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Author Topic: Austin: IH 35 rebuild  (Read 19135 times)

dfwmapper

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2019, 05:30:57 AM »

6 lanes from Georgetown to Mustang Ridge should be enough, and you'd want it designed to easily go to 8 between US 79 and SH 71 since that's where the heaviest traffic is now and will be in the future. Mustang Ridge to Seguin would probably be fine with just 4 lanes, since a lot of the traffic would continue west on SH 45S to reach I-35 and Buda, Kyle, San Marcos, and New Braunfels.

Getting I-10 to 6 lanes all the way from San Antonio to SH 130 would have to be done though, and that at least is in the works. I-10's AADT is already over 50000 between Loop 1604 and Seguin, with over 25% truck traffic. The south end of SH 130 doesn't even hit 10000 AADT now, but if it was free and the signed route for I-35, I bet it would hit 40k easy.
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2019, 10:09:54 AM »

As of now, only 22 miles of SH-130 are currently being widened to 6 lanes - between SH-45 North and SH-71.

Out of the entire corridor though, that is indeed the busiest stretch, with AADT on the mainline varying between 40,000 - 45,000.

The remainder of the corridor is below 30,000 AADT, with the exception of the 5 mile stretch between US-79 and SH-45 North which has between 35,000 - 40,000 AADT on the mainline.

In the near future (5-10 years), I could see at least that 5 mile segment expanded to 6 lanes, along with an additional 22 miles (I-35 to US-79 and SH-71 to US-181) being studied for expansion as traffic counts increase.

The segment south of the US-181 / SH-45 South / SH-130 junction has 5,000 - 15,000 AADT, and I don't forsee an expansion being warranted there anytime soon.

I-10 between I-410 and SH-130 at Seguin warrants expansion to 6 lanes, carrying 50,000+ AADT, along with I-410 between I-35 South and I-10 East which carries 40,000 - 60,000 AADT.

If SH-130 was to be untolled, completing the remaining 27 miles on the northern half from SH-45 South northwards to 6 lanes would definitely be warranted, along with widening I-10 between SH-130 and I-410, and I-410 between I-35 South and I-10 East to 6 lanes. The 40 mile southern segment of the toll road has plenty room for growth and would likely only top out at 20,000 - 35,000 AADT if the tolls were eliminated. The segment currently carrying around 45,000 AADT today would likely top out at 75,000 - 80,000 AADT, though if local traffic increases with increased growth, could be higher, and -might- warrant 8 lanes at some point.

I think a long term goal of expanding the entire northern segment, I-10, and I-410 to 6 lanes, and buying out the tolls would definitely help relieve the I-35 corridor.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 10:13:56 AM by sprjus4 »
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dfwmapper

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2019, 02:00:27 AM »

The I-10 stuff is happening regardless. I-410 to Loop 1604 is already under construction. Loop 1604 to Graytown Rd was let this month, and Graytown to the Bexar/Guadalupe county line (Cibolo Creek) is scheduled to be let in April 2020. AAMPO's TIP for FY 2021 has US 90 west of Seguin to SH 130 as well as building 3 flyovers at the I-10/I-410 interchange (E->S, N->W, S->W). The MTP has more ramps listed for FY2025, and the remaining 9 miles between the Bexar/Guadalupe county line and US 90 in FY2028. The latter would presumably be advanced if there were serious plans to remove tolls on 130 before then.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2020, 06:07:09 PM »

It looks like the Central Part of the project through downtown has found funding. I am very excited for the proposed tunnels. This will easily be one of the most impressive stretches of freeway in the world if built as proposed.

https://www.kxan.com/traffic/texas-transportation-commission-unveils-plan-to-fund-i-35-expansion-project/
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2020, 07:04:57 PM »

Wow, that's a surprise. It was listed as a "Potential update to the 2020 Unified Transportation Program" in the agenda.

The presentation is now online (but the meeting video is not yet online as of this writing).

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0227/4-presentation.pdf

The political powers probably realize the importance of Austin to the future of Texas, since Austin is a tech hub and is growing by leaps and bounds. Other sectors of the Texas economy, mainly oil & gas, face an uncertain future and Houston especially is facing a grim future as the fossil fuel sector permanently declines.

MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2020, 07:40:47 PM »

This will easily be one of the most impressive stretches of freeway in the world if built as proposed.

I think driving through downtown Houston on I-69 and I-45 will be much more impressive if/when the North Houston Highway Improvement project is completed (currently slated to start 2022). It will feature a peak of 33 traffic lanes on the north side of downtown.

sprjus4

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2020, 07:53:54 PM »

Wow, that's a surprise. It was listed as a "Potential update to the 2020 Unified Transportation Program" in the agenda.

The presentation is now online (but the meeting video is not yet online as of this writing).

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0227/4-presentation.pdf

The political powers probably realize the importance of Austin to the future of Texas, since Austin is a tech hub and is growing by leaps and bounds. Other sectors of the Texas economy, mainly oil & gas, face an uncertain future and Houston especially is facing a grim future as the fossil fuel sector permanently declines.
Still missing that link to Houston though...  :hmmm:
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #32 on: February 27, 2020, 08:00:39 PM »

33 traffic lanes is awesome. Iím wondering if we will ever see a freeway break 50. My wowing over the Austin proposal has to do with the multi level tunnel. Does such a setup exist currently anywhere?
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #33 on: February 27, 2020, 08:10:40 PM »

This will easily be one of the most impressive stretches of freeway in the world if built as proposed.

I think driving through downtown Houston on I-69 and I-45 will be much more impressive if/when the North Houston Highway Improvement project is completed (currently slated to start 2022). It will feature a peak of 33 traffic lanes on the north side of downtown.
Looks like the Katy Freeway will be surpassed  :-o
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2020, 08:16:56 PM »

This will easily be one of the most impressive stretches of freeway in the world if built as proposed.

I think driving through downtown Houston on I-69 and I-45 will be much more impressive if/when the North Houston Highway Improvement project is completed (currently slated to start 2022). It will feature a peak of 33 traffic lanes on the north side of downtown.
Looks like the Katy Freeway will be surpassed  :-o
IIRC there was a freeway to be widened in the IE in SoCal that was going to exceed the number of lanes on the Katy Freeway.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2020, 10:16:30 PM »

Michael Morris, director of NCTCOG, is furious that this funding for IH 35 in Austin will divert $1 billion of funds which would normally be expected to go to North Texas. He's trying to get North Texas political entities to try to force the managed lanes on IH 35 to be tolled.

See item six, starting around 10 minutes in

https://nctcog.swagit.com/play/02272020-674

Chris

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #36 on: February 28, 2020, 04:30:03 AM »

My wowing over the Austin proposal has to do with the multi level tunnel. Does such a setup exist currently anywhere?

Twin-level tunnels are rare, but they do exist here and there. 3-level roads (frontage roads on top of two freeway levels) are probably much rarer.

Chris

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #37 on: February 28, 2020, 04:35:27 AM »

Michael Morris, director of NCTCOG, is furious that this funding for IH 35 in Austin will divert $1 billion of funds which would normally be expected to go to North Texas. He's trying to get North Texas political entities to try to force the managed lanes on IH 35 to be tolled.

To be fair, Austin's problems are significant and so far they have almost exclusively built toll roads to address population growth. And the problems on I-35 cannot be significantly reduced without a high-cost solution.

I wonder how they are going to 'manage' the traffic on the managed lanes without tolls. In a fast-growing area like Austin, the managed lanes will likely be overwhelmed by traffic growth after some time, so there needs to be some kind of tolling to guarantee free-flow conditions. Maybe not to the extreme levels that the I-66 tolls in Northern Virginia have though.

thisdj78

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #38 on: February 28, 2020, 07:57:30 AM »

Michael Morris, director of NCTCOG, is furious that this funding for IH 35 in Austin will divert $1 billion of funds which would normally be expected to go to North Texas. He's trying to get North Texas political entities to try to force the managed lanes on IH 35 to be tolled.

To be fair, Austin's problems are significant and so far they have almost exclusively built toll roads to address population growth. And the problems on I-35 cannot be significantly reduced without a high-cost solution.

I wonder how they are going to 'manage' the traffic on the managed lanes without tolls. In a fast-growing area like Austin, the managed lanes will likely be overwhelmed by traffic growth after some time, so there needs to be some kind of tolling to guarantee free-flow conditions. Maybe not to the extreme levels that the I-66 tolls in Northern Virginia have though.

I imagine they will be managed similar to HOV lanes, with police periodically positioned to hand out tickets (assuming thereís enough shoulder width for them to park in)
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2020, 08:12:20 AM »

^

If the HOV lanes being constructed in the San Antonio area in lieu of previously proposed HO/T lanes are any indication, Iíd say they would be.
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texaskdog

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2020, 08:25:34 AM »

Wow, that's a surprise. It was listed as a "Potential update to the 2020 Unified Transportation Program" in the agenda.

The presentation is now online (but the meeting video is not yet online as of this writing).

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0227/4-presentation.pdf

The political powers probably realize the importance of Austin to the future of Texas, since Austin is a tech hub and is growing by leaps and bounds. Other sectors of the Texas economy, mainly oil & gas, face an uncertain future and Houston especially is facing a grim future as the fossil fuel sector permanently declines.
Still missing that link to Houston though...  :hmmm:

Well we have TWO expressways to get there
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2020, 08:29:16 AM »

Wow, that's a surprise. It was listed as a "Potential update to the 2020 Unified Transportation Program" in the agenda.

The presentation is now online (but the meeting video is not yet online as of this writing).

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0227/4-presentation.pdf

The political powers probably realize the importance of Austin to the future of Texas, since Austin is a tech hub and is growing by leaps and bounds. Other sectors of the Texas economy, mainly oil & gas, face an uncertain future and Houston especially is facing a grim future as the fossil fuel sector permanently declines.
Still missing that link to Houston though...  :hmmm:

Well we have TWO expressways to get there

Well, ďExpressĒ is relative....thereís still stoplights (several on 290, a few on 71) on both routes.
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #42 on: February 28, 2020, 02:22:55 PM »

^

The eventual goal should be an interstate highway, but at minimum they need to eliminate the final traffic signals and bypass the remaining towns.
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Echostatic

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #43 on: November 12, 2020, 11:13:07 AM »

Alternative 1:





Alternative 2/3:

MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #44 on: November 12, 2020, 08:06:44 PM »

Build Alternative 2/3 will require a major right-of-way clearance between Manor Road and Airport Boulevard. To avoid the cemetery, it will need to take the UT-Austin football practice facility. It looks like it will also require ROW clearance in other sections, although not major. That's going to be a tough sell politically.

However, the Alternative 1 tunnel option may be impossible to construct without closing the entire freeway between Manor Rd and Airport Blvd for a significant period of time, maybe a year or more. If they can keep it open, it would be a very minimal number of lanes. I don't see how they can keep the frontage road lanes open and build the new frontage roads as shown. With Alternative 2/3, they can probably keep all existing lanes open by building one side (on the cleared ROW) first.

I prefer to see 2/3 as the recommended option. The final recommendation may be a combination of both to limit the tunnel sections to only areas where they are absolutely necessary. I'm going to suggest that they consider building the football field on a deck above the freeway if the practice facility cannot be relocated. That would be expensive, but probably less expensive than a tunnel.

UPDATE: Here are the comments I submitted
Quote

I support the I-35 improvement project. I support Build Alternatives 2 and 3.

Here are the problems with Build Alternative 1, and why it should be avoided.
1. Construction between MLK and Airport Boulevard will probably require closure of the entire freeway for a long period of time, maybe more than a year. If the freeway can be kept open, it would probably be a minimal number of lanes, and the extra cost could be very high.
2. It looks like it will be impossible or very difficult to keep the frontage roads open during construction, which would be a problem for properties along the frontage roads.
3. Tunnels introduce risks with possible fires inside the tunnels. This requires continuous monitoring and firefighting/rescue units on standby 24 hours a day.
4. Tunnels normally have higher maintenance costs, especially as they age.
5. Tunnels are more expensive than conventional freeways.

Reasons I support Build Alternatives 2/3
1. Between MLK and Airport, the existing freeway can remain open during construction while new lanes are built on new right-of-way.
2. While a right-of-way clearance will be required between MLK and Airport, most of the properties on the east side of the freeway are lower-tier commercial properties and can be acquired with minimal impact to the community.
3. These alternatives provide a consistent freeway design for the entire corridor.


Other Suggestions.
1. It looks like Build Alternatives 2/3 will require land from the UT-Austin football practice facility. If it is not possible to relocate the practice facility, consider building a deck above the freeway to accommodate the football facility. The deck would probably be needed over only the west side (southbound lanes) of the freeway. While this will be expensive, it is probably less expensive than the tunnel option.
2. Right-of-way should be acquired where needed to maintain high design standards. (In other words, don't compromise design standards to save a few buildings.)
3. A hybrid approach may be needed. That would mean using Build Alternatives 2/3 for most of the corridor, and using short tunnels only where absolutely necessary.
4. The downtown bypass and access-controlled frontage roads options mentioned in presentation slide 32 have the potential to be very helpful for ensuring good surface flow through downtown. The bypass could also act as a collector-distributor to minimize merge/weave zones on the main lanes through downtown.

« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 10:08:53 PM by MaxConcrete »
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #45 on: November 12, 2020, 09:36:13 PM »

I prefer alternative one. Less ROW in some places and generally a better design although more expensive will allow communities to better reconnect. The only issue I have with it is I wish there were 6 or 7 GP lanes each way instead of 5. But overall I love it.
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TXtoNJ

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #46 on: November 14, 2020, 01:39:54 AM »

Alternative 1 is the only one that even has a slight political chance of getting built.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #47 on: August 10, 2021, 05:29:29 PM »

There is a public meeting today with the latest information. There's a large amount of info on the meeting web site
https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/austin/081021.html

The big news is that Alternative 1, which has the deep tunnels, is not being carried forward for further study. In other words, it is eliminated. I'm glad to see this, see my earlier post from 12-Nov-2020 for the reasons.

  • Alternatives 2 and 3 are being carried forward. Alternative 2 has the managed lanes at the freeway level, while alternative 3 has elevated managed lane sections at the north and south ends of the project.
  • Alternative 3 (elevated managed lanes) requires less right-of-way in the areas where there are elevated structures.
  • Alternative 2 and 3 are identical through downtown. Both have northbound and southbound bypass lanes, which are like long on- and off-ramps.
  • There are no tunnels in the remaining alternatives. However, between 38th street and Manor road, the frontage roads are built on top of the main lanes, with the northbound main lanes fully covered between Manor Road and Dean Keeton. This is needed to shoehorn the freeway between the cemetery and the UT athletic field.
  • Substantial right-of-way acquisition is needed between 51st Street and Dean Keeton.
  • The schematics and cross sections views suggest that design standards are frequently compromised in terms of interior shoulders and space between the main and managed lanes.

In the upcoming months we will find out if TxDOT can keep the process moving forward, or if opposition is going to mount an effort to kill the project, as is happening on NHHIP in Houston.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2021, 05:31:39 PM by MaxConcrete »
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Echostatic

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #48 on: August 10, 2021, 06:16:30 PM »

Nobody in Austin government positions wants this to happen. Any effort to push this through will need to come from the state, and surrounding cities and counties.

Plutonic Panda

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Re: Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« Reply #49 on: August 10, 2021, 06:34:13 PM »

With alternative 1 being axed Iíll review the other alternatives but from what I saw alternative 1 was the best design requiring the least amount of ROW. In all likelihood, Iíll be sending a comment to TxDOT stating my opposition to this project now. We donít need another massive ribbon of concrete cutting right through downtown. The tunnels would have lessened the ROW impacts.
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