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Author Topic: Austin, TX  (Read 51801 times)

ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #200 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. 
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TXtoNJ

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #201 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.
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sparker

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #202 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. 
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longhorn

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #203 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

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TXtoNJ

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #204 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.
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longhorn

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #205 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.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #206 on: July 21, 2021, 02:48:32 PM »

Finally this project will actually start.  The last leg to getting the freeway through the city limits of Austin.
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TheBox

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #207 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
« Last Edit: July 25, 2021, 09:45:27 PM by TheBox »
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #208 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.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #209 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.
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Thegeet

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #210 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.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #211 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.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2021, 12:28:55 PM by Bobby5280 »
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #212 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.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #213 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. 
« Last Edit: July 27, 2021, 01:50:58 PM by ethanhopkin14 »
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #214 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. 
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #215 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.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #216 on: July 28, 2021, 01:45:24 AM »

FYI, the “Virtual Groundbreaking” on the first segment of the SH71 construction east of SH130:

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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #217 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.
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TXtoNJ

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #218 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.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #219 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.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #220 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:













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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #221 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. 
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sparker

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #222 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.   
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #223 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.

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sparker

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #224 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. 
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