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TX: Ports to Plains corridor study

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MaxConcrete:
The presentation for the first virtual public meeting is online. (The 42-minute video is also available, but it doesn't add anything.) This covers the segment from Laredo northward to near Interstate 10 at Sonora, 247 miles.

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/get-involved/statewide/ports-plains/mtg4/051120-p2p-seg3-pres.pdf

Meeting site: https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/transportation-planning/051120.html

Interstate status is recommended for this section. Since this is the most desolate section of the corridor, I'm assuming they will recommend Interstate status for the entire corridor. Two more segment meetings are this week.

See page 24 for cost numbers to upgrade to Interstate standards.
Segment 3: $6.7 billion
Entire Ports to Plains corridor: $23.5 billion

My opinion: Interstate standards for the entire corridor and especially segment 3 is unnecessary and major overkill. I've driven on many of these segments over the years, and these areas are very desolate with minimal traffic. What's needed are some relief routes around slowdowns at cities and 4-lane divided highway standards in most areas, and 4-lane undivided in low traffic areas.
I think there is substantial political muscle behind this study which may have fixed the outcome. But supporters are delusional if they think they can ever get anything near the cost estimate of $23.5 billion. It would be much wiser to propose an affordable program that actually meets needs and could be done in a reasonable amount of time.

Chris:
More detailed raffic volumes can also be viewed here: https://www.txdot.gov/apps/statewide_mapping/StatewidePlanningMap.html

They hardly exceed 3,000 vehicles per day on most of the route. There are a few spikes over 5,000 near larger towns, but the northern portion of segment 3 from Del Rio to Sonora barely gets 1,000 vehicles per day. A two-lane road is sufficient for that kind of traffic volume.

If you look at page 17 of the PDF presentation, you can see the traffic volumes on a map as well. They say the average traffic is 9,400 vehicles per day, but if you look at the map it seems like this 'average' is made up by including I-35 into Laredo, which has a far higher traffic volume than US 83 and US 277.

If you look at other non-freeway, four-lane divided highways in Texas and surrounding states, you can see that there are few with under 5,000 vehicles per day. So even a non-Interstate upgrade is a stretch of the imagined need.

The projected population growth is also minimal, most of that likely near Laredo which is already served by I-35 and will likely have minimal impact on traffic growth farther north.

mvak36:

--- Quote from: MaxConcrete on May 12, 2020, 09:16:08 PM ---Entire Ports to Plains corridor: $23.5 billion

My opinion: Interstate standards for the entire corridor and especially segment 3 is unnecessary and major overkill. I've driven on many of these segments over the years, and these areas are very desolate with minimal traffic. What's needed are some relief routes around slowdowns at cities and 4-lane divided highway standards in most areas, and 4-lane undivided in low traffic areas.
I think there is substantial political muscle behind this study which may have fixed the outcome. But supporters are delusional if they think they can ever get anything near the cost estimate of $23.5 billion. It would be much wiser to propose an affordable program that actually meets needs and could be done in a reasonable amount of time.

--- End quote ---

I guess I could see the Lubbock to I-10 segment and Segment 1 from Amarillo upto Dalhart and Dumas being upgraded to interstate standards, but the rest of it doesn't look like it has enough traffic to justify upgrading it.

Henry:

--- Quote from: mvak36 on May 13, 2020, 09:47:07 AM ---
--- Quote from: MaxConcrete on May 12, 2020, 09:16:08 PM ---Entire Ports to Plains corridor: $23.5 billion

My opinion: Interstate standards for the entire corridor and especially segment 3 is unnecessary and major overkill. I've driven on many of these segments over the years, and these areas are very desolate with minimal traffic. What's needed are some relief routes around slowdowns at cities and 4-lane divided highway standards in most areas, and 4-lane undivided in low traffic areas.
I think there is substantial political muscle behind this study which may have fixed the outcome. But supporters are delusional if they think they can ever get anything near the cost estimate of $23.5 billion. It would be much wiser to propose an affordable program that actually meets needs and could be done in a reasonable amount of time.

--- End quote ---

I guess I could see the Lubbock to I-10 segment and Segment 1 from Amarillo upto Dalhart and Dumas being upgraded to interstate standards, but the rest of it doesn't look like it has enough traffic to justify upgrading it.

--- End quote ---
Yes, this. I'm hoping that I-27 connects to another interstate eventually, aside from I-40. And my guess is that at least the western half of Loop 335 will be included in the upgrade plans, so as to avoid an I-78 situation (running on city streets).

Plutonic Panda:
This looks more or less like a long term plan rather than building to accommodate current traffic counts. I am curious why they think the median income will go from around 30-40k to 100k by 2050.

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