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Author Topic: Austin: IH 35 rebuild  (Read 22083 times)

MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #150 on: August 03, 2022, 07:07:36 PM »

Bids were opened today for work in north Austin. This project mainly adds a managed lane in each direction, and also multiple frontage road intersection bypasses (allowing frontage road traffic to avoid intersections)  and some auxiliary lanes on the main lanes. This is separate from the expensive and controversial central project.

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/bidtab/08033057.htm

This project is expensive. The estimate is $571 million and the low bid is $607 million, but the estimate is vastly higher than what I remember seeing a few weeks ago, which was between three and four hundred million.

County:   TRAVIS   Let Date:   08/03/22
Type:   WIDEN ROAD - ADD LANES   Seq No:   3057
Time:   1791 WORKING DAYS   Project ID:   F 2022(437)
Highway:   IH 35   Contract #:   08223057
Length:   7.600   CCSJ:   0015-10-062
Limits:   
From:   SH 45N   Check:   $100,000
To:   FM 1825   Misc Cost:   
Estimate   $570,810,419.19   % Over/Under   Company
Bidder 1   $606,855,894.98   +6.31%   PULICE CONSTRUCTION, INC.
Bidder 2   $698,272,090.74   +22.33%   WEBBER, LLC
Bidder 3   $789,422,652.19   +38.30%   WILLIAMS BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION CO., INC.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2022, 08:29:16 AM by MaxConcrete »
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #151 on: August 04, 2022, 09:57:48 AM »

Bids were opened today for work in north Austin. This project mainly adds a managed lane in each direction, and also multiple frontage road intersection bypasses (allowing frontage road traffic to avoid intersections)  and some auxiliary lanes on the main lanes. This is separate from the expensive and controversial central project.

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/bidtab/08033057.htm

This project is expensive. The estimate is $571 million and the low bid is $607 million, but the estimate is vastly higher than what I remember seeing a few weeks ago, which was between three and four hundred million.

County:   TRAVIS   Let Date:   08/03/22
Type:   WIDEN ROAD - ADD LANES   Seq No:   3057
Time:   1791 WORKING DAYS   Project ID:   F 2022(437)
Highway:   IH 35   Contract #:   08223057
Length:   7.600   CCSJ:   0015-10-062
Limits:   
From:   SH 45N   Check:   $100,000
To:   FM 1825   Misc Cost:   
Estimate   $570,810,419.19   % Over/Under   Company
Bidder 1   $606,855,894.98   +6.31%   PULICE CONSTRUCTION, INC.
Bidder 2   $698,272,090.74   +22.33%   WEBBER, LLC
Bidder 3   $789,422,652.19   +38.30%   WILLIAMS BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION CO., INC.

I wonder if that work will include completing the south end direct connectors from I35 to 45 toll. It would make sense to do that all at the same time.
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Duke87

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #152 on: August 04, 2022, 12:35:53 PM »

Developers pull that crap all the time, build a housing development in a location directly in the path of where a future freeway or toll road is planned.

And from a business perspective there is relatively little reason not to. Freeway construction/expansion projects get canceled or indefinitely punted on all the time, so you may well be holding off on building on account of a project that never comes to fruition. And if the project does move forward... well, then the state will have to buy the building from you so you'll recoup your investment either way.

It is for this reason that states used to begin the ROW acquisition process for roads sometimes years before they planned to start actually trying to build them, to stop the land from being built on and becoming more expensive to purchase. But it's not really feasible to do this anymore since the nature of the EIS process now makes it such that the routing is never finalized until the project is about to begin.

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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #153 on: August 04, 2022, 02:50:37 PM »

I wonder if that work will include completing the south end direct connectors from I35 to 45 toll. It would make sense to do that all at the same time.
I have the schematic from March 2021 and it shows no improvements at the SH 45 intersection. I agree, it would be desirable to get the south side of the interchange built, but it's not in this project.

MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #154 on: December 14, 2022, 12:55:27 AM »

Kirk Watson won the Austin mayoral runoff tonight over Celia Israel with a very thin margin. Watson is a former mayor and former state Senator, and is more like a traditional Democrat. He has been a proponent of the I-35 project. I don't know Israel's position, but she is a progressive Democrat.

So this is good news for the project.

Maybe someone in Austin who knows more about Watson's level of support for the project can comment.

thisdj78

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #155 on: December 14, 2022, 07:22:12 AM »

Kirk Watson won the Austin mayoral runoff tonight over Celia Israel with a very thin margin. Watson is a former mayor and former state Senator, and is more like a traditional Democrat. He has been a proponent of the I-35 project. I don't know Israel's position, but she is a progressive Democrat.

So this is good news for the project.

Maybe someone in Austin who knows more about Watson's level of support for the project can comment.

He supports the TXDOT project. I’m not in the city of Austin but I remember him as mayor during my college days and was hoping he would pull off a win:

https://spectrumlocalnews.com/tx/south-texas-el-paso/news/2022/12/08/i35-expansion-mayoral-election
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #156 on: December 29, 2022, 03:13:35 PM »

A public meeting for the DEIS is scheduled Feb 9
https://www.txdot.gov/projects/hearings-meetings/austin/i35-capital-express-central-project-02-09-22.html

There were two options still being considered: Alternative 2 and Modified Alternative 3. Modified Alternative 3 has the boulevard-style design downtown and is somewhat smaller in certain locations. MA3 includes a lot of modifications requested by City of Austin, and from that perspective is more politically acceptable.

The recommended alternative is Modified Alternative 3. This is expected, and should enable the project to get full City of Austin support.

The main casualties of Modified Alternative 3 vs Alternative 2 are
  • No managed lane connections to US 290 on the north side
  • Only two managed lanes (one each way) north of 51st Street
  • Woodland Avenue does not cross over the freeway, and main lanes are reduced at this location compared to Alternative 2.

Echostatic

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #157 on: December 29, 2022, 04:54:23 PM »

I think you have to compromise somewhat with the city if only to cut down on the number of inevitable lawsuits this project will spawn. MA3 is clearly a massive improvement over the current highway, and it accomplishes almost all of the traffic relief goals.

longhorn

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #158 on: December 30, 2022, 10:17:37 AM »

Where is the additional lanes? The same amount of lanes now, four lanes each way.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #159 on: December 30, 2022, 04:44:51 PM »

Where is the additional lanes? The same amount of lanes now, four lanes each way.

The new lanes are the managed lanes. Some sections have long auxiliary lanes, making it 5x5 for substantial lengths, for example around Dean Keaton street. There are multiple instances of frontage road bypass lanes, especially downtown, which will relieve the main lanes. But you are correct that the main lanes count remains mostly the same.

Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #160 on: December 30, 2022, 09:46:00 PM »

The configuration reminds me of some of the 2x2x2x2 nonsense along I-820 that ended up being built on the North side of Fort Worth.
 :-/
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #161 on: December 30, 2022, 10:00:36 PM »

The configuration reminds me of some of the 2x2x2x2 nonsense along I-820 that ended up being built on the North side of Fort Worth.
 :-/
How.. exactly?

The schematics for Modified Alternative 3 shows 4 general purpose lanes and 2 express lanes in each direction… for a layout of 4x2x2x4, along with auxiliary lanes and frontage road bypass ramps in areas.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #162 on: December 30, 2022, 10:44:48 PM »

I was under the impression they removed more lanes from the scope of the project.

Even if they do manage to maintain a 4x2x2x4 configuration, the 11' wide lanes thing throughout the project stinks. Even in a normal sized sedan like a Nissan Altima skinny lanes will make you feel like you're danger close to trading paint with vehicles in the adjacent lanes. So many of us drive full sized pickup trucks and SUVs, which makes those 11' lanes feel even more cramped.
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #163 on: December 31, 2022, 12:02:51 AM »

^ That I certainly agree with, the FHWA should not sign off on allowing TxDOT to reduce interstate design standards on virtually every urban widening project nowadays it seems. Especially on a corridor that handles a large amount of truck traffic… it is very dangerous and compromises safety.
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CtrlAltDel

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #164 on: December 31, 2022, 12:45:15 AM »

I was under the impression they removed more lanes from the scope of the project.

Even if they do manage to maintain a 4x2x2x4 configuration, the 11' wide lanes thing throughout the project stinks. Even in a normal sized sedan like a Nissan Altima skinny lanes will make you feel like you're danger close to trading paint with vehicles in the adjacent lanes. So many of us drive full sized pickup trucks and SUVs, which makes those 11' lanes feel even more cramped.

I was under the impression that 11-foot lanes do not increase accidents by all that much. Going less than that does, but 11 is essentially good enough. I can't find the cite right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if something like that is what justified it here.

The best I can do for now is from here, which shows what happens when n 12-foot lanes are replaced with n + 2 11-foot lanes (one more for each direction), the number of collisions often increases but, as a result of the increased throughput, the collision rate often decreases. I'm not sure if something like that is at play here, though.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2022, 01:01:15 AM by CtrlAltDel »
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Interstates clinched: 4, 57, 275 (IN-KY-OH), 465 (IN), 640 (TN), 985
State Interstates clinched: I-26 (TN), I-75 (GA), I-75 (KY), I-75 (TN), I-81 (WV), I-95 (NH)

Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #165 on: December 31, 2022, 01:14:13 AM »

All I know is I really hate driving in 11' wide lanes as opposed to the normal 12' lanes. It's no fun at all in busy traffic. Portions of I-35E going North of Dallas have these skinny lanes. I make it a point to just avoid that route if I can do so when in the DFW metroplex. It can turn into too much of a cramped, white knuckle experience as opposed to other freeways in that area. The TX-114/TX-121 mix-master in Grapevine is pretty huge, but I think it's a breeze to drive through compared to I-35E.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #166 on: December 31, 2022, 10:20:11 AM »

I was under the impression they removed more lanes from the scope of the project.

Even if they do manage to maintain a 4x2x2x4 configuration, the 11' wide lanes thing throughout the project stinks. Even in a normal sized sedan like a Nissan Altima skinny lanes will make you feel like you're danger close to trading paint with vehicles in the adjacent lanes. So many of us drive full sized pickup trucks and SUVs, which makes those 11' lanes feel even more cramped.

I was under the impression that 11-foot lanes do not increase accidents by all that much. Going less than that does, but 11 is essentially good enough. I can't find the cite right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if something like that is what justified it here.

The best I can do for now is from here, which shows what happens when n 12-foot lanes are replaced with n + 2 11-foot lanes (one more for each direction), the number of collisions often increases but, as a result of the increased throughput, the collision rate often decreases. I'm not sure if something like that is at play here, though.

I was surprised and disappointed to see the 11-foot-wide lanes for I-35, especially since it is a major truck route.

As CtrlAltDel mentions, I think 11-foot-wide lanes do not increase the accident rate and probably lower the accident rate. I don't know this for a fact and don't have time to investigate this subject right now. My speculation is that the reason is because driving in narrow lanes is more stressful, causing drivers to drive more slowly and attentively.

With TxDOT's push to lower highway deaths, a lower accident rate for 11-foot-wide lanes is a sufficient excuse to use the narrow lanes, even if they don't meet standards.

Unfortunately, every freeway with 11-foot-wide lanes being built will be in service for a very long time, maybe even to year 2100 in cases like I-35.

J N Winkler

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #167 on: December 31, 2022, 12:16:04 PM »

I was under the impression they removed more lanes from the scope of the project.

Even if they do manage to maintain a 4x2x2x4 configuration, the 11' wide lanes thing throughout the project stinks. Even in a normal sized sedan like a Nissan Altima skinny lanes will make you feel like you're danger close to trading paint with vehicles in the adjacent lanes. So many of us drive full sized pickup trucks and SUVs, which makes those 11' lanes feel even more cramped.

I was under the impression that 11-foot lanes do not increase accidents by all that much. Going less than that does, but 11 is essentially good enough. I can't find the cite right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if something like that is what justified it here.

The best I can do for now is from here, which shows what happens when n 12-foot lanes are replaced with n + 2 11-foot lanes (one more for each direction), the number of collisions often increases but, as a result of the increased throughput, the collision rate often decreases. I'm not sure if something like that is at play here, though.

I don't know if Ezra Hauer's literature reviews (prepared, I think, as part of the work that ultimately led to the IHSDM) are still online, but one of them summarizes what research has to say about the unit lane width that minimizes injury accidents.  It lies between 11 feet and 12 feet but is actually closer to the former--I think the specific width is around 11.3 feet.

As a driver, though admittedly not of large or high vehicles, I've found 11-foot lanes are pretty hard to tell apart from 12-foot lanes unless one passes through a transition from one to the other that involves abrupt bends in lane stripes (example).  Do we know for a fact that I-35E actually uses 11-foot lanes and not a smaller unit lane width?  (In the case of the example linked to, I have actual construction plans from the 1980's and 1990's that show 11-foot lanes on one segment and 12-foot lanes on the next.)
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CtrlAltDel

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #168 on: December 31, 2022, 01:29:57 PM »

I was under the impression they removed more lanes from the scope of the project.

Even if they do manage to maintain a 4x2x2x4 configuration, the 11' wide lanes thing throughout the project stinks. Even in a normal sized sedan like a Nissan Altima skinny lanes will make you feel like you're danger close to trading paint with vehicles in the adjacent lanes. So many of us drive full sized pickup trucks and SUVs, which makes those 11' lanes feel even more cramped.

I was under the impression that 11-foot lanes do not increase accidents by all that much. Going less than that does, but 11 is essentially good enough. I can't find the cite right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if something like that is what justified it here.

The best I can do for now is from here, which shows what happens when n 12-foot lanes are replaced with n + 2 11-foot lanes (one more for each direction), the number of collisions often increases but, as a result of the increased throughput, the collision rate often decreases. I'm not sure if something like that is at play here, though.

I don't know if Ezra Hauer's literature reviews (prepared, I think, as part of the work that ultimately led to the IHSDM) are still online, but one of them summarizes what research has to say about the unit lane width that minimizes injury accidents.  It lies between 11 feet and 12 feet but is actually closer to the former--I think the specific width is around 11.3 feet.

As a driver, though admittedly not of large or high vehicles, I've found 11-foot lanes are pretty hard to tell apart from 12-foot lanes unless one passes through a transition from one to the other that involves abrupt bends in lane stripes (example).  Do we know for a fact that I-35E actually uses 11-foot lanes and not a smaller unit lane width?  (In the case of the example linked to, I have actual construction plans from the 1980's and 1990's that show 11-foot lanes on one segment and 12-foot lanes on the next.)

I believe a summary of that research might be the first result here.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2022, 01:33:17 PM by CtrlAltDel »
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Interstates clinched: 4, 57, 275 (IN-KY-OH), 465 (IN), 640 (TN), 985
State Interstates clinched: I-26 (TN), I-75 (GA), I-75 (KY), I-75 (TN), I-81 (WV), I-95 (NH)

 


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