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Author Topic: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project  (Read 11819 times)

The Ghostbuster

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #75 on: July 30, 2021, 02:08:00 PM »

How far west could a US 290 freeway or a four-lane highway potentially go? All the way to Interstate 10 would probably be a bridge-too-far, but maybe to US 281 would be sufficient.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #76 on: July 30, 2021, 09:05:13 PM »

I see little point with upgrading the US-290 corridor going West of Austin up to Interstate standards unless the super highway ultimately connects to I-10. Johnson City isn't a big enough destination for a US-290 upgrade to merely stop there.

As it stands, the current plan with US-290 on Austin's west side is very slow, incremental upgrades until the corridor gets so boxed in with development that any upgrades at all become impossible.
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #77 on: July 30, 2021, 09:26:09 PM »

I could see a four lane divided highway closer to I-10, then upgrading to freeway as traffic volumes increase and warrants such a design east of Johnson City.

Anything west of there is not really needed or warranted, at least from a design standpoint.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #78 on: July 31, 2021, 09:27:54 AM »

I could see a four lane divided highway closer to I-10, then upgrading to freeway as traffic volumes increase and warrants such a design east of Johnson City.

Anything west of there is not really needed or warranted, at least from a design standpoint.

I totally forgot that a bypass is proposed around Fredericksburg, so that is at least one segment under consideration:

https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/aus/fredericksburg-relief-route/030619-faqs.pdf
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #79 on: July 31, 2021, 11:07:50 PM »

Quote from: sprjus4
Anything west of there is not really needed or warranted, at least from a design standpoint.

By that logic any long distance Interstate highway passing through desolate areas might as well be a 2 lane road.

Regionally speaking, the Austin metro is more than large enough to justify its own thru East-West Interstate route connecting fully to the larger Interstate system. Austin has only North-South Interstate access currently. There is already two possible routes going East of Austin. US-290 is the only outlet going West out of Austin.
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Thegeet

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #80 on: August 01, 2021, 12:46:08 AM »

Not a valid %s URL
Quote from: sprjus4
Anything west of there is not really needed or warranted, at least from a design standpoint.

By that logic any long distance Interstate highway passing through desolate areas might as well be a 2 lane road.

Regionally speaking, the Austin metro is more than large enough to justify its own thru East-West Interstate route connecting fully to the larger Interstate system. Austin has only North-South Interstate access currently. There is already two possible routes going East of Austin. US-290 is the only outlet going West out of Austin.
So you mean I-18(?, generic numbering for proposed route) should end in I-35? Honestly, not bad call. I-35 has connections to SA and DFW. If anything, El Paso would be otherwise the best end if it were to go farther.
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #81 on: August 01, 2021, 01:08:44 AM »

By that logic any long distance Interstate highway passing through desolate areas might as well be a 2 lane road.
Those type highways got built when the federal government provided 90% funded. Trying to convince TxDOT to invest billions of dollars into US-290 to upgrade it into a full fledged freeway for 2,000 AADT… good luck. There’s no need for full control of access, overpasses, frontage roads, etc. Four lane divided highway, free flowing, and only the access control, bridges, and ramps near towns and at signal warranting junctions. Speed limit 75 mph. Plenty adequate.

US-290 is not going to become a major through route for 20-30,000 AADT if upgraded to a freeway, I-10 already exists for long haul traffic. And US-290 is not a “shorter” route - 5-10 miles at most and still goes through the Austin area so it’s not an “incentive” to avoid San Antonio. I’d rather invest the money to expand I-10 to 6 lanes between San Antonio and Houston, finish the upgrade / widening of Loop 1604 to 10 lanes, and widen I-10 out to Bourne. That would be more than adequate for through traffic and provide a bypass of San Antonio.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #82 on: August 02, 2021, 12:01:03 AM »

Quote from: Thegeet
So you mean I-18(?, generic numbering for proposed route) should end in I-35? Honestly, not bad call. I-35 has connections to SA and DFW. If anything, El Paso would be otherwise the best end if it were to go farther.

The kind of Interstate quality upgrade I'm talking about would mostly overlap existing US-290 when possible, save for bypasses around Johnson City and Fredericksburg. The road would dovetail into I-10 about 40 miles West of Fredericksburg, basically the same location as US-290.

As for numbering, if it were up to me I'd designate as another I-12, saving I-18 for another location. Honestly, I don't care if the US-290 and TX-71 corridors going in and out of Austin keep their current numbers. The routes do need to be physically upgraded regardless of what type of route number they carry.

Quote from: sprjus4
Those type highways got built when the federal government provided 90% funded. Trying to convince TxDOT to invest billions of dollars into US-290 to upgrade it into a full fledged freeway for 2,000 AADT… good luck.

The funding methods are besides the point. Occasionally the federal government does step up to fund certain projects. Austin is not a small town. It sure as hell isn't a suburb of San Antonio. Austin is literally one of the most populous cities in the nation, both in terms of city limits and metro population (and without factoring in any of San Antonio's population).

As to the low traffic counts on US-290 well past Austin the numbers are low in part because it's a crappy 2 lane route with various hazards along the way in a somewhat desolate area. People go out of their way to avoid it. 

Quote from: sprjus4
US-290 is not going to become a major through route for 20-30,000 AADT if upgraded to a freeway, I-10 already exists for long haul traffic. And US-290 is not a “shorter” route - 5-10 miles at most and still goes through the Austin area so it’s not an “incentive” to avoid San Antonio.

I don't know what kind of map you're looking at, but I-35 from Austin down to San Antonio and I-10 going "West" of San Antonio is literally a "V" shape. US-290 is literally the flat side of that triangle. Loop 1604 does very little to shave mileage and time off that route. Add to that the issue of the Northern reaches of San Antonio, New Braunfels and San Marcos booming in population and new traffic. US-290 is not the only East-West route in that region that will be dying for serious highway upgrades. That's a price to pay for attracting lots of new residents from other parts of the nation.
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texaskdog

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #83 on: August 02, 2021, 08:03:38 AM »

Need a freeway for all the people moving from California to Austin :P
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #84 on: August 02, 2021, 10:00:36 AM »

As to the low traffic counts on US-290 well past Austin the numbers are low in part because it's a crappy 2 lane route with various hazards along the way in a somewhat desolate area. People go out of their way to avoid it.

This is the argument I have had for years.  If you have 4 crappy corridors (just arbitrary numbers, for example), the traffic volume on one of those corridors will be unimpressive, I agree, but it's because it's a crappy corridor.  If you have one freeway corridor, all the traffic on those 4 crappy corridors will be consolidated into the one freeway, and then you will see the traffic count reach something that an interstate would see.  I agree with you.  U.S. 290 west of Austin is a crappy road.  Even when it's not 2-lanes, its undivided and you have to drive through downtown Dripping Springs, Johnson City, Fredericksburg and Harper.  Long haul traffic will avoid it at all costs.  If you have a freeway there, many will take the opportunity to skim north of San Antonio.  I don't understand why that's so hard for people to grasp.  If you are a city and you want to attract a major league baseball team, you have to build a stadium first to show the powers that be you are equipped to house a team.  You don't get an expansion franchise and them play a few years at a rec league park until they establish themselves and you feel comfortable enough that they need a stadium bigger than a few bleachers in a park to then finally build a major league stadium.  Same thing here; don't wait until the traffic is unbearable to finally start doing something.  Have the foresight to realize if there is one superior corridor, all the other routes will merger their traffic onto it.

I understand that yes it's not a huge selling point when you say, "Avoid San Antonio by taking this other interstate that goes through another huge city."  I get that.  Logically I think of it this way.  If I am driving from Austin to Oklahoma City, or places north on I-35, I will always take I-35W through Ft. Worth (unless for some reason I have to go to Dallas on my way).  It the shorter route; I know it and everyone else knows it.  Does it suck that it bypasses Dallas by going through a city with 800,000 people in in on the west side of a 6 million population urban area?  It does, but I understand that I-35W is straighter than the windier I-35E route, plus it does go through a slightly less populated part of the metroplex (not by a lot, we are talking 400,000 people, but it's something).  Its the same concept here.  Heading west from Columbus to Segovia, I-10 dips south to get to San Antonio, then runs nearly due north out of San Antonio.  If TX-71 and US-290 were upgraded to an interstate it would give everyone a straighter alternative. 

It's funny but it's true.  Austin is getting a lot of traffic from California.  They need an interstate. 
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #85 on: August 02, 2021, 10:36:28 AM »

^ Are people going out of their way to avoid I-10 between San Antonio and El Paso? Because the traffic volumes bottom out to around 4,000 AADT.

I-10 volumes just east of US-290 is a mere 11,500 AADT. US-290 is 981. The highest I-10 even gets between US-290 and I-20 is 13,680 near Junction.

It really speaks to this “heavy demand” that’s “spread across X crappy corridors”.

The demand just really doesn’t exist for TxDOT to invest billions of dollars without significant federal investment (not to mention - the comparison to the original interstates is also moot given cost per mile, even adjusted for inflation, was significantly less) to improve US-290 from an undivided 4 lane road into a fully controlled access interstate highway that might not even see volumes above 5,000 AADT. As I said before, at most a 4 lane divided highway with a 75 mph speed limit and town bypasses would be far more than adequate. East of Dripping Springs is where a full freeway design is warranted all the way into Austin, and even further east all the way to Houston.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #86 on: August 02, 2021, 09:25:51 PM »

Quote from: sprjus4
^ Are people going out of their way to avoid I-10 between San Antonio and El Paso? Because the traffic volumes bottom out to around 4,000 AADT.

San Antonio to El Paso is the longest stretch of I-10 without any significant destinations in between. Very little cross-country commercial vehicle traffic will stay on I-10 for its entire length thru Texas, due in part to some of the really odd jogs the route takes crossing Texas. I-10 takes a hard turn at Las Cruces and another hard turn at San Antonio. When you look at the US map it's easy to see Las Cruces is literally due West of Abilene. I-10 was still completed (for the most part) anyway for the sake of consistency, safety and having a logically complete national system. The Interstate system is not supposed to be a hodge-podge of different highway types.

I-10 doesn't have the same safety hazards as US-290 near Fredericksburg. I-10 is at least a divided and mostly limited access route. There are more services along the route, more lights, more activity, etc. Driving on desolate roads in West Texas can be a scary experience, particularly at night. I've driven on US-82 at night between Lubbock and Wichita Falls during the fall when deer are in the rut. That can be a white knuckle experience there. US-290 out near the I-10 junction looks like it could be every bit as hairy.

The low AADT counts on both I-10 and US-290 can and probably will change, due in part to the business and distribution center growth in the Austin area. Amazon, Google, Tesla, etc are building big there. Bypasses with freeway upgrade potential are going to be urgently needed for Johnson City and Fredericksburg. TX DOT at least needs to get US-290 turned into a 4-lane divided highway to the US-281 corridor just to preserve ROW for the future. On top of that TX DOT needs to be looking at TX-46 between Boerne, Spring Branch and New Braunfels.

I get it that freeway (or toll road) upgrades are very costly. OTOH, the section of US-290 between I-10 and Johnson City would not be all that bad. The super highway upgrades come at a cost of that region having the fastest population growth in the nation. The San Antonio and Austin region together is 5 million. And that's going to keep growing.
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Echostatic

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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #88 on: August 03, 2021, 02:55:47 PM »

Here we go again... https://cbsaustin.com/news/local/federal-judge-stops-txdot-from-bulldozing-protected-trees-in-oak-hill

This infuriates me!!  1994!!  I was born and raised in Oak Hill so don't bring your "I've lived here since 1994" crap here!  I was promised a freeway since the 80s and I held off, so it's time you give in as well.   Again, go to a park if you want to hang with the trees, not in a highway right-of-way!!  Rant over.
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TXtoNJ

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #89 on: August 03, 2021, 03:08:16 PM »

Here we go again... https://cbsaustin.com/news/local/federal-judge-stops-txdot-from-bulldozing-protected-trees-in-oak-hill

This infuriates me!!  1994!!  I was born and raised in Oak Hill so don't bring your "I've lived here since 1994" crap here!  I was promised a freeway since the 80s and I held off, so it's time you give in as well.   Again, go to a park if you want to hang with the trees, not in a highway right-of-way!!  Rant over.

Not to mention, those trees are mostly junipers/cedars that wouldn't have grown there without previous clear-cutting and ranching.
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armadillo speedbump

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #90 on: August 04, 2021, 02:46:06 AM »


I get it that freeway (or toll road) upgrades are very costly. OTOH, the section of US-290 between I-10 and Johnson City would not be all that bad. The super highway upgrades come at a cost of that region having the fastest population growth in the nation. The San Antonio and Austin region together is 5 million. And that's going to keep growing.

Nope, 5th.  The Combined Statistical Areas with the largest actual population increases 2011-2020 are:

1. DFW +1,378 million
2. Houston +1,241
3. Atlanta  +1,154

And if you want to combined the statistically separate SA CSA with the Austin MSA at 79 miles between downtowns, then you have to combine the Orlando CSA with the Tampa MSA at 83 miles apart.  They would be 2nd at +1,242, maybe pushing Hou and Atl to 3rd and 4th.  Except if the altered definitions to allow SA/Aus and Orl/Tampa to be combined are applied to other CSA's, Hou moves back to 2nd and maybe Atl back to 3rd.  Either way, SA/Aus at +1,031 is 5th in regional growth in the US.

(And for readers wanting to cite percentage growth, in most instances that is a misleading stat.  BFE, Alaska's population can grow 100% from 10 people to 20, but DFW growing 20% by increasing a net 1.378 million persons is what is actually growing faster.  Percentage growth might show relative impact, but it rarely shows in context actual increase in demand.)
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #91 on: August 04, 2021, 10:09:58 AM »


I get it that freeway (or toll road) upgrades are very costly. OTOH, the section of US-290 between I-10 and Johnson City would not be all that bad. The super highway upgrades come at a cost of that region having the fastest population growth in the nation. The San Antonio and Austin region together is 5 million. And that's going to keep growing.

Nope, 5th.  The Combined Statistical Areas with the largest actual population increases 2011-2020 are:

1. DFW +1,378 million
2. Houston +1,241
3. Atlanta  +1,154

And if you want to combined the statistically separate SA CSA with the Austin MSA at 79 miles between downtowns, then you have to combine the Orlando CSA with the Tampa MSA at 83 miles apart.  They would be 2nd at +1,242, maybe pushing Hou and Atl to 3rd and 4th.  Except if the altered definitions to allow SA/Aus and Orl/Tampa to be combined are applied to other CSA's, Hou moves back to 2nd and maybe Atl back to 3rd.  Either way, SA/Aus at +1,031 is 5th in regional growth in the US.

(And for readers wanting to cite percentage growth, in most instances that is a misleading stat.  BFE, Alaska's population can grow 100% from 10 people to 20, but DFW growing 20% by increasing a net 1.378 million persons is what is actually growing faster.  Percentage growth might show relative impact, but it rarely shows in context actual increase in demand.)

Never is San Antonio and Austin considered one MSA!  :-D
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #92 on: August 04, 2021, 10:17:02 AM »

I did reach out to TxDOT yesterday to show my support for this project, and the representative for the Oak Hill Parkway did ensure me that this injunction only affects these specific trees and shouldn't slow progress of the project.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #93 on: August 04, 2021, 11:39:14 AM »


I get it that freeway (or toll road) upgrades are very costly. OTOH, the section of US-290 between I-10 and Johnson City would not be all that bad. The super highway upgrades come at a cost of that region having the fastest population growth in the nation. The San Antonio and Austin region together is 5 million. And that's going to keep growing.

Nope, 5th.  The Combined Statistical Areas with the largest actual population increases 2011-2020 are:

1. DFW +1,378 million
2. Houston +1,241
3. Atlanta  +1,154

And if you want to combined the statistically separate SA CSA with the Austin MSA at 79 miles between downtowns, then you have to combine the Orlando CSA with the Tampa MSA at 83 miles apart.  They would be 2nd at +1,242, maybe pushing Hou and Atl to 3rd and 4th.  Except if the altered definitions to allow SA/Aus and Orl/Tampa to be combined are applied to other CSA's, Hou moves back to 2nd and maybe Atl back to 3rd.  Either way, SA/Aus at +1,031 is 5th in regional growth in the US.

(And for readers wanting to cite percentage growth, in most instances that is a misleading stat.  BFE, Alaska's population can grow 100% from 10 people to 20, but DFW growing 20% by increasing a net 1.378 million persons is what is actually growing faster.  Percentage growth might show relative impact, but it rarely shows in context actual increase in demand.)

Never is San Antonio and Austin considered one MSA!  :-D

True, but if San Marcos and New Braunfels continue to fill in/out….I could see it being considered a CSA in the future.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #94 on: August 06, 2021, 05:03:22 PM »

Things are progressing smoothly.  All the trees from Circle Drive to El Rey Blvd. have been bulldozed.  Utilities are looking like they are being relocated. 
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Thegeet

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #95 on: August 06, 2021, 07:27:47 PM »

Here we go again... https://cbsaustin.com/news/local/federal-judge-stops-txdot-from-bulldozing-protected-trees-in-oak-hill
What if the relocated the trees? They could keep their trees and move on with this project.
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Chris

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #96 on: September 14, 2021, 04:56:22 PM »

Thegeet

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #97 on: September 14, 2021, 10:21:59 PM »

Community Impact: Judge denies effort to stop Oak Hill Parkway construction


https://communityimpact.com/austin/na/transportation/2021/09/14/judge-denies-effort-to-stop-oak-hill-parkway-construction/
Yey. Now there can be  an oak hill pkwy.
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kernals12

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #98 on: September 14, 2021, 10:23:10 PM »

Community Impact: Judge denies effort to stop Oak Hill Parkway construction


https://communityimpact.com/austin/na/transportation/2021/09/14/judge-denies-effort-to-stop-oak-hill-parkway-construction/
Yey. Now there can be  an oak hill pkwy.

Just call it a freeway. As a Northeast Native, i hate how the meaning of the word "parkway" has been butchered.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project
« Reply #99 on: September 15, 2021, 12:28:26 PM »

Community Impact: Judge denies effort to stop Oak Hill Parkway construction


https://communityimpact.com/austin/na/transportation/2021/09/14/judge-denies-effort-to-stop-oak-hill-parkway-construction/
Yey. Now there can be  an oak hill pkwy.

Just call it a freeway. As a Northeast Native, i hate how the meaning of the word "parkway" has been butchered.

They call it a parkway to keep the NYMBYs from losing their minds. 
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