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Author Topic: In preparation for I-27 extension, expect bypass and/or 4-lane upgrades...  (Read 22979 times)

TXtoNJ

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let me clarify, i was referring to the portion outside of texas. why does there need to be an interstate in that part of colorado and montana and the dakotas? your growth argument doesn't seem to apply there at all!

Stuff gotta go somewhere.  If that was the constant conversation during the original interstate plan, we wouldn't have I-86 in Idaho, and we would have never built most of the western parts of I-40 and I-10.  The freeways go through some of the most desolate parts of the country, yes, but as a whole they need to be there.  The interstate system is all about the big picture, not weather or not this particular 100 acre area needs a freeway or not.  Los Angeles needed a link to Phoenix, Houston, New Orleans and Jacksonville, so I-10 was built.  What you get in the process is freeways is the middle of nowhere, but thems the breaks. 

Can't forget the defense justifications, either. I-10 would have been an important materiel transport/defensive line in case of a Soviet amphibious invasion of the Gulf of California.
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sprjus4

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let me clarify, i was referring to the portion outside of texas. why does there need to be an interstate in that part of colorado and montana and the dakotas? your growth argument doesn't seem to apply there at all!
Connecting the major areas of Texas like Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, all the way down to Laredo, McAllen, Brownsville, etc. which combined have easily over 10+ million population, to the Denver, the Northwest, etc. and the I-25 and I-70 corridors. There’s currently no interstate connection there today.

The part north of I-70 is certainly more debatable in regards to need.
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sprjus4

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I am going to try to not be the guy that says "I hate it when someone halfway across the country tells me the road I sit in traffic in every day is 'perfectly fine' and doesn't need an upgrade", but I guess I just did. 
Gotta love these types of posters, they seem to be everywhere. Or the ones that visit an area once and say “there’s no need here” as they drive it at an off peak time and have never experienced any sort of peak congestion.

Then of course the many that solely look at something in terms of traffic volumes, and ignore other factors such as truck percentages, safety, regional connectivity (city to city), etc. and even if everything else is a major factor except that traffic volume one, they say it’s not needed. Again, usually the ones who never have driven the corridor or maybe just once or twice.
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ethanhopkin14

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...Off of the following:
*US-87 from Tahoka to San Angelo (below Lubbock), and from north of Amarillo to Duma and then to either Raton, NM or Limon, CO (where it merges to I-25, one way or another)
*TX-349/TX-158 from Lamesa to near Sterling City (I-27W)
*US-277/US-377 from San Angelo to Carrizo Springs
*US-83 from Carrizo Springs to merging into I-35 @ Botines?
NOTE: Expect and pay attention to potential bypasses, 4-lane upgrades, and/or overpass upgrades for any of these US routes


the recent Big Spring and Del Rio bypasses are also potentially part of the I-27 extension







News of I-27 extension is still going on, with March 2021 at the latest (https://abc7amarillo.com/news/local/rep-jackson-backs-bill-to-prep-i-27-for-expansion), whiling I-14 is more or less short-lived cause of funding issues (for now) and will end up like I-27, before the extension plans ironically enough.

With all that being said, we wait for and watch the upgrades happen.  :popcorn:

On that top map, I would like to see the section from Del Rio to Laredo be signed as I-2.  Also extending west out of Del Rio tapping into I-10 around Ft. Stockton, making I-2 an east-west connection from the Valley to the desert and Southern California.  Just think of waking up in Harlingen, driving west on I-2 until it defaults on to I-10, taking that into Arizona then branching off onto I-8 to enjoy the sunny beach in San Diego!
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Scott5114

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let me clarify, i was referring to the portion outside of texas. why does there need to be an interstate in that part of colorado and montana and the dakotas? your growth argument doesn't seem to apply there at all!

Colorado is growing just as fast as Texas. Colorado grew by 14.8% in the last ten years, compared to Texas, which grew by 15.9%. When you have two adjacent population centers growing, you're going to get people that want to travel between the two, for business or pleasure. Connecting them can benefit both populations.
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The Ghostbuster

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I think an Interstate 27 southern extension is far more likely than an Interstate 27 northern extension. I see a northern extension of 27 the same way I see an Interstate 45 northern extension; something that could/should be done, but is unlikely to be done (a 45 extension would have been done long ago if the Texas DOT was interested). What are the existing traffic counts on US 87 and US 287 north of Amarillo? Maybe a two-to-four-lane non-freeway conversion would work just as well (assuming 87 or 287 traffic counts warrant an expansion to four lanes).
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ethanhopkin14

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I think an Interstate 27 southern extension is far more likely than an Interstate 27 northern extension. I see a northern extension of 27 the same way I see an Interstate 45 northern extension; something that could/should be done, but is unlikely to be done (a 45 extension would have been done long ago if the Texas DOT was interested). What are the existing traffic counts on US 87 and US 287 north of Amarillo? Maybe a two-to-four-lane non-freeway conversion would work just as well (assuming 87 or 287 traffic counts warrant an expansion to four lanes).

Your argument is valid but a weird subject.  TxDOT has invested a ton of money for 60 years in the US 75 corridor making it up to interstate standards, so not sure why they have never just signed it up to the state line.  To me that's a slam dunk for TxDOT for doing what they love.  Sign an existing freeway with an interstate shield and back slap the hell out of each other about what they accomplished. 
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PastTense

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Here's a map of population change by county in Texas from 2010 to 2018:

https://texasalmanac.com/sites/default/files/images/topics/txctychge.jpg

Notice how the counties this proposed freeway goes through are mostly declining in population.
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Scott5114

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Here's a map of population change by county in Texas from 2010 to 2018:

https://texasalmanac.com/sites/default/files/images/topics/txctychge.jpg

Notice how the counties this proposed freeway goes through are mostly declining in population.

It's not about connecting the counties marked red on that map to anything. It's about connecting the counties marked blue on that map to counties that would be marked blue on a similar map of Colorado by way of the new road and connections to roads that already exist.
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ethanhopkin14

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Here's a map of population change by county in Texas from 2010 to 2018:

https://texasalmanac.com/sites/default/files/images/topics/txctychge.jpg

Notice how the counties this proposed freeway goes through are mostly declining in population.

It's not about connecting the counties marked red on that map to anything. It's about connecting the counties marked blue on that map to counties that would be marked blue on a similar map of Colorado by way of the new road and connections to roads that already exist.

Exactly:

The road from point A to point B has to go somewhere.  The land between Point A and Point B may be a wasteland, but that doesn't mean the road connecting the areas doesn't need to exist.

I have used this similar argument for the US-290 to SH-71 corridor being an interstate.  Yes the current traffic between Fredericksburg and Harper is low, but the interstate connection between Austin and El Paso is the issue at hand.  Its not about the interstate in a one mile stretch at this particular junction.  Again, the big picture.  A lot of times it's not good to wait until a non freeway is choked out to then build a freeway.  Sometimes it's better to build it first before the growth. 

This is the reason the interstate system got built in the first place.  Eisenhower saw the system, not the road.  He saw the importance of connecting the country with cross country freeways, not just freeways were the big cities are.  If not for that thinking we would still be trekking across the US on two lane roads in 2021. 
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I would rather have DFW-Amarillo-near Pueblo get one number.
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silverback1065

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none of this explains why it needs to go north of denver...
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In_Correct

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let me clarify, i was referring to the portion outside of texas. why does there need to be an interstate in that part of colorado and montana and the dakotas? your growth argument doesn't seem to apply there at all!

Also I was specifying connecting Interstate 27 to Interstate 20.

There are several other Corridors that badly need to be upgraded to Interstates also ... such as U.S. 281 Wichita Falls To San Antonio. The traffic is immense, and will continue to get immense as nearby Corridors such as Interstate 45 will be for ever Clogged with Traffic. Even if they build these:

https://i.imgur.com/XBAJ74O.jpg

That will also help the traffic, and certainly not demolishing the road upgrades. Even a Super Highway that has decreasing ( unlikely ) traffic can still be useful as an alternative to making U Turns. One example of many benefits to having Upgraded Roads.

But these roads are clogged severely. Even tolling them might compel them to use Public Transportation, but the traffic is not going to ever decrease. At best, it would prevent Multiple Deck Superhighways from being needed ... but every road is going to eventually need ( and in most cases all ready needs and has needed for decades ) shoulders on both sides of the carriageways, and passing lanes, and grade separations, including continuous Frontage Roads.

It might seem difficult for seeing the necessity to provide Necessary Upgrades to roads that are in between the Metropolitan Areas. But even Interstate 10 and Interstate 40 need to have their Necessary Upgrades also. And these upgrades include dedicated Travel Centers that will provide more benefits to Local Economies instead of the "Stop On Your Way Through Town." argument that People In Oklahoma make.

Also perhaps Interstate 27 north of Amarillo can wait in favor of an Interstate connection between Oklahoma City and Some Place In Colorado. Colorado and Oregon are very fast growing places. The Northwest Needs Many More Passages.
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Also perhaps Interstate 27 north of Amarillo can wait in favor of an Interstate connection between Oklahoma City and Some Place In Colorado. Colorado and Oregon are very fast growing places. The Northwest Needs Many More Passages.

Amarillo-Denver will help people in Oklahoma City.
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Scott5114

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Also perhaps Interstate 27 north of Amarillo can wait in favor of an Interstate connection between Oklahoma City and Some Place In Colorado. Colorado and Oregon are very fast growing places. The Northwest Needs Many More Passages.

Amarillo-Denver will help people in Oklahoma City.

Or at the very least, it gives some options. Now if you extend I-27 to Denver, then extend the proposed US-412 interstate out to Boise City...build some bypasses on US-270 northwest of OKC, and now you're talking...
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sparker

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One could reasonably argue that but for the Nixonian notion cobbled up back in '72-'73 (before Watergate watered down that administration's clout) to disperse initiative for any public-sector projects to the states rather than an inception at the federal level (in other words, making sure LBJ's "Great Society" measures wouldn't be repeated any time soon), there would be regular planned additions to the Interstate System, primarily driven by changing population distribution and demographics.  The first -- and to date only -- example of the "national" planned approach was the 1500-mile batch of additions in 1968, during LBJ's last full presidential year.  And that was cut back from 4500 original miles of additions by discretionary funds being shifted to DOD as a result of the Tet offensive in Vietnam that winter.  The 1965 population estimates were used as a basis for the initial route selection, which included such gems as current I-49 (but terminating in Baton Rouge), the Houston-Shreveport section now part of the I-69 corridor, I-22, and an I-40 extension to I-5 via Bakersfield -- among others.  All submitted, vetted, and approved until the funding issue came up, at which point the whittling away began.  But at least there was an expansion plan deployed on a national level back then.  If not for Nixon's machinations, there's a good chance that every ten years -- at least through the 1990's -- there would have been regularized additions, with legislated mileage varying with the national and political mood -- somewhere around 1978, 1988, and 1998 (the 2007-10 recession may well have interrupted the process).  I won't venture speculation about specific routes planned during those periods, but suffice it to say a number of current corridors would likely be included due to regional population growth.  But we might have been spared the phenomenon of long corridors being planned by invested parties along the path with mandated connecting segments of questionable value, which has certainly occurred under the present methodology surrounding "future" Interstate corridors; those might not have survived a vetting process that now is bypassed by legislative language. 

The Interstate system, in its initial stages from wartime preliminary concept to the 1958 original system finalization, was based largely on historical demographics that saw population concentration in the Northeast and Great Lakes region, which is why the initial system included closely-spaced corridors intended to address what was then the nation's central industrial area.  The '68 batch was originally intended to address both nationwide discrepancies as well as demographic shifting since '58; its truncation (which included a deletion of I-27 from Lubbock down to I-20 at Big Spring) only accomplished a fraction of the original intent. 

Now I suppose whether any of this is germane comes down to how one views the Interstate system -- as a one-shot program that has now expanded beyond its original brief, or an organic concept intended to provide maximal national automotive/commercial mobility that can and will expand according to need.  But under the current system, it doesn't really correspond to either idiom -- but with expansion relegated to what comes down to political whim combined with political clout.  The closest thing we've got right now is an amalgam of the NHS and the various high-priority corridors enacted over the last 30 years, with regional backers and legislators pouncing as needed on those corridors to add Interstate designations that may (or may not, for that matter) provide regional benefit if deployed.  But the difference is chargeability; the original system and the '68 additions all received 90% federal funding from a pool not dependent on year-to-year legislative will.  The reason many corridors are in effect "lying fallow" is a combination of that additional 10% of the total bill that needs to be amassed at the state and/or local level as well as short attention spans of those tasked with actually planning and building the facilities -- for some (particularly in the legislative arena) just getting a new Interstate corridor, built or not, on their resume' is sufficient; follow-through, unless it means a massive uptick in district employment for the various projects, is hardly guaranteed. 

The P2P/I-27 corridor concept, which started life in 1995 as HPC #38 -- and later modified with the Midland and Raton "branches" -- pretty much exemplifies the current modus operandi.  Lying dormant since late '90's studies threw cold water on even the Lubbock-to-I-20 segment, other corridor hubbub (particularly nearby I-14) breathed life into it; the substantial uptick in cross-border traffic at Laredo provoked a renewed interest here.  San Angelo and M/O boosters have climbed aboard, as this longer-lived corridor would do essentially the same in terms of overall regional connectivity as the I-14 proposal absent an additional eastern connection -- and it ties together a string of N-S regional commerce centers from Del Rio to Dumas, which I-14 doesn't do.   What the P2P has going for it is a substantial number of places to put things, a good portion of which have enough population to supply a decent initial labor force for those "things", which include warehousing, distribution, and conveyance between locations along the "string".  As an aside, if the regularized Interstate additions discussed earlier had actually come about, it's likely that the P2P would at a minimum have been extended south to Sonora or Junction along I-10, forming the "thickest part" of that string as an extended I-27.  North of Dumas, not so much; from there north to I-70 the corridor should be considered much like I-90 or I-94 across the Dakotas -- a means to get from region "A" to region "B".  As iterated before in the P2P thread, anything north of I-70 is likely to see at best divided expressway development (a la NE 71 between I-80 and Scottsbluff or SD 79 up to Rapid City); a bit too far out to attract the commercial facilities that would be more appropriately deployed in west Texas, so the prospective traffic levels would be lessened accordingly.  The P2P -- within its HPC #38 bounds -- is, IMO, a viable and potentially useful corridor, even though parts of it don't have specific localized value outside of a place to plop down roadside services. 

Thinking about it -- the P2P would make a pretty damn ideal test bed for electric-vehicle charging facility deployment -- since a decent amount of it goes through largely unpopulated territory, spacing out such outlets in order to minimize the chance that one's car would power down out in the middle of the desert or plains would be an informative exercise for DOT's as well as car and battery manufacturers.  Since most of the outlying sections are currently 2-lane rural highway, some such (re)charging facilities could be built from scratch without drawing the ire of current facilities in the more settled sections which would expect such stations to be added to their current layout regardless of whether the location makes sense vis-a-vis optimal intervals.       
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vdeane

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Is there a source for the corridors that were approved for 1968 but later got cut?  My searches are only pulling up the proposals from the states in 1970.
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Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

sparker

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Is there a source for the corridors that were approved for 1968 but later got cut?  My searches are only pulling up the proposals from the states in 1970.

Lately those files are really hard to locate; the original 4500-mile system was presented in early 1967 under the auspices of the Commerce Department (USDOT wasn't "broken out" until later that year); that's where I got the original info back in late '68, well after the cutbacks were made (I was an undergraduate at UCR at the time; the research was for a paper I was doing for a land-use seminar in the geography department -- one of my two majors).  One would have to delve into DOC records (have no idea if those have since been transferred to computer files) to see the system additions as originally planned.  The 1970 abortive additions were handled within the then-new USDOT; they're likely more accessible than the DOC stuff.  Unfortunately, my original research notes are long gone -- and undergraduate papers are rarely (if ever) retained, especially since 52+ years have passed since then.  If I had time, I'd reiterate my research and see if USDOC has their records intact and available -- or just get my ass over to the Library of Congress -- but I really don't have the spare time to do that (even though I'm into my 70's, I'm decidedly not retired!).  If you're able to access that info, it would certainly be appreciated if you could please post as much of it as you can.   
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sprjus4

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Mapmikey

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Also not exactly what you are seeking but a bunch of highway department wish lists for interstate mileage were compiled for a 1968 hearing on Federal-aid highway act, 1968. Hearings, Ninetieth Congress, second session, on H.R. 17134 and related bills ...

Each state responded and most gave specific lists, shown on document pages 795-828 here

Some good stuff on those state replies of what state highway departments wanted to do with new interstate mileage should it become available.
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Avalanchez71

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We don't need an interstate to every area of America. This is starting to get ridiculous!

Franklin D. Roosevelt, what are you doing on this road forum?

Another project brought to you by Pork Barrel.
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Mapmikey

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Here is an actual official list of interstate mileage requested but not not approved as of 3/30/70

Lubbock to Roscoe is on this list
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Avalanchez71

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Since 1990 Texas has had a long range plan to develop a "trunk system" of 4 lane divided highways. One feature of the plan was building bypasses around towns or thru routes on existing alignments that would either be freeways or upgradeable to freeways. The US-277 project between Wichita Falls and Abilene is one example of this trunk highway concept. One nice aspect to this plan is the resulting hybrid freeway/expressway roads would have segments easier to upgrade to Interstate quality later if needed.

Some of the corridors we frequently mention, such as this topic of US-87 in relation to I-27, were included in the Phase 1 plan trunk system plan.

A 4-lane divided highway is certainly going to be safer and more efficient at moving traffic than a mere 2-lane road. However 4-lane divided highways still have plenty of conflict points from vehicles turning onto the highway from at-grade streets or driveways. The conflict points are enhanced when thru traffic is moving at speeds of 70mph or more.

I think US-87 through most of the Panhandle down to far South Texas needs to be Interstate quality. Amarillo, Lubbock, Big Spring, Midland-Odessa, San Angelo, Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Laredo form a pretty valuable commercial traffic corridor -one that would be even better connected to the Front Range cities in Colorado.

Statements that suggest Texas is trying to be North Carolina by frivolously signing new Interstates is just ridiculous. Texas is a gigantic state and its existing Interstate quality routes are spaced much farther apart than many states farther East. Texas is also home to four of the biggest urban MSA's in the nation, with Austin & San Antonio effectively merging into one huge MSA. Texas is continuing to add population at a fast rate, some of which is being drawn from the West Coast and Northeast. All that adds up to Texas needing to beef up its highways in a big way. Not every "trunk route" in Texas is worthy of an Interstate upgrade. But there is at least half a dozen corridors in Texas definitely worthy of Interstate upgrades.

The biggest problem I have with the Texas trunk system is if you are a driver that is not familiar with the areas that have the bypasses (exacerbated by fatigue) you can easily fall into the trap of not knowing where the freeway ends and the expressway begins seeing how you have a 4-lane divided highway in both cases.  It can be quite problematic driving 70 mph and having limited access then suddenly you have a pickup with a trailer pulling into the road from a right angle.  The discrepancy in speed is deadly, and that's one of the biggest reasons why the interstate system exists.  I know lots of people on this forum say a 4-lane rural expressway is "good enough", but I find it to be very scary.  It looks, feels and smells like a freeway so it's easy to relax and feel safe when instead you should be on high alert. 

This system is one of the reasons I am so onboard to construct many miles of rural freeway in Texas.  Simply put, the current setup is dangerous.  I am not saying don't have bypasses, but it's never handled correctly.  A lot of time with small town bypasses in Texas, there is not an "END FREEWAY" assembly.  There are some in the state, but Texas does a very bad job of that crucial detail.  It should be one of three setups:

1. 4-lane expressway with town freeway bypasses, but very well marked where the freeway begins and ends and every crossover between freeway sections clearly marked.

2. Freeway bypasses with undivided highways outside the bypasses.  I hate that too, but it will keep people alert where the freeway ends/begins.

3. Make the whole thing a freeway which is the safest.

Rural non-freeways are usually sufficient in most cases.  The driver should be aware that driving conditions are constantly changing.  Those pretty red, white and blue signs do not need to dot the entire countryside.
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edwaleni

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Since I find the history of highways very fascinating and it looks like others do as well, there are several good books that can be read that discusses at various levels the needs, politics, decisions around highway building in the US.

- The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways, by Earl Swift
- The Roads that Built America: The Incredible Story of the U.S. Interstate System, by Dan McNichol
- The Eisenhower Interstate System, by John Murphy

These are just some. They all vary in perspective and some have materials from the same sources.

I am not sure if there is a thread in AARoads that only references books on highways, but I will search it.

There are other books that are more social commentary on the US investment in modern roads;

- Urban sprawl issues
- Social Justice issues and highways (when state DOT's targeted the poorest areas for ROW's)
- Imbalance of the forms of transport (auto, rail, bus, air, etc)

Hope you find something to your liking.

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sparker

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Not sure how relevant this is: http://www.kurumi.com/roads/3di/1970req.html
Also not exactly what you are seeking but a bunch of highway department wish lists for interstate mileage were compiled for a 1968 hearing on Federal-aid highway act, 1968. Hearings, Ninetieth Congress, second session, on H.R. 17134 and related bills ...

Each state responded and most gave specific lists, shown on document pages 795-828 here

Some good stuff on those state replies of what state highway departments wanted to do with new interstate mileage should it become available.

By the end of 1968, most of the corridors that were to be funded with the legislative additions of that year were already spoken for -- the extensions of I-15 in CA and I-75 in FL among them, with what was to become the original I-72 in IL the pet project of then-Senate Minority Leader Dirksen (his hometown was Decatur) and NY's I-88 inserted at the request of Sen Jacob Javits.  There was apparently some discussion with the TX congressional delegation as to which segment of I-27 should be saved:  the part north of Lubbock or the portion south to Big Spring; Amarillo lobbied for the former and obviously won that argument.  The remainder was filled in over the next year or so:  I-105 in L.A., the reroute of I-82 in WA to serve the Tri-Cities, the soon-to-be-cancelled Hartford-Providence corridor in CT and RI, the extension of I-69 to Flint (Port Huron came later), and a number of spurs and loops including I-380/IA and I-565/AL.  Also of import -- the I-40 extension from I-85 east to I-95 through Raleigh, with the latter junction point originally being Selma; again, the ultimate extension to Wilmington came about later on. 

What's not surprising is that the requests listed in both documents cited in the above posts were largely the corridors that had been discarded by the end of '68, both due to the mileage cutback and the insertion of the politically-motivated projects listed above occupying a chunk of the remaining 1500 miles.  The '70 request list, while in some ways a state-by-state "wish list" (including some speculative corridors that weren't even on the radar two years earlier) with some corridors just ending abruptly at a state line because of lack of interest in adjoining states! -- contained quite a few corridors that didn't make the final '68/'69 cut.  But what the final result of the '68 additions showed was that there were conflicting forces at work here -- while some of the corridors, such as both the I-15 and I-75 southern extensions, reflected a push to provide increased service to rapidly growing areas such as San Diego and the Florida Gulf Coast south of Tampa Bay as evidenced by population data, other "rust belt" additions like I-72 and I-88 were clearly the product of political considerations.  If the regular Interstate augmentation program I speculated about upthread had actually taken place, each batch of additions would have likely reflected that mix of corridors driven by demographic/population data and others with less clear actual warrant but with political support nonetheless.  For better or worse the methodology in place and practice today is tilted toward the political end; if there's a modicum of clout, a corridor gets designated; if that clout is dominating and/or persistent, the corridor actually gets developed.  As observers, we can look at a map -- or even GSV -- and see things that by most standards should warrant a connection (US 287 Fort Worth>Amarillo would already be I-34 or something similar under those circumstances) -- but unless the congressional districts line up just right and interest foments from the region in question, the odds are that little if anything toward that end will occur.  In the case of the P2P, right now the "iron is hot" dynamic appears to be in place -- but it remains to be seen if that enthusiasm will be augmented by a reliable funding stream.       
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