an average volume for metro to metro traffic.
SH-71 between Austin and I-10 at its lowest point has 11,900 AADT.
US-290 between Austin and Houston at its lowest point has 12,500 AADT.

Poor comparison between I-10 and SH-71 / US-290, significantly more traffic.

I'm not saying there should be no improvements to the two corridors. The freeways should continue to be extended east as the region grows outward, and the remaining towns on the corridors should be bypassed. Once a 65 - 75 mph divided highway with zero traffic signals is established, the corridor would be more than adequate. In the long term, a freeway would be ideal, but is not a necessity at this point.

If the two corridors were combined to one roadway, presumably they would carry around 24,000 AADT, and even then a 4 lane divided 65 - 75 mph expressway with zero traffic signals and town bypasses would be adequate with a freeway the long-term vision.

US-190 does have a crooked zig-zag route through the Texas Triangle. The US-290 and TX-71 corridors between Austin and Houston are far more direct than that even with the bypasses around towns[/b]. Some of those bypasses are already freeways. US-290 and TX-71 don't run on a "W" shape or saw-tooth shape like US-190. Both corridors would be relatively easy to upgrade. And both corridors are direct links between two metros that are in the top 10 of the nation's largest metros. I don't see how Killeen trumps that.
First off, the current US-190 corridor is a zig-zag. The proposal for I-14 would generally follow this, but in an alignment that is significantly straighter.

US-190 between Temple and College Station at its lowest point has 7,800 AADT, not much less than the Austin - Houston corridors. The College Station / Bryan metro of 270,000 population has 4 lane divided highways going to Austin, Houston, and Waco. They lack 4 lane access to the Killeen / Temple / Fort Hood metro of 460,000 along with to Huntsville of 40,000. Because of its crooked alignment, a 4 lane divided highway would likely be built on new location on a straight alignment, avoiding the towns in the process, and you have I-14.

The US-190 / Future I-14 corridor is more inadequate than US-290 or SH-71 are, and rightfully is a higher priority.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 03, 2020, 02:17:50 PM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on June 03, 2020, 04:01:53 PM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

Step 1:  Get a shitload of Austin/Round Rock/etc. folks together and make your case to your local congressman for a high-priority corridor connecting the two cities.  Do your homework re AADT's on both US 290 and TX 71, and present a rational proposal.  If you congressman's IQ is at least in triple digits, he/she should know how to both formulate the language for such a proposal and how to get it inserted into the next year's USDOT funding bill.  The best bet for a corridor description would be a specification of end points (Austin, Houston), so future funding references could be utilized for either corridor, including -- if a TX 71 alignment is selected -- upgrades of I-10 east of Columbus.  Also make sure an Interstate designation (likely a 2nd I-12) is attached to the legislation. 
Step 2:  Keep the pressure up.  Contact the local towns along the potential route(s) (i.e. Bastrop, Brenham, etc.) to join in the effort; remind them that it's in their best interest to do so.  And don't be afraid to pit one route option against another; if it hits the press, that'll bolster the chances that the effort will be seen as legitimate rather than just another slice of pork.  Let the 290 folks and the 71 folks duke it out over which route makes more sense.  Chances are, there will be a study (likely about 3-4 years worth of data collection and compilation) to determine just that.  Eventually a route will be selected within the corridor parameters of the legislation (my guess knowing TX proclivities -- it'll head east from Austin on 71, cut up to 290 east of Bastrop, and follow 290 the rest of the way into Houston).
Step 3:  This is vital -- make sure your local state legislators from the affected areas are on board; they'll need to shepherd approval of the state's share of funding for the project once actual development occurs -- and this will be a "rinse and repeat" process until the last project is let. 

This is how successful corridor concepts have progressed in the last couple of decades:  I-22 and the completed/in process sections of I-49 in AR and MO were done this way; even the I-14 corridor is employing this method, although, of course, in the very early stages.  It takes work -- and not letting up despite the invariable setbacks that'll be encountered.  If some party can get enough Austin-area folks involved and active in the process, there would be a decent chance that an actual working corridor concept could be established.  Bottom line -- you never know until you try!     
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 05:14:23 PM
From what I've seen, US-290 may well be the best corridor for an Austin - Houston interstate.

Pros -
- Divert traffic off the SH-71 / I-10 routing which could ease some pressure on I-10 which is seeing ever increasing traffic between Columbus and Houston. The 6 lane widening will help but consider 20 years from now. Might reduce the need for 8 lane widening, and even larger scale widening east of Katy.
- US-290 is better built out leaving the Austin area than SH-71 is. 6 lane freeway out to SH-130.
- US-290 is already built out to freeway standards approximately 60 miles out of Downtown Houston.
- Allows through traffic from Austin to the east to have easier access to the future northern Loop 99 to bypass Houston.
- US-290 has better connections to central and northern Austin.

Cons -
- Additional 15 miles of upgrade needed (80 miles on SH-71 vs. 95 miles of US-290). This is offset though by having less upgrade work needed on I-10 between Columbus and Houston to handle diverted traffic from US-290.
- Tolls on US-290 Manor Expwy leaving the Austin area. Could either incorporate the existing toll road into the interstate system or buy out & remove the tolls.

Anything else I might be missing?

Ultimately, I could see US-290 being upgraded to interstate standards between Houston and Austin, SH-71 upgraded to interstate standards out to Bastrop, and SH-21 upgraded to interstate standards between Bastrop to US-290.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 03, 2020, 05:29:53 PM
From what I've seen, US-290 may well be the best corridor for an Austin - Houston interstate.

Pros -
- Divert traffic off the SH-71 / I-10 routing which could ease some pressure on I-10 which is seeing ever increasing traffic between Columbus and Houston. The 6 lane widening will help but consider 20 years from now. Might reduce the need for 8 lane widening, and even larger scale widening east of Katy.
- US-290 is better built out leaving the Austin area than SH-71 is. 6 lane freeway out to SH-130.
- US-290 is already built out to freeway standards approximately 60 miles out of Downtown Houston.
- Allows through traffic from Austin to the east to have easier access to the future northern Loop 99 to bypass Houston.
- US-290 has better connections to central and northern Austin.

Cons -
- Additional 15 miles of upgrade needed (80 miles on SH-71 vs. 95 miles of US-290). This is offset though by having less upgrade work needed on I-10 between Columbus and Houston to handle diverted traffic from US-290.
- Tolls on US-290 Manor Expwy leaving the Austin area. Could either incorporate the existing toll road into the interstate system or buy out & remove the tolls.

Anything else I might be missing?

Ultimately, I could see US-290 being upgraded to interstate standards between Houston and Austin, SH-71 upgraded to interstate standards out to Bastrop, and SH-21 upgraded to interstate standards between Bastrop to US-290.

Here are the cons to US-290 and in favor of SH71:

1) US-290, although having substantial freeway sections leaving both Houston and Austin, it serves as "Main Street USA" for Elgin, Giddings and has a piece of crap bypass for Brenham.  it would require extensive upgrading through most of it's routing to make it an interstate.  SH-71 on the other hand, is a divided highway for its entire length and has freeway bypasses of Bastrop, Smithville and La Grange already, so just the rural stretches on an already wide right-of-way would need upgrading, with the one holdout being Ellinger (but that would require bypassing 2 gas stations, not a whole downtown).

2) US-290 would serve as a Houston-Austin interstate connection, but that would be it.  It would stop right there.  SH-71 will tap into I-10 in Columbus, and, utilizing the US-290 corridor west of Austin would connect back with I-10 southeast of Junction to connect Austin with a larger, transcontinental route in the system, not just a spur route like 290 would be.

3) Every Austinite agrees when going to Houston, US-290 is the crappier way.  Mabey that would change if it was interstate grade the whole way, but it just is the longer, more out of the way, way to go over the more direct SH-71/I-10 way.

I have tried most of the above mentioned tactics.  I have written to may Congressmen and Senators in both the US and state senates along the corridor about this.  My problem is I don't know many people, and the few friends I have don't care about roads.  If I said Austin needs another interstate to them, they hear "let's build an oil refinery in your back yard."
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 03, 2020, 05:41:50 PM
In any "red state" it's tough to make any headway at all with local and regional representatives who only think of spending in terms of spending cuts and tax cuts. It's difficult to get them excited about any kind of highway idea. The big problem is it's all seen from the optics of local perspective rather than larger, big picture, national terms. The original Interstate system was a federal-driven project national in scale. In the last couple decades the federal government has abdicated its role in road building more and more to the states. That makes it very difficult to build properly functional new long distance highway corridors crossing multiple state borders.

Quote from: sparker
This is how successful corridor concepts have progressed in the last couple of decades

Highway corridor development in the last couple of decades has been a joke -especially in the follow-thru part of it. Budgets busted with cost overruns, deadlines missed and end results often being a WTF crooked as hell path. The current model of getting roads built SUCKS.

If roads could only be built through political whoring and favoritism the United States wouldn't even have a functional national road network in the first place. There is zero such thing as big picture, system-wide function with any kind of setup built on who does the most networking.

But we've been through this same discussion many times previously.

Quote from: sprjus4
From what I've seen, US-290 may well be the best corridor for an Austin - Houston interstate.

I prefer the US-290 route linking Austin and Houston for numerous reasons. It serves a larger population than the TX-71 route. Most of the growth happening in both the Houston and Austin metros is taking place on the North sides of both metros. Most of the affluent growth is happening on the North sides of both metros. So if one route had to be prioritized I'd take US-290 over TX-71.

Nevertheless, the TX-71 route between Austin and Columbus (I-10) is still worthy of upgrading as well. Millions of people living South of I-10 in the Houston metro going to/from Austin would take TX-71.

With Houston still growing and the area between Austin and San Antonio growing rapidly it creates the situation over the long term of additional Interstate quality spokes being needed between I-10 and I-35 South of Austin. San Marcos to Luling is one. New Braunfels to Seguin is another obvious one. Loop 1604 on the NE side of San Antonio has to be upgraded.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 05:48:53 PM
Here are the cons to US-290 and in favor of SH71:

1) US-290, although having substantial freeway sections leaving both Houston and Austin, it serves as "Main Street USA" for Elgin, Giddings and has a piece of crap bypass for Brenham.  it would require extensive upgrading through most of it's routing to make it an interstate.  SH-71 on the other hand, is a divided highway for its entire length and has freeway bypasses of Bastrop, Smithville and La Grange already, so just the rural stretches on an already wide right-of-way would need upgrading, with the one holdout being Ellinger (but that would require bypassing 2 gas stations, not a whole downtown).
New terrain construction near Elgin and Giddings would be needed, a bypass extension could be constructed near Brenham to allow it to seamless tie into western US-290, similar to what's happening on I-69 near Nacogdoches.

IIRC, the rural segments that were still undivided 4 lane have been or are planned to be widened to have a wide median. The rural segments are adequate on US-290 after these upgrades are complete.

2) US-290 would serve as a Houston-Austin interstate connection, but that would be it.  It would stop right there.  SH-71 will tap into I-10 in Columbus, and, utilizing the US-290 corridor west of Austin would connect back with I-10 southeast of Junction to connect Austin with a larger, transcontinental route in the system, not just a spur route like 290 would be.
A US-290 interstate between Houston and Austin would then tie into US-290 West in Austin and I-10 East in Houston. It's the same thing once at the endpoints. I'm missing your point here.

Either way, anything west of Austin is more in the fictional territory vs. a realistic US-290 or SH-71 eastern connection.

3) Every Austinite agrees when going to Houston, US-290 is the crappier way.  Mabey that would change if it was interstate grade the whole way, but it just is the longer, more out of the way, way to go over the more direct SH-71/I-10 way.
Downtown Austin to Downtown Houston -
US-290 - 2 hours 35 minutes, 162 miles
SH-71 / I-10 - 2 hours 29 minutes, 165 miles

Assuming a 75 mph speed limit along US-290 between SH-130 and the Brazos River, that would cut approximately 14 minutes of travel time off the current travel time, reducing 2 hours 35 minutes to 2 hours 21 minutes, approximately 8 minutes faster and still 3 miles shorter than SH-71.

Ultimately, I think both routes should be studied in detail to determine the best one for an interstate highway upgrade. If one corridor is ever upgraded, the current 50-50 split between both the routes will likely shift with most traffic favoring the interstate and less traffic on the bypassed route. Right now, both corridors carry about 10,000 - 15,000 AADT each. Whatever becomes an interstate, the numbers would probably be 20,000 - 25,000 AADT, and 5,000 - 8,000 AADT on the bypassed route.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 05:50:04 PM
Neverthless, the TX-71 route between Austin and Columbus (I-10) is still worthy of upgrading as well. Millions of people living South of I-10 in the Houston metro going to/from Austin would take TX-71.
Perhaps an expressway quality road - eliminate all the signals, bypasses of every town, consistent 65 - 75 mph speed limit throughout, etc.

Freeway / interstate connection along US-290.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 03, 2020, 06:04:27 PM
Here are the cons to US-290 and in favor of SH71:

1) US-290, although having substantial freeway sections leaving both Houston and Austin, it serves as "Main Street USA" for Elgin, Giddings and has a piece of crap bypass for Brenham.  it would require extensive upgrading through most of it's routing to make it an interstate.  SH-71 on the other hand, is a divided highway for its entire length and has freeway bypasses of Bastrop, Smithville and La Grange already, so just the rural stretches on an already wide right-of-way would need upgrading, with the one holdout being Ellinger (but that would require bypassing 2 gas stations, not a whole downtown).
New terrain construction near Elgin and Giddings would be needed, a bypass extension could be constructed near Brenham to allow it to seamless tie into western US-290, similar to what's happening on I-69 near Nacogdoches.

IIRC, the rural segments that were still undivided 4 lane have been or are planned to be widened to have a wide median. The rural segments are adequate on US-290 after these upgrades are complete.

2) US-290 would serve as a Houston-Austin interstate connection, but that would be it.  It would stop right there.  SH-71 will tap into I-10 in Columbus, and, utilizing the US-290 corridor west of Austin would connect back with I-10 southeast of Junction to connect Austin with a larger, transcontinental route in the system, not just a spur route like 290 would be.
A US-290 interstate between Houston and Austin would then tie into US-290 West in Austin and I-10 East in Houston. It's the same thing once at the endpoints. I'm missing your point here.

Either way, anything west of Austin is more in the fictional territory vs. a realistic US-290 or SH-71 eastern connection.

3) Every Austinite agrees when going to Houston, US-290 is the crappier way.  Mabey that would change if it was interstate grade the whole way, but it just is the longer, more out of the way, way to go over the more direct SH-71/I-10 way.
Downtown Austin to Downtown Houston -
US-290 - 2 hours 35 minutes, 162 miles
SH-71 / I-10 - 2 hours 29 minutes, 165 miles

Assuming a 75 mph speed limit along US-290 between SH-130 and the Brazos River, that would cut approximately 14 minutes of travel time off the current travel time, reducing 2 hours 35 minutes to 2 hours 21 minutes, approximately 8 minutes faster and still 3 miles shorter than SH-71.

Ultimately, I think both routes should be studied in detail to determine the best one for an interstate highway upgrade. If one corridor is ever upgraded, the current 50-50 split between both the routes will likely shift with most traffic favoring the interstate and less traffic on the bypassed route. Right now, both corridors carry about 10,000 - 15,000 AADT each. Whatever becomes an interstate, the numbers would probably be 20,000 - 25,000 AADT, and 5,000 - 8,000 AADT on the bypassed route.

I do have a bias living in south Austin and southwest of Austin my whole life.  There are a lot of people living south of the river that will not drive through I-35 downtown to get to the new interstate that usurps US 290.  It makes no sense.  I also see how the reverse would make no sense, but I do believe it is the smarter choice to SH-71 so that it can, eventually be part of the interstate that branches off I-10, then back a la I-35E and I-35W, so that long-haul traffic can choose to go to San Antonio or Austin, which ever the driver sees fit.   It also helps that the route through Austin as a freeway is almost complete albeit the Oak Hill section that is 40 years too late. 

I am more for the system viability to the connector rather than the link from Houston to Austin.  Putting Austin on the long-haul grid is very important.  Its a big city and the capital of the 2nd most populous state.  If you only upgrade US-290, then the long-haul traffic gets diverted onto I-35 downtown.  We all know how lovely that is.  There are entire forums devoted to how horrible the traffic issue is there.

Hell, upgrade them both, but SH-71 should be the priority.  Doing US 290 first feels more like a band aid (here we gave you your interstate, shut up) than it does a long term solution. 

Lastly, I have never come close to making the drive on 290 in 2 and a half hours, not at night nor in the wee hours of the morning.  I commuted from Austin to Houston for years for work.  It never happened once, not close.  More like 3:15, and that's when my office was at Loop 360 and FM 2222 and jumping on US 290 was very quick and without driving I-35 downtown.  SH 71, even with a drive south on Loop 360 to get to 71, I did it once in 2:15, and I don't speed.  Its just a better road/route.  There have been many debates from other people I knew, completely unprompted that said exactly "They say 290 is quicker to get to Houston, but  I have never made it quicker once."
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 06:12:08 PM
I do have a bias living in south Austin and southwest of Austin my whole life.  There are a lot of people living south of the river that will not drive through I-35 downtown to get to the new interstate that usurps US 290.

If you only upgrade US-290, then the long-haul traffic gets diverted onto I-35 downtown.  We all know how lovely that is.  There are entire forums devoted to how horrible the traffic issue is there.
This is why, in addition to US-290 into Austin, I suggested upgrading SH-71 out to Bastrop, then SH-21 up to US-290.

Provides two egress routes out of Austin (SH-71 and US-290), then tie back near Paige to follow US-290 all the way to Houston.

In regards to your comment about thru traffic, one could argue using US-290 allows thru traffic to bypass Houston via the SH-99 northern loop. Using a SH-71 route that departs Houston via I-10 West doesn't allow traffic to use SH-99 to bypass, or at least not directly (way north, then way back south).

Perhaps a split route going into Austin, and US-290 east of there would be the best, a thru traveler could use SH-99, US-290, connect to SH-71 via Bastrop, and avoid Houston and central Austin. In addition, if SH-45 is ever completed around to Oak Hill, that would bypass the entire area.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 06:15:59 PM
Lastly, I have never come close to making the drive on 290 in 2 and a half hours, not at night nor in the wee hours of the morning.  I commuted from Austin to Houston for years for work.  It never happened once, not close.  More like 3:15, and that's when my office was at Loop 360 and FM 2222 and jumping on US 290 was very quick and without driving I-35 downtown.  SH 71, even with a drive south on Loop 360 to get to 71, I did it once in 2:15, and I don't speed.  Its just a better road/route.  There have been many debates from other people I knew, completely unprompted that said exactly "They say 290 is quicker to get to Houston, but  I have never made it quicker once."
Moot point comparing today's conditions vs. a future upgrade. The mileage won't change. A 75 mph speed limit throughout, no signals, interchanges, town bypasses, and rural freeway would significantly improve conditions and make it a preferred connection.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 03, 2020, 06:21:01 PM
Lastly, I have never come close to making the drive on 290 in 2 and a half hours, not at night nor in the wee hours of the morning.  I commuted from Austin to Houston for years for work.  It never happened once, not close.  More like 3:15, and that's when my office was at Loop 360 and FM 2222 and jumping on US 290 was very quick and without driving I-35 downtown.  SH 71, even with a drive south on Loop 360 to get to 71, I did it once in 2:15, and I don't speed.  Its just a better road/route.  There have been many debates from other people I knew, completely unprompted that said exactly "They say 290 is quicker to get to Houston, but  I have never made it quicker once."
Moot point comparing today's conditions vs. a future upgrade. The mileage won't change. A 75 mph speed limit throughout, no signals, interchanges, town bypasses, and rural freeway would significantly improve conditions and make it a preferred connection.

I swear I mentioned I drove 290 late at night and in the very wee hours of the morning, i.e. nobody on the road and still was an hour slower than 71 during a week day.  That part isn't moot.  Trust me, it's more out of the way.  It just is. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 06:22:30 PM
I swear I mentioned I drove 290 late at night and in the very wee hours of the morning, i.e. nobody on the road and still was an hour slower than 71 during a week day.  That part isn't moot.  Trust me, it's more out of the way.  It just is.
Towns, traffic signals, slower speed limits, etc.

Did you drive said route after the Manor Expwy, and US-290 freeway upgrade to SH-6 were complete?

Google says otherwise as far as "out of the way". It says 162 miles for US-290, and 165 miles for SH-71 / I-10. Routed from Downtown Houston to Downtown Austin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 03, 2020, 06:25:19 PM
I swear I mentioned I drove 290 late at night and in the very wee hours of the morning, i.e. nobody on the road and still was an hour slower than 71 during a week day.  That part isn't moot.  Trust me, it's more out of the way.  It just is.
Towns, traffic signals, slower speed limits, etc.

Did you drive said route after the Manor Expwy, and US-290 freeway upgrade to SH-6 were complete?

Google says otherwise as far as "out of the way". It says 162 miles for US-290, and 165 miles for SH-71 / I-10. Routed from Downtown Houston to Downtown Austin.

Okay, then I guess I don't know what I'm talking about.

I was also referencing 15-20 years ago when there was no freeway bypass in Bastrop and less freeway in Austin to deal with and it was still faster.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 03, 2020, 08:11:58 PM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the only place I've ever heard the idea of an interstate between Austin and Houston being promoted is on this forum.

Over the last 30+ years, I've never heard or seen (in the press) the idea promoted by an elected official, government entity, business organization, TxDOT, transportation council (i.e. HGAC or CAMPO), transportation advocacy group. or small city between Houston and Austin.

Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

As Sparker has pointed out (multiple times), it takes strong political advocacy from influential entities (i.e. elected officials, business groups) to get major upgrades, and there is a total lack of advocacy. Other corridors, like IH 69, IH 22 and port-to-plains have very strong advocacy. And TxDOT has a high priority on corridors including IH 45 (Houston-Dallas) and IH 10 (Houston-San Antonio).

On the plus side, there is an ongoing program of upgrades. This week bids are being received for $47 million in work to eliminate two intersections on SH 71 east of Austin.
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036 (https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 11:07:53 PM
Wear: Work underway to speed up the sometimes slow road to Houston
 (https://www.statesman.com/news/20180526/wear-work-underway-to-speed-up-the-sometimes-slow-road-to-houston)
Quote
The nagging question always pops up for anyone who sets out for Houston on Texas 71 or U.S. 290 and, not far down the road, runs into a red light: Why in the world is there not an interstate highway between the state capital and Texas’ largest metro area?

Why did highway builders choose to route Interstate 10 not through Austin but instead to San Antonio? Looking at the map, I-10 dips south out of the way and adds at least a few miles to the trip westward to El Paso and California beyond.

The answer, which I’ll get into in a second, is embedded in history and population. But it’s worth knowing that the Texas Department of Transportation is in the final stages of a decadeslong effort to at least make that 170-mile trip from Austin to Houston free of traffic lights.

Right now, there are just five traffic signals left on Texas 71 between Interstate 35 in South Austin and I-10 in Columbus, all of them between Austin and Bastrop. And TxDOT has engineering plans and money set aside to eliminate four of those lights by adding overpasses over the next four years. The fifth one — at FM 1209 just west of Bastrop — is in the cross hairs as well, but the timing of its removal is less certain, TxDOT Austin district engineer Terry McCoy told me.

Now back to why there’s no interstate heading southeast to Houston from here.

Plans for a national grid of superhighways had been kicking around for at least 20 years before Congress in 1956 managed to pass a landmark bill, signed by President Dwight Eisenhower, that funded the final engineering and construction of such a system. President Franklin Roosevelt, according to “The Big Roads,” a history of the interstate system published a few years ago, in the late 1930s sketched out his version of an interstate system from his Oval Office desk.

And the plain fact is that when this routing work was going on, Austin didn’t have the people or the prominence it does now. San Antonio in 1955 had almost 500,000 people, while Austin had 160,000 and virtually no industry to produce the sort of truck traffic that was to be a major user of this cross-country highway system.

San Antonio did.

“That’s where the traffic wanted to go,” said Richard Ridings, a senior vice president with the venerable engineering firm HNTB Corp. The company was deeply involved in the original design of the interstates, said Ridings, who has been working in civil engineering for 55 years. And anyone looking at the big picture back then would have started with the port of Houston and its cargo headed inland.

“They wanted to get that stuff north, and they wanted to get it west and east,” Ridings said. “At the time, Austin was almost an afterthought.”

Since then, of course, the population and commerce disparities between Austin and San Antonio have narrowed. The greater San Antonio area now has about 2.5 million people, Austin about 2.1 million. So San Antonio has gone from three times the size of Austin to being about 20 percent larger.

The U.S. interstate system was essentially built out by 1990, although there have been some additions in the years sincel. But turning Texas 71 into an interstate between Austin and Columbus, a distance of about 90 miles, would be tremendously expensive and disruptive.

Interstates have certain standards of curvature and slope that could require some rerouting, but, most of all, interstates are what is known as controlled-access highways. Meaning, no driveways. If you want to get on or off an interstate, you have to take a ramp.

That means that either no businesses, homes, farms or ranches can connect directly to the highway for miles at a time or, as is the case on Interstate 35 through the heart of the state, there are frontage roads.

Texas 71, other than in Austin and through Bastrop’s commercial district, has no frontage roads. And it has scads of roads and private drives entering it throughout the other, more rural sections. So to turn it into interstate now would require TxDOT not only to acquire a lot of right of way for what would be a wider highway in many places, but also to pay some property owners for lost access to the road.

Or, more likely, to build many, many miles of frontage roads. Either way, the cost would be enormous. This isn’t a project that’s going to happen in the foreseeable future.

What TxDOT is doing instead — trying to eliminate traffic lights little by little — is the next best thing.

During my youth in Austin, through the mid-1970s, a trip to Houston included going through Bastrop, Smithville, La Grange and Columbus, including a few lights in each town and the odd right or left turn. The towns broke up the trip and were interesting to look at out the window, but going through them added a lot of time to the trip. By the early 1990s, TxDOT had completed loops around all those towns and few traffic lights remained east of FM 973 in Del Valle.

But little by little, as development stretched southeast of Austin, traffic lights were added first to that Bastrop bypass and then to several other spots along the way. About 15 years ago, TxDOT began to take those on, building overpasses and associated frontage lanes at several spots in Bastrop and major roads along the way like Texas 21. More recently, TxDOT installed a deep underpass on Texas 71 at Riverside Drive and a short tollway to bypass traffic signals at Texas 130′s frontage roads.

But lights remain at Ross Road and Kellam Road in Del Valle, at Tucker Hill Lane and Pope Bend Road about halfway to Bastrop, and at FM 1209.

TxDOT has set aside $48 million to build overpasses at Ross and Kellam — work set to begin as soon as fall 2019 and be done by summer 2021 — and $52.6 million for overpasses at Tucker Hill and Pope Bend. That second set of projects, TxDOT hopes, will start in fall 2020 and be done by summer 2022. All of this, TxDOT officials caution, could be delayed somewhat by environmental clearance work and acquisition of right of way.

The FM 1209 overpass, TxDOT estimates, would cost an additional $35 million. That money has not been nailed down.

McCoy, by the way, said he would like to make similar progress on U.S. 290, the northern route to Houston, but it has far more traffic signals standing in the way.

So, something like five years from now, a driver might be able to get to and from Houston on Texas 71 without hitting a red light.

That’s assuming, of course, that yet another traffic signal or three aren’t added in the meantime.
Arguments about high cost and having to build frontage roads that are preventing such a project don't seem to stop planning efforts along I-14 and I-69.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Scott5114 on June 03, 2020, 11:08:26 PM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

Step 1:  Get a shitload of Austin/Round Rock/etc. folks together and make your case to your local congressman for a high-priority corridor connecting the two cities.

Yeah, about that:
(https://www.austinchronicle.com/binary/c38e/pols_set1.jpg)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 04, 2020, 12:10:09 AM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the only place I've ever heard the idea of an interstate between Austin and Houston being promoted is on this forum.

Over the last 30+ years, I've never heard or seen (in the press) the idea promoted by an elected official, government entity, business organization, TxDOT, transportation council (i.e. HGAC or CAMPO), transportation advocacy group. or small city between Houston and Austin.

Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

As Sparker has pointed out (multiple times), it takes strong political advocacy from influential entities (i.e. elected officials, business groups) to get major upgrades, and there is a total lack of advocacy. Other corridors, like IH 69, IH 22 and port-to-plains have very strong advocacy. And TxDOT has a high priority on corridors including IH 45 (Houston-Dallas) and IH 10 (Houston-San Antonio).

On the plus side, there is an ongoing program of upgrades. This week bids are being received for $47 million in work to eliminate two intersections on SH 71 east of Austin.
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036 (https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036)
It seems once the remaining few lights west of Bastrop are eliminated, there will be a traffic signal free route from Houston to Austin in place, effectively a free-flowing expressway.

They need to at minimum widen that "toll bypass" near SH-130 to four lanes. The existing two-lane setup doesn't have the ability to handle high traffic volumes.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on June 04, 2020, 02:45:20 AM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

Step 1:  Get a shitload of Austin/Round Rock/etc. folks together and make your case to your local congressman for a high-priority corridor connecting the two cities.

Yeah, about that:
(https://www.austinchronicle.com/binary/c38e/pols_set1.jpg)

Ooh!  The dictionary definition of gerrymandering -- involving at least 3 districts!  I guess buttonholing your local congressperson has limited effectiveness when one goes a few blocks and has to deal with someone else!  But holding on to power/influence once one has it in hand has been the name of the game (regardless of party) since I can remember -- and this is just another tactic.  All in all, a recipe for inaction.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on June 04, 2020, 10:27:42 AM
35 goes to San Antonio.  MJ Hegar is not elected she was a candidate, she lost last time

It's even more deceptive.  Austin goes well into 31, so all 6 are indeed Austin!

Part of the reason Houston to Austin is fine without an interstate is having two expressways  Plenty of lanes without backup.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 04, 2020, 11:33:24 AM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the only place I've ever heard the idea of an interstate between Austin and Houston being promoted is on this forum.

Over the last 30+ years, I've never heard or seen (in the press) the idea promoted by an elected official, government entity, business organization, TxDOT, transportation council (i.e. HGAC or CAMPO), transportation advocacy group. or small city between Houston and Austin.

Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

As Sparker has pointed out (multiple times), it takes strong political advocacy from influential entities (i.e. elected officials, business groups) to get major upgrades, and there is a total lack of advocacy. Other corridors, like IH 69, IH 22 and port-to-plains have very strong advocacy. And TxDOT has a high priority on corridors including IH 45 (Houston-Dallas) and IH 10 (Houston-San Antonio).

On the plus side, there is an ongoing program of upgrades. This week bids are being received for $47 million in work to eliminate two intersections on SH 71 east of Austin.
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036 (https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036)

I doubt Phoenix and Las Vegas look at each other as equals and don't look down their nose at each other, yet I-11 is being built between them.  Just because two metropolitan areas don't think of themselves as the same doesn't mean there shouldn't be an interstate.  Houston and Dallas have for years thought of themselves as completely different, Houston thinking Dallas was too stuck up.  I-45 connects the two. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 04, 2020, 11:45:32 AM
Wear: Work underway to speed up the sometimes slow road to Houston
 (https://www.statesman.com/news/20180526/wear-work-underway-to-speed-up-the-sometimes-slow-road-to-houston)
Quote
The nagging question always pops up for anyone who sets out for Houston on Texas 71 or U.S. 290 and, not far down the road, runs into a red light: Why in the world is there not an interstate highway between the state capital and Texas’ largest metro area?

Why did highway builders choose to route Interstate 10 not through Austin but instead to San Antonio? Looking at the map, I-10 dips south out of the way and adds at least a few miles to the trip westward to El Paso and California beyond.

The answer, which I’ll get into in a second, is embedded in history and population. But it’s worth knowing that the Texas Department of Transportation is in the final stages of a decadeslong effort to at least make that 170-mile trip from Austin to Houston free of traffic lights.

Right now, there are just five traffic signals left on Texas 71 between Interstate 35 in South Austin and I-10 in Columbus, all of them between Austin and Bastrop. And TxDOT has engineering plans and money set aside to eliminate four of those lights by adding overpasses over the next four years. The fifth one — at FM 1209 just west of Bastrop — is in the cross hairs as well, but the timing of its removal is less certain, TxDOT Austin district engineer Terry McCoy told me.

Now back to why there’s no interstate heading southeast to Houston from here.

Plans for a national grid of superhighways had been kicking around for at least 20 years before Congress in 1956 managed to pass a landmark bill, signed by President Dwight Eisenhower, that funded the final engineering and construction of such a system. President Franklin Roosevelt, according to “The Big Roads,” a history of the interstate system published a few years ago, in the late 1930s sketched out his version of an interstate system from his Oval Office desk.

And the plain fact is that when this routing work was going on, Austin didn’t have the people or the prominence it does now. San Antonio in 1955 had almost 500,000 people, while Austin had 160,000 and virtually no industry to produce the sort of truck traffic that was to be a major user of this cross-country highway system.

San Antonio did.

“That’s where the traffic wanted to go,” said Richard Ridings, a senior vice president with the venerable engineering firm HNTB Corp. The company was deeply involved in the original design of the interstates, said Ridings, who has been working in civil engineering for 55 years. And anyone looking at the big picture back then would have started with the port of Houston and its cargo headed inland.

“They wanted to get that stuff north, and they wanted to get it west and east,” Ridings said. “At the time, Austin was almost an afterthought.”

Since then, of course, the population and commerce disparities between Austin and San Antonio have narrowed. The greater San Antonio area now has about 2.5 million people, Austin about 2.1 million. So San Antonio has gone from three times the size of Austin to being about 20 percent larger.

The U.S. interstate system was essentially built out by 1990, although there have been some additions in the years sincel. But turning Texas 71 into an interstate between Austin and Columbus, a distance of about 90 miles, would be tremendously expensive and disruptive.

Interstates have certain standards of curvature and slope that could require some rerouting, but, most of all, interstates are what is known as controlled-access highways. Meaning, no driveways. If you want to get on or off an interstate, you have to take a ramp.

That means that either no businesses, homes, farms or ranches can connect directly to the highway for miles at a time or, as is the case on Interstate 35 through the heart of the state, there are frontage roads.

Texas 71, other than in Austin and through Bastrop’s commercial district, has no frontage roads. And it has scads of roads and private drives entering it throughout the other, more rural sections. So to turn it into interstate now would require TxDOT not only to acquire a lot of right of way for what would be a wider highway in many places, but also to pay some property owners for lost access to the road.

Or, more likely, to build many, many miles of frontage roads. Either way, the cost would be enormous. This isn’t a project that’s going to happen in the foreseeable future.

What TxDOT is doing instead — trying to eliminate traffic lights little by little — is the next best thing.

During my youth in Austin, through the mid-1970s, a trip to Houston included going through Bastrop, Smithville, La Grange and Columbus, including a few lights in each town and the odd right or left turn. The towns broke up the trip and were interesting to look at out the window, but going through them added a lot of time to the trip. By the early 1990s, TxDOT had completed loops around all those towns and few traffic lights remained east of FM 973 in Del Valle.

But little by little, as development stretched southeast of Austin, traffic lights were added first to that Bastrop bypass and then to several other spots along the way. About 15 years ago, TxDOT began to take those on, building overpasses and associated frontage lanes at several spots in Bastrop and major roads along the way like Texas 21. More recently, TxDOT installed a deep underpass on Texas 71 at Riverside Drive and a short tollway to bypass traffic signals at Texas 130′s frontage roads.

But lights remain at Ross Road and Kellam Road in Del Valle, at Tucker Hill Lane and Pope Bend Road about halfway to Bastrop, and at FM 1209.

TxDOT has set aside $48 million to build overpasses at Ross and Kellam — work set to begin as soon as fall 2019 and be done by summer 2021 — and $52.6 million for overpasses at Tucker Hill and Pope Bend. That second set of projects, TxDOT hopes, will start in fall 2020 and be done by summer 2022. All of this, TxDOT officials caution, could be delayed somewhat by environmental clearance work and acquisition of right of way.

The FM 1209 overpass, TxDOT estimates, would cost an additional $35 million. That money has not been nailed down.

McCoy, by the way, said he would like to make similar progress on U.S. 290, the northern route to Houston, but it has far more traffic signals standing in the way.

So, something like five years from now, a driver might be able to get to and from Houston on Texas 71 without hitting a red light.

That’s assuming, of course, that yet another traffic signal or three aren’t added in the meantime.
Arguments about high cost and having to build frontage roads that are preventing such a project don't seem to stop planning efforts along I-14 and I-69.

I have always understood why Austin was bypassed in the original interstate proposal.  That has never been argued.  San Antonio was way bigger, plus a base city and Austin was like Waco is today.  I grew up here and even in my short lifetime it was at one point still a sleepy little town.  I have never argued why a Houston-Austin interstate wasn't built in the 1956 plan.  I have said, now that its not 1956, why are we still operating like Austin is still at 200,000?

Also, when the system was laid out, Albuquerque was about the size of Austin, yet got I-25 and I-40, so sometimes lack of population is a week argument. 

Now I read that, and I think every interstate ever built faced those same things.  Either cutting off access or the building of frontage roads.  There are over 3,000 miles of interstates in Texas built with long frontage roads.  What makes this project so special that you can't build frontage roads in this particular situation?  If that was such a hurdle, none of the interstates would have been built.  I personally don't like the expressway model because it's so unsafe.  Who wants to drive 75 miles per hour with driveways entering the main lanes?  Stuff like that is what kills people.  Make it an interstate for the interest of safety.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 04, 2020, 12:01:58 PM
I have always understood why Austin was bypassed in the original interstate proposal.  That has never been argued.  San Antonio was way bigger, plus a base city and Austin was like Waco is today.  I grew up here and even in my short lifetime it was at one point still a sleepy little town.  I have never argued why a Houston-Austin interstate wasn't built in the 1956 plan.  I have said, now that its not 1956, why are we still operating like Austin is still at 200,000?

Also, when the system was laid out, Albuquerque was about the size of Austin, yet got I-25 and I-40, so sometimes lack of population is a week argument.
In that instance, that just has to do with the previous routes both interstates were following. They just happen to junction there.

I-27 between Amarillo and Lubbock was authorized in the 1968 additions and constructed until the 1990s. The entire route was already a four-lane divided highway, the project required frontage roads, overpasses, and ramps constructed along most of its length, and a few new terrain segments.

What warranted an interstate to connect two cities of 200,000 and 250,000 (today's population, likely lower in 1968), but the state capital and Houston, both of which have a population of over 1 million each, still lack a connection today?

To give you an idea, I-27 has lower traffic volumes in many locations than US-290 or SH-71 do between Austin and Houston.

I'm not against having I-27, but I think that a connection between Austin and Houston, or along the US-59 corridor north or south of Houston, would've been a higher priority. But it's likely that there was political motive in getting I-27 authorized and funded.

Now I read that, and I think every interstate ever built faced those same things.  Either cutting off access or the building of frontage roads.  There are over 3,000 miles of interstates in Texas built with long frontage roads.  What makes this project so special that you can't build frontage roads in this particular situation?  If that was such a hurdle, none of the interstates would have been built.
That argument does seem surprising in my mind, especially considering TxDOT has over 80 miles of frontage road projects planned to complete I-69E and I-69C in southern Texas over the next decade, plus the I-69 upgrades leaving north and south of Houston along US-59 which are constructing miles of frontage roads. 

I personally don't like the expressway model because it's so unsafe.  Who wants to drive 75 miles per hour with driveways entering the main lanes?  Stuff like that is what kills people.  Make it an interstate for the interest of safety.
I've usually never had any issues with drivers impeding traffic flow by entering. The volumes are low enough that there's gaps in traffic from time to time that allows a safe entry. The risk does still exist though, and an interstate highway would reduce this significantly.

75 mph is an appropriate speed limit for the expressway model and represents the speed most people drive.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 04, 2020, 01:00:18 PM
I've usually never had any issues with drivers impeding traffic flow by entering. The volumes are low enough that there's gaps in traffic from time to time that allows a safe entry. The risk does still exist though, and an interstate highway would reduce this significantly.

75 mph is an appropriate speed limit for the expressway model and represents the speed most people drive.

Personally I do.  I always get pulled out in front of by that person on the driveway when I am doing 75.  It's happened more than I want it to.  It drives me insane, and it makes me so mad I don't know why everyone is okay with "we took out the traffic lights, but we left all the driveways.  Close enough, right?"  It's not.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kphoger on June 04, 2020, 01:46:34 PM
I always get pulled out in front of by that person on the driveway when I am doing 75.  It's happened more than I want it to.  It drives me insane, and it makes me so mad I don't know why everyone is okay with "we took out the traffic lights, but we left all the driveways.  Close enough, right?"  It's not.

Maybe you should go 65 instead.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 04, 2020, 05:44:58 PM
I don't think TX-71 would be as difficult to upgrade between Austin and Columbus as that quoted article stated. A lot of the hardest work is already done. There are already bypasses built to freeway standards or partial limited access at Columbus, La Grange, Smithville and Bastrop. A few other intersections along the way have been converted to freeway style exits.

The rest of the road is divided 4-lane highway for the most part except for a few instances of undivided 4-lane road. There is still a lot of driveways and at-grade intersections. Some zones would require a fair amount of property acquisition and removal. But it's also possible in plenty of other areas to squeeze in a 4-lane Interstate closely flanked by frontage roads.

Between Bastrop and the TX-130 toll road there are still 5 intersections with traffic signals: FM-1209, Pope Bend Road, Tucker Hill Lane, Buck Lane and Ross Road. The one at Ross Road is due to be replaced with a freeway exit, followed by the others.

Quote from: MaxConcrete
Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

Towns in between, like Brenham, Giddings and Elgin get to deal with the traffic moving between the two metros along with the dangers associated with the traffic. Brenham has a somewhat adequate freeway bypass for US-290. But US-290 doesn't have a good outlet going West toward Austin.

Quote from: sprjus4
75 mph is an appropriate speed limit for the expressway model and represents the speed most people drive.

That depends on the road geometry. Driveways and at-grade intersections on 4-lane divided highways can be really dangerous if the driveway or intersection is just past the crest of a hill.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 04, 2020, 09:02:25 PM
But US-290 doesn't have a good outlet going West toward Austin.
Out of Houston?

US-290 is built to interstate standards for nearly 50 miles from I-10 to SH-6. East of the Brazos River, it's 65 mph due to Houston's speed limit cap, though it becomes 75 mph divided highway west of there. This same condition applies for the SH-71 / I-10 routing along I-10.

US-290 is adequate on its rural portions, especially with the current dualization projects to create a grassy median where parts are currently undivided 4 lane, though needs bypasses constructed at Elgin, McDade, and Giddings, along with an extended Brenham bypass to the west.

The US-290 Manor Expwy extends from I-35 north of Downtown Austin to west of SH-130 as a six lane toll road.

I imagine ultimately SH-71 will the preferred corridor for an upgrade over US-290, but I believe both should still be studied in depth. SH-71 is less construction and has bypasses already in place, though this important fact needs to be considered in any study -

A SH-71 corridor utilizes 70 miles of I-10 on the eastern portion. Constructing a SH-71 interstate would draw more traffic onto I-10, which would require eventual 8 lane widening out to Columbus. A US-290 interstate on the other hand might draw people -away- from I-10 that currently use SH-71 helping to ease traffic on there, a good 8,000 - 10,000 AADT.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 05, 2020, 01:23:19 PM
Quote from: sprjus4
Out of Houston?

No, out of the bypass around Brenham. Currently US-290 leaves the bypass in a partial cloverleaf at West Main Street. Then US-290 proceeds West along an undivided 5-lane street for a couple miles before it turns into a 4-lane divided highway. A new terrain route would be required if a freeway was going to be built in that location.

The outlet for US-290 leaving Houston is all Interstate quality (and pretty much all new) out to the TX-6 exit in Hempstead. TX DOT just needs to extend that work farther West.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on June 06, 2020, 09:22:07 PM
We just went to Brazos Bend, both ways on 71.  the 4 lane expressway is fairly empty, no freeway needed.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 06, 2020, 11:26:38 PM
We just went to Brazos Bend, both ways on 71.  the 4 lane expressway is fairly empty, no freeway needed.
I've driven on I-10, I-37, and I-35 at times where there's been fairly light traffic... I suppose those freeways could just suffice as divided highways.

SH-71 and US-290 both carry about 12,000 - 15,000 AADT each. If there was one freeway route constructed, it would likely attract some from the other route, producing one interstate route with 20,000 - 25,000 AADT and one arterial route with 5,000 - 10,000 AADT. For comparison, parts of I-10 between San Antonio and Houston carry 30,000 AADT.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on June 25, 2020, 11:39:55 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/3w0DIR5.jpg)

Construction completed at I-35/Oltorf and I-35/Woodland
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on July 19, 2020, 11:35:13 AM
Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

More than that, Houston has a conflicted sense of being "Texan". It's a Gulf Coast city first and foremost. That's why I-69 was such a priority - there's much more cultural and economic affinity toward the Gulf Coastal Plain and South Texas/Mexico than there is Central Texas. This was partially why UH was able to block the UT expansion south of DT Houston - UT is seen as foreign in a strange way, even though many in the city have ties with the university.

Houston doesn't do general tech, and only needs Austin for its government and educational functions (and frankly, finds those to be a complete pain most of the time, and would rather build education endogenously). Austin doesn't do O&G, biomedical, or logistics. There just isn't a need for a full interstate connection beyond the sense that a state's largest city and capital should be connected by a full interstate.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 19, 2020, 08:41:57 PM
Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

More than that, Houston has a conflicted sense of being "Texan". It's a Gulf Coast city first and foremost. That's why I-69 was such a priority - there's much more cultural and economic affinity toward the Gulf Coastal Plain and South Texas/Mexico than there is Central Texas. This was partially why UH was able to block the UT expansion south of DT Houston - UT is seen as foreign in a strange way, even though many in the city have ties with the university.

Houston doesn't do general tech, and only needs Austin for its government and educational functions (and frankly, finds those to be a complete pain most of the time, and would rather build education endogenously). Austin doesn't do O&G, biomedical, or logistics. There just isn't a need for a full interstate connection beyond the sense that a state's largest city and capital should be connected by a full interstate.

Agreed with all that about Austin and Houston being different. They are, but the last line is why.  The largest city and capital need connecting. Just because towns are different in thinking doesn’t mean you deny them an interstate. I would venture to say New Orleans is nothing like the rest of Louisiana, politically and culturally, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be an infrastructure running toward it.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on July 20, 2020, 11:24:05 PM
Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

More than that, Houston has a conflicted sense of being "Texan". It's a Gulf Coast city first and foremost. That's why I-69 was such a priority - there's much more cultural and economic affinity toward the Gulf Coastal Plain and South Texas/Mexico than there is Central Texas. This was partially why UH was able to block the UT expansion south of DT Houston - UT is seen as foreign in a strange way, even though many in the city have ties with the university.

Houston doesn't do general tech, and only needs Austin for its government and educational functions (and frankly, finds those to be a complete pain most of the time, and would rather build education endogenously). Austin doesn't do O&G, biomedical, or logistics. There just isn't a need for a full interstate connection beyond the sense that a state's largest city and capital should be connected by a full interstate.

Agreed with all that about Austin and Houston being different. They are, but the last line is why.  The largest city and capital need connecting. Just because towns are different in thinking doesn’t mean you deny them an interstate. I would venture to say New Orleans is nothing like the rest of Louisiana, politically and culturally, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be an infrastructure running toward it.

I don't think that's a good enough reason, to be honest.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on July 20, 2020, 11:56:08 PM
If it's busy enough make it a freeway. If it's convenient, sign it as an Interstate. Why does there need to be any reason beyond that? If there's significant traffic on TX 71 or US 290, and that traffic would be improved by a conversion to Interstate standards, then improve it. If the traffic doesn't demand improvements, then don't. Why does the culture or the type of city or the "thinking of a place" matter? If there's trucks and cars, and they're impacted, then it warrants a freeway. If there's not, it doesn't.

Personally, I think TX 71 should have all the remaining stoplights removed between Austin and Columbus, along with a minor bypass of Ellinger. If traffic grows, which it almost surely will knowing Texan cities recently, then start working on the minor crossings and the driveways. Same goes for US 290.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 21, 2020, 09:32:22 AM
If it's busy enough make it a freeway. If it's convenient, sign it as an Interstate. Why does there need to be any reason beyond that? If there's significant traffic on TX 71 or US 290, and that traffic would be improved by a conversion to Interstate standards, then improve it. If the traffic doesn't demand improvements, then don't. Why does the culture or the type of city or the "thinking of a place" matter? If there's trucks and cars, and they're impacted, then it warrants a freeway. If there's not, it doesn't.

Personally, I think TX 71 should have all the remaining stoplights removed between Austin and Columbus, along with a minor bypass of Ellinger. If traffic grows, which it almost surely will knowing Texan cities recently, then start working on the minor crossings and the driveways. Same goes for US 290.

You hit the nail on the head.  We are talking about numbers here, not politics.  No matter what people think amount each other, a lot of people drive from Houston and Austin and vis versa, no matter if one town thinks you should stand on your head and the other thinks fish should have the right to vote, and they don't agree with each other.  Just because they don't agree doesn't make the traffic disappear.  That never played a part in the original system.  Do you tell the truck driver who is driving his shipment from Houston to Austin that he doesn't get a freeway because the two towns don't see the world the same?

The whole entire reason for putting an interstate corridor from Austin to Houston, whether it be SH-71 (which I prefer) or US 290 is two fold, and this goes back to why the system was created in the first place:

1. Honestly, I can't stand driving 75 miles per hour on SH-71 to a large city knowing at any given moment a farmer could pull out of his driveway in front of me and kill me because the highway lacks grade separation.  I can't stand seeing road intersections, and people crossing the median because it is legal to do so.  It's about safety.  If you want a high speed corridor between the cities, you should go all out and make it a high speed freeway.  Don't get halfway there and call it good, that's lazy and very poor work.  It is all about safe driving.  Freeways are safer, period.  Interstate freeways are safer than other freeways because there are standards that must be met that are designed for 75 mile an hour driving.  A state or US highway freeway can be built below those standards, which sometimes work out, but not really.  I can't tell you how many Texas freeways I have seen with sharp turns and blind hills.

2. The average motorist is smarter than the people on this forum give them credit for.  Yes, they don't know the ends and outs of every road like you all know, but they do know a few things.  The family going to Disney World and the two blondes driving to Spring Break with he radio on and GPS because they can't read a map all know the interstate shield means a faster route and it's a freeway.  Some are scared of it or that reason, but most know its a guaranteed freeway.  They also know a US or state shield promises nothing.  It could mean a freeway or an unpaved road.  Even me coming from a state that paves all of it's state maintained highways and has a good highway system, gets a little weary when planning a route to a destination and the route evolves state highways.  I start to look for the nearest interstate and try to see if I can stay on it as long as possible.  They are easier to drive and yes most people don't understand they are also safer, but the average person knows they are a whole lot faster. 

So in conclusion it comes down to safety and brand recognition.  The people who have always driven from Houston to Austin will drive the route whether it has a shield or not, but the unfamiliar ones will follow the shield, I guarantee it.  Which ever corridor gets the shield, the trucks will move on that corridor and free up the traffic on the less safe corridor. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: motorola870 on November 24, 2020, 01:53:23 AM
Are these people actually understanding that this interchange needs an overhaul and not some beautification project due to traffic volumes?

https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2020/11/txdot-to-hear-case-for-livable-oak-hill-design/

All they are doing is trying to delay the eventual of having to build a interchange. I don't think they will win what they want if they do TXDOT should just veer the routes around them and turn it into a 4 lane boulevard split and turn it over to local jurisdictions and not give them a fantasy green scape. It is one thing to be environmentally friendly it is another to demand a street level boulevard that goes against the traffic volume and studies that prove an need for an upgrade.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on November 24, 2020, 11:31:28 AM
The contract has already been approved for the Oak Hill Parkway and the first phases of construction have already started, so this should be a non-story.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on November 24, 2020, 03:28:55 PM
Doesn't the Oak Hill Parkway project to upgrade US-290 to a freeway go as far West as the Y split with Circle Drive?

With the way the Austin region is growing, it's really should be a foregone conclusion that US-290 will need additional freeway upgrades going farther and farther West out of the area. I think US-290 could be upgraded into a freeway at least as far as the US-281 corridor, if not all the way out to I-10.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: MaxConcrete on November 24, 2020, 04:16:58 PM
The contract has already been approved for the Oak Hill Parkway and the first phases of construction have already started, so this should be a non-story.
Has the contract been awarded?
The award was scheduled for summer, but I never saw any items in the TxDOT commission proceedings.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0430/6a-presentation.pdf

Echostatic:  can you confirm that Colorado River Constructors is already set up on site and at work?

If the contract is awarded and work is underway, that mediation attempt seems pointless, but is probably necessary if the courts are mandating it.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: motorola870 on November 24, 2020, 07:46:12 PM
The contract has already been approved for the Oak Hill Parkway and the first phases of construction have already started, so this should be a non-story.
Has the contract been awarded?
The award was scheduled for summer, but I never saw any items in the TxDOT commission proceedings.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0430/6a-presentation.pdf

Echostatic:  can you confirm that Colorado River Constructors is already set up on site and at work?

If the contract is awarded and work is underway, that mediation attempt seems pointless, but is probably necessary if the courts are mandating it.
If anything they should do what they did on the new 45 toll give some greenspace trails and try to preserve the creek area but the fact they are depicting a ground level boulevard with more greenscape than currently there... I don't understand it tbh they don't want to accept reality Texas is growing and the only projects getting downverted to ground level boulevards are projects that bypassed aging freeways the Lancaster Elevated and the US175 reroute are two examples in DFW. Replacing aging and outdated highway routes that needed to happen.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on November 24, 2020, 10:57:57 PM
Has the contract been awarded?
The award was scheduled for summer, but I never saw any items in the TxDOT commission proceedings.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0430/6a-presentation.pdf

Echostatic:  can you confirm that Colorado River Constructors is already set up on site and at work?

If the contract is awarded and work is underway, that mediation attempt seems pointless, but is probably necessary if the courts are mandating it.

I live in Southwest Austin and can confirm that while ground has not officially been broken yet, some preliminary markings and other work has started and I've seen demolition permits in the city's system for the already acquired buildings in the ROW.

The most recent source other than me is this newsletter from Oak Hill Parkway: https://mailchi.mp/3b5496698c4f/oak-hill-parkway-update-10-2020 (https://mailchi.mp/3b5496698c4f/oak-hill-parkway-update-10-2020)
Quote
In August 2020, TxDOT authorized the selected Design-Build contractor, Colorado River Constructors (CRC), to begin their efforts to prepare final design plans and to construct Oak Hill Parkway.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on November 27, 2020, 10:39:33 AM
CRC will be taking soil samples along the eastbound frontage road of 290 next week, which marks the first lane closures of the Oak Hill Parkway project. Yay.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: -- US 175 -- on November 28, 2020, 02:54:31 PM
TxDOT has a construction project underway--for itself.  A new combined campus on Austin's SE side will bring together different departments that are currently in multiple parts of the city.  Completion is set for February 2022.

https://www.statesman.com/news/20201127/txdotrsquos-new-300-million-hq-starts-to-take-shape
https://www.kvue.com/article/money/economy/boomtown-2040/austin-texas-txdot-new-300-million-hq/269-d90fb93d-3879-4608-878e-067acab4b45e
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on December 11, 2020, 10:30:23 AM
A project that isn't talked about much on here is the US 183 South project in Austin. It's wrapping up early next year.

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eo9t6VVXUAYFP3C?format=jpg&name=medium)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on December 11, 2020, 02:22:03 PM
I love how they kept the Montopolis bridge for a bike/pedestrian path
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 11, 2020, 10:41:19 PM
Hopefully after they get TX-183 finished they'll work on improving TX-71 on the North side of Austin-Bergstrom Int'l Airport. The road is basically nothing more than a very busy street merely dressed up to look like a freeway. It's ridiculous for all the driveways and other junk emptying directly into the main lanes. TX-71 also needs more than a pair of barrier-separated single lanes when it crosses thru the TX-130 interchange. That whole thing is just really odd.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: RoadsByArco on December 12, 2020, 01:39:44 PM
Hopefully after they get TX-183 finished they'll work on improving TX-71 on the North side of Austin-Bergstrom Int'l Airport. The road is basically nothing more than a very busy street merely dressed up to look like a freeway. It's ridiculous for all the driveways and other junk emptying directly into the main lanes. TX-71 also needs more than a pair of barrier-separated single lanes when it crosses thru the TX-130 interchange. That whole thing is just really odd.
The highway is called US 183, it's really easy to get those two messed up since they are prominent highways in Austin in Dallas-Fort Worth.
I also think that 71 should be converted into a freeway, no reason not to (in my opinion)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Plutonic Panda on December 13, 2020, 07:41:14 AM
Not really road related hit Austin just landed the Oracle HQ relocation. Yet ANOTHER major HQ relocation out of California. Texas is absolutely on fire. I wonder how long they can keep traffic from becoming California level.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 13, 2020, 04:37:55 PM
In the Austin area they're going to have to get more serious about upgrading certain roads, like I-35 through the middle of Austin and US-290 going out the West side of Austin. Tesla's Gigafactory 5 is going to be built near TX-130 and Harold Green Road, which is one exit North of the TX-71/TX-130 interchange. That will add to the traffic load. I think there is a good chance an NFL team will relocate to the Austin-San Antonio region within the next 10 years.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on December 13, 2020, 05:16:23 PM
In the Austin area they're going to have to get more serious about upgrading certain roads, like I-35 through the middle of Austin and US-290 going out the West side of Austin. Tesla's Gigafactory 5 is going to be built near TX-130 and Harold Green Road, which is one exit North of the TX-71/TX-130 interchange. That will add to the traffic load. I think there is a good chance an NFL team will relocate to the Austin-San Antonio region within the next 10 years.

Austin hates roads I agree they need upgraded, but the no-build option often wins there.

NFL- Not if Jerry Jones has anything to do with it.  As far as that goes, the McNairs, and the Bidwells are not wanting any new blood in their regions.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 13, 2020, 05:59:57 PM
If traffic gets bad enough it will hurt business in downtown Austin. The same goes for other parts of Austin such as the Western outskirts or Northern suburbs. The new urbanist types may hate freeways, but Austin is still an extremely automobile-centric city. As Austin continues to grow they're going to be forced to improve and expand roads.

Jerry Jones is losing a lot of clout. And he isn't going to live forever either. The Dallas Cowboys haven't won a Super Bowl since the mid 1990's. The current organization is kind of a joke really.

The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex continues to grow rapidly. But Austin is growing faster and the zone between Austin and San Antonio is adding population faster than just about anywhere else in the nation. Austin will soon be the fourth city in Texas with a city limits population over 1 million. There is about 5 million people living in the Austin-San Antonio region. That's the biggest market in the nation without NFL or MLB teams.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: silverback1065 on December 13, 2020, 06:48:41 PM
i thought there were plans to double decker 35 in austin?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Plutonic Panda on December 14, 2020, 12:19:29 AM
i thought there were plans to double decker 35 in austin?
They plan to widen I-35 but that won’t last long given how fast growth is occurring. They should be proactive and add many more lanes than currently planned and look for preserving ROW for new freeways. Alternative transportation also needs to be thrown in the mix.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on December 15, 2020, 06:48:56 PM
Austin's system is fine if they get 35 fixed (really, it's the downtown geometry more than anything that's the problem). Tunnels would be great for separating through traffic. Rush hour isn't great, but it's not as horrible as it appears given geographical constraints. I'm able to commute 8 miles in 15 minutes in the morning and 30-40 in the evening.

Future growth will be multinodal, mitigating existing limitations
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on December 16, 2020, 05:03:41 PM
A project that isn't talked about much on here is the US 183 South project in Austin. It's wrapping up early next year.

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eo9t6VVXUAYFP3C?format=jpg&name=medium)

So they used the bridge supports built in the 80s for the southbound lanes across the river? Interesting, love to have read the engineering reports on that one.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Scott5114 on December 22, 2020, 03:03:34 AM
NFL discussion moved to the Sports forum (https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=28179.0).
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on February 26, 2021, 09:19:46 PM
https://www.183south.com/multimedia/photos

Am I seeing this correctly? If you are southbound on 183 and you want to go west on 71, you have to go through the Riverside intersection? Only the toll roads have a direct connection to west 71.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Mapmikey on February 26, 2021, 09:41:03 PM
https://www.183south.com/multimedia/photos

Am I seeing this correctly? If you are southbound on 183 and you want to go west on 71, you have to go through the Riverside intersection? Only the toll roads have a direct connection to west 71.

The schematic does appear to show that you can slide from free 183 into the toll flyovers to TX 71 before you reach the Patton interchange, but yes, the only direct ramps to TX 71 west from US 183 south will be tolled unless you go through the Riverside interchange.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: The Ghostbuster on February 27, 2021, 08:36:20 PM
I think the TX 183 Toll Road in Cedar Park and Leander should be part of mainline US 183, and existing 183 should be either Business 183 or a local street (N./S. Bell Rd.). Was the Bergstrom Expressway given the TX 183 Toll designation because Texas's Toll Roads have either a state highway designation, or are otherwise unnumbered?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: wxfree on February 28, 2021, 01:54:12 AM
I think the TX 183 Toll Road in Cedar Park and Leander should be part of mainline US 183, and existing 183 should be either Business 183 or a local street (N./S. Bell Rd.). Was the Bergstrom Expressway given the TX 183 Toll designation because Texas's Toll Roads have either a state highway designation, or are otherwise unnumbered?

That's a little complicated.  The 183A toll road was originally planned to be built by TxDOT and designated as US 183A.  When the regional mobility authority got the road, it was not made into a state highway, but it kept the 183A name, which is just a name, like "Dallas North Tollway."  The 290 and 183 toll roads are the same, they're just names, not highway designations.  TxDOT's toll roads have highway numbers.  Near Tyler, the road planned as Loop 49 was built by the regional mobility authority and the loop designation was removed.  People still call it Loop 49, but it's officially Toll 49, which is the name given to it by the RMA.  The 360 Tollway in south Arlington is the same, just a name, with TX 360 running along the frontage roads.  Other NTTA roads have non-numerical names.  The Sam Rayburn Tollway was originally planned as a state highway owned by TxDOT and leased to a private company.  It would have had the SH 121 designation.  When NTTA won the project, it was removed from the state highway system.

In general, a TxDOT road has a state highway designation and a road that is owned by a local or regional authority does not.  What I believe an exception is I-169.  I think that is owned by the RMA, but it is designated on the state highway system.  There may be some other arrangement.  It may be owned by and leased from TxDOT, like the southern half of TX 130.  Or it may be that TxDOT owns the road and the RMA just handles the billing.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Plutonic Panda on March 03, 2021, 02:38:51 PM
Quote
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau (the Bureau) has provided an up to $448.38 million consolidated Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) for tollway projects in the Austin, Texas metropolitan area. This is the first TIFIA loan to be closed under the Biden Administration.

- https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/us-department-transportation-announces-448-million-loan-183a-phase-iii-183s-and-290e
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: armadillo speedbump on April 05, 2021, 04:44:19 PM
Can't find it now, but last week I saw completion of the SH-45 southwest missing link to I-35 on a city of Austin planning document (not just the local MPO.)  Is there a timeline for that now, or are the local NIMBY's and city ideologues still fighting it?  The inclusion in the city doc is what gives me hope.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: The Ghostbuster on April 05, 2021, 09:11:04 PM
Is TX Loop 1 going to be extended south of TX 45? Maybe it could be another Austin-to-San Antonio relief route for Interstate 35.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: MaxConcrete on April 05, 2021, 09:25:20 PM
Is TX Loop 1 going to be extended south of TX 45? Maybe it could be another Austin-to-San Antonio relief route for Interstate 35.

As far as I know, any possibility for a southward extension of Loop 1 has been dead for a long time and is permanently dead. That area and adjacent areas toward the south are in the Barton Springs recharge and/or contributing zones. It was a big accomplishment to get the SH 45 toll section built, as well as complete the main lanes of Loop 1.

As for the missing section of SH 45 between IH-35 and FM 1626, it certainly would be nice to get it built, especially since there is no decent east-west road in that area.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on April 06, 2021, 12:07:29 AM
Is TX Loop 1 going to be extended south of TX 45? Maybe it could be another Austin-to-San Antonio relief route for Interstate 35.

Seriously doubt it.  That's true "hill country" and it won't really help traffic.   Finishing 45 to 35 will help a lot of people but probably little interest in ever extending it. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 06, 2021, 01:15:26 AM
While it already seems like its asking too much to fill the TX-45 gap between FM-1626 and I-35, I do have, um, "fantasies" shall we say, of TX-45 being fully built out as a super highway from TX-1 to FM-1826 AND extended farther West to US-290. The fantasy also includes US-290 being turned into an Interstate-class highway all the way out of the Western outskirts of metro Austin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 06, 2021, 05:15:32 PM
Dragging back from fantasyland, no I don't believe there's any plans to complete the gap at the moment. The city has featured the 45S (45 South) connection as "proposed" for many years.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on April 07, 2021, 12:58:30 AM
While it already seems like its asking too much to fill the TX-45 gap between FM-1626 and I-35, I do have, um, "fantasies" shall we say, of TX-45 being fully built out as a super highway from TX-1 to FM-1826 AND extended farther West to US-290. The fantasy also includes US-290 being turned into an Interstate-class highway all the way out of the Western outskirts of metro Austin.

I saw a somewhat recent article that from Cedar Park it will extend over 620, and near four points head south between Steiner Ranch and River Place and then come out near Bee Cave. 

FOUND IT>>>> http://www.beecavebee.com/news/local-news/455-sh-45-w-proposal-garners-campo-support  it is 6 years old though
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: aboges26 on April 08, 2021, 11:47:18 PM
While it already seems like its asking too much to fill the TX-45 gap between FM-1626 and I-35, I do have, um, "fantasies" shall we say, of TX-45 being fully built out as a super highway from TX-1 to FM-1826 AND extended farther West to US-290. The fantasy also includes US-290 being turned into an Interstate-class highway all the way out of the Western outskirts of metro Austin.

I saw a somewhat recent article that from Cedar Park it will extend over 620, and near four points head south between Steiner Ranch and River Place and then come out near Bee Cave. 

FOUND IT>>>> http://www.beecavebee.com/news/local-news/455-sh-45-w-proposal-garners-campo-support  it is 6 years old though

Knock me over with a feather!  I never have dreamed this was a consideration in reality.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 09, 2021, 12:24:50 PM
I see virtually zero chance of the North and South segments of TX-45 being linked by a Western toll road.

On the North end, FM 620 from TX-45 down to the FM-2222 intersection is badly overrun with commercial and residential development. Very little of that could be upgraded into a super highway without a great deal of cost and controversy. South of the FM-2222 intersection there a lot of hilly areas, some of which don't have any development...yet. Still, threading that down and over to the intersection with TX-45 and FM-1826 would be very tricky and involve clear a decent number of properties along the way.

It's just too bad TX DOT didn't work to secure ROW along that corridor decades ago. A wide street with a freeway size median would have been a good approach.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on April 09, 2021, 04:36:52 PM
I see virtually zero chance of the North and South segments of TX-45 being linked by a Western toll road.

On the North end, FM 620 from TX-45 down to the FM-2222 intersection is badly overrun with commercial and residential development. Very little of that could be upgraded into a super highway without a great deal of cost and controversy. South of the FM-2222 intersection there a lot of hilly areas, some of which don't have any development...yet. Still, threading that down and over to the intersection with TX-45 and FM-1826 would be very tricky and involve clear a decent number of properties along the way.

It's just too bad TX DOT didn't work to secure ROW along that corridor decades ago. A wide street with a freeway size median would have been a good approach.

I think they would do it as an elevated freeway
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on April 09, 2021, 04:40:03 PM
I see virtually zero chance of the North and South segments of TX-45 being linked by a Western toll road.

On the North end, FM 620 from TX-45 down to the FM-2222 intersection is badly overrun with commercial and residential development. Very little of that could be upgraded into a super highway without a great deal of cost and controversy. South of the FM-2222 intersection there a lot of hilly areas, some of which don't have any development...yet. Still, threading that down and over to the intersection with TX-45 and FM-1826 would be very tricky and involve clear a decent number of properties along the way.

It's just too bad TX DOT didn't work to secure ROW along that corridor decades ago. A wide street with a freeway size median would have been a good approach.

I think they would do it as an elevated freeway

Tree huggers allowing an elevated freeway in the lucrative hills of west Austin?............HAHAHAHHAHA..............That is a good one.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on April 09, 2021, 04:55:17 PM
I see virtually zero chance of the North and South segments of TX-45 being linked by a Western toll road.

On the North end, FM 620 from TX-45 down to the FM-2222 intersection is badly overrun with commercial and residential development. Very little of that could be upgraded into a super highway without a great deal of cost and controversy. South of the FM-2222 intersection there a lot of hilly areas, some of which don't have any development...yet. Still, threading that down and over to the intersection with TX-45 and FM-1826 would be very tricky and involve clear a decent number of properties along the way.

It's just too bad TX DOT didn't work to secure ROW along that corridor decades ago. A wide street with a freeway size median would have been a good approach.

I think they would do it as an elevated freeway

Tree huggers allowing an elevated freeway in the lucrative hills of west Austin?............HAHAHAHHAHA..............That is a good one.

It does sound funny
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: DorkOfNerky on April 09, 2021, 07:45:12 PM
Is TX Loop 1 going to be extended south of TX 45? Maybe it could be another Austin-to-San Antonio relief route for Interstate 35.

I could see it being co-signed with 45 Southeast from its current southern terminus to 35 to create a complete "loop". (Similar to how it is signed for a short stretch with 45 North.)

This could help people to/from the west side of downtown and avoid the stretch of Ben White between 35 and Loop 1. Especially since there isn't a direct connection to Loop 1 northbound from 71/290 or 360. (That part of 360 backs up way too much for my liking.)

But this is just casual thinking on my part. I'm not putting any effort into this.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 12, 2021, 10:43:37 AM
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eyx8zaUXEAMkARW.jpg)
Ground has broken on two new overpasses for TX 71. Good steps for eventually making a freeway corridor to Columbus.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 12, 2021, 01:16:31 PM
Ground has broken on two new overpasses for TX 71. Good steps for eventually making a freeway corridor to Columbus.
Is this project going to be tolled similar to the SH-130 interchange bypass? Also, are they going to widen that existing tolled segment to 4 lanes finally?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: MaxConcrete on April 12, 2021, 03:33:24 PM
Ground has broken on two new overpasses for TX 71. Good steps for eventually making a freeway corridor to Columbus.
Is this project going to be tolled similar to the SH-130 interchange bypass? Also, are they going to widen that existing tolled segment to 4 lanes finally?

The new section is freeway. It won't be tolled.

I haven't seen any upcoming projects relating to widening that short tolled section. However, it may be under the jurisdiction of CTRMA, not TxDOT. Short tolled sections like the SH 71 section are super-annoying in my opinion. It's a relic of TxDOT's period of toll road hegemony.

I'm glad to see this freeway upgrade proceeding. Going back to the 1989-90 when I was attending UT-Austin, it was always a drag to nearly reach Austin coming from Houston and then encounter the traffic signals in this area. (although I don't know for a fact that there were signals at these two crossings). I also played a lot of recreation soccer games on the fields as Ross Road in the late 1990s.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 12, 2021, 04:00:20 PM
I haven't seen any upcoming projects relating to widening that short tolled section. However, it may be under the jurisdiction of CTRMA, not TxDOT. Short tolled sections like the SH 71 section are super-annoying in my opinion. It's a relic of TxDOT's period of toll road hegemony.
Agreed, and they need to go with jurisdiction given back to TxDOT, similar to how they recently eliminated ramp tolls at SH-242 along I-45 outside Houston.

The segment needs to be widened to 4 lanes as well to provide a seamless expressway connection.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on April 15, 2021, 10:04:57 PM
(https://www.183south.com/upload/images/gallery/20210408_5009_SH_71_at_US_183_in.jpg)

So almost finished but points that still have me scratching my head.
1. There will be a lot of traffic going southbound 183 to 71 west, and no, do not want to pay a toll to have a nonstop connection or have to go through the Riverside intersection........Arrrrgh Txdot! Look closely you can see the concrete pour for an on ramp at the Riverside exit, so there is hope.



2. So TxDot replaces all the bridges in the 183/71 area but one. Did engineers decide they could get another 20 years out of it?

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2248216,-97.6823815,3a,75y,321.34h,83.29t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVJd_AZf_5d7WvNfkAkS3Dw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on April 30, 2021, 02:18:04 PM
(https://www.183south.com/upload/images/gallery/20210408_5009_SH_71_at_US_183_in.jpg)

So almost finished but points that still have me scratching my head.
1. There will be a lot of traffic going southbound 183 to 71 west, and no, do not want to pay a toll to have a nonstop connection or have to go through the Riverside intersection........Arrrrgh Txdot! Look closely you can see the concrete pour for an on ramp at the Riverside exit, so there is hope.



2. So TxDot replaces all the bridges in the 183/71 area but one. Did engineers decide they could get another 20 years out of it?

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2248216,-97.6823815,3a,75y,321.34h,83.29t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVJd_AZf_5d7WvNfkAkS3Dw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Heading in the direction of this photo (east), once you pass the intersection on SH-71, there is a Parking Spot with a direct connection parking lot, not to mention a Valero across the highway with driveways directly connecting to the highway.  This is the only non-freeway compliant area of SH-71/US-290 from just east of SH-130 to just west of Old Fredericksburg Road.  Before they extend the freeway both east and west, how will they rectify this area in the mix?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on May 01, 2021, 02:07:28 AM
I imagine the Valero will be bought and removed, it's too close to the freeway for anything else. I imagine frontage road extensions will eventually happen on both sides of 71, connecting to Old Bastrop Highway on the north and a new ramp on the south. The whole area will need to accommodate construction of the elevated Blue Line in the late 2020s so I imagine changes will be made around then.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on June 13, 2021, 08:53:33 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 13, 2021, 09:06:15 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on June 14, 2021, 01:27:50 AM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on June 14, 2021, 02:11:37 AM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 14, 2021, 10:38:17 AM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous.

I-18.  I hate duplicated routes.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 14, 2021, 11:16:37 AM
^ Don’t tell the grid sticklers  :bigass:
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on June 14, 2021, 12:02:45 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

I have seen this idea pressed before. It is just a bunch of wasted signage.  The bottom line is in Texas the only roads that get Interstate designation are the ones that are / were funding dependent on being named an interstate (this was decades ago) and those mandated by congress.  The I-69 / I-2 disaster was mandated by congress. I-14 was a one off for Fort Hood.  The road in this discussion will almost surely remain as US-290. There probably won't be an Interstate number associated with it unless there was some sort of push from Washington (read restricted or earmarked funds).

As to the I-12 number. The way it should have worked was I-12 should have been a renumbered I-10 and I-10 from Baton Rouge to Slidell, should have been numbered as a 3DI or perhaps I-59.  Absent that, For sure I-610 should have been renumbered as I-10 and the downtown loop numbered as a 3DI.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on June 14, 2021, 12:25:29 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous.

Also, the Bergstrom Expressway just opened east of Austin, on which the designation could run…since it connects to 71 west. Versus dumping traffic on an already congested I-35.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on June 14, 2021, 12:40:24 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

I have seen this idea pressed before. It is just a bunch of wasted signage.  The bottom line is in Texas the only roads that get Interstate designation are the ones that are / were funding dependent on being named an interstate (this was decades ago) and those mandated by congress.  The I-69 / I-2 disaster was mandated by congress. I-14 was a one off for Fort Hood.  The road in this discussion will almost surely remain as US-290. There probably won't be an Interstate number associated with it unless there was some sort of push from Washington (read restricted or earmarked funds).

As to the I-12 number. The way it should have worked was I-12 should have been a renumbered I-10 and I-10 from Baton Rouge to Slidell, should have been numbered as a 3DI or perhaps I-59.  Absent that, For sure I-610 should have been renumbered as I-10 and the downtown loop numbered as a 3DI.
The only reason I think I-610 exists in LA is because they wanted I-10 to touch the center of the city.

Now, Austin is growing at a faster rate than ever, and they are all going to rely on only one Interstate, and toll roads. The only reason I thought of I-12 was for it being a route based in the south. But 16 or 18 would be fine. Now, If anything, I would check again a few decades and see any plans should they come to fruition to build a new Interstate in Austin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 14, 2021, 12:42:54 PM
Austin isn’t entirely toll roads, there are various toll free freeways there such as the Mopac, parts of US-183, US-290, and SH-71.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 14, 2021, 01:39:44 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous.

Also, the Bergstrom Expressway just opened east of Austin, on which the designation could run…since it connects to 71 west. Versus dumping traffic on an already congested I-35.

This is why I have pushed for SH-71 east of Austin and US 290 west of Austin as the preferred El Paso-Austin-Houston interstate.  Many reasons.

-It's a straight shot through Austin without a co-sign. 
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on June 14, 2021, 02:20:23 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous.

Also, the Bergstrom Expressway just opened east of Austin, on which the designation could run…since it connects to 71 west. Versus dumping traffic on an already congested I-35.

This is why I have pushed for SH-71 east of Austin and US 290 west of Austin as the preferred El Paso-Austin-Houston interstate.  Many reasons.

-It's a straight shot through Austin without a co-sign. 
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.
The only flaw I see is that I-10N&S would be hard to achieve, considering AASHTO rejecting almost all suffixed routes (Interstate & US, at least).
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 14, 2021, 02:47:03 PM
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.
You’re cutting off a mere 8 miles over a distance of 200+ miles, and “bypassing” San Antonio by dumping traffic through the Austin metro. Once the Loop 1604 expansion to 10 lanes is complete, along with the eventual construction to complete the freeway link on the east side to I-10, plus the ongoing widening of I-10 between San Antonio and Houston, I don’t foresee the current routing through San Antonio being any sort of headache for through traffic.

I’m not opposed to an interstate linking Austin and Houston, but anything west is questionable. Again, not fully opposed, just not a pressing need, and particularly being a “through traffic” argument. It’s main benefits simply appear to be connecting Austin to I-10 West, which given US-290 gets down to 1,000 AADT just east of I-10, I don’t imagine is a major connection for the region.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 14, 2021, 02:49:24 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous.

Also, the Bergstrom Expressway just opened east of Austin, on which the designation could run…since it connects to 71 west. Versus dumping traffic on an already congested I-35.

This is why I have pushed for SH-71 east of Austin and US 290 west of Austin as the preferred El Paso-Austin-Houston interstate.  Many reasons.

-It's a straight shot through Austin without a co-sign. 
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.
The only flaw I see is that I-10N&S would be hard to achieve, considering AASHTO rejecting almost all suffixed routes (Interstate & US, at least).

Those are placeholders, just to compare the I-35E I-35W split to this corridor.  I by no means am wanting a I-10N, neither do I want to renumber any interstate, especially I-10 through San Antonio.   That's why I said effectively, not renumbered.  I prefer I-18.  I have been wanting I-18 before I-14 reared it's ugly head.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 14, 2021, 03:06:00 PM
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.
You’re cutting off a mere 8 miles over a distance of 200+ miles, and “bypassing” San Antonio by dumping traffic through the Austin metro. Once the Loop 1604 expansion to 10 lanes is complete, along with the eventual construction to complete the freeway link on the east side to I-10, plus the ongoing widening of I-10 between San Antonio and Houston, I don’t foresee the current routing through San Antonio being any sort of headache for through traffic.

I’m not opposed to an interstate linking Austin and Houston, but anything west is questionable. Again, not fully opposed, just not a pressing need, and particularly being a “through traffic” argument. It’s main benefits simply appear to be connecting Austin to I-10 West, which given US-290 gets down to 1,000 AADT just east of I-10, I don’t imagine is a major connection for the region.

Again, bigger picture.
I don't care if the traffic at that specific spot is low, if you build it, they will come. 
It's about El Paso-Austin-Houston.  Long-range.  Not the Harper-Fredericksburg corridor.

I am thinking about all freight movements from points west of Austin on I-10 that are moving to points east of Austin that stay on I-10 because it's a freeway and don't want to drive through Harper and Fredericksburg.  Given a new interstate, they would take it all day. 

It is a difference of 8 miles, yes, if you drive the exact corridor the way it is currently constructed (driving though downtown Fredericksburg and Johnson City have very unnecessary north-south sections eating miles).  We all know a new interstate won't be a on-the-spot upgrade or there will be a freeway in downtown Fredericksburg.  If you follow a more straight path, more like an interstate does, its more like 20 miles shorter, very similar to what I-35W is to I-35E. 

Yes you will be dumping traffic into Austin, but hey, if that's what it takes to make my commute that should have been a freeway 40 years ago to get a bit expedited, I am all for it.  Bring on the trucks.  Plus, This corridor isn't the major traffic bog down of the city.  Ben White through town is the one time I actually saw TxDOT plan a bit for the future and make it wider than it needed to be when it was built in 1995. 

Again, just like there are low traffic counts at certain sections of the Ports-to-Plains corridor, that's doesn't mean that Point A, Point B and Point C doesn't need to be connected.  I am sure if you took away the cross country traffic on I-10, the section from Kerrville through Junction to Ozona would be just as dismal, yet they built the interstate there. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on June 14, 2021, 03:07:45 PM
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.
You’re cutting off a mere 8 miles over a distance of 200+ miles, and “bypassing” San Antonio by dumping traffic through the Austin metro. Once the Loop 1604 expansion to 10 lanes is complete, along with the eventual construction to complete the freeway link on the east side to I-10, plus the ongoing widening of I-10 between San Antonio and Houston, I don’t foresee the current routing through San Antonio being any sort of headache for through traffic.

I’m not opposed to an interstate linking Austin and Houston, but anything west is questionable. Again, not fully opposed, just not a pressing need, and particularly being a “through traffic” argument. It’s main benefits simply appear to be connecting Austin to I-10 West, which given US-290 gets down to 1,000 AADT just east of I-10, I don’t imagine is a major connection for the region.

A lot of suggestions from people who have only seen these areas on a map, rather than from behind the wheel.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 14, 2021, 03:19:45 PM
A lot of suggestions from people who have only seen these areas on a map, rather than from behind the wheel.
I’ve driven around the San Antonio metro, including I-10 both east and west, and through the city, numerous times, for the record.

The biggest choke points, both from my own experience and on a map, appear to be I-10 between Bourne and Loop 1604, Loop 1604 on the northern side and particularly the I-10 interchange, and I-10 east of the city, all of which are being widened and significant rebuilt with much greater capacity.

Again, bigger picture.
I don't care if the traffic at that specific spot is low, if you build it, they will come. 
It's about El Paso-Austin-Houston.  Long-range.  Not the Harper-Fredericksburg corridor.

I am thinking about all freight movements from points west of Austin on I-10 that are moving to points east of Austin that stay on I-10 because it's a freeway and don't want to drive through Harper and Fredericksburg.  Given a new interstate, they would take it all day. 

It is a difference of 8 miles, yes, if you drive the exact corridor the way it is currently constructed (driving though downtown Fredericksburg and Johnson City have very unnecessary north-south sections eating miles).  We all know a new interstate won't be a on-the-spot upgrade or there will be a freeway in downtown Fredericksburg.  If you follow a more straight path, more like an interstate does, its more like 20 miles shorter, very similar to what I-35W is to I-35E. 

Yes you will be dumping traffic into Austin, but hey, if that's what it takes to make my commute that should have been a freeway 40 years ago to get a bit expedited, I am all for it.  Bring on the trucks.  Plus, This corridor isn't the major traffic bog down of the city.  Ben White through town is the one time I actually saw TxDOT plan a bit for the future and make it wider than it needed to be when it was built in 1995. 

Again, just like there are low traffic counts at certain sections of the Ports-to-Plains corridor, that's doesn't mean that Point A, Point B and Point C doesn't need to be connected.  I am sure if you took away the cross country traffic on I-10, the section from Kerrville through Junction to Ozona would be just as dismal, yet they built the interstate there. 
I agree with the bigger picture point, and is part of the reason I support the Ports to Plains concepts… I just question this particular corridor because that long distance corridor you keep saying will come is… well already in full existence. It just goes through San Antonio rather than Austin.

And for the record, the build it, they will come argument seems moot when you consider I-10 dips down to a mere 4,000 AADT west of Fort Stockton. Not seeing where all this freight movement is coming from.

And how much of the 15,000 AADT (clearly not all long haul to El Paso traffic) east of the western US-290 split that remains on I-10 is truly continuing to Houston? There’s San Antonio, I-37 South to Corpus Christi and the Valley, etc…

I don’t think much would change if you upgraded it for the “big picture”, given these facts.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on June 14, 2021, 05:26:30 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous.

Also, the Bergstrom Expressway just opened east of Austin, on which the designation could run…since it connects to 71 west. Versus dumping traffic on an already congested I-35.

This is why I have pushed for SH-71 east of Austin and US 290 west of Austin as the preferred El Paso-Austin-Houston interstate.  Many reasons.

-It's a straight shot through Austin without a co-sign. 
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.
The only flaw I see is that I-10N&S would be hard to achieve, considering AASHTO rejecting almost all suffixed routes (Interstate & US, at least).

Those are placeholders, just to compare the I-35E I-35W split to this corridor.  I by no means am wanting a I-10N, neither do I want to renumber any interstate, especially I-10 through San Antonio.   That's why I said effectively, not renumbered.  I prefer I-18.  I have been wanting I-18 before I-14 reared it's ugly head.
Ah sorry. Didn’t catch that. Hmm. Would I-16 work too? Just asking.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on June 14, 2021, 05:32:26 PM

The only reason I think I-610 exists in LA is because they wanted I-10 to touch the center of the city.

Now, Austin is growing at a faster rate than ever, and they are all going to rely on only one Interstate, and toll roads. The only reason I thought of I-12 was for it being a route based in the south. But 16 or 18 would be fine. Now, If anything, I would check again a few decades and see any plans should they come to fruition to build a new Interstate in Austin.

I 610 was built after I-10 so through traffic could bypass the central city.  I-10 went to downtown and back for a decade or more before 610 was built.

I stand with my position that the only reason Austin to Houston gets an INTERSTATE number is if Washington forces it either by legislation or restricted funding.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 14, 2021, 05:38:57 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous.

Also, the Bergstrom Expressway just opened east of Austin, on which the designation could run…since it connects to 71 west. Versus dumping traffic on an already congested I-35.

This is why I have pushed for SH-71 east of Austin and US 290 west of Austin as the preferred El Paso-Austin-Houston interstate.  Many reasons.

-It's a straight shot through Austin without a co-sign. 
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.
The only flaw I see is that I-10N&S would be hard to achieve, considering AASHTO rejecting almost all suffixed routes (Interstate & US, at least).

Those are placeholders, just to compare the I-35E I-35W split to this corridor.  I by no means am wanting a I-10N, neither do I want to renumber any interstate, especially I-10 through San Antonio.   That's why I said effectively, not renumbered.  I prefer I-18.  I have been wanting I-18 before I-14 reared it's ugly head.
Ah sorry. Didn’t catch that. Hmm. Would I-16 work too? Just asking.

I can't stand duplicated interstate routes.  The northern ones are in a "not much more they could do" position because there are a lot of east-west routes and not many numbers.  I am of the impression if there are available numbers between the two major routes, use them, even if there is a slight grid violation.  It's way better then having two routes with the same number but have nothing to do with each other. 

I-12 taken, exists in Louisiana
I-14 taken, exists in Texas (and was a planned interstate for years before that)
I-16 taken, exists in Georgia

That leaves I-18 which has been my preferred route number. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on June 14, 2021, 07:47:29 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous.

Also, the Bergstrom Expressway just opened east of Austin, on which the designation could run…since it connects to 71 west. Versus dumping traffic on an already congested I-35.

This is why I have pushed for SH-71 east of Austin and US 290 west of Austin as the preferred El Paso-Austin-Houston interstate.  Many reasons.

-It's a straight shot through Austin without a co-sign. 
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.
The only flaw I see is that I-10N&S would be hard to achieve, considering AASHTO rejecting almost all suffixed routes (Interstate & US, at least).

Those are placeholders, just to compare the I-35E I-35W split to this corridor.  I by no means am wanting a I-10N, neither do I want to renumber any interstate, especially I-10 through San Antonio.   That's why I said effectively, not renumbered.  I prefer I-18.  I have been wanting I-18 before I-14 reared it's ugly head.
Ah sorry. Didn’t catch that. Hmm. Would I-16 work too? Just asking.

I can't stand duplicated interstate routes.  The northern ones are in a "not much more they could do" position because there are a lot of east-west routes and not many numbers.  I am of the impression if there are available numbers between the two major routes, use them, even if there is a slight grid violation.  It's way better then having two routes with the same number but have nothing to do with each other. 

I-12 taken, exists in Louisiana
I-14 taken, exists in Texas (and was a planned interstate for years before that)
I-16 taken, exists in Georgia

That leaves I-18 which has been my preferred route number.
So would that mean the west and east termini both  be at I-10?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on June 14, 2021, 08:59:01 PM
I-76 is in two locations now.

New freeway should be I-16. Assign it to 290 if TXDot ever gets serious about (I doubt it). Or make the 71 leg to I-10 once brought up to interstate standards a three digit interstate.

Now back to reality, 290 is a dangerous four lane undivided highway in some areas with no turning lane. Amazes me there are not more rear ended collisions.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on June 14, 2021, 09:25:45 PM
I-76 is in two locations now.

New freeway should be I-16. Assign it to 290 if TXDot ever gets serious about (I doubt it). Or make the 71 leg to I-10 once brought up to interstate standards a three digit interstate.

Now back to reality, 290 is a dangerous four lane undivided highway in some areas with no turning lane. Amazes me there are not more rear ended collisions.

They are in the process adding medians to the undivided sections and I think it’s almost complete. The only undivided sections left are at Elgin, Giddings and Brenham.

Though, I wish they would have just gone ahead and made the medians wide enough to
accommodate future freeway lanes in the middle. This makes me believe they plan on 71 being the limited access route of choice.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 14, 2021, 09:52:29 PM
Texas doesn’t seem too much on board with the super wide median concept that much these days… if they upgrade it, they’ll likely either build frontage roads to the outside, or do what they are proposing on segments of US-59 and just tear it all up and build a new 2+2+2+2 layout on the existing footprint but all new (i.e. not reusing the old roadbed of the original divided highway).
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on June 14, 2021, 11:13:35 PM
Texas doesn’t seem too much on board with the super wide median concept that much these days… if they upgrade it, they’ll likely either build frontage roads to the outside, or do what they are proposing on segments of US-59 and just tear it all up and build a new 2+2+2+2 layout on the existing footprint but all new (i.e. not reusing the old roadbed of the original divided highway).

Nope, at least not for highways that won’t be upgraded for several years. They are building a highway like that near me (I posted about it in the Williamson County thread), but I think the plan is to build out the mainlanes shortly after the frontage roads are done.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 14, 2021, 11:28:02 PM
Texas doesn’t seem too much on board with the super wide median concept that much these days… if they upgrade it, they’ll likely either build frontage roads to the outside, or do what they are proposing on segments of US-59 and just tear it all up and build a new 2+2+2+2 layout on the existing footprint but all new (i.e. not reusing the old roadbed of the original divided highway).

Nope, at least not for highways that won’t be upgraded for several years. They are building a highway like that near me (I posted about it in the Williamson County thread), but I think the plan is to build out the mainlanes shortly after the frontage roads are done.
For new location urban facilities, that trend seems to continue. For rural widening projects… not so much.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on June 15, 2021, 02:29:55 AM
Sometimes the medians are wide enough to fit four main lanes. Is that something they’ve ever done?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on June 15, 2021, 09:57:39 AM
Sometimes the medians are wide enough to fit four main lanes. Is that something they’ve ever done?

As far the Austin area, 183 has been built like that several years between Leander and Liberty Hill. I think they finally break ground on the mainlanes for that section next year.

For Texas in general, US77 has always been that way between Riviera and Raymondville and I believe they are building the mainlanes for 69 in the middle.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on June 15, 2021, 12:12:48 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous.

Also, the Bergstrom Expressway just opened east of Austin, on which the designation could run…since it connects to 71 west. Versus dumping traffic on an already congested I-35.

This is why I have pushed for SH-71 east of Austin and US 290 west of Austin as the preferred El Paso-Austin-Houston interstate.  Many reasons.

-It's a straight shot through Austin without a co-sign. 
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.
The only flaw I see is that I-10N&S would be hard to achieve, considering AASHTO rejecting almost all suffixed routes (Interstate & US, at least).

Those are placeholders, just to compare the I-35E I-35W split to this corridor.  I by no means am wanting a I-10N, neither do I want to renumber any interstate, especially I-10 through San Antonio.   That's why I said effectively, not renumbered.  I prefer I-18.  I have been wanting I-18 before I-14 reared it's ugly head.
Ah sorry. Didn’t catch that. Hmm. Would I-16 work too? Just asking.

I can't stand duplicated interstate routes.  The northern ones are in a "not much more they could do" position because there are a lot of east-west routes and not many numbers.  I am of the impression if there are available numbers between the two major routes, use them, even if there is a slight grid violation.  It's way better then having two routes with the same number but have nothing to do with each other. 

I-12 taken, exists in Louisiana
I-14 taken, exists in Texas (and was a planned interstate for years before that)
I-16 taken, exists in Georgia

That leaves I-18 which has been my preferred route number.
So would that mean the west and east termini both  be at I-10?

As I have said elsewhere and on here more than once, I really don't see an interstate numbering on this or any Austin to Houston routing.  If it were, the number should be an X10 number. Either I-810 or I-710. While the 8 would be more apt for a route that begins and ends at I-10, the seven would seemingly be more in line with the intent for the road, especially if it did not follow on to I-10 past Austin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on June 15, 2021, 12:49:15 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous.

Also, the Bergstrom Expressway just opened east of Austin, on which the designation could run…since it connects to 71 west. Versus dumping traffic on an already congested I-35.

This is why I have pushed for SH-71 east of Austin and US 290 west of Austin as the preferred El Paso-Austin-Houston interstate.  Many reasons.

-It's a straight shot through Austin without a co-sign. 
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.

Actually, since it is Texas, which hasn't shied away from the reiteration of suffixed Interstates, and Austin itself is approaching the 1M population mark, there's sufficient cause to actually and formally designate I-10N and I-10S through Austin and San Antonio respectively.  Of course, AASHTO and FHWA would have to concur, but if TxDOT were to initiate the move, that might go a way toward realization.  Now -- getting the Austin powers that be to throw their support behind such a corridor -- a necessary initial step -- might be a tougher row to hoe; their priorities seem to be providing local corridors to serve the expanding metro area rather than those to connect it with other regions -- and some local factions may prefer not to be located on a cross-country corridor, or anything with the potential to bring more "outside" traffic into the metro area.  So far that concept has been officially avoided in Austin; corridor concepts like I-14, which is in part intended to serve a previously Interstate-free zone, haven't gotten traction or even attention in the state capital city.  But that doesn't mean someone can't try to get the ball rolling -- but somewhere along the line they're liable to encounter apathy or outright opposition.  All that can be said is "good luck" to anyone attempting to identify and develop such a corridor.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 15, 2021, 01:42:41 PM
Here are the CAMPO 2045 arterial plans. Looks like they anticipate (or propose) that both 71 East and 290 East will be limited access, at last in the outer metro area:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hJvCstSua55osbz013HvPSKzf7Pw7G6b/view?usp=sharing
Nice to see both US-290 and SH-71 as limited access heading east... unfortunately US-290 to the west ends limited access at Dripping Springs. For a true long range plan, should extend out to US-281 at a minimum, or in this case, to the edge of the metropolitan planning area.
If US 290 we’re to be upgraded to limited access from Austin to Houston, I could see it become an interstate, as least to connect Houston to Austin. It could be a new designation, or Maybe it could be a continuation of I-12, (could be co-signed with I-10 from Houston (I-610 interchange) to Baton Rouge (western terminus), like 20/59 from MS to AL). Not saying it will become interstate though, but if it did indeed become one, would it still be cosigned with I-35 in Austin?

Unless it continued on west back to I-10, a multiplex with I-35 would be pointless; it would likely just end at its junction with that route.  Since we've let a bit of Fictional through the door -- it would likely be an independent western I-12; signage from Baton Rouge to Houston would be a bit gratuitous.

Also, the Bergstrom Expressway just opened east of Austin, on which the designation could run…since it connects to 71 west. Versus dumping traffic on an already congested I-35.

This is why I have pushed for SH-71 east of Austin and US 290 west of Austin as the preferred El Paso-Austin-Houston interstate.  Many reasons.

-It's a straight shot through Austin without a co-sign. 
-It would relive any cross Texas/cross country I-10 traffic from dipping way south to San Antonio.
-It would effectively act as the I-35E and I-35W split being the 71/290 version being more of an I-10N and the existing I-10 from Columbus to Segovia being effectively I-10S
-It would be relatively less work for a greater impact.  Not only would the upgrades be minimum, especially through Austin and east of Austin, but it is a 220 mile corridor to upgrade to make an impact on a 2,500 mile corridor.  Just 220 miles to make a coast to coast interstate.
-Finally the El Paso-Austin-Houston corridor will be connected by interstate.

Actually, since it is Texas, which hasn't shied away from the reiteration of suffixed Interstates, and Austin itself is approaching the 1M population mark, there's sufficient cause to actually and formally designate I-10N and I-10S through Austin and San Antonio respectively.  Of course, AASHTO and FHWA would have to concur, but if TxDOT were to initiate the move, that might go a way toward realization.  Now -- getting the Austin powers that be to throw their support behind such a corridor -- a necessary initial step -- might be a tougher row to hoe; their priorities seem to be providing local corridors to serve the expanding metro area rather than those to connect it with other regions -- and some local factions may prefer not to be located on a cross-country corridor, or anything with the potential to bring more "outside" traffic into the metro area.  So far that concept has been officially avoided in Austin; corridor concepts like I-14, which is in part intended to serve a previously Interstate-free zone, haven't gotten traction or even attention in the state capital city.  But that doesn't mean someone can't try to get the ball rolling -- but somewhere along the line they're liable to encounter apathy or outright opposition.  All that can be said is "good luck" to anyone attempting to identify and develop such a corridor.

Interesting point I never really considered.  I always thought more traffic means more $$.  After all money makes everything move right?   My biggest selling point to Austin was and always is, the corridor in question is about 955 complete in Austin, and the other 5% has been on the books for 40 years.  I have always took the stance that Austin hates freeway construction, and heavy emphasis on construction.  Once it's constructed they usually move on with life.  Once upon a time they hated Mopac, but now its there they seem to actually like it.  I figured this way of thinking would help the biggest hurdle.  The biggest hurdle being getting it through Austin.  The old " the corridor needs no upgrading in your backyard, just those other people's back yard".  I never thought someone would be opposed to being on, essentially, a coast to coast route.   Yes it will bring more traffic to Austin, but local business knows more traffic brings more money.   People will use a freeway more readily to get to businesses in a city that is thought to be a long way away since the trip become quicker.  Like Austin and San Antonio don't really feel that far apart, only because there is a freeway between the two (a heavy congested one, I know).
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on June 15, 2021, 01:47:29 PM
I think you fail to understand the dynamics of Austin. Texas is still conservative, rugged, and love our cars. Then there is Austin; progressive, modern, a college town run amuck. The government (the legislature) meets there every other year and then goes home. Austin is just an afterthought to the rest of Texas and the majority of the legislature. The governor has very limited power beyond the veto and a few emergency powers. 

Even the UT alumni who didn't stay in Austin have limited love for it.

Somehow you think someone (anyone) in Texas (especially those Aggie Engineers at TXDOT) has any desire to make Austin something special, you had better think again. Austin is the old aunt we visit because we have to. We cannot get away fast enough and stay away until we have to return EXCEPT for the Austinites who think it is heaven and that makes the rest of us want to stay away even more.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Anthony_JK on June 15, 2021, 01:57:43 PM

[...]

As to the I-12 number. The way it should have worked was I-12 should have been a renumbered I-10 and I-10 from Baton Rouge to Slidell, should have been numbered as a 3DI or perhaps I-59.  Absent that, For sure I-610 should have been renumbered as I-10 and the downtown loop numbered as a 3DI.

Absolutely NOT.

New Orleans is large enough of a metropolitan area to deserve I-10 through it, not a 3DI. I-12 is important enough in its own right as a bypass.

Also, the original concept of the IHS was to directly serve central business districts; therefore it was favored to have Interstate highways as close to CBD's as possible. I-10's routing through NOLA, in this case, is perfectly acceptable; with I-610 serving as the "through" bypass.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Plutonic Panda on June 15, 2021, 02:01:31 PM
I thought the original plan of the Interstate project was to mirror Germany’s autobahn network and pass close to cities not through them and then that was changed.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Anthony_JK on June 15, 2021, 02:07:39 PM

[...]

Actually, since it is Texas, which hasn't shied away from the reiteration of suffixed Interstates, and Austin itself is approaching the 1M population mark, there's sufficient cause to actually and formally designate I-10N and I-10S through Austin and San Antonio respectively.  Of course, AASHTO and FHWA would have to concur, but if TxDOT were to initiate the move, that might go a way toward realization.  Now -- getting the Austin powers that be to throw their support behind such a corridor -- a necessary initial step -- might be a tougher row to hoe; their priorities seem to be providing local corridors to serve the expanding metro area rather than those to connect it with other regions -- and some local factions may prefer not to be located on a cross-country corridor, or anything with the potential to bring more "outside" traffic into the metro area.  So far that concept has been officially avoided in Austin; corridor concepts like I-14, which is in part intended to serve a previously Interstate-free zone, haven't gotten traction or even attention in the state capital city.  But that doesn't mean someone can't try to get the ball rolling -- but somewhere along the line they're liable to encounter apathy or outright opposition.  All that can be said is "good luck" to anyone attempting to identify and develop such a corridor.

That would actually be a great idea if the corridor was US 290 from I-10 east to Austin and then TX 71 to I-10. The main issue would be how would San Antonio feel about their main W-E corridor being "downgraded" to a subsegment.

Personally, though, I'd have no problem whatsoever with a western I-12 designation for that corridor. You could make the concurrency with I-10 from there to Baton Rouge silent.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Anthony_JK on June 15, 2021, 02:09:18 PM
I thought the original plan of the Interstate project was to mirror Germany’s autobahn network and pass close to cities not through them and then that was changed.

Perhaps so....I'm guessing that major cities effected that change because they wanted to further develop their CBD's.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 15, 2021, 02:13:44 PM
I think you fail to understand the dynamics of Austin. Texas is still conservative, rugged, and love our cars. Then there is Austin; progressive, modern, a college town run amuck. The government (the legislature) meets there every other year and then goes home. Austin is just an afterthought to the rest of Texas and the majority of the legislature. The governor has very limited power beyond the veto and a few emergency powers. 

Even the UT alumni who didn't stay in Austin have limited love for it.

Somehow you think someone (anyone) in Texas (especially those Aggie Engineers at TXDOT) has any desire to make Austin something special, you had better think again. Austin is the old aunt we visit because we have to. We cannot get away fast enough and stay away until we have to return EXCEPT for the Austinites who think it is heaven and that makes the rest of us want to stay away even more.

Interesting point.  All true.  Sometimes it's difficult to see the other side when you are on the inside looking out.  Although I, unlike a lot of Austinites, realize that the rest of Texas is not like Austin at all, just as much as my relatives that don't live in Austin forget that all the things they think you never see in Texas, I see everyday in Austin.  I do hate the holy than thou attitude most Austinites have simply because that's not how it was back in it's college town/hippie days.  This town went from a cool place to a very pretentious town so fast I don't know how it happened. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on June 15, 2021, 02:14:46 PM
I thought the original plan of the Interstate project was to mirror Germany’s autobahn network and pass close to cities not through them and then that was changed.
Correct. Local planners/developers through the USCoC shoved urban interstates through as a subsidy for their planned suburbs.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on June 15, 2021, 05:48:00 PM
I thought the original plan of the Interstate project was to mirror Germany’s autobahn network and pass close to cities not through them and then that was changed.
Correct. Local planners/developers through the USCoC shoved urban interstates through as a subsidy for their planned suburbs.

That's a roundabout way of looking at it.  When first conceived in the late 1930's and into the 1940's, the system was to be a "farm-to-market" network of regional connectors on a grand scale, reflecting the legislative power that then fell largely to rural/agricultural regions.  That started changing after WWII due to a substantial influx into urban areas, originally for the war effort but afterward to fill the need for personnel.  With the shift, the centers of power shifted as well, particularly after the 1950 census.  Urban areas gained Congressional seats and with it an extra share of legislative power; when the Interstate system was being physically devised in the mid-50's,urban areas wanted those facilities to serve them as well rather than simply circumvent them as with the autobahn approach.  The famous/infamous "yellow book", featuring inner-city loops and spurs as well as trunk routes, was the culmination of this dynamic.  Of course down the line those myriad loops -- and even some 2di trunks -- became the object of numerous urban protests, with several being deleted from the network. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on June 19, 2021, 12:17:38 AM
The new 183 expansion is now on Google maps. Still strange TXDot replaced all the bridges in the 183/71 interchange but this one. It is at least 50 years old. And per the project page its not being replaced.

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2248072,-97.6824296,3a,75y,310.73h,83.66t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1spxOXFHmazVVnrUUCzfLrYQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on June 19, 2021, 01:35:50 PM
The new 183 expansion is now on Google maps. Still strange TXDot replaced all the bridges in the 183/71 interchange but this one. It is at least 50 years old. And per the project page its not being replaced.

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2248072,-97.6824296,3a,75y,310.73h,83.66t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1spxOXFHmazVVnrUUCzfLrYQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192



That's not a very high-demand movement (though it will be soon as SE Austin development ramps up). Bridge is probably still in good shape, and its replacement could be deferred until more substantial work is done on 183 south of 71.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on July 02, 2021, 09:14:11 PM
The new 183 expansion is now on Google maps. Still strange TXDot replaced all the bridges in the 183/71 interchange but this one. It is at least 50 years old. And per the project page its not being replaced.

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2248072,-97.6824296,3a,75y,310.73h,83.66t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1spxOXFHmazVVnrUUCzfLrYQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192



That's not a very high-demand movement (though it will be soon as SE Austin development ramps up). Bridge is probably still in good shape, and its replacement could be deferred until more substantial work is done on 183 south of 71.

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2250408,-97.6829243,3a,50.5y,79.53h,79.44t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sCH7cNnJZAnYwp9s4wjcABA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192


Interesting theory, maybe its budget thing too. Strange move by TxDot.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 21, 2021, 02:48:32 PM
Finally this (https://www.kvue.com/mobile/article/traffic/oak-hill-parkway-project-y-construction/269-c9476988-02b1-461c-ba49-e358ade2b7a3?fbclid=IwAR2c6D9lB2aK0aHnALX23tRclY46av_d23-A_H8_p--PzeDpPRsDMvI4t1Q) project will actually start.  The last leg to getting the freeway through the city limits of Austin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TheBox on July 25, 2021, 09:41:18 PM
Now when will they ever do anything with US-290 between Austin and Houston, that isn't just physical dividing it with a median in some places recently a few years ago (according to Google Maps at least)? Which don't get me wrong, is a step in the right direction, but there is still lots of work to be done, like updating the TX-36 intersection by being more direct, and of course the long-overdue Giddings bypass.

It also looks like there's enough space in Manor and Elgin (as well as in between those) for a highway to be there but that's just me. (tho several businesses may have to be shut down to make space for it)

Here's what i was referring to, when it comes to these new medians
https://www.google.com/maps/@30.1863859,-96.9955395,403m/data=!3m1!1e3
https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2099237,-97.107191,403m/data=!3m1!1e3
https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2341607,-97.1938925,402m/data=!3m1!1e3
https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2998362,-97.2892712,402m/data=!3m1!1e3

It doesn't even need to be 100% freeway/interstate, it just needs to be a non-stop expressway between Austin and Houston at the very least
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on July 26, 2021, 02:33:02 PM
I think it's only logical for US-290 between Austin and Houston to be upgraded fully to Interstate standards. These are two giant size metros within a couple hundred miles of each other. I didn't know there were plans for a Giddings bypass, but it does make sense to build one. Elgin, TX will need a new terrain bypass as well.

Some work has been done in recent years on the Brenham bypass. More work is needed there, particularly on a freeway outlet on the West side of the bypass. Upgrading at the cloverleaf exit with Bus-290 is a non-starter.

Lots of tricky zones exist along US-290, zones that are getting increasingly cramped with development. The segment from Manor to Elgin is one example. If TX DOT doesn't at least start acting to preserve ROW the corridor will get hopelessly blocked in with residential subdivisions and other businesses.

US-290 is not the only corridor in need of upgrades in that region. The TX-71 corridor from Austin down to Columbus is building its own level of urgency. The segment between Austin and Bastrop is looking pretty cramped. A freeway upgrade might still be possible, but it would be a tight squeeze. The situation is easier farther SE from Bastrop.

The TX-80 (San Marcos to Luling) and TX-46 (New Braunfels to Seguin) corridors are additional potential super highway corridor legs between I-35 and I-10. The San Antonio-Austin region is growing rapidly and those two corridors are in the middle of some of that rapid growth.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on July 26, 2021, 07:34:42 PM
I think it's only logical for US-290 between Austin and Houston to be upgraded fully to Interstate standards. These are two giant size metros within a couple hundred miles of each other. I didn't know there were plans for a Giddings bypass, but it does make sense to build one. Elgin, TX will need a new terrain bypass as well.

Some work has been done in recent years on the Brenham bypass. More work is needed there, particularly on a freeway outlet on the West side of the bypass. Upgrading at the cloverleaf exit with Bus-290 is a non-starter.

Lots of tricky zones exist along US-290, zones that are getting increasingly cramped with development. The segment from Manor to Elgin is one example. If TX DOT doesn't at least start acting to preserve ROW the corridor will get hopelessly blocked in with residential subdivisions and other businesses.

US-290 is not the only corridor in need of upgrades in that region. The TX-71 corridor from Austin down to Columbus is building its own level of urgency. The segment between Austin and Bastrop is looking pretty cramped. A freeway upgrade might still be possible, but it would be a tight squeeze. The situation is easier farther SE from Bastrop.

The TX-80 (San Marcos to Luling) and TX-46 (New Braunfels to Seguin) corridors are additional potential super highway corridor legs between I-35 and I-10. The San Antonio-Austin region is growing rapidly and those two corridors are in the middle of some of that rapid growth.

They are starting construction on several grade separated overpasses between 130 Toll and Bastrop. I can’t remember the exact intersections but I know they are working on utility relocation right now.

After that project is complete, most of the remaining stop lights on SH71 should be eliminated. The only thing needed would be a bypass around Ellinger.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on July 26, 2021, 07:51:56 PM
If they indeed do convert US 290/SH 71 into an Interstate, it might come from the federal level.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on July 26, 2021, 11:25:45 PM
Federal involvment (funding) is needed on US-290, TX-71 and plenty of other corridors. Over the years the feds have been trying to shove more and more of the funding burden onto individual states.

Quote from: thisdj78
After that project is complete, most of the remaining stop lights on SH71 should be eliminated. The only thing needed would be a bypass around Ellinger.

Ellinger is practically a blink and you miss it town. There are only a couple or so properties to the South side of TX-71. The rest of the town is on the North side. It would probably be considerably cheaper for TX DOT to pay a good price for those few properties on the South side of the road rather than build a new terrain bypass going farther South around town.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 27, 2021, 09:42:42 AM
I think it's only logical for US-290 between Austin and Houston to be upgraded fully to Interstate standards. These are two giant size metros within a couple hundred miles of each other. I didn't know there were plans for a Giddings bypass, but it does make sense to build one. Elgin, TX will need a new terrain bypass as well.

Some work has been done in recent years on the Brenham bypass. More work is needed there, particularly on a freeway outlet on the West side of the bypass. Upgrading at the cloverleaf exit with Bus-290 is a non-starter.

Lots of tricky zones exist along US-290, zones that are getting increasingly cramped with development. The segment from Manor to Elgin is one example. If TX DOT doesn't at least start acting to preserve ROW the corridor will get hopelessly blocked in with residential subdivisions and other businesses.

US-290 is not the only corridor in need of upgrades in that region. The TX-71 corridor from Austin down to Columbus is building its own level of urgency. The segment between Austin and Bastrop is looking pretty cramped. A freeway upgrade might still be possible, but it would be a tight squeeze. The situation is easier farther SE from Bastrop.

The TX-80 (San Marcos to Luling) and TX-46 (New Braunfels to Seguin) corridors are additional potential super highway corridor legs between I-35 and I-10. The San Antonio-Austin region is growing rapidly and those two corridors are in the middle of some of that rapid growth.

They are starting construction on several grade separated overpasses between 130 Toll and Bastrop. I can’t remember the exact intersections but I know they are working on utility relocation right now.

After that project is complete, most of the remaining stop lights on SH71 should be eliminated. The only thing needed would be a bypass around Ellinger.

It will be all intersections.  TxDOT is in the process of removing all lights with grade separation intersections.  Now what the route will look like from SH-130 to Bastrop, I don't really know.  I am guessing an 85% freeway, meaning there will still be side roads and driveways, but the building for frontage roads for the grade separated sections would minimize those. 

They need to just freeway the whole thing.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 27, 2021, 09:45:32 AM
Federal involving (funding) is needed on US-290, TX-71 and plenty of other corridors. Over the years the feds have been trying to shove more and more of the funding burden onto individual states.

Quote from: thisdj78
After that project is complete, most of the remaining stop lights on SH71 should be eliminated. The only thing needed would be a bypass around Ellinger.

Ellinger is practically a blink and you miss it town. There are only a couple or so properties to the South side of TX-71. The rest of the town is on the North side. It would probably be considerably cheaper for TX DOT to pay a good price for those few properties on the South side of the road rather than build a new terrain bypass going farther South around town.

I have thought about this too.  I think expanding the right-of-way to the south is the way to go.  There is all sorts of crap on the north side of the highway, but just some dilapidated barns on the south.  I love your comment about Ellinger being a blink.  It may be small, but with them forcing you to go 55 (dropping from a cool 75) and all the people pulling in and out of Hruska's Bakery, its kinda a pain to drive through. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 27, 2021, 10:49:10 AM
As much as I don't like the US-290 corridor and find it to be a waste to be the link between Houston and Austin, I am not opposed to upgrading it to an interstate.  I just want both SH-71 and US-290 to be upgraded to interstates.  If US-290 west of Austin is upgraded to an interstate for it to tie to I-10 west, then that will leave only US-290 existing between Austin and Houston (if a west interstate is built, you know US-290 will be truncated).  I think US-290 should be upgraded the whole way and be decommissioned all together.  It has already gone several rounds of truncation.  It is time to put this intrastate highway to rest.  I am not on of these road geeks that gets upset about the decommissioning of US highways.  For the most part they are redundant when they are along interstate corridors.  Leave US highways for the rural corridors and keep them off the interstate corridors. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on July 27, 2021, 01:27:16 PM
Quote from: ethanhopkin14
Now what the route will look like from SH-130 to Bastrop, I don't really know.  I am guessing an 85% freeway, meaning there will still be side roads and driveways, but the building for frontage roads for the grade separated sections would minimize those. They need to just freeway the whole thing.

If TX DOT at least gets flanking frontage roads built alongside TX-71 from Toll-130 to Bastrop that would at least preserve the ROW for a complete freeway upgrade.

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
I think expanding he right-of-way to the south is the way to go.  There is all sorts of crap on the north side of the highway, but just some dilapidated barns on the south.  I love your comment about Ellinger being a blink.  It may be small, but with them forcing you to go 55 (dropping from a cool 75) and all the people pulling in and out of Hruska's Bakery, its kinda a pain to drive through.

A single freeway exit for FM-2503 (in front of Hruška's) would solve that problem. The speed zone would be eliminated. It would dramatically improve the safety levels for thru traffic. If TX-71 was 100% Interstate quality from TX-130 to I-10 it might improve business in towns along the corridor like Ellinger. Right now it doesn't look like much. A complete freeway could encourage new development.

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
As much as I don't like the US-290 corridor and find it to be a waste to be the link between Houston and Austin, I am not opposed to upgrading it to an interstate.  I just want both SH-71 and US-290 to be upgraded to interstates.  If US-290 west of Austin is upgraded to an interstate for it to tie to I-10 west, then that will leave only US-290 existing between Austin and Houston (if a west interstate is built, you know US-290 will be truncated)

The US-290 corridor definitely needs to be upgraded to Interstate standards going West out of Austin, thru Johnson City & Fredericksburg, ultimately with a freeway connecting to I-10. Austin is a big enough city in its own right (city limits population near or just over 1 million) to justify an East-West Interstate thru the metro. US-290 is the only West side outlet. US-290 and TX-71 are the East side outlet, both pointing towards different halves of the giant Houston metro.

Austin is one of very few US cities with million-ish city limits populations that doesn't have both North-South and East-West Interstate highways. NYC, LA, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Antonio and Dallas all have North-South and East-West Interstate corridors connecting to them. Austin just has a North-South route (I-35). San Jose is the only other exception.

Technically I-80 is San Jose's Eastern outlet, but that's way to the North. I-580 is the nearest East-West Interstate. CA-152 is the nearest East-West highway to the South. San Jose is blocked in by big mountain ranges, preventing any direct East-West corridor to San Jose from being built. US-101 is the only Southern outlet. Even though US-101 badly needs to be brought fully up to Interstate standards from San Jose to LA it will be many years before it finally gets there. Anyway, Austin doesn't have any of those geographical challenges in building a new Interstate. But it is building up more of the California style political challenges.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on July 28, 2021, 01:45:24 AM
FYI, the “Virtual Groundbreaking” on the first segment of the SH71 construction east of SH130:

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: The Ghostbuster on July 30, 2021, 02:00:36 PM
In 2011, U.S. Representatives John Culberson and Michael T. McCaul asked TXDOT to make US 290 an Interstate corridor: https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/cyfair-news/article/Officials-favoring-upgrade-by-TXDOT-2180292.php. However, in the decade since, little progress seems to have been made on that front. The US 290 corridor will probably not be sporting Interstate signs anytime soon, unless more proponents promote a US 290-to-Interstate Highway conversion.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on July 30, 2021, 03:26:21 PM
In 2011, U.S. Representatives John Culberson and Michael T. McCaul asked TXDOT to make US 290 an Interstate corridor: https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/cyfair-news/article/Officials-favoring-upgrade-by-TXDOT-2180292.php. However, in the decade since, little progress seems to have been made on that front. The US 290 corridor will probably not be sporting Interstate signs anytime soon, unless more proponents promote a US 290-to-Interstate Highway conversion.

They're going to need more Austin-area politicians to buy in, and nobody really cares enough there for that to happen.

Besides, converting SH 71 to I-510 would be far more cost-effective.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on July 30, 2021, 04:12:01 PM
In 2011, U.S. Representatives John Culberson and Michael T. McCaul asked TXDOT to make US 290 an Interstate corridor: https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/cyfair-news/article/Officials-favoring-upgrade-by-TXDOT-2180292.php. However, in the decade since, little progress seems to have been made on that front. The US 290 corridor will probably not be sporting Interstate signs anytime soon, unless more proponents promote a US 290-to-Interstate Highway conversion.

They're going to need more Austin-area politicians to buy in, and nobody really cares enough there for that to happen.

Besides, converting SH 71 to I-510 would be far more cost-effective.

Yep, especially since the work is already being done on 71 as we speak. The only work done on 290 in the last 10 years is creating a median in undivided sections.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on August 01, 2021, 09:55:19 PM
I was driving along SH71 (east of 130) this morning and work is moving along farther than I expected:

(https://i.ibb.co/7KZgqP9/4-D27-CB05-F52-E-4-B64-9-B70-A15-DEB159-A8-A.jpg)

(https://i.ibb.co/NCtTVzw/187591-B7-356-F-406-A-B244-84771-CA4-A4-C4.jpg)

(https://i.ibb.co/F0WwkNQ/A51-C0730-DC14-4995-AFB4-FD2215-CDED4-D.jpg)

(https://i.ibb.co/3mttBty/7335724-E-AEE5-4756-8-DFD-3-E13-C7978889.jpg)





Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on August 02, 2021, 10:07:29 AM
In 2011, U.S. Representatives John Culberson and Michael T. McCaul asked TXDOT to make US 290 an Interstate corridor: https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/cyfair-news/article/Officials-favoring-upgrade-by-TXDOT-2180292.php. However, in the decade since, little progress seems to have been made on that front. The US 290 corridor will probably not be sporting Interstate signs anytime soon, unless more proponents promote a US 290-to-Interstate Highway conversion.

They're going to need more Austin-area politicians to buy in, and nobody really cares enough there for that to happen.

Besides, converting SH 71 to I-510 would be far more cost-effective.

Yes.  Cheaper and easier. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on August 02, 2021, 09:31:06 PM
In 2011, U.S. Representatives John Culberson and Michael T. McCaul asked TXDOT to make US 290 an Interstate corridor: https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/cyfair-news/article/Officials-favoring-upgrade-by-TXDOT-2180292.php. However, in the decade since, little progress seems to have been made on that front. The US 290 corridor will probably not be sporting Interstate signs anytime soon, unless more proponents promote a US 290-to-Interstate Highway conversion.

Since no continuing support/promotional entity similar to those backing I-69 and, in an earlier developmental phase, I-14 and the P2P/I-27 efforts, has emerged to spearhead such an undertaking, it's likely that any upgrades will continue to be effected on a piecemeal basis rather than as an effort to complete this particular corridor.  Also, even though it wouldn't serve Austin (and whether Austin interests care whether such a corridor exists is questionable), the largely parallel I-14 to the north at least has a steady if not impatient group of supporters (probably including some A & M clout!), which might have the effect of taking a bit of wind out of the sails of backers of an I-grade US 290.  Besides, even the Houston folks sort of backing such an effort are claiming that it's already Interstate grade (which it is, only just as far west as the TX 6 "split"), which is less than encouraging for the prospects of the remainder of 290 to the west.  As I've iterated before, this is Texas -- if you want a new Interstate corridor to get on the agenda, the first thing is to form a solid core of backers (with $$ doesn't hurt!), get your ducks in terms of your local congressperson and your state representatives in line/on board (a U.S. senator helps, but not vital here), and get a federal high priority corridor established with a "future Interstate" codicil (specific numbering optional).  Then push every year for some funding -- even if it's only initially for a route study.  If someone does that re US 290, then Austin-area indifference might just not be a factor; the ball will be kept rolling elsewhere.   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on August 02, 2021, 11:46:31 PM
I’d say forget about 290 for the near future. The focus should be on SH71. The work is already being done to eliminate the remaining lights between Austin and Bastrop (as shown in the pictures above). There’s only about 4 or 5 left. Once complete, in about 5 years you will be able to drive from Austin to Columbus without any stops.

Between Chappel Hill, Brenham, Giddings, Elgin & Manor, there are still about 19 or 20 stop lights that need to be eliminated on 290 and there’s no plans on the books for any of them right now.

The only remaining barrier on 71 (once the current project is complete) is Ellinger, and really that’s more of a speed limitation than anything.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on August 03, 2021, 04:23:21 AM
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
One of the salient features of a US 290-based corridor versus one on TX 71 is that it won't dump additional traffic onto I-10 for the remainder of the distance to Houston.  Nevertheless, I wonder if anyone has actually done either a survey or a simple AADT measurement of each of the corridors to determine which seems to be more heavily trafficked (being both state-maintained routes, I'm sure the data is available).  But breaking that data down to through vs. local might be difficult unless multiple points were compared.  Also AADT east vs. west of the 71 "split" at Columbus would need to be included in any calculus.  But if 71 continues to be brought up to full freeway standards, the point may simply be moot -- a fully free-flow (with no "superstreet" or J-turn features) 71 would certainly be a more cost-effective route -- and one that TxDOT would likely support as their choice were an Interstate corridor to be seriously proposed.  All that being said -- the one thing that would shift any support to a 290 corridor would be if just about every town and state or congressional legislator along the corridor came out in favor of a routing there.  Even then, it would be likely that such a corridor would start out along TX 71 immediately east of Austin before shifting north via TX 21 at Bastrop to the 290 corridor -- if only to (a) take advantage of the existing improvements just east of Austin on 71, as well as (b)  add Bastrop to the support mix.   But even then the idea of Interstate designation for this corridor may be less than compelling if there's not a lot of consistent or even formalized support for it.   Even halting approval from Austin interests and/or residents might be enough to initiate activity in this regard. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on August 03, 2021, 08:01:56 AM
^^^^

Regarding the dump of traffic onto I-10: one positive note is the current expansion of I-10 from 4 to 6 lanes between the SH71 split and Brookshire. I think the Columbus to Sealy segment is the next up to start, so it may be finished before SH71 becomes “free flowing”.

I’m in agreement that both 71/290 need to be upgraded no matter what, but in terms of what is more feasible for the near future (5-10 years), 71 has a significant head start.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on August 03, 2021, 02:33:37 PM
^^^^

Regarding the dump of traffic onto I-10: one positive note is the current expansion of I-10 from 4 to 6 lanes between the SH71 split and Brookshire. I think the Columbus to Sealy segment is the next up to start, so it may be finished before SH71 becomes “free flowing”.

I’m in agreement that both 71/290 need to be upgraded no matter what, but in terms of what is more feasible for the near future (5-10 years), 71 has a significant head start.

This is why I have been pushing the 71 corridor for so long in favor of the 290 corridor.  Besides the fact that if you are standing in downtown Austin and want to go to downtown Houston, the fastest way is always 71 to I-10 (again in the spirit of the original interstate plan, we are connecting Austin and Houston, not suburb to suburb), US-290 goes all the way from Houston To Austin, meaning the whole distance would need to be upgraded.  Now, granted some sections are upgraded, yes, but more of it is not upgraded than TX-71 is, and in some spots like through Elgin and Giddings, there is too much of everything along the right-of-way to simply upgrade on the spot.  Bypasses would have to be built, and many other sections would require a new terrain freeway.  TX-71 is a shorter distance to get to I-10, and all of it (after the currently proposed projects to add overpasses to eliminate the lights between Bastrop and Austin) can be upgraded on the spot with acquiring just strips of right-of-way.  I drove it Sunday and looking as I drive (I know that's not the best way to do it) not a lot of residences would need to be relocated.  Most would just lose some of their front yards.  It's a shorter distance with fewer obstacles which means a way cheaper project (and we all know DOTs love cheaper, particularly TxDOT).  The sell is WAY easier for SH-71 over US-290, and to top it all off, it makes Austin stay on the transcontinental route.  Upgrading US-290 will 100% isolate it to just that route.  Yes the trade off is it dumps extra traffic on I-10, but with the widening project happening now, I think I-10 will be more than suitable to handle the traffic upgrade.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 03, 2021, 03:44:23 PM
Quote from: thisdj78
I’m in agreement that both 71/290 need to be upgraded no matter what, but in terms of what is more feasible for the near future (5-10 years), 71 has a significant head start.

Head start depends on where you're defining the starting point of the highway upgrades. Just like there is activity on TX-71 creeping from the TX-130 toll road toward Bastrop a lot of activity has already taken place on US-290 moving West Northwest out of Houston toward Austin.

The upgrade to US-290 between the monster interchange of I-10/I-610/US-290 and the Grand Parkway has been very extensive. It's at least 8 lanes to the Grand Parkway. US-290 was 6-laned out West of the Grand Parkway to Waller. The road is Interstate quality to the TX-6 turn-off at Hempstead. That's 1/3 of the way to Austin already. Other improvements are going on with US-290.

In the near term TX DOT will do more things like convert undivided sections of US-290 to divided, like what is going on between Elgin and Giddings. New bypasses for Giddings and Elgin would be in order, along with more improvements to the bypass in Brenham. Around 2025 TX DOT plans to re-model the US-290/TX-36 interchange; a couple of the concepts show continuous flow for the US-290 main lanes thru the interchange.

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
Besides the fact that if you are standing in downtown Austin and want to go to downtown Houston, the fastest way is always 71 to I-10

Lots of people traveling between the Houston and Austin metros do not go downtown to downtown at all. Even if TX-71 is brought up fully to Interstate standards most of drivers currently using US-290 will keep on using it. It's way the hell out of the way for someone in Tomball or The Woodlands going to Round Rock to drive clear down to I-10 just to go West to Austin. They're going to stick with US-290. TX-71 is a shorter route for someone going from central Austin to spots like Katy, Sugarland, Pasadena or other places farther South of I-10.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on August 03, 2021, 04:08:49 PM
Lots of people traveling between the Houston and Austin metros do not go downtown to downtown at all. Even if TX-71 is brought up fully to Interstate standards most of drivers currently using US-290 will keep on using it. It's way the hell out of the way for someone in Tomball or The Woodlands going to Round Rock to drive clear down to I-10 just to go West to Austin. They're going to stick with US-290. TX-71 is a shorter route for someone going from central Austin to spots like Katy, Sugarland, Pasadena or other places farther South of I-10.

I know lots of people do.  That's why I qualified it as downtown to downtown to stick with the original intent of the interstate highway system.  Ben White misses downtown by 3-4 miles, I know not exactly downtown, but better situated than the US-290 northern outlet. 

I am not saying I wouldn't want to see US-290 upgraded.  I just think the easier sell is SH-71 because of that sales pitch. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on August 03, 2021, 05:23:29 PM
Quote from: thisdj78
I’m in agreement that both 71/290 need to be upgraded no matter what, but in terms of what is more feasible for the near future (5-10 years), 71 has a significant head start.

Head start depends on where you're defining the starting point of the highway upgrades. Just like there is activity on TX-71 creeping from the TX-130 toll road toward Bastrop a lot of activity has already taken place on US-290 moving West Northwest out of Houston toward Austin.


Yes but that was just an upgrade of existing limited access segments on 290. There’s been no new activity to eliminate at grade intersections west of Hempstead in the last 10 years. I don’t know of any projects in the near future along those lines either (except maybe the 36 intersection you mentioned). The only upgrades in that regard have been the new 290 toll between Austin and Manor. Other than that, it’s just been the conversion of undivided to divided.

In the last 10 years there has been a lot of activity on SH71, for example east of Bastrop to eliminate stop at grade intersections and now the current construction of overpasses between 130 and Bastrop.

So I’m simply looking at the amount of work it would take for each corridor to be mostly limited access:

290 = between 19-20 stop lights left and no near term projects on the books to eliminate them

SH 71 = between 4-5 stop lights left and construction happening as we speak to eliminate them.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: armadillo speedbump on August 04, 2021, 03:22:58 AM
Once the upgrade of 71 to an expressway from Austin to Columbus is finished, it would be far more economically beneficial to similarly convert 290 Austin-Hempstead and 6 Waco-south of Hearne to expressways, instead of wasting money on further upgrading 71 to interstate standards. 

6 just needs bypasses of Hearne and Calvert.  Off the top of my head 290 mostly just needs a Giddings bypass, Elgin upgrades/bypass, and an overpass in Chappell Hill, after the tollway projects Austin-Elgin are finished.  So I wouldn't be surprised if the price tag for that was in the ballpark of just the 71 upgrade to freeway standards from expressway.

We really need a federal Expressways designation and network plan, to give them similar status to interstates.  Because most of the time expressways are good enough for demand and far more cost effective.  Less emphasis on interstates would let limited construction money go further and benefit more people, with a greater economic impact.

Though Texas' frontage road requirements are a big part of the problem here.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on August 04, 2021, 10:15:29 AM
Once the upgrade of 71 to an expressway from Austin to Columbus is finished, it would be far more economically beneficial to similarly convert 290 Austin-Hempstead and 6 Waco-south of Hearne to expressways, instead of wasting money on further upgrading 71 to interstate standards. 

6 just needs bypasses of Hearne and Calvert.  Off the top of my head 290 mostly just needs a Giddings bypass, Elgin upgrades/bypass, and an overpass in Chappell Hill, after the tollway projects Austin-Elgin are finished.  So I wouldn't be surprised if the price tag for that was in the ballpark of just the 71 upgrade to freeway standards from expressway.

We really need a federal Expressways designation and network plan, to give them similar status to interstates.  Because most of the time expressways are good enough for demand and far more cost effective.  Less emphasis on interstates would let limited construction money go further and benefit more people, with a greater economic impact.

Though Texas' frontage road requirements are a big part of the problem here.

Sorry, but I will always disagree that expressways are "good enough".  I was driving SH-71 Sunday night, I saw a wreck at a crossover and twice had people pull out in front of me from side streets when I am going 75 mph.  Expressways are misleading.  They look and feel like a freeway, but you have sneaky driveways and side roads that jump at you.  I would say they are more dangerous, although they are divided so you don't have to worry about someone driving in the opposite direction, changing the radio station, crossing the double yellow and killing you instantly.  At least on an undivided highway, you know for a fact it's not a freeway and you don't get sucked into the expressway's seductive trance. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on August 04, 2021, 11:33:52 AM
Once the upgrade of 71 to an expressway from Austin to Columbus is finished, it would be far more economically beneficial to similarly convert 290 Austin-Hempstead and 6 Waco-south of Hearne to expressways, instead of wasting money on further upgrading 71 to interstate standards. 

6 just needs bypasses of Hearne and Calvert.  Off the top of my head 290 mostly just needs a Giddings bypass, Elgin upgrades/bypass, and an overpass in Chappell Hill, after the tollway projects Austin-Elgin are finished.  So I wouldn't be surprised if the price tag for that was in the ballpark of just the 71 upgrade to freeway standards from expressway.

We really need a federal Expressways designation and network plan, to give them similar status to interstates.  Because most of the time expressways are good enough for demand and far more cost effective.  Less emphasis on interstates would let limited construction money go further and benefit more people, with a greater economic impact.

Though Texas' frontage road requirements are a big part of the problem here.

I’m not as concerned about the interstate designation/standards. I’m purely looking at which corridor should be prioritized for conversion to a free-flowing expressway, the obvious answer is the corridor that is the farthest ahead in terms of existing status today and projects in currently progress, which is SH71.

Sure, 290 “just needs” bypasses in a handful of towns but those will require ROW acquisitions. That isn’t the case with 71…any bypasses needed have already been built.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 07, 2021, 12:18:24 AM
Quote from: ethanhopkin14
I would say they are more dangerous, although they are divided so you don't have to worry about someone driving in the opposite direction,

I've personally had multiple experiences encountering wrong way drivers on US-287 between Wichita Falls and Fort Worth. And those experiences happened at night. Pretty freaking scary.

It's actually not all that difficult for someone to have a brain-fart and hang a left turn into the on-coming lanes of a widely divided highway, especially if there is a bunch of trees growing in a freeway-sized median.

One of the things that scares me about divided expressways: poorly placed intersections and driveways. Expressways aren't required to have Interstate-quality grading. They can be more hilly. A driver can be cresting over the top of a rise at full highway speed and immediately encounter an intersection on the other side of a hill. It can be pretty bad if someone is pulling out onto the highway. It's even worse when it's a pickup hauling a trailer (common around here). They'll bolt across both lanes just to make the turn leaving oncoming traffic with nowhere to go.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on August 07, 2021, 12:52:33 PM
Quote from: ethanhopkin14
I would say they are more dangerous, although they are divided so you don't have to worry about someone driving in the opposite direction,

I've personally had multiple experiences encountering wrong way drivers on US-287 between Wichita Falls and Fort Worth. And those experiences happened at night. Pretty freaking scary.

It's actually not all that difficult for someone to have a brain-fart and hang a left turn into the on-coming lanes of a widely divided highway, especially if there is a bunch of trees growing in a freeway-sized median.

One of the things that scares me about divided expressways: poorly placed intersections and driveways. Expressways aren't required to have Interstate-quality grading. They can be more hilly. A driver can be cresting over the top of a rise at full highway speed and immediately encounter an intersection on the other side of a hill. It can be pretty bad if someone is pulling out onto the highway. It's even worse when it's a pickup hauling a trailer (common around here). They'll bolt across both lanes just to make the turn leaving oncoming traffic with nowhere to go.

That has happened to me a lot.  The pickup makes it to the median break to turn left, but the trailer is still sticking out IN THE FAST LANE.  Yes no problem with that at all. 

The blind hills and blind driveways are an issue as well.  This is why I am so adamant about there being a freeway between Houston and Austin.  To keep all these issues from happening.  I know a free ways doesn't keep all accidents from happening, but if you can eliminate the ones that occur because of cross traffic, left hand turns across traffic, poor sightlines, hidden driveways sharper curves and blind hills then I say lets do it.  In all it's a shorter proposal than I-14 or I-69.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 07, 2021, 07:44:15 PM
With Interstate highways it's very easy to get into a sort of relaxed mindset when speeding down the highway at 70-80mph. Everyone is used to Interstate highways not having at-grade intersections, driveways or improvised dirt road merges making contact with the main lanes. I'm not in the same head-space when driving on a standard 4-lane divided expressway as I am on an Interstate. And I'm really watching out for trouble whenever I'm on a rural 2 lane road. I'm doing more to anticipate traffic hazards.

This is why I have such a problem with the dozens of at-grade intersections, driveways and dirt road entries onto I-10 in West Texas. Same for I-40 near the NM border in the TX Panhandle. Those intersections aren't used very often. But when they are used it can be a very hazardous situation since the farmer or rancher may be in a truck hauling a trailer.

Austin and Houston are two giant-sized metros only a couple hundred miles apart. It only makes logical sense for the two cities to be connected by at least one Interstate quality corridor (if not two).

The only thing I consider positive about I-14 is how it might help move traffic in the far North exhurbs of Houston, such as directly linking College Station to Huntsville (not that dopey "W" shaped crap often drawn on the proposal maps).
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on August 07, 2021, 07:51:25 PM
(not that dopey "W" shaped crap often drawn on the proposal maps).
That “dopey ‘W’ shaped crap often drawn on the proposal maps” is a reflection of the existing US-190 corridor.

It’s not what is proposed for I-14. The proposal for Interstate 14 is a straight, direct line, using the existing US-190 merely as a baseline.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on August 07, 2021, 07:54:37 PM
Two corridors currently link Austin and Houston. Realistically, one ought to be at least be improved to expressway / free flowing standards. SH-71 is nearly at this stage. US-290 ought to see improvements with a few more town bypasses in the coming years / decades.

If there’s a desire for a limited access corridor, it’s going to be one route. There’s not going to be two. The traffic volumes combined for both routes is around 30,000 AADT. That’s plenty adequate on one route. I-10 has around 40,000 AADT between San Antonio and Houston and it’s one corridor. Not two. It’s mostly adequate, and is being expanded to 6 lanes throughout. There’s zero need for two interstate highways.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on August 08, 2021, 01:53:37 AM
Two corridors currently link Austin and Houston. Realistically, one ought to be at least be improved to expressway / free flowing standards. SH-71 is nearly at this stage. US-290 ought to see improvements with a few more town bypasses in the coming years / decades.

If there’s a desire for a limited access corridor, it’s going to be one route. There’s not going to be two. The traffic volumes combined for both routes is around 30,000 AADT. That’s plenty adequate on one route. I-10 has around 40,000 AADT between San Antonio and Houston and it’s one corridor. Not two. It’s mostly adequate, and is being expanded to 6 lanes throughout. There’s zero need for two interstate highways.

Are there any proposed bypass or grade separation projects for 290 on the books? Specifically  between Manor and Hempstead (aside from the 36 interchange in Brenham)?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on August 08, 2021, 02:01:46 AM
^ Not that I’m aware, but if any improvements are aimed for US-290, that should be the next priority, IMO.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on August 08, 2021, 08:50:20 AM
^ Not that I’m aware, but if any improvements are aimed for US-290, that should be the next priority, IMO.

I did some digging and found that they chose a Concept for the 36 interchange, looks like an alignment shift just to the south of the current section:

https://kwhi.com/2020/12/17/brenham-city-council-selects-preferred-concept-for-highway-290-36-improvements/

There’s expansion slated for the segment between Chappel Hill and Hempstead but it won’t start until the above project is done (well after 2026):

https://kwhi.com/2020/06/25/txdot-to-hold-public-meeting-on-highway-290-improvements-in-washington-waller-counties/
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: MaxConcrete on August 08, 2021, 09:44:23 AM
I did some digging and found that they chose a Concept for the 36 interchange, looks like an alignment shift just to the south of the current section:

https://kwhi.com/2020/12/17/brenham-city-council-selects-preferred-concept-for-highway-290-36-improvements/

According to that report, Brenham city council endorsed concept B, but I don't see anything on the project site to indicate TxDOT has selected a preferred alternative.
https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/bryan/us290-brenham.html
However, it is likely that TxDOT will accede to local desire.

Concept B is a a freeway connection at the existing interchange with only around 4 building displacements. However, the highway remains an urban highway (not a freeway) to the west, and there are a lot of commercial properties along the highway. According to the report, Brenham is asking for an overpass at Berlin Road, which is 1.5 miles to the west, but I don't think that would convert the non-freeway section since conversion would require right-of-way.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/bry/us290-brenham/111920-revised-concept-b-central-direct-connect.pdf (https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/bry/us290-brenham/111920-revised-concept-b-central-direct-connect.pdf)

Options D and E extend the freeway west of Berlin road. From the mobility perspective, option E is the best.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/bry/us290-brenham/111920-concept-d-northern-connection.pdf (https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/bry/us290-brenham/111920-concept-d-northern-connection.pdf)
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/bry/us290-brenham/111920-concept-e-southern-connection.pdf (https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/bry/us290-brenham/111920-concept-e-southern-connection.pdf)

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 08, 2021, 01:47:51 PM
Quote from: sprjus4
It’s not what is proposed for I-14. The proposal for Interstate 14 is a straight, direct line, using the existing US-190 merely as a baseline.

We'll see about that. Based on recently built Interstates (such as I-69 in Southern Indiana) and some other super highways, I wouldn't hold my breath. As long as towns like Hearne and Madisonville keep being mentioned in the I-14 corridor proposals the route will indeed have a "W" shape going through the Texas Triangle. I-14 needs to go direct from Cameron to College Station, cutting out Hearne. And it needs to go direct from College Station to Huntsville, cutting out that stupid dog-leg up to Madsionville (and then a needless multiplex with I-45).

Quote from: sprjus4
If there’s a desire for a limited access corridor, it’s going to be one route. There’s not going to be two. The traffic volumes combined for both routes is around 30,000 AADT.

As it stands there probably won't be either, not for a long time. Planners in the Austin region appear to be placing a priority on improving TX-71 going East out of the metro. Meanwhile it's very clear planners for the Houston region are prioritizing US-290, improving it going West out of the metro.

And while we're talking about AADT figures, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to come up with decent AADT figures on any point of the proposed I-14 corridor to justify building it. Even with lawmakers throwing around lip-service in favor of I-14, unfunded mandates are nothing new. I wouldn't expect much happening with I-14 outside of the Killeen-Fort Hood area any time soon.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on August 08, 2021, 02:11:33 PM
^ You’re missing a major point. US-290 and SH-71 are already four lane divided highways with some form of town bypasses in areas. They’re also fairly direct routes.

US-190 may have less volumes, but given it’s merely a 2 lane route, goes through towns, and follows a jagged route, there’s more demand to improve it to at least a straighter, limited access alignment even if only 2 lanes with alternating passing lanes.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on August 09, 2021, 02:03:44 PM
I keep banging this drum because I find it to be embarrassing that two cities of such high population do not have a direct freeway between them.  Not a "good enough" free flowing expressway.  Two cities of their size need a freeway with no at-grade intersections or crossover, no blind hills and blind curves.  To top it all off, it's a short distance for considering a rural freeway. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on August 09, 2021, 02:08:41 PM
^ You mention blind hills and curves. Wouldn’t it be a significant safety improvement to address those areas in particular first?

I understand a freeway is the long term goal, but it’s not going to immediately happen. There’s no long range plans officially for such, there’s no projects programmed to improve any section of roadway to full interstate standards, etc. And quite frankly, the traffic volumes on either route are less than, for example, long sections of I-69 that are currently seeing full upgrades. So the priority is certainly lower.

Having two four lane expressways vs. just one expressway has cut down on the need for freeway upgrades.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on August 09, 2021, 02:15:18 PM
had i designed the system i could put a small loop freeway around every downtown/city and made the connections go out from there
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on August 09, 2021, 05:07:20 PM
^ You mention blind hills and curves. Wouldn’t it be a significant safety improvement to address those areas in particular first?

I understand a freeway is the long term goal, but it’s not going to immediately happen. There’s no long range plans officially for such, there’s no projects programmed to improve any section of roadway to full interstate standards, etc. And quite frankly, the traffic volumes on either route are less than, for example, long sections of I-69 that are currently seeing full upgrades. So the priority is certainly lower.

Having two four lane expressways vs. just one expressway has cut down on the need for freeway upgrades.

I didn't say I wanted it tomorrow.  The 50 year plan is fine, just like I-69.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 10, 2021, 01:27:03 PM
Quote from: sprjus4
US-190 may have less volumes, but given it’s merely a 2 lane route, goes through towns, and follows a jagged route, there’s more demand to improve it to at least a straighter, limited access alignment even if only 2 lanes with alternating passing lanes.

More demand from WHO?  I-14 touches zero major population centers on its entire proposed route from Texas to Georgia.

All the silly spurs going willy nilly off here and there look like an illustration in desperation, only showing how far away the corridor runs from various destinations.

Is there really enough traffic moving between Killeen, College Station and Huntsville to justify building an Interstate highway? If AADT counts were really up there TX DOT would have already 4-laned a lot more of US-190 than just the overlap with TX-6 going through the College Station area. Nationally, the only portion of the entire proposed I-14 route that directly serves major cross-country traffic arterials is the Meridian to Montgomery segment that fills the East-West gap between I-20 and the end of I-85. The rest of I-14 is out in the boonies, hop-skipping from one small city or town to the next.

I've already been over how pointless this Interstate is to serving military needs. But I'm mentioning that factor again since linking military bases has been a selling point for this pork. The lawmakers promoting this crap either don't know or are ignoring how military logistics works in the 21st century.

When it actually comes to getting things funded and construction started, I-14 is going to have a tough time competing with corridor interests going to/thru much larger cities. Even parts of the I-14 setup that overlap with things like the Ports to Plains Corridor, such as the Midland to San Angelo leg, are going to serious challenges at making any progress.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on August 10, 2021, 01:32:15 PM
^ That stretch of US-190 has volumes that are only slightly less than the US-290 or SH-71 figures. There’s certainly demand on that corridor to at least something more than a jagged 2 lane road.

Certainly more demand that upgrading US-290 all the way to middle of nowhere I-10 with 900 AADT.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 10, 2021, 01:47:29 PM
Quote from: sprjus4
Certainly more demand that upgrading US-290 all the way to middle of nowhere I-10 with 900 AADT.

Congrats for missing/ignoring the points I made about the existing corridor earlier. Austin is certainly far more worthy to have an Interstate corridor going East and West of the city than freaking Killeen.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on August 10, 2021, 01:49:47 PM
^ Looking at actual traffic demand and real figures… it says otherwise.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 10, 2021, 11:11:40 PM
Again, you are ignoring my earlier points about the existing US-290 corridor going West of Austin being a pretty crappy route and the fact lots of people will drive out of the way to avoid taking such routes over a long distance. The population of the Killeen metro is a tiny fraction of the Austin metro's size. Any city with a 1 million residents just within its city limits alone (not to mention the rapidly growing suburbs) rates having at least one East-West Interstate going through the region.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on August 11, 2021, 01:18:14 PM
The problem is looking at this as one corridor being "worthy" or it being "embarrassing" that a corridor isn't a full freeway/interstate. The Killeen area pols want this, the Austin area ones don't. Furthermore, the Killeen area politicians are districted to promote their constituents' interests, the Austin ones to ignore those interests.

So much of this discussion has been agitation over lines on a map simply to make the map pretty. It's silly.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: armadillo speedbump on August 11, 2021, 01:26:27 PM
The problem is looking at this as one corridor being "worthy" or it being "embarrassing" that a corridor isn't a full freeway/interstate. The Killeen area pols want this, the Austin area ones don't. Furthermore, the Killeen area politicians are districted to promote their constituents' interests, the Austin ones to ignore those interests.

So much of this discussion has been agitation over lines on a map simply to make the map pretty. It's silly.

Exactly.

Plus once built, much of Austin (and Houston) will use parts of I-14 to reach Abilene, Amarillo, Lubbock, and of course Midland and San Angelo. 

(Though I'd prefer my usual incremental 4-lane, bypass, expressway for cost savings approach.)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TheBox on August 23, 2021, 01:41:20 PM
Still wondering what made and why was TX-36 at Brenham so important that they bothered making it the other half of the limited access bypass expressway there, instead of all of it being US-290?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on August 23, 2021, 02:10:28 PM
Still wondering what made and why was TX-36 at Brenham so important that they bothered making it the other half of the limited access bypass expressway there, instead of all of it being US-290?

I remember reading that there had been a plan in the 1970s to extend I-27 to Houston via Abilene and Temple (with the Northwest Freeway as the final leg). The Brenham bypass may have been designed with these plans in mind.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on August 24, 2021, 05:59:02 PM
Still wondering what made and why was TX-36 at Brenham so important that they bothered making it the other half of the limited access bypass expressway there, instead of all of it being US-290?

Glad they built it out, 36 needed in that little stretch.

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.1756166,-96.4238187,3a,75y,205.95h,77.37t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sWnYhjr9erSZkaePBvN5AfA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

In the past 15 years TXDot has made 195 a two lane divided road between Killeen and Georgetown and yet nothing done to 290. Must be alot small towns that are influential and do not want to be left behind by a 290 reroute outside of their towns.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on August 27, 2021, 02:05:44 PM
Still wondering what made and why was TX-36 at Brenham so important that they bothered making it the other half of the limited access bypass expressway there, instead of all of it being US-290?

I remember reading that there had been a plan in the 1970s to extend I-27 to Houston via Abilene and Temple (with the Northwest Freeway as the final leg). The Brenham bypass may have been designed with these plans in mind.

that could work out, but i don't think its necessary for I-27 to go that way, maybe down along US 83 to laredo... anyways a 3di bypass or spur in the Austin area would work perfectly instead of a whole new 2di insterstate... it wouldve been better if the useless I-14 ran through west-east through the area
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on August 27, 2021, 02:06:58 PM
Still wondering what made and why was TX-36 at Brenham so important that they bothered making it the other half of the limited access bypass expressway there, instead of all of it being US-290?

I remember reading that there had been a plan in the 1970s to extend I-27 to Houston via Abilene and Temple (with the Northwest Freeway as the final leg). The Brenham bypass may have been designed with these plans in mind.

that could work out, but i don't think its necessary for I-27 to go that way, maybe down along US 83 to laredo... anyways a 3di bypass or spur in the Austin area would work perfectly instead of a whole new 2di insterstate... it wouldve been better if the useless I-14 ran through west-east through the area

The plans don't exist anymore.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on August 27, 2021, 04:07:04 PM
Still wondering what made and why was TX-36 at Brenham so important that they bothered making it the other half of the limited access bypass expressway there, instead of all of it being US-290?

I remember reading that there had been a plan in the 1970s to extend I-27 to Houston via Abilene and Temple (with the Northwest Freeway as the final leg). The Brenham bypass may have been designed with these plans in mind.

The towns that wanted loops in the Bush, Clinton, and Bush eras got them. Palestine has a loop. Lufkin got a loop. Athens got a loop, Some of them already lost their ability for freeway usage, but they are there.  You know why we have 35 MPH traffic through towns on US-59 and US-287? The local powers that be fought the loops.  The feeling on the local front was that the local small business would be forced out of business and supplanted by regional or national chains. Two things happened and have rendered it moot. Local businesses allowed their property to degrade and regional and national chains came anyway. 

The single outlet retail store was nearly nonexistent during the 00's and 10's.Outside the convenience store segment, there is a mild resurgence of single outlet retailers, but they tend to be specialty stores and they can only exist because rents are down somewhat because retail stores are becoming fewer and fewer.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on August 27, 2021, 09:32:28 PM
The problem is looking at this as one corridor being "worthy" or it being "embarrassing" that a corridor isn't a full freeway/interstate. The Killeen area pols want this, the Austin area ones don't. Furthermore, the Killeen area politicians are districted to promote their constituents' interests, the Austin ones to ignore those interests.

So much of this discussion has been agitation over lines on a map simply to make the map pretty. It's silly.

Exactly.

Plus once built, much of Austin (and Houston) will use parts of I-14 to reach Abilene, Amarillo, Lubbock, and of course Midland and San Angelo. 

(Though I'd prefer my usual incremental 4-lane, bypass, expressway for cost savings approach.)

Chances are that if/when I-14 is built through or around Lampasas, a limited-access facility along US 183, tolled or free, will be deployed north to interchange with it.  It probably won't receive (or even be considered) for Interstate status, but it'll perform a similar function to what Toll 249 will do farther east -- connect the mostly rural I-14 corridor directly to a major city.

And when the I-14 backing legislators and TxDOT cobbled up the corridor, they bought into it as a standardized Interstate route -- no Midwest-type expressway unless that were to be an interim configuration during the development process.  But the alternate mixed concept may well find its way to TX anyway: it's possible -- even likely -- that the non-I-27 portions of the P2P corridor will be built to a combination freeway/expressway configuration -- freeway bypasses around significant towns, interchanges at major intersecting highways, and expressway segments with at-grade intersections in between.   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: mrose on August 28, 2021, 02:52:39 AM
A Houston-Austin interstate corridor has always felt like a no-brainer to me, and I always thought any theoretical I-14 that came about would be tailor-made for this corridor. Building a long distance corridor 50-60 miles north of this and only touching the College Station area is rather head-scratching to me.

I think the western part and linking it into the Port-to-Plains system does make some sense though.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on August 28, 2021, 03:09:22 AM
A Houston-Austin interstate corridor has always felt like a no-brainer to me, and I always thought any theoretical I-14 that came about would be tailor-made for this corridor. Building a long distance corridor 50-60 miles north of this and only touching the College Station area is rather head-scratching to me.

I think the western part and linking it into the Port-to-Plains system does make some sense though.


As the cliche' goes, ya gotta be in it to win it!.  Activists from San Angelo, Killeen, Temple and B/SC wanted I-14 to serve them and acted on that; so far no party from Austin has posited anything similar regarding a corridor toward Houston.  Our TX and environs poster contingent could supply -- and have done so on many occasions -- a multitude of reasons why this situation has occurred.     
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 29, 2021, 10:50:20 AM
The idea that highway corridors will only be built in areas where power brokers behave like bigger whores than anyone else is truly groan-inducing. Most of the proposed I-14 corridor would be a giant waste of money. The segments inside the Triangle between I-35 and I-45 and perhaps the leg between Midland and San Angelo (also part of proposed I-27W) are only portions that have any legit reasons to be built. The rest of it is PORK.

Even with there being an organizational effort to promote I-14 any new projects outside the Copperas Cove-Killeen-Belton area will be very difficult to complete. Anything new is going to proceed far more slowly than what we're seeing with I-69 in Texas. I would only expect new I-14 mileage to get built inside the Triangle for the foreseeable future. Lampasas might have an outside shot at getting a new freeway bypass or loop built since it is at the junction of US-281 and US-190. But that probably won't happen for a very long time. Efforts to improve US-281 as a relief route for I-35 might do more to get a freeway going through Lampasas than I-14.

Meanwhile the Austin region is still growing. Traffic counts along US-290 and TX-71 are going to keep going up, likely at much higher levels than US-190. At some point the actual functions of the highway network will take priority over political whore-ism.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on August 29, 2021, 12:49:47 PM
^ That stretch of US-190 has volumes that are only slightly less than the US-290 or SH-71 figures. There’s certainly demand on that corridor to at least something more than a jagged 2 lane road.

Certainly more demand that upgrading US-290 all the way to middle of nowhere I-10 with 900 AADT.
And for the record, the build it, they will come argument seems moot when you consider I-10 dips down to a mere 4,000 AADT west of Fort Stockton. Not seeing where all this freight movement is coming from.

And how much of the 15,000 AADT (clearly not all long haul to El Paso traffic) east of the western US-290 split that remains on I-10 is truly continuing to Houston? There’s San Antonio, I-37 South to Corpus Christi and the Valley, etc…

I don’t think much would change if you upgraded it for the “big picture”, given these facts.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on August 30, 2021, 04:42:01 AM
The idea that highway corridors will only be built in areas where power brokers behave like bigger whores than anyone else is truly groan-inducing. Most of the proposed I-14 corridor would be a giant waste of money. The segments inside the Triangle between I-35 and I-45 and perhaps the leg between Midland and San Angelo (also part of proposed I-27W) are only portions that have any legit reasons to be built. The rest of it is PORK.

Even with there being an organizational effort to promote I-14 any new projects outside the Copperas Cove-Killeen-Belton area will be very difficult to complete. Anything new is going to proceed far more slowly than what we're seeing with I-69 in Texas. I would only expect new I-14 mileage to get built inside the Triangle for the foreseeable future. Lampasas might have an outside shot at getting a new freeway bypass or loop built since it is at the junction of US-281 and US-190. But that probably won't happen for a very long time. Efforts to improve US-281 as a relief route for I-35 might do more to get a freeway going through Lampasas than I-14.

Meanwhile the Austin region is still growing. Traffic counts along US-290 and TX-71 are going to keep going up, likely at much higher levels than US-190. At some point the actual functions of the highway network will take priority over political whore-ism.
^ That stretch of US-190 has volumes that are only slightly less than the US-290 or SH-71 figures. There’s certainly demand on that corridor to at least something more than a jagged 2 lane road.

Certainly more demand that upgrading US-290 all the way to middle of nowhere I-10 with 900 AADT.
And for the record, the build it, they will come argument seems moot when you consider I-10 dips down to a mere 4,000 AADT west of Fort Stockton. Not seeing where all this freight movement is coming from.

And how much of the 15,000 AADT (clearly not all long haul to El Paso traffic) east of the western US-290 split that remains on I-10 is truly continuing to Houston? There’s San Antonio, I-37 South to Corpus Christi and the Valley, etc…

I don’t think much would change if you upgraded it for the “big picture”, given these facts.

I-14 is as much a developmental route as anything else, regardless of which section (West Texas or Triangle) you're talking about.  The Triangle-based backers, being farther along with their plans (even to the extent of laying out a "I-214" loop around the BSC area) will almost certainly see implementation before anything west of Copperas Cove with the exception of the M/O-to-San-Angelo section, a most useful "SIU" for the whole corridor.  In that respect, the comments in the above post are somewhat prescient; the more warranted sections will in all likelihood be built first.  But West Texas folks are probably looking past their present oil-based economy; if burning the stuff domestically will be rare (despite the efforts of some regional politicos) in 30 years or so, using it to manufacture plastic or other chemicals won't take up much of the loss, so they'll need other things to perk up the economy -- and providing locations for that alternate activity will take precedence.  Thus the I-14 and P2P push -- at least the construction efforts will provide some work over a couple of decades.  Whether that'll work or not is a matter for future analysts -- right now the local boosters and legislative representatives at both the state and national level want to churn the pot.  Ironically, it's not only urban activists citing induced demand as a byproduct of roadbuilding, it's these same folks touting the developmental capabilities of new/upgraded freeway facilities -- in fact, they're counting on induced demand to work its magic and somehow provide the traffic flow that is supposed to not only keep the region viable but also attract prospective employers to deploy new places for the population to work.  In reality it's a pretty tall order -- but it's also one of the few things that provides a modicum of hope to an area that, according to the just-released census maps, is either static or declining in population.  They may indeed be developmental whores -- but in their own minds they're the proverbial "whores with hearts of gold", hoping to jump-start a sputtering regional economy.

The segment of I-10 from Junction west to I-20 has always been a low-AADT corridor (I've always wondered why I-10 wasn't routed through San Angelo to join I-20 at M/O; the population base is greater and S.A. also had Goodfellow AFB); that situation has been exacerbated in recent years by the increased importance of DFW as a major distribution hub (for both rail and road commerce), so more and more truck traffic shifts to I-20 at the split in recent years.  IMO, the retention of US 190 west of Brady as "I-14S" is a purely political "make-work" concept; it'll likely be the last section of that corridor to be developed, if at all. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on August 30, 2021, 04:19:30 PM
The idea that highway corridors will only be built in areas where power brokers behave like bigger whores than anyone else is truly groan-inducing. Most of the proposed I-14 corridor would be a giant waste of money. The segments inside the Triangle between I-35 and I-45 and perhaps the leg between Midland and San Angelo (also part of proposed I-27W) are only portions that have any legit reasons to be built. The rest of it is PORK.

Even with there being an organizational effort to promote I-14 any new projects outside the Copperas Cove-Killeen-Belton area will be very difficult to complete. Anything new is going to proceed far more slowly than what we're seeing with I-69 in Texas. I would only expect new I-14 mileage to get built inside the Triangle for the foreseeable future. Lampasas might have an outside shot at getting a new freeway bypass or loop built since it is at the junction of US-281 and US-190. But that probably won't happen for a very long time. Efforts to improve US-281 as a relief route for I-35 might do more to get a freeway going through Lampasas than I-14.

Meanwhile the Austin region is still growing. Traffic counts along US-290 and TX-71 are going to keep going up, likely at much higher levels than US-190. At some point the actual functions of the highway network will take priority over political whore-ism.
^ That stretch of US-190 has volumes that are only slightly less than the US-290 or SH-71 figures. There’s certainly demand on that corridor to at least something more than a jagged 2 lane road.

Certainly more demand that upgrading US-290 all the way to middle of nowhere I-10 with 900 AADT.
And for the record, the build it, they will come argument seems moot when you consider I-10 dips down to a mere 4,000 AADT west of Fort Stockton. Not seeing where all this freight movement is coming from.

And how much of the 15,000 AADT (clearly not all long haul to El Paso traffic) east of the western US-290 split that remains on I-10 is truly continuing to Houston? There’s San Antonio, I-37 South to Corpus Christi and the Valley, etc…

I don’t think much would change if you upgraded it for the “big picture”, given these facts.

I-14 is as much a developmental route as anything else, regardless of which section (West Texas or Triangle) you're talking about.  The Triangle-based backers, being farther along with their plans (even to the extent of laying out a "I-214" loop around the BSC area) will almost certainly see implementation before anything west of Copperas Cove with the exception of the M/O-to-San-Angelo section, a most useful "SIU" for the whole corridor.  In that respect, the comments in the above post are somewhat prescient; the more warranted sections will in all likelihood be built first.  But West Texas folks are probably looking past their present oil-based economy; if burning the stuff domestically will be rare (despite the efforts of some regional politicos) in 30 years or so, using it to manufacture plastic or other chemicals won't take up much of the loss, so they'll need other things to perk up the economy -- and providing locations for that alternate activity will take precedence.  Thus the I-14 and P2P push -- at least the construction efforts will provide some work over a couple of decades.  Whether that'll work or not is a matter for future analysts -- right now the local boosters and legislative representatives at both the state and national level want to churn the pot.  Ironically, it's not only urban activists citing induced demand as a byproduct of roadbuilding, it's these same folks touting the developmental capabilities of new/upgraded freeway facilities -- in fact, they're counting on induced demand to work its magic and somehow provide the traffic flow that is supposed to not only keep the region viable but also attract prospective employers to deploy new places for the population to work.  In reality it's a pretty tall order -- but it's also one of the few things that provides a modicum of hope to an area that, according to the just-released census maps, is either static or declining in population.  They may indeed be developmental whores -- but in their own minds they're the proverbial "whores with hearts of gold", hoping to jump-start a sputtering regional economy.

The segment of I-10 from Junction west to I-20 has always been a low-AADT corridor (I've always wondered why I-10 wasn't routed through San Angelo to join I-20 at M/O; the population base is greater and S.A. also had Goodfellow AFB); that situation has been exacerbated in recent years by the increased importance of DFW as a major distribution hub (for both rail and road commerce), so more and more truck traffic shifts to I-20 at the split in recent years.  IMO, the retention of US 190 west of Brady as "I-14S" is a purely political "make-work" concept; it'll likely be the last section of that corridor to be developed, if at all. 

This also points to why nobody in Austin is pushing for an interstate connection to Houston - as far as they're concerned, the intercity infrastructure they have is working just fine. Maybe a high-speed rail connection will be nice, but as far as freeways go, the biggest question is what to do about the urban and regional projects that have been proposed.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Plutonic Panda on August 30, 2021, 04:52:30 PM
If they only care about intercity infrastructure then why would they push for HSR which would be harder and costlier than a freeway? Any city leader than can’t see beyond infrastructure in the city is someone I believe should take a course to understand why regional mobility/infrastructure is just as important.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on August 30, 2021, 04:59:04 PM
If they only care about intercity infrastructure then why would they push for HSR which would be harder and costlier than a freeway? Any city leader than can’t see beyond infrastructure in the city is someone I believe should take a course to understand why regional mobility/infrastructure is just as important.

1. Intercity infrastructure is controlled by TxDOT
2. TxDOT is largely controlled by representatives from the two near-megacities in Greater Houston and the DFW Metroplex.
3. Austin rarely gets what it seeks from the state due to partisan politics
4. Given these constraints, it's wiser to focus on the projects you can control, rather than ones you can't.
5. The status quo provides minimal hindrance on mobility to and from Houston (there are two 75 mph routes between the cities). Only roadgeeks who think that any two major cities should have an interstate shield between them actually care about this, and it's not coming from a largely rational place.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Plutonic Panda on August 30, 2021, 05:01:55 PM
If they only care about intercity infrastructure then why would they push for HSR which would be harder and costlier than a freeway? Any city leader than can’t see beyond infrastructure in the city is someone I believe should take a course to understand why regional mobility/infrastructure is just as important.

1. Intercity infrastructure is controlled by TxDOT
2. TxDOT is largely controlled by representatives from the two near-megacities in Greater Houston and the DFW Metroplex.
3. Austin rarely gets what it seeks from the state due to partisan politics
4. Given these constraints, it's wiser to focus on the projects you can control, rather than ones you can't.
5. The status quo provides minimal hindrance on mobility to and from Houston (there are two 75 mph routes between the cities). Only roadgeeks who think that any two major cities should have an interstate shield between them actually care about this, and it's not coming from a largely rational place.
I understand all of that but I was responding to your perception of how Austin city leaders think. I am solely basing my criticisms of them from what you said as I don’t know jack squat about Austin or its leaders other than the city leans blue.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on August 30, 2021, 05:31:35 PM
If they only care about intercity infrastructure then why would they push for HSR which would be harder and costlier than a freeway? Any city leader than can’t see beyond infrastructure in the city is someone I believe should take a course to understand why regional mobility/infrastructure is just as important.

1. Intercity infrastructure is controlled by TxDOT
2. TxDOT is largely controlled by representatives from the two near-megacities in Greater Houston and the DFW Metroplex.
3. Austin rarely gets what it seeks from the state due to partisan politics
4. Given these constraints, it's wiser to focus on the projects you can control, rather than ones you can't.
5. The status quo provides minimal hindrance on mobility to and from Houston (there are two 75 mph routes between the cities). Only roadgeeks who think that any two major cities should have an interstate shield between them actually care about this, and it's not coming from a largely rational place.
I understand all of that but I was responding to your perception of how Austin city leaders think. I am solely basing my criticisms of them from what you said as I don’t know jack squat about Austin or its leaders other than the city leans blue.

They would push for HSR because it would support the local economy (tech, green energy), it would be likely to get federal funding, and it would be harder to oppose locally.

Austin's in a unique position in that its surrounding region largely despises it (though they love the jobs and money it brings in). They have to aggressively advocate for local concerns because nobody else will.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Plutonic Panda on August 30, 2021, 05:40:14 PM
I’m not buying the federal government funding HSR while Texas is trying to the first leg built. I definitely don’t buy it’d be an easier sell than an interstate connection.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: MaxConcrete on August 30, 2021, 08:57:59 PM
2. TxDOT is largely controlled by representatives from the two near-megacities in Greater Houston and the DFW Metroplex.
3. Austin rarely gets what it seeks from the state due to partisan politics

Statement #2 has not been true for the Texas Transportation Commission for at least 15 years. Current Chairman Bruce Bugg is strongly running the commission. He is from San Antonio has been the Chairman since 2017. He is getting the big projects in San Antonio like Loop 1604 and the IH-35 managed lanes done. Previous chairpersons going back to 2004 have been from Odessa, El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, and Weatherford. The current Houston representative Laura Ryan is mainly focused on highway safety. Current DFW representative Robert Vaughn is minimally involved in commission action. Commissioner Alvin New from San Angelo is very active in promoting projects in West Texas. https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/administration/commission.html (https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/administration/commission.html)

There have been some situations where statement 3 was true, but you can look at the Central Texas Turnpike system (SH 130 and SH 45) as a good example of things getting done in Austin, albeit tolled. The Oak Hill Y project (non-tolled) just getting started is over $700 million. If the planned $5 billion IH-35 project proceeds in its entirety, Austin will get way more than its fair share of statewide funding.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 31, 2021, 12:24:25 AM
One point that appears to be going over at least a few heads: more people than just residents of Austin have to drive between Austin and Houston. That includes a growing amount of commercial traffic. And the amount of commercial traffic is really going to shoot up as the Austin region attracts more giant-size distribution centers and factories.

Quote from: Plutonic Panda
I’m not buying the federal government funding HSR while Texas is trying to the first leg built. I definitely don’t buy it’d be an easier sell than an interstate connection.

High speed rail in America is an insanely costly pipe dream. The cost of building a new Interstate highway is a mere fraction of what HSR costs. We're talking tens of billions of dollars for just a couple or so hundred miles of rail. It's ridiculous.

On top of that HSR in most parts of the US wouldn't work all that well. Aside from the oldest American cities in the Northeast Corridor most urban areas are very spread out. HSR works reasonably well in parts of Asia and Europe because many of those cities are densely packed. And they're augmented by a lot of slower speed passenger rail systems. Everyone knows Japan has the "bullet train" -aka the Shinkansen. But that nation is also vastly connected by a secondary rail network. And they have plenty of subways, light rail lines and even trolleys. Most people in Japan don't have to travel far at all to reach a standard train station. In Japan it's not hard to travel from a small town to a big city by train. The same is not true at all in the United States.

American cities are spread-out, especially those in the South and Southwest. You gotta have a personal vehicle. Life is a pain in the @$$ without one. So even if proposed HSR routes in Texas, California and elsewhere could get built it would be a long shot for the trains to attract high ridership numbers. High speed rail networks also cannot function properly without a well developed secondary passenger rail network. The US doesn't have such a thing. American HSR customers would have to drive to some HSR train station in or near a downtown urban center and a pay a fortune to park there. And for what? To take a train a couple hundreds miles? It would probably be easier, cheaper and maybe ultimately faster to just keep driving. Once automobile travel took off in popularity in the US a lot of small town train stations started closing. Many routes were discontinued. Over the past 30 or so years the US has been removing far more rail lines than it has been building.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on August 31, 2021, 11:02:53 AM
One point that appears to be going over at least a few heads: more people than just residents of Austin have to drive between Austin and Houston. That includes a growing amount of commercial traffic. And the amount of commercial traffic is really going to shoot up as the Austin region attracts more giant-size distribution centers and factories.

Quote from: Plutonic Panda
I’m not buying the federal government funding HSR while Texas is trying to the first leg built. I definitely don’t buy it’d be an easier sell than an interstate connection.

High speed rail in America is an insanely costly pipe dream. The cost of building a new Interstate highway is a mere fraction of what HSR costs. We're talking tens of billions of dollars for just a couple or so hundred miles of rail. It's ridiculous.

On top of that HSR in most parts of the US wouldn't work all that well. Aside from the oldest American cities in the Northeast Corridor most urban areas are very spread out. HSR works reasonably well in parts of Asia and Europe because many of those cities are densely packed. And they're augmented by a lot of slower speed passenger rail systems. Everyone knows Japan has the "bullet train" -aka the Shinkansen. But that nation is also vastly connected by a secondary rail network. And they have plenty of subways, light rail lines and even trolleys. Most people in Japan don't have to travel far at all to reach a standard train station. In Japan it's not hard to travel from a small town to a big city by train. The same is not true at all in the United States.

American cities are spread-out, especially those in the South and Southwest. You gotta have a personal vehicle. Life is a pain in the @$$ without one. So even if proposed HSR routes in Texas, California and elsewhere could get built it would be a long shot for the trains to attract high ridership numbers. High speed rail networks also cannot function properly without a well developed secondary passenger rail network. The US doesn't have such a thing. American HSR customers would have to drive to some HSR train station in or near a downtown urban center and a pay a fortune to park there. And for what? To take a train a couple hundreds miles? It would probably be easier, cheaper and maybe ultimately faster to just keep driving. Once automobile travel took off in popularity in the US a lot of small town train stations started closing. Many routes were discontinued. Over the past 30 or so years the US has been removing far more rail lines than it has been building.

To your point, most people don't realize it's not a matter of throwing a locomotive that can do 250 mph on the existing railroad.  It takes a special kind of railroad to withstand that kind of beating, so a completely new set of right-of-way and tracks have to be built for it.  That's amazingly expensive. 

I am of the same mindset.  We have light rail here in Austin.  It is limited.  I don't live in the areas it serves, but I think if I did, I still wouldn't use it.  I would have to drive miles to get to it, park and ride it, then walk miles to get to my job.  I would rather just keep driving to my office. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 31, 2021, 01:14:23 PM
We can't even built a reasonably straight highway in the United States anymore. The kind of ROW path required by true high speed rail is very straight to an uncompromising extreme. Any curves are on only the most extremely wide of turn radii. All the NIMBY crap and other self-serving political nonsense we have going in the US now gets in the way of that. And that's a big reason why that joke of a HSR line in California is being confined to the central valley and going nowhere near Los Angeles or San Francisco.

To compound that issue, construction costs in the US on even the most ordinary things is being allowed to skyrocket past the stratosphere into deep space. Already many small towns and cities around the US are financially unable to properly maintain their streets. In the near future it would not surprise me if a concrete driveway in front of a house cost more than the house itself.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: CoreySamson on August 31, 2021, 03:28:49 PM
Great points, guys.

In addition to what Bobby5280 said, I think mass transit for those in non-urban areas is very time-consuming and complicated, especially in comparison to owning a car. I don't doubt that using mass transit really works in dense urban areas, but the truth is that outside of New York, San Francisco, and some other bigger cities, America is really spread out. Using mass transit in a normal American city would look something like this:

1. Get to mass transit station, either by driving, walking, or biking
2. Wait for mass transit to arrive (probably a while)
3. Ride mass transit
4. Get off mass transit
5. Walk to destination or transfer to other mass transit option, repeat steps 2-4

Meanwhile, using a car or ride-hailing service looks like this:

1. Get in car from starting point
2. Drive to destination
3. Park car and get out to destination

Driving a car, in most scenarios, would probably take a lot less time than the mass transit alternative. For mass transit to work in America, it would need to be extremely comprehensive, which given today's costs for building such mass transit infrastructure, would probably cost at least tens of billions of dollars for a city the size of Peoria, IL. And there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Not to mention that if you don't have a car, the easiest way to run errands is to stack them all one after another on one day so you don't have to repeat that 1-5 process multiple times a week. Plus having a car (or even a ride-hailing service) means having freedom. You can pick up your kids from school, you can react to emergencies quickly, and you can take your guitar to your friend's house across town for a fun Saturday afternoon jam session. Can you do any of that without a car? Maybe, but it would certainly be annoying.

Plus, (pardon my kernals12-esque ideas here) I believe that very soon the advent of autonomous cars, electric cars, and ride-hailing will allow for cheaper maintenance, less fuel costs, and more free time while driving, which I think are some of the big problems people have with owning cars right now.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on August 31, 2021, 11:48:42 PM
Even in dense cities like New York City the act of using mass transit is an incredible time-suck. When I lived there it took me 90 minutes each way commuting from Staten Island to Midtown Manhattan and about an hour each way taking the subway from Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan.

The mass transit commuting experience is often not pleasant either. You're out in the weather when waiting for a city bus. Once you're on the bus you might be crammed-in, even "strap-hanging" standing in the aisle due to no free seats. The same goes for the subway. You'll be subjected to anyone's lack of personal hygiene or manners -y'know, their B.O., bad breath and farts. I don't know the condition of the NYC subway system now, but I'll never forget that smell combination from 30 years ago: vehicle exhaust fumes and this orange juice scented cleaning solution designed to kill the smell of human piss. The citrus cleaning stuff did not work 100%. So it was the combo of orange juice, pee and vehicle exhaust.

The real benefit to using the bus, ferry and subway in NYC was avoiding the hassle and high cost of parking in Manhattan.

In many large cities elsewhere in the country, particularly the newer, more spread-out cities in the South and Southwest, it's not hard to find places to park for free. Most businesses have their own parking lots, garages, etc for employees and customers.

Only the largest cities have any ability for mass transit rail systems to turn any kind of profit. In smaller cities (like here in Lawton) we're stuck with the bus. Our city bus system (LATS) does not run 24/7 and does not run 7 days a week. The bus service is pretty dependent on government subsidies to stay operational.

If self driving car technology is perfected any time soon it will launch a new renaissance of highway travel. It will be revolutionary. It will change many aspects of business, how people commute and how people take road trips. There will be really different, perhaps very odd, autonomous vehicle designs coming out of factories.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on September 01, 2021, 11:52:48 AM
Even in dense cities like New York City the act of using mass transit is an incredible time-suck. When I lived there it took me 90 minutes each way commuting from Staten Island to Midtown Manhattan and about an hour each way taking the subway from Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan.

The mass transit commuting experience is often not pleasant either. You're out in the weather when waiting for a city bus. Once you're on the bus you might be crammed-in, even "strap-hanging" standing in the aisle due to no free seats. The same goes for the subway. You'll be subjected to anyone's lack of personal hygiene or manners -y'know, their B.O., bad breath and farts. I don't know the condition of the NYC subway system now, but I'll never forget that smell combination from 30 years ago: vehicle exhaust fumes and this orange juice scented cleaning solution designed to kill the smell of human piss. The citrus cleaning stuff did not work 100%. So it was the combo of orange juice, pee and vehicle exhaust.

The real benefit to using the bus, ferry and subway in NYC was avoiding the hassle and high cost of parking in Manhattan.

In many large cities elsewhere in the country, particularly the newer, more spread-out cities in the South and Southwest, it's not hard to find places to park for free. Most businesses have their own parking lots, garages, etc for employees and customers.

Only the largest cities have any ability for mass transit rail systems to turn any kind of profit. In smaller cities (like here in Lawton) we're stuck with the bus. Our city bus system (LATS) does not run 24/7 and does not run 7 days a week. The bus service is pretty dependent on government subsidies to stay operational.

If self driving car technology is perfected any time soon it will launch a new renaissance of highway travel. It will be revolutionary. It will change many aspects of business, how people commute and how people take road trips. There will be really different, perhaps very odd, autonomous vehicle designs coming out of factories.

Sorry, I died laughing at the smell of orange, piss and vehicle exhaust.  Sounds like every subway system I have ever ridden, with the exception of usually the staff doesn't have the courtesy to actually mask the urine smell so you just get piss and exhaust (looking at you London Underground). 

Basically I see mass transit used for two things:  a way for tourists to tour a city and a way to get home after you get black-out drunk at a bar.  Using it for reliable, timely transportation is just fools gold.  I am not saying people don't commute on it, many do, but you have to admit if you don't give yourself three hours for every hour car drive distance, then you are definitely not getting to your destination on time. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TheBox on September 01, 2021, 02:04:43 PM
Sorry to get into politics a bit, but with it's 6 new controversial laws that just passed, Texas is gonna be even more of a pain of the ass maybe

cause Texas is really desperate to get these people that the state don't like to move out of Texas, and move them to a (actual) blue state instead (they sure as hell won't go back to California nor New York cause of living cost alone, so those are off the table that's for sure)
but they won't leave anytime soon (cause they probably don't have the money to move yet)

That's the consequences of a state as big as Texas
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on September 01, 2021, 04:11:27 PM
'No wider, no higher:' Opposition heats up to TxDOT's Austin I-35 expansion plan

https://www.statesman.com/story/news/2021/09/01/austin-i-35-expansion-txdot-construction-opposition/5681378001/

And many wander why I-14 is getting more attention than AUS-HOU Interstate.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on September 01, 2021, 04:13:52 PM
'No wider, no higher:' Opposition heats up to TxDOT's Austin I-35 expansion plan

https://www.statesman.com/story/news/2021/09/01/austin-i-35-expansion-txdot-construction-opposition/5681378001/

And many wander why I-14 is getting more attention than AUS-HOU Interstate.
The Austin-Houston interstate would see construction outside of the two cities as the freeways it would be laid on have already (or are currently being) built, so for freeway revolts, little will be seen.

This is so dumb because people are saying an improved freeway won't improve traffic????????
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Plutonic Panda on September 01, 2021, 05:05:23 PM
'No wider, no higher:' Opposition heats up to TxDOT's Austin I-35 expansion plan

https://www.statesman.com/story/news/2021/09/01/austin-i-35-expansion-txdot-construction-opposition/5681378001/

And many wander why I-14 is getting more attention than AUS-HOU Interstate.
That’s exactly why the tunnels need to be built. Without the tunnels this project seems like a lost cause.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on September 01, 2021, 07:10:19 PM
Building a tunnel in the US without it breaking the bank is a lost cause.

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
The Austin-Houston interstate would see construction outside of the two cities as the freeways it would be laid on have already (or are currently being) built, so for freeway revolts, little will be seen.

Exactly. An Austin-Houston Interstate link, be it TX-71 and/or US-290, would not have any construction taking place within Austin or Houston city limits. The towns and rural areas between the two giant cities are what would be affected.

US-290 is Interstate quality well outside of Houston, to the TX-6 junction in Hempstead. US-290 is Interstate quality just East of the TX-130 toll road. Freeway upgrades through Manor to Elgin wouldn't be difficult, much of the ROW is clear. TX-71 does need some serious freeway-quality improvements next to Austin-Bergstrom Int'l Airport, but those upgrades will be forced to happen anyway regardless of any Austin-Houston Interstate link.

Quote from: TheBox
Sorry to get into politics a bit, but with it's 6 new controversial laws that just passed, Texas is gonna be even more of a pain of the ass maybe cause Texas is really desperate to get these people that the state don't like to move out of Texas, and move them to a (actual) blue state instead (they sure as hell won't go back to California nor New York cause of living cost alone, so those are off the table that's for sure) but they won't leave anytime soon (cause they probably don't have the money to move yet). That's the consequences of a state as big as Texas

The new laws the Texas state legislature passed are acts of desperation in the face of steady, demographic changes and a plummeting national fertility/birth rate. Small towns and rural areas are losing most of their young adults to the bigger cities, taking their contributions to the tax base with them. The costs of city services from street maintenance to police are going up and up. People in the small towns and rural areas have at least done themselves the favor of having high voter turnout. But now with some of these "voter integrity" laws being passed it is pitting the giant number of people in urban centers against those small towns. The folks in the small towns and rural areas can try to game the system all they want. But at some point the sheer numbers of people in the urban centers will become the top priority.

On the other topic, the costs of health care, day care, housing and various other trappings of parenthood are growing so extremely expensive that it's turning into one hell of an effective birth control bill. That new law in Texas is largely irrelevant. Young people are getting exceptionally good at not getting pregnant in the first place. For instance the teen pregnancy rate is 1/3 what it was 30 years ago. Adult women aren't having enough children to replace Americans who die. As of the 2020 Census, America's white population shrank for the first time in the nation's history. If the Supreme Court overturns or invalidates that one landmark law from 50-ish years ago business will absolutely boom at clinics performing vasectomies and tubal ligations.

The ironic thing is the anti-immigration sentiment so popular now might end up seeming pretty strange about 20 years from now. If current trends with America's birth rate continue for the long term this nation will be begging and pleading for immigrants by 2040. America will be a nation top-heavy with old farts. We'll have industries leaving the country due to lack of labor. We'll even have trouble staffing our military. I could even see the draft returning. As for the aging American-born population, a lot of us will have to keep working. I don't expect things like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to be around by the time I'm eligible to retire. The math just isn't there to support it, nor will there be a labor force to support it either.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Plutonic Panda on September 01, 2021, 08:17:08 PM
Then is building a tunnel is a lost cause forget any new lanes on I-35 through downtown.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: MaxConcrete on September 01, 2021, 11:47:42 PM
'No wider, no higher:' Opposition heats up to TxDOT's Austin I-35 expansion plan

https://www.statesman.com/story/news/2021/09/01/austin-i-35-expansion-txdot-construction-opposition/5681378001/

And many wander why I-14 is getting more attention than AUS-HOU Interstate.
That’s exactly why the tunnels need to be built. Without the tunnels this project seems like a lost cause.

See page 8 of this document
https://capexcentral.mobility35openhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Alternatives-Evaluation-Presentation-2021.pdf

The tunnel option (Alternative 1) has an estimated cost of $7.72 billion vs. around $3.6 billion for non-tunnel alternatives 2 and 3. Annual maintenance for Alternative 1 is also much higher at $14.4 million/year vs. 2.2 million/year.
We're in the United States where tunnels are always obscenely expensive. I think Alternative 1 was further inflated by the very difficult constructability, which probably would have necessitated very costly temporary structures to keep the freeway open during construction.

I think a $7.72 billion option is dead on arrival. If Alternatives 2 and 3 are unable to move forward, then the project will die a quick death.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Anthony_JK on September 02, 2021, 06:09:49 AM
Nope, the next move will be to simply convert existing I-35 into a surface boulevard and reroute it along SH 45 and Toll 130.

The New Urbanists have essentially overwhelmed the public against centrally located freeways.

They don't really care about the aftereffects, just so that they can sell their light rail/supertrain/"screw all cars" philosophy.

 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on September 02, 2021, 07:52:32 AM
Nope, the next move will be to simply convert existing I-35 into a surface boulevard and reroute it along SH 45 and Toll 130.

The New Urbanists have essentially overwhelmed the public against centrally located freeways.

They don't really care about the aftereffects, just so that they can sell their light rail/supertrain/"screw all cars" philosophy.

Or Keep I-35 as is and toll the left lanes, then convert 130 to non-tolled route.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: I-35 on September 02, 2021, 10:50:53 AM
Nope, the next move will be to simply convert existing I-35 into a surface boulevard and reroute it along SH 45 and Toll 130.

The New Urbanists have essentially overwhelmed the public against centrally located freeways.

They don't really care about the aftereffects, just so that they can sell their light rail/supertrain/"screw all cars" philosophy.

This is a daft take.  What works for Waco doesn't work for Austin - it isn't that difficult a concept to understand.  Land prices in DT Austin are north of $400/SF - it makes sense to consider options that add valuable property back to the tax base.  The difference between the non-tunneled and tunneled version could easily be captured in a TIF-type financing district, and would be well worth it for all involved.   TxDOT's one-size-fits-all approach is emblematic of the problem of governing the increasingly bifurcated state as a whole.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on September 02, 2021, 12:36:21 PM
Quote from: MaxConcrete
I think a $7.72 billion option is dead on arrival. If Alternatives 2 and 3 are unable to move forward, then the project will die a quick death.

I'm not optimistic any of the alternatives will be approved. It's very likely I-35 in Central Austin will remain stuck in its current configuration (and condition) for the foreseeable future. Or at least until local attitudes about super highways change. I'm guessing the New Urbanist types in Austin believe there are no consequences to that portion of I-35 being an absolute PITA to use. They don't see the potential long term economic and safety downsides.

Just like the anti-highway crowd in Houston, I think if the folks in Austin proper don't want any improvements made to that part of I-35 then TX DOT needs to direct those billions of dollars in highway funding elsewhere. The state has lots of other highway corridors in need of improvement.

Quote from: I-35
What works for Waco doesn't work for Austin - it isn't that difficult a concept to understand.

I-35 is not a local city street in Austin. It is a major arterial thoroughfare. Far more than just locals have to drive on it.

Quote from: Anthony_JK
The New Urbanists have essentially overwhelmed the public against centrally located freeways. They don't really care about the aftereffects, just so that they can sell their light rail/supertrain/"screw all cars" philosophy.

I think a bunch of these New Urbanist types are full of $#!+. Are they actually living what they preach? I'll bet if you followed any of those people around you would see most, if not all, of them using private automobiles frequently, either driving their own personal vehicles or using an upper crust car service. I don't see these political wonks burning hours of time commuting, standing out in the weather at a bus stop or getting crammed into a crowded bus or train car.

In one respect I kind of hope these New Urbanists succeed in tearing out the portion of I-35 in downtown Austin, turning it into a surface street completely cluttered with traffic lights. Business in the downtown district will take a nose-dive. Let them make it happen.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: I-35 on September 02, 2021, 12:49:30 PM
I-35 is not a local city street in Austin. It is a major arterial thoroughfare. Far more than just locals have to drive on it.

Austin should have some say in how an expanded Interstate 35 is configured running through their urban core.  The cut-and-cover or buried tunnel is the only option that works for all parties.  I'm not even in the "turn it into the Champs Elysees" camp, as there are far too many interrregional trucks using I-35 for that to make sense.  Converting Mopac to a boulevard makes more sense, because truck traffic is nil on that compared to I-35.  The only other option that (to my knowledge) is not being considered is running an x35 bypass through eastern Austin and linking back in with 183 to create a short distance bypass of Downtown.  The land acquisition costs with that would probably be astronomical, but it would allow 35 to continue functioning as an interregional highway without forcing commercial traffic onto Toll 130.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on September 02, 2021, 01:30:58 PM
The only other option that (to my knowledge) is not being considered is running an x35 bypass through eastern Austin and linking back in with 183 to create a short distance bypass of Downtown.  The land acquisition costs with that would probably be astronomical, but it would allow 35 to continue functioning as an interregional highway without forcing commercial traffic onto Toll 130.
So... let's demolish at least a thousand homes and tear a new freeway through East Austin in order to save some businesses that directly front an existing interstate alignment nearby from expansion. Got it.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kphoger on September 02, 2021, 01:51:04 PM
fritztunnel that shizzle
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: I-35 on September 02, 2021, 02:13:10 PM
The only other option that (to my knowledge) is not being considered is running an x35 bypass through eastern Austin and linking back in with 183 to create a short distance bypass of Downtown.  The land acquisition costs with that would probably be astronomical, but it would allow 35 to continue functioning as an interregional highway without forcing commercial traffic onto Toll 130.
So... let's demolish at least a thousand homes and tear a new freeway through East Austin in order to save some businesses that directly front an existing interstate alignment nearby from expansion. Got it.

Depends on the routing, as does everything.  The deleterious effects on the city of expanding an overhead viaduct or going with a surface/viaduct combo are far more consequential for Austin's future going forward than routing a 183-type overhead through east Austin.  I think the routing could go just south of Riverside and connect to 183 north of the airport, and 183 could be widened to accommodate.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TheBox on September 02, 2021, 03:05:03 PM
And then there's the whole "Don't California my Texas" thing, because of the state of concerns of it being the next California (which is inevitable) because of significant political differences, and income taxes potentially happening (replacing property taxes), and all these tech companies and Californian companies moving in (and as a result, farmland being taken away sooner than later).
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on September 02, 2021, 08:45:49 PM
I-35 is not a local city street in Austin. It is a major arterial thoroughfare. Far more than just locals have to drive on it.

Austin should have some say in how an expanded Interstate 35 is configured running through their urban core.  The cut-and-cover or buried tunnel is the only option that works for all parties.  I'm not even in the "turn it into the Champs Elysees" camp, as there are far too many interrregional trucks using I-35 for that to make sense.  Converting Mopac to a boulevard makes more sense, because truck traffic is nil on that compared to I-35.  The only other option that (to my knowledge) is not being considered is running an x35 bypass through eastern Austin and linking back in with 183 to create a short distance bypass of Downtown.  The land acquisition costs with that would probably be astronomical, but it would allow 35 to continue functioning as an interregional highway without forcing commercial traffic onto Toll 130.

The “Bergstrom Express” just opened several months ago and acts as a downtown bypass. And with the new flyovers at 183/35….it’s free flowing all the way now:

https://www.183south.com/upload/files/183_Toll_Fact_Sheet_2021.pdf
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: I-35 on September 03, 2021, 09:27:09 AM

The “Bergstrom Express” just opened several months ago and acts as a downtown bypass. And with the new flyovers at 183/35….it’s free flowing all the way now:

https://www.183south.com/upload/files/183_Toll_Fact_Sheet_2021.pdf

That's cool - I knew they were doing work over there but didn't know the extents of it.  To be a true bypass, it looks like it could use a connector headed southwest towards the I-35 and Ben White area, though.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on September 03, 2021, 10:38:01 AM

The “Bergstrom Express” just opened several months ago and acts as a downtown bypass. And with the new flyovers at 183/35….it’s free flowing all the way now:

https://www.183south.com/upload/files/183_Toll_Fact_Sheet_2021.pdf

That's cool - I knew they were doing work over there but didn't know the extents of it.  To be a true bypass, it looks like it could use a connector headed southwest towards the I-35 and Ben White area, though.

There is now. They completely re-did the 183/71 interchange by the airport….takes you straight to 35 via 71:

Dropped pin
https://goo.gl/maps/fLTWcYQt9fpiYfFm7
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on September 03, 2021, 12:39:18 PM
^ The US-183 improvements were necessary, however re-routing I-35 onto that alignment would seriously cause more issues than help.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on September 03, 2021, 01:59:43 PM

The “Bergstrom Express” just opened several months ago and acts as a downtown bypass. And with the new flyovers at 183/35….it’s free flowing all the way now:

https://www.183south.com/upload/files/183_Toll_Fact_Sheet_2021.pdf

That's cool - I knew they were doing work over there but didn't know the extents of it.  To be a true bypass, it looks like it could use a connector headed southwest towards the I-35 and Ben White area, though.

There is now. They completely re-did the 183/71 interchange by the airport….takes you straight to 35 via 71:

Dropped pin
https://goo.gl/maps/fLTWcYQt9fpiYfFm7

Not completely.  Two cloverleaf "leaves" still remain.  Why they kept them is beyond me. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on September 03, 2021, 02:42:36 PM
^ The point is, the SH-71 East to US-183 North movement and vice versa is on the flyovers.

The loop ramps exist to provide access to the frontage roads.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on September 03, 2021, 02:52:19 PM
^ The point is, the SH-71 East to US-183 North movement and vice versa is on the flyovers.

The loop ramps exist to provide access to the frontage roads.

My only point is Texas is extremely anti-cloverleaf, so it's amazing to me they kept them.

I know what they are for. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on September 03, 2021, 02:59:15 PM
My only point is Texas is extremely anti-cloverleaf, so it's amazing to me they kept them.
True. Though, I've seen them at a few local interchanges in Dallas-Fort Worth before. And they are adding them in Corpus Christi coming from Downtown on I-37 onto SH-286 South, and from US-181 South to I-37 South into Downtown, via the frontage roads - as apart of the Harbor Bridge project. A local, minor movement, but still interesting.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kphoger on September 03, 2021, 03:11:02 PM
Cloverleaf interchanges I've used in Texas:
 I-35E @ US-287
 I-10 @ I-410
 I-410 @ I-35
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on September 03, 2021, 03:28:33 PM
^ The US-183 improvements were necessary, however re-routing I-35 onto that alignment would seriously cause more issues than help.

True, I only pointed out the 183 south toll to show there is now a new limited access bypass east of downtown which serves the purpose that I-35 (the poster) was proposing.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on September 03, 2021, 04:14:21 PM
Cloverleaf interchanges I've used in Texas:
 I-35E @ US-287
 I-10 @ I-410
 I-410 @ I-35

I know Texas has cloverleafs.  I have used several.  What I mean is, usually when a cloverleaf gets worked on it Texas, the cloverleaf gets completely taken out.  This one is a rarity that it got re done but some of the cloverleaf stayed.

I think the I-35E and US-287 on is not long for this world.   I know for a fact the I-410/I-10 one has the deuces up. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on September 03, 2021, 04:20:37 PM
^ Both I-410/I-10 and Loop 1604/I-10 are getting replaced by 5 level stacks.

On the other hand, in Corpus Christi, the SH-358/SH-286 interchange that was constructed in the early 2000s features 2 loop ramps for low volume movements. It’s a partial stack as opposed to the traditional full stack.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on September 04, 2021, 02:40:47 PM
^ Both I-410/I-10 and Loop 1604/I-10 are getting replaced by 5 level stacks.

On the other hand, in Corpus Christi, the SH-358/SH-286 interchange that was constructed in the early 2000s features 2 loop ramps for low volume movements. It’s a partial stack as opposed to the traditional full stack.

I forgot about the east Loop 375/I-10 interchange in EL Paso (https://goo.gl/maps/wQtmq1dp4uoqvoL59).  They built the stack and left the cloverleaf. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on September 06, 2021, 03:35:38 PM
Again, you are ignoring my earlier points about the existing US-290 corridor going West of Austin being a pretty crappy route and the fact lots of people will drive out of the way to avoid taking such routes over a long distance. The population of the Killeen metro is a tiny fraction of the Austin metro's size. Any city with a 1 million residents just within its city limits alone (not to mention the rapidly growing suburbs) rates having at least one East-West Interstate going through the region.

Another point to the US-290 corridor west of Austin that I had brought up years ago but forgot, is this:

Part of the reason US-290 sees less truck traffic is because truckers from points west heading to Austin would rather stay on I-10 to San Antonio, take Loop 1604 or I-410 to I-35 and take that into Austin, gambling on reaching the highways during off-peak times.  Austin-El Paso and Austin-Houston have always been connecedt by interstate, yes, but indirectly.  I am willing to bet money this is often the case.  Now, if it takes only 3 to 4 trucks off I-35 going to Austin an hour by building an interstate on the US-290 corridor, every little bit helps when it comes to the enormous problems on I-35. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on September 22, 2021, 03:26:04 PM
https://www.kxan.com/traffic/txdot-evaluating-damages-to-sh-45-u-s-183-frontage-bridge/ (https://www.kxan.com/traffic/txdot-evaluating-damages-to-sh-45-u-s-183-frontage-bridge/)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on September 23, 2021, 01:51:01 PM
Which Highways that go through Austin (US Routes & State Highways) Could use some widening? instead of something new
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on September 23, 2021, 07:37:23 PM
Quote from: AcE_Wolf_287
Which Highways that go through Austin (US Routes & State Highways) Could use some widening? instead of something new

With the way the Austin metro has been growing several routes need upgrades.

East of Austin both US-290 and TX-71 really should be expanded into fully Interstate quality routes. I don't care if they get plastered with Interstate shields or not. But they do need to be 100% limited access as well as add more lanes in some places.

US-290 going West of Austin needs Interstate quality upgrades farther West than what is currently planned. The Oak Hill Y project will be a good start. But that project will end just West of the Circle Drive Y. Traffic jams are taking on place on US-290 clear out past Dripping Springs.

The Southwest segment of the TX-45 loop needs to be extended in both directions, East to I-35 and West to US-290 where it should tie into a new freeway functioning as a Western entrance/exit to the Austin metro.

The US-183 freeway needs to be extended farther North out of the Austin metro. I don't think it's necessary to make a US-183 freeway all the way to Lampasas. But it could go as far North as Briggs in the near term.

TX-195, from the I-35 split near Georgetown going up to Killeen, needs more limited access improvements and eventually an upgrade to 100% limited access. In the Killeen area it will be tricky tying that freeway into I-14.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: CoreySamson on September 23, 2021, 09:02:04 PM
Apologies if I've missed a whole discussion on this, but why does TX-45 have a glaring gap in it between I-35 and FM 1626? Is it planned to be filled, or has filling it been canceled by the local anti-freeway people? It seems like filling the gap would provide traffic with a western relief route for I-35 and would have massive benefits for the city.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on September 23, 2021, 09:21:25 PM
Just hasn't been built yet. SH45 between Mopac and FM 1626 was only completed around two years ago. The missing segment has been on city long-term planning documents for years but there's no actual proposals to connect it yet. It will happen, eventually.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on September 23, 2021, 11:02:59 PM
Apologies if I've missed a whole discussion on this, but why does TX-45 have a glaring gap in it between I-35 and FM 1626? Is it planned to be filled, or has filling it been canceled by the local anti-freeway people? It seems like filling the gap would provide traffic with a western relief route for I-35 and would have massive benefits for the city.

SH45 SW extension to 35 construction is supposed to start around 2025.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on October 07, 2021, 08:32:51 PM
https://www.theverge.com/22715458/tesla-move-headquarters-to-austin-texas

Traffic is about to get another boost….think Elon could buy out the 130 toll and make it free? 😂
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on October 08, 2021, 12:26:10 AM
https://www.theverge.com/22715458/tesla-move-headquarters-to-austin-texas

Traffic is about to get another boost….think Elon could buy out the 130 toll and make it free? 😂
Wasn’t there a bill proposed in 2013 to make it free?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on October 08, 2021, 12:38:11 AM
https://www.theverge.com/22715458/tesla-move-headquarters-to-austin-texas

Traffic is about to get another boost….think Elon could buy out the 130 toll and make it free? 😂
Wasn’t there a bill proposed in 2013 to make it free?

Yep, it was dead on arrival…no one wanted to pony up the money….it would have taken (back then) $3 billion to buy it out. They wanted to call it I-35E:

https://www.statesman.com/article/20130321/NEWS/303219666
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Scott5114 on October 08, 2021, 01:56:49 AM
https://www.theverge.com/22715458/tesla-move-headquarters-to-austin-texas

Traffic is about to get another boost….think Elon could buy out the 130 toll and make it free? 😂
Wasn’t there a bill proposed in 2013 to make it free?

Yep, it was dead on arrival…no one wanted to pony up the money….it would have taken (back then) $3 billion to buy it out. They wanted to call it I-35E:

https://www.statesman.com/article/20130321/NEWS/303219666

Of course they did.

But there's already an I-35E. Maybe it should be I-35EA (for East of Austin) or I-35P (for Pickle).
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on October 08, 2021, 08:39:51 AM
https://www.theverge.com/22715458/tesla-move-headquarters-to-austin-texas

Traffic is about to get another boost….think Elon could buy out the 130 toll and make it free? 😂
Wasn’t there a bill proposed in 2013 to make it free?

Yep, it was dead on arrival…no one wanted to pony up the money….it would have taken (back then) $3 billion to buy it out. They wanted to call it I-35E:

https://www.statesman.com/article/20130321/NEWS/303219666

Of course they did.

But there's already an I-35E. Maybe it should be I-35EA (for East of Austin) or I-35P (for Pickle).

Or maybe I-35T for Tesla Parkway.

But I think if it ever does become a free interstate, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 35E. Granted the other one is in MN but there’s already two.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on October 08, 2021, 12:04:46 PM
https://www.theverge.com/22715458/tesla-move-headquarters-to-austin-texas

Traffic is about to get another boost….think Elon could buy out the 130 toll and make it free? 😂
Wasn’t there a bill proposed in 2013 to make it free?

Yep, it was dead on arrival…no one wanted to pony up the money….it would have taken (back then) $3 billion to buy it out. They wanted to call it I-35E:

https://www.statesman.com/article/20130321/NEWS/303219666

Of course they did.

But there's already an I-35E. Maybe it should be I-35EA (for East of Austin) or I-35P (for Pickle).

Or maybe I-35T for Tesla Parkway.

But I think if it ever does become a free interstate, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 35E. Granted the other one is in MN but there’s already two.
Considering other highways, it would likely be I-33.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on October 08, 2021, 02:55:52 PM
What other highways?

My realistic assumption would be I-x35 or simply staying SH-130 but free.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on October 08, 2021, 06:20:47 PM
What other highways?

My realistic assumption would be I-x35 or simply staying SH-130 but free.
I meant to say interstates. Like I-10 and I-12.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on October 08, 2021, 06:39:57 PM
A short length route like the TX-130 tollway does not warrant burning a 2-digit Interstate designation. A 3-digit I-x35 designation would be just fine.

Besides, if there was going to be a "I-33" route designated, the US-281 corridor going North out of San Antonio would be a better candidate. In big picture terms the US-281 corridor could emerge as a relief North-South corridor for I-35, basically a Western bypass of Austin and DFW. The route could go up to Wichita Falls and even overlap the portion of I-44 Southwest of OKC before re-connecting back to I-35 in OKC. That would be a better "I-33" and it would be an actual Interstate, going across state lines. BTW I think US-277 should be gradually upgraded between Wichita Falls and Abilene. That could turn into an eventual extension of I-44 to I-20 (or even to San Angelo to meet up with a possible extension of I-27).
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on October 08, 2021, 08:16:10 PM
A short length route like the TX-130 tollway does not warrant burning a 2-digit Interstate designation. A 3-digit I-x35 designation would be just fine.

Besides, if there was going to be a "I-33" route designated, the US-281 corridor going North out of San Antonio would be a better candidate. In big picture terms the US-281 corridor could emerge as a relief North-South corridor for I-35, basically a Western bypass of Austin and DFW. The route could go up to Wichita Falls and even overlap the portion of I-44 Southwest of OKC before re-connecting back to I-35 in OKC. That would be a better "I-33" and it would be an actual Interstate, going across state lines. BTW I think US-277 should be gradually upgraded between Wichita Falls and Abilene. That could turn into an eventual extension of I-44 to I-20 (or even to San Angelo to meet up with a possible extension of I-27).
Okay, but why isn’t I-12 I-410, or something I-x10? I-12 in LA is even shorter, and it connects to I-10 twice.

Actually, SH 45 & SH 130 could really be considered a new I-x35 bypass loop around Austin.

About US-281, I’d prefer an extension of I-37.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on October 09, 2021, 01:31:35 AM
Quote from: Thegeet
Okay, but why isn’t I-12 I-410, or something I-x10? I-12 in LA is even shorter, and it connects to I-10 twice.

I-12 is a unique case. I-12 in Louisiana at least runs in a straight, direct path. It probably should have been called I-10 and what is currently I-10 bending down thru New Orleans should have been given a 3 digit I-x10 route. The treatment would be similar to how I-5 bypasses the SF Bay area rather than go through it.

Not that any of this matters. TX DOT is not big at all on designating new Interstate routes; they're perfectly happy converting state and US highways to freeways and maintaining those designations. I-69 and I-14 are exceptions driven in part by politics.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on October 09, 2021, 01:51:47 AM
Quote from: Thegeet
Okay, but why isn’t I-12 I-410, or something I-x10? I-12 in LA is even shorter, and it connects to I-10 twice.

I-12 is a unique case. I-12 in Louisiana at least runs in a straight, direct path. It probably should have been called I-10 and what is currently I-10 bending down thru New Orleans should have been given a 3 digit I-x10 route. The treatment would be similar to how I-5 bypasses the SF Bay area rather than go through it.

Not that any of this matters. TX DOT is not big at all on designating new Interstate routes; they're perfectly happy converting state and US highways to freeways and maintaining those designations. I-69 and I-14 are exceptions driven in part by politics.
At least I-5 goes through Sacramento. I-12 doesn’t go through any significant cities.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on October 09, 2021, 11:17:18 AM
Good grief. Look at the map. I-12 isn't meant to go through any major cities. It is a DIRECT bypass of New Orleans. I-10 has to bend well out of the way to go through New Orleans. Cross country traffic on I-10 uses I-12 to SAVE TIME and MILEAGE.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on October 09, 2021, 11:31:33 AM
Good grief. Look at the map. I-12 isn't meant to go through any major cities. It is a DIRECT bypass of New Orleans. I-10 has to bend well out of the way to go through New Orleans. Cross country traffic on I-10 uses I-12 to SAVE TIME and MILEAGE.
That’s not what he was trying to say.

He was pointing out the fact that routing I-10 over I-12 wouldn’t be an exact comparison to I-5 and it bypassing San Francisco, because it still goes through another major city - Sacramento - whereas I-12 does not.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Anthony_JK on October 09, 2021, 11:35:52 AM
I-10 was designated as such to directly serve NOLA with the most prominent southern 2di.

I-12 was designated as such to serve as the principal bypass of NOLA for I-10.

Both designations are totally warranted.



Also, Baton Rouge is the state capital of Louisiana. I wouldn't quite call it "insignificant". Maybe compared to Frisco, but hardly insignificant in relative terms.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Thegeet on October 09, 2021, 12:06:05 PM
I-5 is supposed to bypass San Francisco in order to reach Sacramento.
I-10 was designated as such to directly serve NOLA with the most prominent southern 2di.

I-12 was designated as such to serve as the principal bypass of NOLA for I-10.

Both designations are totally warranted.



Also, Baton Rouge is the state capital of Louisiana. I wouldn't quite call it "insignificant". Maybe compared to Frisco, but hardly insignificant in relative terms.
Exactly. Yes. Baton Rouge is the only significant city it serves. Other than that, which is the western end, there’s no other notable cities it serves.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on October 09, 2021, 05:53:44 PM
I-5 is supposed to bypass San Francisco in order to reach Sacramento.
I-10 was designated as such to directly serve NOLA with the most prominent southern 2di.

I-12 was designated as such to serve as the principal bypass of NOLA for I-10.

Both designations are totally warranted.



Also, Baton Rouge is the state capital of Louisiana. I wouldn't quite call it "insignificant". Maybe compared to Frisco, but hardly insignificant in relative terms.
Exactly. Yes. Baton Rouge is the only significant city it serves. Other than that, which is the western end, there’s no other notable cities it serves.

At the western terminus which I-10 serves anyway, so I don't really consider I-12 going through Baton Rouge since you can also get there by staying on I-10.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on November 12, 2021, 09:47:39 AM
https://www.kxan.com/traffic/north-austin-traffic/nb-us-183-to-nb-i-35-flyover-to-open-friday-morning/

Another ramp opens on 183-I35 interchange.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on November 14, 2021, 07:46:06 PM
https://www.kxan.com/traffic/north-austin-traffic/nb-us-183-to-nb-i-35-flyover-to-open-friday-morning/

Another ramp opens on 183-I35 interchange.

Now Austin has a non-stop inner-city bypass of I-35
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on November 15, 2021, 10:10:35 PM
Drove to COTA this weekend from Georgetown, when did they black top tollway 130 from 71 south? How far does the black top go? Is it on 45 too? I know a different consortium owns the southern Tollway.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on November 15, 2021, 10:11:47 PM
The regroved Tollway 130 on the north side is heavenly, so quiet and smooth, till you get back to the ungroved concrete.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TheBox on November 22, 2021, 11:31:57 PM
I know they prioritized TX-71 much more than they prioritized US-290 in the past decade, but when are gonna update the US-290 @ TX-36 in Brenham intersection?

that was all apart of a freeway plan from decades ago (related to I-27), only for those plans to never happen anyway

EDIT: and yes, i'm aware this was around a time before Austin became the big developing and growing Texas metropolis is it today, cause back then (i wasn't born yet lol) it was just a college city that just so happens to be Texas' capital city
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on November 23, 2021, 10:53:55 AM
I know they prioritized TX-75 much more than they prioritized US-290 in the past decade, but when are gonna update the US-290 @ TX-36 in Brenham intersection?

that was all apart of a freeway plan from decades ago (related to I-27), only for those plans to never happen anyway

I think you meant 71.

But yes there are still plans to realign the 290 @ 36 intersection. There were schematics posted of the different alignment options several months ago somewhere on here.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TheBox on November 27, 2021, 10:39:23 PM
I know they prioritized TX-75 much more than they prioritized US-290 in the past decade, but when are gonna update the US-290 @ TX-36 in Brenham intersection?

that was all apart of a freeway plan from decades ago (related to I-27), only for those plans to never happen anyway

I think you meant 71.

But yes there are still plans to realign the 290 @ 36 intersection. There were schematics posted of the different alignment options several months ago somewhere on here.

If i were them i would pick either Option D or E, since those the most interstate-esque upgrades
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on November 28, 2021, 12:36:21 AM
I know they prioritized TX-75 much more than they prioritized US-290 in the past decade, but when are gonna update the US-290 @ TX-36 in Brenham intersection?

that was all apart of a freeway plan from decades ago (related to I-27), only for those plans to never happen anyway

I think you meant 71.

But yes there are still plans to realign the 290 @ 36 intersection. There were schematics posted of the different alignment options several months ago somewhere on here.

If i were them i would pick either Option D or E, since those the most interstate-esque upgrades

Even B would be acceptable. I don’t know what they were thinking with C 👀
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on November 28, 2021, 10:54:14 AM
Definitely would go with E, D, or B (in that order.) Given budget concerns I think B is most likely to happen, though. But it's fine! It still provides continuous flow of traffic on 290.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: armadillo speedbump on November 28, 2021, 02:34:20 PM
Why was the idiotic Option A even included?  Expensive, disruptive construction for no time improvement or worse, since it adds an extra light to 290 movement.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: CoolAngrybirdsrio4 on December 06, 2021, 01:56:38 AM
Quote from: Thegeet
Okay, but why isn’t I-12 I-410, or something I-x10? I-12 in LA is even shorter, and it connects to I-10 twice.

I-12 is a unique case. I-12 in Louisiana at least runs in a straight, direct path. It probably should have been called I-10 and what is currently I-10 bending down thru New Orleans should have been given a 3 digit I-x10 route. The treatment would be similar to how I-5 bypasses the SF Bay area rather than go through it.

Not that any of this matters. TX DOT is not big at all on designating new Interstate routes; they're perfectly happy converting state and US highways to freeways and maintaining those designations. I-69 and I-14 are exceptions driven in part by politics.
At least I-5 goes through Sacramento. I-12 doesn’t go through any significant cities.

It does go through a few midsize cities such as Hammond, and it is a bypass of New Orleans.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on December 30, 2021, 02:34:42 PM
TxDOT plans to fix ‘dip’ on new NB US 183 flyover at NB I-35

https://www.kxan.com/traffic/txdot-plans-to-fix-dip-on-new-nb-us-183-flyover-at-nb-i-35/
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on December 31, 2021, 02:29:03 PM
TxDOT plans to fix ‘dip’ on new NB US 183 flyover at NB I-35

https://www.kxan.com/traffic/txdot-plans-to-fix-dip-on-new-nb-us-183-flyover-at-nb-i-35/

It was ridiculous to build with only one lane.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TheBox on January 09, 2022, 06:17:33 PM
Again, i know they prioritized TX-71 over US-290 so much for the past decade that they they're almost down with it making it a expressway (from I-10 in Columbus to Austin).

I just still wish they at least do some work around US-290 between Houston and Austin (like a freeway with overpasses in Manor and Elgin, the Giddings bypass, and the Brenham realignment, or at the very least the latter two suggestions) sooner than later.

but Texas has other plans, like I-69 and eventually I-27
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on January 10, 2022, 12:04:35 PM
The Austin-San Antonio metro is growing fast enough TX DOT will be forced to upgrade more and more segments of both TX-71 and US-290 to Interstate quality until both are 100% limited access. They'll also have to improve the San Marcos-Luling and New Braunfels-Seguin corridors.

If TX DOT re-builds the US-290/TX-36 interchange in Brenham as a DDI they'll have to come back later and build a separate freeway spur off the existing US-290 bypass around Brenham. It's inevitable US-290 will need to be Interstate quality between Hempstead and Brenham. Then the upgrades will have to proceed farther West toward Giddings. Likewise, US-290 will have to get upgraded thru Manor, Elgin and farther East.

TX-71 needs a bunch of work. Near term, it needs to be Interstate quality from the TX-130 intersection down to Bastrop. Some TX DOT projects in the works will accomplish some of that. Farther Southeast any highway upgrades should be easier.

As for the I-69 and I-27 projects, parts of those will be in danger delayed indefinitely. There is much more of a push happening for I-69 since several segments are in progress. The only things new potentially related to I-27 are the loops around Amarillo and Big Spring.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kernals12 on January 10, 2022, 12:53:31 PM
Don't forget I-14
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on January 10, 2022, 04:47:08 PM
The Killeen/Fort Hood area is a different metro than Austin. I-14 does nothing to help move traffic in the Austin metro.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kernals12 on January 10, 2022, 07:36:16 PM
The Killeen/Fort Hood area is a different metro than Austin. I-14 does nothing to help move traffic in the Austin metro.
You're the one who brought up I-69 and I-27, which also don't impact Austin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on January 10, 2022, 11:25:05 PM
Quote from: kernals12
You're the one who brought up I-69 and I-27, which also don't impact Austin.

Wrong. TheBox brought up I-69 & I-27 in Reply #346 (the post preceding mine). I responded that those two larger Interstate projects are in danger of being delayed indefinitely, which is true. I-69 at least has some advantage for already being a work in progress. I-27? Not so much. And all I-14 has been up to this point was a name change on an existing freeway. Only so much funding is available state-wide for highways. The larger balance of that funding is going to big projects in the major cities at the expense of the more rural projects.

And I never said I-69 or I-27 had anything to do with Austin. Instead the highway expansion projects needed in the Austin-San Antonio region may rob funding away from projects for I-69, I-27 or even I-14. The I-14 project is an even harder sell.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on April 08, 2022, 05:59:42 PM
Interesting article on the speed limit (or lack thereof) on 183 toll south aka “Bergstrom Express”:

https://www.kut.org/transportation/2022-04-07/why-are-there-no-speed-limits-posted-on-the-new-183-south-toll-road
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 08, 2022, 06:57:46 PM
I imagine, if the other toll roads in the region are any indication, the speed limit will be posted at 75 mph.

Something I wish they would do in the Dallas-Fort Worth region on some of their outer toll roads that are only 70 mph. The express lanes on more urban interstates get 75 mph, why not the other ones you are also paying tolls for?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 26, 2022, 08:16:36 AM
US 183 South's speed limit has been set at 75mph.
SH 45 Southwest's speed limit has been raised to 70mph (from 65).
https://www.kut.org/transportation/2022-04-25/speed-limits-set-on-183-south-and-45-sw-toll-roads (https://www.kut.org/transportation/2022-04-25/speed-limits-set-on-183-south-and-45-sw-toll-roads)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 26, 2022, 05:33:51 PM
US 183 South's speed limit has been set at 75mph.
SH 45 Southwest's speed limit has been raised to 70mph (from 65).
https://www.kut.org/transportation/2022-04-25/speed-limits-set-on-183-south-and-45-sw-toll-roads (https://www.kut.org/transportation/2022-04-25/speed-limits-set-on-183-south-and-45-sw-toll-roads)
Good calls, and expected.

Nice to see SH-45 see a bump as well.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kernals12 on May 12, 2022, 04:38:55 PM
US 290 and SH 71 really need to be upgraded to 4 lane divided highways. Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.
 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kphoger on May 12, 2022, 05:05:42 PM
Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.

pfft.  meh.

https://goo.gl/maps/Mg6K3djd7ubKKVpu8
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on May 12, 2022, 06:03:51 PM
Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.

pfft.  meh.

https://goo.gl/maps/Mg6K3djd7ubKKVpu8

Going 55 for that long sucks. There seem to be as much head-on collision on the freeways and divided highways in Texas as on the two laned ones.  Lots more likely to go T-bone a left turning car than head-on.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kernals12 on May 12, 2022, 09:49:20 PM
Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.

pfft.  meh.

https://goo.gl/maps/Mg6K3djd7ubKKVpu8

That's in the middle of bumfuck nowhere. This is within an hour's drive of one of the largest and fastest growing metro areas in the United States. The roads were very busy and I saw lots of new homes going up and signs advertising more to come.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kphoger on May 12, 2022, 09:54:46 PM
Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.

Then drive more slowly.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kernals12 on May 12, 2022, 10:05:36 PM
Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.

Then drive more slowly.

70 was the speed limit.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kphoger on May 12, 2022, 10:15:12 PM


Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.

Then drive more slowly.

70 was the speed limit.

It's a maximum.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on May 13, 2022, 08:41:07 AM
US 290 and SH 71 really need to be upgraded to 4 lane divided highways. Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.

East or West of Austin?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kernals12 on May 13, 2022, 09:47:29 AM
US 290 and SH 71 really need to be upgraded to 4 lane divided highways. Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.

East or West of Austin?
West. Out to Johnson City for US 290 and Horseshoe Bay for SH 71.  East of Austin, US 290 should become an Interstate highway out to Houston and SH 71 should be a freeway out to Bostrop
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kphoger on May 13, 2022, 10:02:47 AM


Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.

pfft.  meh.

https://goo.gl/maps/Mg6K3djd7ubKKVpu8

That's in the middle of bumfuck nowhere. This is within an hour's drive of one of the largest and fastest growing metro areas in the United States. The roads were very busy and I saw lots of new homes going up and signs advertising more to come.

pfft.  meh.

https://goo.gl/maps/hhwKhveSuM9bXSV36
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on May 14, 2022, 01:37:14 AM
US 290 and SH 71 really need to be upgraded to 4 lane divided highways. Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.

East or West of Austin?
West. Out to Johnson City for US 290 and Horseshoe Bay for SH 71.  East of Austin, US 290 should become an Interstate highway out to Houston and SH 71 should be a freeway out to Bostrop

East of Austin, they’ve started construction to eliminate the last remaining stop lights on SH71 between Austin and Bastrop.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on May 14, 2022, 09:47:56 AM
US 290 and SH 71 really need to be upgraded to 4 lane divided highways. Blasting at 70 mph on a road with no median barrier is terrifying.

East or West of Austin?
West. Out to Johnson City for US 290 and Horseshoe Bay for SH 71.  East of Austin, US 290 should become an Interstate highway out to Houston and SH 71 should be a freeway out to Bostrop

East of Austin, they’ve started construction to eliminate the last remaining stop lights on SH71 between Austin and Bastrop.

They haven't started the construction for all of them.  The ones in Cedar Creek have no construction around.  They have only started the project from the end of Toll-71 to past Dr. Scott Dr.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kernals12 on May 31, 2022, 01:12:42 PM
Loop 360's conversion into a freeway starts tomorrow
https://www.newsradioklbj.com/austinlocalnews/ground-to-break-wednesday-on-loop-360-mobility-improvements/
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on May 31, 2022, 03:30:05 PM
Loop 360's conversion into a freeway starts tomorrow
https://www.newsradioklbj.com/austinlocalnews/ground-to-break-wednesday-on-loop-360-mobility-improvements/

Finally. Austin slowly but surely will have somewhat of an inner loop. Hopefully there’s plans to remove that one stop light on 360 between Mopac and Lamar and add a few direct connectors between 360 and 183.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kernals12 on May 31, 2022, 04:27:14 PM
Loop 360's conversion into a freeway starts tomorrow
https://www.newsradioklbj.com/austinlocalnews/ground-to-break-wednesday-on-loop-360-mobility-improvements/

Finally. Austin slowly but surely will have somewhat of an inner loop. Hopefully there’s plans to remove that one stop light on 360 between Mopac and Lamar and add a few direct connectors between 360 and 183.

The project website says TxDOT would happily do that if they had the money.

Also, they say it would be very simple to widen it to 6 lanes
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on May 31, 2022, 05:37:17 PM
Loop 360's conversion into a freeway starts tomorrow
https://www.newsradioklbj.com/austinlocalnews/ground-to-break-wednesday-on-loop-360-mobility-improvements/

Finally. Austin slowly but surely will have somewhat of an inner loop. Hopefully there’s plans to remove that one stop light on 360 between Mopac and Lamar and add a few direct connectors between 360 and 183.

The project website says TxDOT would happily do that if they had the money.

Also, they say it would be very simple to widen it to 6 lanes

Interesting. Seems like they would have removed that stop light first so that it would provide a free flowing route from 35 to Mopac via Ben White.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kernals12 on May 31, 2022, 05:50:25 PM
Also, this is Austin's first new controlled access facility without tolls in-- how long?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on May 31, 2022, 06:22:17 PM
^ I don’t think they are upgrading the road to a freeway… from what I’m seeing it’s a couple of intersections being converted.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kernals12 on May 31, 2022, 07:08:26 PM
^ I don’t think they are upgrading the road to a freeway… from what I’m seeing it’s a couple of intersections being converted.

Eventually they will convert all of them
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 31, 2022, 07:37:15 PM
Also, this is Austin's first new controlled access facility without tolls in-- how long?
The recently-opened south extension of MoPac at Slaughter qualifies as a new freeway section. But before that, it was probably SH 71 near the airport. But you are correct, that Austin has been victim of toll road hegemony since the mid-2000s.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 01, 2022, 11:02:48 AM
^ I don’t think they are upgrading the road to a freeway… from what I’m seeing it’s a couple of intersections being converted.

Eventually they will convert all of them

They are "supposed" to. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kernals12 on August 22, 2022, 08:42:01 AM
https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/austin/fm973-realignment.html

TxDOT held a public hearing on August 11 for their plan to shift FM 973 to a new 6 lane alignment outside of Manor. This will serve the traffic to be generated by the Tesla plant.

I can't imagine this is going to be good for the toll revenues on 130 or 290
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on August 23, 2022, 09:11:28 AM
https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/austin/fm973-realignment.html

TxDOT held a public hearing on August 11 for their plan to shift FM 973 to a new 6 lane alignment outside of Manor. This will serve the traffic to be generated by the Tesla plant.

I can't imagine this is going to be good for the toll revenues on 130 or 290

This looks like it will tie into a series of long planned highways in and around Taylor. I live right off 130, it’s starting to get consistently backed up during rush hour, so I don’t think they’ll lose much traffic:

https://www.wilco.org/Portals/0/Departments/CountyEngineer/2021-09-29%20-%20LRTP_Arterials_v2.pdf?ver=2021-10-06-135408-783
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bing101 on August 26, 2022, 11:00:59 PM

Here is Interstate Kyle taking a tour of Austin.


Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on September 07, 2022, 09:24:59 AM
Final section of SH 45 Southwest enters engineering and design phase:

https://www.kxan.com/news/local/hays/final-section-of-sh-45-southwest-enters-engineering-and-design-phase/

It’s about time!!
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on September 07, 2022, 12:52:32 PM
Final section of SH 45 Southwest enters engineering and design phase:

https://www.kxan.com/news/local/hays/final-section-of-sh-45-southwest-enters-engineering-and-design-phase/

It’s about time!!

Not quite the last section.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: MaxConcrete on September 07, 2022, 04:10:56 PM
Final section of SH 45 Southwest enters engineering and design phase:

That's good news. But the article's word choice is not consistent with regular project progression. Title is "Final section of SH 45 Southwest enters engineering and design phase". Usually a project goes into the engineering and design phase after the route alignment has been determined and environmental studies are complete. That seemed like good news, because environmental studies can take years.

But then the article says "Jones said they are in the design phase which is the part of the project where the route for the highway is mapped out."

So it appears that the alignment still needs to be determined, which means environmental clearance is still needed. I think this project is outside the Barton Creek watershed, which should make it easier to get clearance as compared to the adjacent section to the west. But it's still probably going to take 2-3 years to get the alignment and environmental clearance done.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on September 08, 2022, 02:01:24 PM
Quote from: ethanhopkin14
Not quite the last section.

After filling in the gap from FM-1626 to I-35 I think they should extend TX-45 farther West from its current SW dead end at FM-1826 over to US-290. That would do so much more to make TX-45 function as an effective bypass route around the South side of the Austin metro.

US-290 itself needs to be upgraded into a freeway farther West as well. The 3.5 mile freeway extension thru the Oak Hill area to Circle Drive will be helpful. But they really need (somehow) to get the freeway extended West past Dripping Springs and even as far as the US-281 corridor.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: thisdj78 on September 10, 2022, 11:20:37 AM
Final section of SH 45 Southwest enters engineering and design phase:

https://www.kxan.com/news/local/hays/final-section-of-sh-45-southwest-enters-engineering-and-design-phase/

It’s about time!!

Not quite the last section.

True, but it’s the last section that has a realistic chance of being built. I don’t see them building the western “ring” along or parallel to FM620.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on September 11, 2022, 06:48:29 PM
TX-45 at best will be a half loop. There's no way further extensions will be able to made along/near FM-620. The only North-South corridor in the Western, high-priced reaches of Austin that has any chance of freeway upgrades is TX-360. Right now it's kind of a "parkway," but over time more intersections will likely be converted into freeway style exits. There is room to add frontage roads along much of TX-360 in order to cut off driveways and side streets from the main lanes of the highway.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on September 28, 2022, 12:49:19 PM
Quote from: ethanhopkin14
Not quite the last section.

After filling in the gap from FM-1626 to I-35 I think they should extend TX-45 farther West from its current SW dead end at FM-1826 over to US-290. That would do so much more to make TX-45 function as an effective bypass route around the South side of the Austin metro.




US-290 itself needs to be upgraded into a freeway farther West as well. The 3.5 mile freeway extension thru the Oak Hill area to Circle Drive will be helpful. But they really need (somehow) to get the freeway extended West past Dripping Springs and even as far as the US-281 corridor.

Hays County wants 45 completed but Travis County is fighting it.

I'd like to see 290 straightened from Dripping Springs past Johnson City and the freeway can drop in just west of Johnson City.  After that you wouldn't really need one.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on October 01, 2022, 06:38:23 PM
Final section of SH 45 Southwest enters engineering and design phase:

https://www.kxan.com/news/local/hays/final-section-of-sh-45-southwest-enters-engineering-and-design-phase/

It’s about time!!

Not quite the last section.

True, but it’s the last section that has a realistic chance of being built. I don’t see them building the western “ring” along or parallel to FM620.

Not really.  The main lanes need to be built between Mopac and FM 1826.