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Author Topic: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso  (Read 3809 times)

DJStephens

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  Upgrades to limited access for Montana Avenue (US 62 - 180) has started in East El Paso.  Drove through area last week, on way to work in the oil fields, and noticed grubbing and pier erection work at major future interchanges has begun.   
   Appears route will go from Yarborough avenue on the west, to just E of Loop 375 in the east.   Also appears route will be slightly shifted to N, with current Montana Avenue eastbound becoming the eastbound future frontage.   
   Montana Avenue, east of Yarborough was just six laned just a few years ago, with all new overhead signal gantries at major intersections.   Have to wonder why they didn't just use "temporary" signal heads strung from telephone poles as an interim measure.  Money to burn.   
   Project does not extend westward far enough, imho.  Should use pre-existing ROW from long-dead Trowbridge/Montana Frwy concept of the sixties and continue to just west of Hawkins Blvd.   Currently there is a car wash being allowed to be built on the SE corner of the Montana/Hawkins intersection, and congestion in and at the intersection is very bad.   There is also a Border patrol station just east of that Hawkins intersection, along with a weird EB lane split meant to separate Border patrol and general traffic to a degree.
   Baby steps, would guess.   
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Bobby5280

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2019, 05:31:13 PM »

The Montana Avenue freeway project ultimately needs to be a more ambitious project. Yarbrough Drive to Loop 375 is a start, but the freeway needs to be significantly extended both to the East and West.

There is a lot of cluttered crap along Montana Ave from Wedegewood Drive on West to Hawkins Blvd. But a bunch of that property doesn't look very valuable. In a perfect world the freeway would extend far enough to give El Paso Int'l Airport at least some kind of limited access link to the city's system of freeway. A direct link to I-10 is all but impossible.

Question: was Edgemere Linear Park once the site of a planned freeway? Edgemere Blvd looks like a pair of frontage roads with a park in the median. With the way El Paso is laid out now there's really nothing else that can be done with that park other than to leave it as a park.
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DJStephens

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2019, 12:46:15 PM »

The Montana Avenue freeway project ultimately needs to be a more ambitious project. Yarbrough Drive to Loop 375 is a start, but the freeway needs to be significantly extended both to the East and West.

There is a lot of cluttered crap along Montana Ave from Wedegewood Drive on West to Hawkins Blvd. But a bunch of that property doesn't look very valuable. In a perfect world the freeway would extend far enough to give El Paso Int'l Airport at least some kind of limited access link to the city's system of freeway. A direct link to I-10 is all but impossible.

Question: was Edgemere Linear Park once the site of a planned freeway? Edgemere Blvd looks like a pair of frontage roads with a park in the median. With the way El Paso is laid out now there's really nothing else that can be done with that park other than to leave it as a park.

The biggest problem on Montana Ave.  E of the end of the current project would be the need to slice off part of an apartment complex (Desert Trees) and a section of a golf course bordering the south side of Montana between Wedgwood and Hawkins.  The golf course likely would be the hardest section to "slice off" a piece of.    Am assuming it's private and has influential members.  The properties on the N side of Montana in that vicinity are mainly automotive and most utilize vacant ROW from the failed sixties freeway to their benefit.   There is a large aging Border Patrol office/station also, which could be relocated and demolished.   
No idea about the Edgemere median.  Have seen it, but believe it was not intended for eventual freeway.  The aborted sixties Trowbridge/Montana Ave freeway was to be placed nearly directly atop those respective routes.  Have seen a crude map on the Texas freeways web site.   
The El Paso airport, yes would agree has poor access.   A surface street (Airway) needs to be navigated in order to reach it from Interstate 10.  The airport is easier to reach from the newer Spur 601 from the N/NE but surface roads still need to used to reach it.  Believe as recently as the mid nineties, a corridor could have been carved out in order to bring an Interstate grade spur to the airport, but valuations of properties have increased dramatically, and retail and commercial activities in that area have been greatly intensified.   Over intensification of land use, imho.   
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 08:23:11 AM by DJStephens »
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Stephane Dumas

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2020, 07:51:39 PM »

I bump this thread by mentionning the recent Youtube clip posted last September about Montana Ave. upgrades.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2020, 09:07:14 PM »

The beginnings of the Montana Ave Freeway project are visible in Google Street view. It's imagery dated February, 2020. The West end of the dirt work is at Limerick Road, which is a couple or so blocks West of the Yarbrough Road/Global Reach Drive intersection. The East End is the near the Montana intersection with Justice/Tierra Este. Basically, it's the easiest section along Montana Avenue to upgrade into a freeway.

Going farther West of Loop 375 to Zaragosa Road they could squeeze a 4-lane freeway into existing Montana Avenue using slip ramps and some elevated structures. It would be better than nothing. The current project just to the West of Loop 375 has a pretty wide ROW. You can get a good glimpse of it via 3/2020 Street View imagery on SB Loop 375. Freeway upgrades of US-62 to the East of Zaragosa Road would have to involve clearing a lot of existing buildings. The ROW gets too narrow there. Still, over the very long term it would be nice if US-62 had a Interstate quality outlet going East out of the El Paso area.
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DJStephens

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2020, 10:53:05 PM »

Essentially, the WB mainlines and frontage are being done first.  Several braided WB braided ramps along the corridor are complete, and waiting for WB traffic to be diverted onto the new structures.  With that done, the former WB lanes of Montana Ave can be closed, and work begun on the matching EB mainlines.  The existing Montana EB lanes will become the EB frontage.   
Am guessing the flyovers @ Yarbrough and Loop 375 will be constructed last.   
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Stephane Dumas

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2020, 02:17:23 PM »

Going farther West of Loop 375 to Zaragosa Road they could squeeze a 4-lane freeway into existing Montana Avenue using slip ramps and some elevated structures. It would be better than nothing. The current project just to the West of Loop 375 has a pretty wide ROW. You can get a good glimpse of it via 3/2020 Street View imagery on SB Loop 375. Freeway upgrades of US-62 to the East of Zaragosa Road would have to involve clearing a lot of existing buildings. The ROW gets too narrow there. Still, over the very long term it would be nice if US-62 had a Interstate quality outlet going East out of the El Paso area.

I wonder if it could be possible to uprade it into a "jersey freeway" like part of Main St/US-90A in the south of Houston?
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Bobby5280

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2020, 05:47:50 PM »

I think a "Jersey Freeway" setup would be very do-able. Put up a median barrier to eliminate all of the traffic cross-overs except at the most prominent, signal-controlled intersections. The convert those intersections into freeway exits piece-meal style.

Honestly, as depressed looking as the properties appear out East of the Zaragosa Road exit along US-62, TX DOT might not have as difficult a time buying and clearing properties for future freeway ROW out that way. There is a lot of open parcels along the North side of US-62. Perhaps if they opened that corridor up for a future freeway it might encourage a lot of improvement and new development in the Homestead Meadows North and South neighborhoods.

I think US-62 at least needs to be a divided 4-lane highway through the mountains East of Butterfield just for the sake of safety.
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DJStephens

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2020, 07:55:58 AM »

The four lane section E of Zaragosa Rd was four laned not that long ago.  Nineties time frame.  They recently added cable barriers along both sides of the gravel median, not that long ago.  Would doubt they will do anything with that section (E of Zaragosa) in the near to medium future.  The Zaragosa overpass, itself, btw, is lousy. Skewed and shifted off the mainline, and no provision for a third lane in each direction.   The properties along the EB frontages are still vacant.  There should have been additional acquisition there, in order to have built a proper Diamond interchange in the first place, with no shifting, and room for an additional lane, on US 62/180 in each direction.   
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TheBox

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2021, 02:32:45 PM »

I just reminded myself that US 62 connects El Paso and Lubbock, which are 5 hours (348 miles) away
and now realized that both of these two got/getting a US 62 upgrade

and they upgraded US 62 in Lubbock before, and since they're doing the same with US 62 in El Paso, why not significantly upgrade US 62 in between those two at this point?
EDIT: or at the very least, make a straight forward bypass at Carlsbad and Seminole

tho granted, TX has other long-term plans (like I-27 extension and the Amarillo loop upgrade)
« Last Edit: December 16, 2021, 09:58:51 AM by TheBox »
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CoolAngrybirdsrio4

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DJStephens

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2021, 09:47:23 PM »

I just reminded myself that US 62 connects El Paso and Lubbock, which are 5 hours (348 miles) away
and now realized that both of these two got/getting a US 62 upgrade

and they upgraded US 62 in Lubbock before, and since they're doing the same with US 62 in El Paso, why significantly upgrade US 62 in between those two at this point?

tho granted, TX has other long-term plans (like I-27 extension and the Amarillo loop upgrade)

    US - 62/180 between El Paso and Carlsbad NM passes through desolate territory.  It is primarily a trucking short-cut and has served as a commuting route for those working in the oil fields of W Texas and SE New Mexico.  I did work in the oil fields there for about a year, working for a geo-technical firm.  Average speed ranges from 65 to 90 mph, and police presence is near non-existent.   Saw a lot of risk taking and hairy passing on that stretch of highway, in the wee hours of Monday morning, and on Friday afternoons/evenings.  There are intermittent "poor boy" three lane segments every 10 miles or so, to allow traffic to pass. This was done, by eliminating the shoulders in these segments.  Very cheap.  But better than nothing.   
  Would agree that a double-barreling would be beneficial, and not a New Mexico style of "flush median" four laning.   Keep ranch and other access, but build a parallel carriage way, 88 feet from the existing one.   Would also construct a handful of interchanges - for Dell city, for FM 1111, to Sierra Blanca, for state route 54 to Van Horn, and also for FM 652 at the NM state line.  For the section through the mountains E of El Paso, would either construct a new carriage way, on different elevation, or build a narrow four lane cross-section with center jersey barrier.   There is a four lane section, that has existed since 1972, which passes through Guadalupe National park, which was also created in 1972.   The park has some of the best examples of Permian Period exposed rock in the world.   And the highest mountain in Texas. 
   In summary, the argument might be that the traffic counts aren't there, for four-laning, but am of the opinion it should be done for safety.   After viewing the terrible three lane "poor boy" job by texas on US - 285, NW of Pecos, and the crap on FM 652, would not hold my breath.   
« Last Edit: December 14, 2021, 09:53:44 PM by DJStephens »
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Bobby5280

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2021, 10:49:07 PM »

Considering the population size of El Paso (about 680,000 in city limits, about 870,000 metro) I guess I would be surprised if traffic counts on US-62 between El Paso and Carlsbad are very light these days.

I'm also surprised that part of US-62 in Texas is still not a divided 4 lane facility considering it has been a divided highway North of the NM border going up into Carlsbad for a long time. US-285 has been (mostly) divided 4 lane from Carlsbad thru Artesia to Roswell for at least 4 decades. It's not the greatest, but it's at least divided most of the way. Same goes for US-62 between Carlsbad and Hobbs.

The possibility of head-on collisions are a very real hazard out in that country. I realize NM DOT did a crappy job with the 4-lane "GRIP" project for US-64/87 in Northern New Mexico between Clayton and Raton. Nevertheless, I'll gladly take that over the previous 2-lane road. My parents moved to Colorado Springs in the mid 1990's. So I've had to drive that road many times over the past roughly 25 years. It was a real slog as a 2-lane road. I'd typically drive it late at night when traffic was minimal. God forbid if you drove that 2-lane route during the day on a weekend. You would be guaranteed to get mired in a traffic jam of cars stuck behind some RV going 45 MPH. It was always difficult to pass anyone. The country is wide open with hardly any trees at all, but the terrain ebbs and rolls enough to hide the view of the highway and on-coming traffic. It's so much easier to drive that stretch in the day now with it 4-laned.
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CoolAngrybirdsrio4

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2021, 10:54:20 PM »

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DJStephens

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2021, 08:33:35 PM »

Considering the population size of El Paso (about 680,000 in city limits, about 870,000 metro) I guess I would be surprised if traffic counts on US-62 between El Paso and Carlsbad are very light these days.

I'm also surprised that part of US-62 in Texas is still not a divided 4 lane facility considering it has been a divided highway North of the NM border going up into Carlsbad for a long time. US-285 has been (mostly) divided 4 lane from Carlsbad thru Artesia to Roswell for at least 4 decades. It's not the greatest, but it's at least divided most of the way. Same goes for US-62 between Carlsbad and Hobbs.

The possibility of head-on collisions are a very real hazard out in that country. I realize NM DOT did a crappy job with the 4-lane "GRIP" project for US-64/87 in Northern New Mexico between Clayton and Raton. Nevertheless, I'll gladly take that over the previous 2-lane road. My parents moved to Colorado Springs in the mid 1990's. So I've had to drive that road many times over the past roughly 25 years. It was a real slog as a 2-lane road. I'd typically drive it late at night when traffic was minimal. God forbid if you drove that 2-lane route during the day on a weekend. You would be guaranteed to get mired in a traffic jam of cars stuck behind some RV going 45 MPH. It was always difficult to pass anyone. The country is wide open with hardly any trees at all, but the terrain ebbs and rolls enough to hide the view of the highway and on-coming traffic. It's so much easier to drive that stretch in the day now with it 4-laned.

It's close to 125-130 miles between the E side of El Paso, and the NM state line.   That is a long stretch to "improve".   Oil Field employment is very cyclical, and varies greatly depending on a lot of factors.   The NM section of US - 62/180 (TX state line to W side of Carlsbad) was "double barreled" in the early to mid 00's.  It leaves some things to be desired, but at least it's not a "flush median" job.  There is roughly 32-35 feet from yellow stripe to yellow stripe.   Personally, I would have pushed for more, 60 to 88 feet.   It has "half" shoulders, which are roughly six feet wide.  Another Pete Rahn peculiarity.   Would have constructed a full diamond interchange at White City, which is the entrance to the Carlsbad Caverns National park.   Completely eliminating the cross - over traffic which exists there now.   I'd do the same - for Guadalupe National park - depress the current US 62 - 180 mainlines and create a safe diamond interchange for Park access.   
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Bobby5280

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Re: Montana Avenue US 62/180 Frwy work has started in El Paso
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2021, 11:05:40 AM »

It is a bit strange there is no controlled access exits at White City/Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe National Park. Both generate quite a lot of tourist traffic. Freeway exits at those locations would dramatically improve safety. However, in the case of White City the volunteer fire dept building would have to be re-located to make room for something like a diamond interchange.

For safety reasons I think US-62/180 needs to be 100% limited access where it passes through the mountains and hills by Guadalupe Peak. Much of the existing road through there is already 4-laned, but barely divided. TX DOT just needs to widen the road a few feet in order to add a concrete Jersey barrier down the middle and make room for proper shoulders. Some of the stops along the way, like the El Capitan lookout observation spot, need significantly longer on/off ramps. They can add some short/limited frontage roads for the rural gravel/dirt roads along the way.

The 50 mile segment of US-62/180 from East of the Border Patrol Station to the Salt Flat isn't in urgent need of upgrades. The 2/3 lane configuration is tolerable, thanks to some long stretches where the highway goes very straight. Although one could make an argument for dividing and barrier separating that due to the risk of some drowsy drivers getting road hypnotized. In the El Paso area US-62 needs to be an Interstate class freeway thru the mountains East of Butterfield and to the Border Patrol station on the other side. US-62 needs to at least be 4-laned from the NM border to just West of Guadalupe National Park.
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