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Regional Boards => Mid-South => Topic started by: MaxConcrete on June 12, 2015, 10:01:52 AM

Title: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 12, 2015, 10:01:52 AM
Local officials have made the I-635 east expansion a top priority and have formed a working group to try to identify funding for the project, which will cost between $1.1 and $2.3 billion. The section of I-635 is in northeast Dallas from US 75 to I-30, about 10 miles long, and the plan is for 10 main lanes (currently 8) and 2-4 tolled lanes (currently 2 HOT lanes), plus the addition of frontage roads where they don't exist.

Originally this project was to be substantially funded with toll-backed funds from the revenue generated from the tolled lanes. But now with tolled projects drastically curtailed in Texas, toll financing is no longer an option. Now that the Texas Legislature has adjourned and won't be back in session until 2017, it will be difficult to arrange funding until the next session, so I'll be surprised if this can be funded before 2017.

(http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/20150610-0611met_lbj_east_project.eps.ece/BINARY/0611met_LBJ_east_project.eps)
The Dallas Morning News has reported on the  efforts
Meeting on Tuesday
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/20150610-dallas-area-legislative-delegation-to-weigh-funding-for-lbj-east.ece (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/20150610-dallas-area-legislative-delegation-to-weigh-funding-for-lbj-east.ece)
An editorial complaining that the legislature has gone too far in curtailing tolls
http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20150611-editorial-tossing-a-tool-out-of-the-toolbox.ece (http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20150611-editorial-tossing-a-tool-out-of-the-toolbox.ece)

Dallas-area legislative delegation to weigh funding for LBJ East

By RAY LESZCYNSKI rleszcynski@dallasnews.com

Staff Writer
Published: 10 June 2015 11:08 PM
Updated: 10 June 2015 11:14 PM

A delegation will begin meeting Tuesday to try to find money for improvements to I-635 East that weren’t financed in the recent legislative session.

Eight state lawmakers who represent the corridor from Central Expressway to Interstate 30 formed the post-session delegation to try to fund the project by the time the Legislature reconvenes in 2017.

Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, said the effort to meet 2040 capacity needs for LBJ Freeway remains a goal for everyone who represents the area.

“It’s extremely important,” she said. “We want to make sure we get it accomplished.”

The I-635 East improvements had seemed a slam dunk for a toll road solution before Texans began pushing back against financing projects that way.

“We’re going to try to figure out what our options are moving forward,” said Rep. Kenneth Sheets, R-Dallas. “For many of us, it was one of the biggest disappointments of the session.”

Even though it was left unfinanced, the 11-mile stretch of I-635 East got a lot of attention in Austin. Supporters want to capitalize now, rather than wait until 2017.

“We want to keep the momentum going, to keep the interest going, to build on the relationships,” Dallas County Commissioner Theresa Daniel said.

On Wednesday, Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, reiterated the importance of getting the road done without relying on tolls, but he also said the work shouldn’t wait any longer.

This week, Dallas’ Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee viewed the six current options and the obstacles for the project.

The project cost could be from $1.1 billion to $2.3 billion, depending on the option selected. Factors include the number of managed lanes and whether to convert the mix of overpasses and underpasses.

....
 
 
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: codyg1985 on June 12, 2015, 12:14:13 PM
The legislature won't meet in 2016?
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: wxfree on June 12, 2015, 12:33:05 PM
The Texas legislature meets in odd numbered years, after the November elections.  Only for 140 days.  Special sessions can be called by the governor, are limited to 30 days, and legislation passed during such a session can relate only to the subjects in the governor's proclamation calling for the session.  For such a big state to have so little legislative time is crazy, but it goes back to the 1875 constitution.  Texans have a belief that your rights and freedoms aren't safe while the legislature is in session.

They did not further curtail toll projects, but the legislature also didn't take the affirmative step of authorizing a comprehensive development agreement (P3) for I-635.  TxDOT is as free as before to construct the new project and toll lanes.  There were discussions about trading CDAs in southern Dallas County, where they now expect to build the roads without tolls, in exchange for a CDA authorization on I-635, but the session was too short to work out that spontaneous proposal.  Legislators are now planning so they'll have proposals ready when the next session starts.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: dfwmapper on June 12, 2015, 03:02:45 PM
Texans have a belief that your rights and freedoms aren't safe while the legislature is in session.
I wasn't even aware I had this belief. But it makes sense.

Note that there are currently 2 HOV lanes along this stretch. They haven't been converted for HOT use yet, but it is in the works. A related opinion piece in the DMN today at http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2015/06/irony-on-i-635-east-tolls-probably-coming-despite-dallas-senators-objections.html/
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: The Ghostbuster on June 12, 2015, 03:50:22 PM
Since other portions of Interstate 635 are getting toll lanes, it would probably be foolish not to add toll lanes to this section of the Interstate.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 17, 2015, 09:51:55 AM
The Dallas Morning News reported on the meeting of elected officials and transportation leaders
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/20150616-lawmakers-officials-argue-over-features-for-lbj-east.ece (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/20150616-lawmakers-officials-argue-over-features-for-lbj-east.ece)

Main points:
* Elected officials agreed the design must have at least five free lanes in each direction
* The option of sinking the managed lanes into a trench, similar to the LBJ express nearing completion in North Dallas, can be ruled out due to cost issues, since that option would add around $1 billion to the cost
* Money is super-tight for new projects in the next two years (about $1.2 billion available with $30 billion in needs in the four major metropolitan areas), so it is highly unlikely funding will be available in the near term
* The Southern Gateway project, I-35E south of downtown, is the region's top priority and is getting available funding. Public meetings are being held in a couple weeks in anticipation of work starting this year
* The regional transportation director suggested building noise walls in the near term.
 
 
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: rantanamo on June 17, 2015, 05:26:02 PM
This project is also interesting because Garland and Mesquite have gone ahead and done the frontage road projects to their major exits by themselves.  Only the portion between the two remains.  Dallas hasn't touched the corridor outside of HOV and a few blend lane improvements.  I think they should go ahead and go with the tolled portions.  There are plenty who will want to bypass the traffic(which can be probably top 3 worst in Dallas) and take that toll option.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: dfwmapper on June 19, 2015, 01:44:45 AM
AFAIK the only frontage road work done in Garland was converting the old business access road between Centerville and Northwest Highway into a proper frontage road, swapping the ramps there, and extending the NB exit ramp to Centerville to try to keep traffic from backing up onto the freeway. There are still a lot of miles of frontage road missing, and some really big obstacles to building them, like the power lines that run along the SW side of the freeway between Northwest Highway and La Prada.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on July 29, 2015, 10:44:19 AM
Officials had a meeting yesterday the latest proposal was revealed for the 11-mile-long project. The plan has five toll-free lanes each way (four currently exist). Based on the blog report, for the tolled lanes it is unclear to me if there is a total of two, or two in each direction from Central Expressway (US 75) to Miller road (about 2.5 miles), and one or two HOV lanes from Miller Road to Interstate 30. But since the report says 5 regular lanes in each direction, I'm thinking the reported toll and HOV lanes are in each direction.

This appears to be the lowest cost option of the range of alternatives that was being considered. For the proposed tolled lane section from Miller Road to US 75, both sides of the issue can make a case. On the one hand, the section through north Dallas is tolled and this would be an extension of the tolled lanes. On the other hand, the tolled lanes in north Dallas are very expensive, and it would be nice to give motorists some financial relief with an untolled path to get on the tolled lanes. Making the access from east Dallas untolled could also boost patronage of the north Dallas tolled lanes.

http://transportationblog.dallasnews.com/2015/07/legislators-i-635-east-plan-set-for-unveiling-today.html/ (http://transportationblog.dallasnews.com/2015/07/legislators-i-635-east-plan-set-for-unveiling-today.html/)
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/garland-mesquite/headlines/20150728-lbj-east-freeway-project-needs-some-tolls-planner-says.ece (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/garland-mesquite/headlines/20150728-lbj-east-freeway-project-needs-some-tolls-planner-says.ece)

"Regional transportation planners and the mayors of two cities along the Interstate 635 East corridor said they welcome state legislators’s input to help find a way to build the 10.8-mile project.

"But funding the $1.3 billion freeway expansion without tolls is impossible, Regional Transportation Council director Michael Morris said,  given the current tools provided by those same legislators.

"While it hasn’t gone to the full RTC for approval, Morris on Tuesday presented the I-635 East Legislative Delegation with staff’s plan. That includes five free lanes in each direction, an HOV lane from Miller Road to Interstate 30 and two managed (tolled) express lanes from Miller to Central Expressway.

"The legislators did not come to resolution and instead reiterated Texans’ pushback against any tolled component. They spoke at length against a project already funded and in motion to turn existing HOV lanes in the LBJ East corridor into Express Lanes that single-vehicle riders could use if they pay a toll."

Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: Henry on July 29, 2015, 12:10:07 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if all freeways got toll lanes. It seems to be the norm nowadays.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on July 29, 2015, 12:45:29 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if all freeways got toll lanes. It seems to be the norm nowadays.

Making most or all new lanes tolled has been the policy of the North Central Texas Council of Governments since the 1990s. But that is changing with the new direction from politicians in Austin and the new funding already appropriated or in the works, which is for non-toll projects only. Still, with the projects already underway or approved, most North Texas freeways will be tolled or have toll lanes.
 
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 14, 2016, 12:25:10 AM
Schematics of the proposed design are now posted on the web page for the recent public meeting. My understanding is that this project is second in line to proceed after the $600 million Southern Gateway, which is funded and will start in 2017. This project is not yet fully funded, but since it is a priority it will likely be funded and construction should start in 2018 or 2019, and will probably be a design-build.

http://www.keepitmovingdallas.com/public-hearings/2016/ih-635-lbj-east-from-us-75-to-ih-30-public-meeting (http://www.keepitmovingdallas.com/public-hearings/2016/ih-635-lbj-east-from-us-75-to-ih-30-public-meeting)

Observations

* This is an ambitious project. The existing facility is 4-1H-1H-4 and lacks frontage roads for most its length and the HOT lanes are a conversion of the inner shoulder. The new design is 5-2H-2H-5 north of Miller and 5-2E-2E-5 south of Miller (E-nontolled Express), with continuous frontage roads for the full length.

* There is minimal right-of-way acquisition along the entire length, almost surely due to the heavy opposition to right-of-way acquisition in North Texas. To fit the wide footprint into the existing corridor, there is a section between Forest and Skillman where the northbound frontage road overhangs the main lanes, and on the south end there is a one-mile section where the express lanes are sunk into a trench with the main lanes overhanging the trench, just like the design used on the recently-opened LBJ express in North Dallas.

* Even with the limited right-of-way, no design standards are compromised. Lanes are 12 feet wide and all shoulders are included in the design. However, along most of the length there is almost no space between the frontage roads and main lanes.

* The interchange at IH-30 will be totally rebuilt. The existing interchange, opened in 1970, was the first modern-design 4-level interchange in North Texas. The new design remains 4 levels, but features cloverleaf connections between the frontage roads, so it will be a directional interchange on top of a cloverleaf. However, this is the only part of the project which may not receive funding.

* The IH-30 main lanes at IH-635/IH-30 interchange feature a wide median separation. I'm thinking that could be a provision for potential future managed lanes.

Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: Chris on May 14, 2016, 04:52:01 AM
* The interchange at IH-30 will be totally rebuilt. The existing interchange, opened in 1970, was the first modern-design 4-level interchange in Texas. The new design remains 4 levels, but features cloverleaf connections between the frontage roads, so it will be a directional interchange on top of a cloverleaf.

The I-10 / Loop 375 interchange in El Paso was recently built like that.

(http://i.imgur.com/XBAJ74O.jpg)

Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: The Ghostbuster on May 16, 2016, 04:37:36 PM
Maybe HOT Lanes should eventually go the entire length of 635.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on January 28, 2017, 09:55:54 AM
The latest schematics (dated December 2016) are available in conjunction with a public hearing on January 31. The design appears to be minimally changed since the previous iteration, although I did not do a page-by-page comparison of the new and previous version.

The design remains 5-2E-2E-5. Right of way acquisition remains minimal, and it is a tight squeeze to fit all the lanes including new frontage roads, necessitating design features in certain spots, such as frontage roads overhanging the main lanes and placing the managed lanes in a trench similar to the completed LBJ Express in north Dallas for about a mile.

The express lanes will be untolled southeast of Miller road, about two-thirds of the project length. The main issue is political wrangling over the section of express lanes from Miller road to US 75. Local officials say tolling is needed to fund the project, but at least one political leader is strongly against tolling, and currently the project is not authorized to use tolls.

http://www.keepitmovingdallas.com/public-hearings/2017/ih-635-lbj-east-ultimate-project-from-us-75-to-ih-30 (http://www.keepitmovingdallas.com/public-hearings/2017/ih-635-lbj-east-ultimate-project-from-us-75-to-ih-30)

News report:
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/2017/01/27/txdot-rolls-15-billion-lbj-east-project-legislators-decide-pay-bill (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/2017/01/27/txdot-rolls-15-billion-lbj-east-project-legislators-decide-pay-bill)

Excerpts
Quote
The Texas Department of Transportation is rolling out a public preview to the $1.5 billion LBJ East project even as state legislators are wide apart on where some of the money will come from.

The 11.2-mile stretch of Interstate 635 between Central Expressway and Interstate 30 is TxDOT's top priority for the region. It will bring more lanes and continuous frontage roads to areas of Lake Highlands, Far East Dallas, Garland and Mesquite where tens of thousands of vehicles are slowed daily.

Transportation officials maintain the tolled lanes are needed to help fund about a third of the project. Most who travel LBJ East, however, would continue to do so for free.

But any tolling must be approved state lawmakers.  And legislators' resistance to tolls was a roadblock for LBJ East in the last session — helping push the project back to a 2020 projected start and 2024 completion.

LBJ East includes improvements to a two-mile stretch of I-30 that is almost all within Mesquite city limits. But the freeway interchange itself, which would cost a projected $500 million to rebuild, is not yet part of the LBJ East project.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on February 02, 2017, 09:02:03 PM
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/2017/02/01/txdot-officials-discuss-plans-easing-gridlock-635 (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/2017/02/01/txdot-officials-discuss-plans-easing-gridlock-635)

The news report covering the public meeting reports that speakers supported the project and the 3.3 mile-long tolled managed lanes.

Quote
That plan includes five main lanes and two express lanes in each direction, continuous frontage roads, seven noise walls and upgrades to Interstate 30 on each side of the interchange in Mesquite.

Regional Transportation Commission officials, mayors from Garland and Mesquite and Dallas County Commissioner Theresa Daniel stated support for the project at the hearing.

All but one of the speakers supported the tolled managed lanes currently in the plan to expedite the project. Between Miller Road/Royal Lane and Central Expressway, 3.3 miles, the managed express lanes would be tolled.

The toll lanes have  yet to be approved by the Legislature, however, and without the clearance, the planned financing falls about one-third short of what's needed. That could lead to an extended timeline or compromised features — such as the interchange at I-30.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2020 and finish in 2024.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on September 14, 2017, 09:16:35 PM
In today's meeting of the NCTCOG regional transportation council, director Michael Morris reported that the plan to build the section of managed lanes from IH 30 to Royal/Miller (7 miles, about 70% of the project length) as toll-free express lanes has been abandoned. Due to the funding shortfall, they are now planning to toll those managed lanes to get the funding to complete the entire project, which includes rebuilding the interchange at Interstate 30. There will still be 5 general-purpose (untolled) lanes each way.

It also sounds like the project may begin construction relatively soon, within 2 years.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on October 30, 2017, 02:08:03 PM
https://www.dallasnews.com/news/garland/2017/10/30/controversial-managed-toll-lanes-now-cover-entire-18-billion-lbj-east-expansion-project (https://www.dallasnews.com/news/garland/2017/10/30/controversial-managed-toll-lanes-now-cover-entire-18-billion-lbj-east-expansion-project)

Officials had a public meeting last week to officially disclose that the planned non-toll express lanes are being converted to tolled managed lanes. This is due to a $1 billion funding shortfall. The managed lanes will be publicly funded and operated, as opposed to the west LBJ project which was mostly privately funded.

Quote
Controversial managed toll lanes now cover entire $1.8 billion LBJ East expansion project

The Regional Transportation Council plans to expand 10.8 miles of I-635 from Central Expressway to Interstate 30, using managed —  or toll — lanes  to fund half of the $1.8 billion project.

State transportation officials say they've been given no other way to pay for a mega project such as the one they call LBJ East. They move forward with plans to include tolled lanes, saying they have no other option.

"There is $832 million in funding identified for this project," Kelly Selman, district engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation told the crowd. "You're a billion dollars short."

The plans call for five free lanes and two managed lanes in each direction, plus continuous frontage roads. LBJ Freeway in those areas of Garland, Mesquite and Dallas currently has four free lanes and one express lane in each direction. Some areas have frontage roads, some don't.

Officials now say managed lanes over the entire stretch of LBJ East are necessary. Garland and Mesquite officials were adamant about including a $300 million reworked interchange at Interstate 30 in the plan. And the projected construction costs grow by $5 million monthly just on inflation.

Though the plan doesn't have the necessary state approval, it will move forward for Texas Transportation approval by year's end, then bids and environmental clearance. If the funding happens, construction could start in early 2019.

But Morris said the model would be different than LBJ through North Dallas in that the freeway would be publicly owned and the tolling component could scale back once bonds were repaid. He did not say, however, that tolls would ever go away completely.
"This project is nowhere close to the project in the west," he said of the LBJ project in North Dallas. "The project to the west was built when the region had no money at all."
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: Chris on October 30, 2017, 02:42:04 PM
This project seems to include at least an expansion to 5 untolled, general purpose lanes, each way. There are presently also 5 untolled lanes, but one of them is an HOV lane.

Are there any schematics for the I-30 / I-635 interchange? $ 300 million indicates a significant rebuild of the interchange, I'm guessing continuous frontage roads, more through lanes and perhaps two lane direct connectors?
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on October 30, 2017, 08:19:46 PM
Are there any schematics for the I-30 / I-635 interchange? $ 300 million indicates a significant rebuild of the interchange, I'm guessing continuous frontage roads, more through lanes and perhaps two lane direct connectors?

Here is a video rendering
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrfjYc-Ubr0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrfjYc-Ubr0)

For the 635/35 interchange, the IH 635 frontage roads will be brought through the interchange, but they will not intersect the IH 30 frontage roads, which means this will be a four-level interchange, not a five-level. Looking at the video, it appears the the only benefits as compared to the existing interchange are two lanes on some connector ramps (in addition to the 635 frontage roads being brought through). I'm thinking Garland insisted on including the interchange in the project because they may believe that if the interchange does not get done with the main project, it may be deferred for a very long time. Also, the existing interchange is the oldest four-level in North Texas, having opening in 1970.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: longhorn on October 31, 2017, 12:35:14 AM
Are there any schematics for the I-30 / I-635 interchange? $ 300 million indicates a significant rebuild of the interchange, I'm guessing continuous frontage roads, more through lanes and perhaps two lane direct connectors?

Here is a video rendering
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrfjYc-Ubr0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrfjYc-Ubr0)

For the 635/35 interchange, the IH 635 frontage roads will be brought through the interchange, but they will not intersect the IH 30 frontage roads, which means this will be a four-level interchange, not a five-level. Looking at the video, it appears the the only benefits as compared to the existing interchange are two lanes on some connector ramps (in addition to the 635 frontage roads being brought through). I'm thinking Garland insisted on including the interchange in the project because they may believe that if the interchange does not get done with the main project, it may be deferred for a very long time. Also, the existing interchange is the oldest four-level in North Texas, having opening in 1970.

So what if its the oldest, its still functional. The new will have the same design but with a little less curve angle or little less steeper approach angle. I hope they are replacing it because its in the way of lane expansion.

The express frontage roads is an excellent idea.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on December 15, 2017, 07:21:41 PM
https://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/2017/12/14/state-scraps-plans-partially-toll-635-east-leaving-expansion-limbo (https://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/2017/12/14/state-scraps-plans-partially-toll-635-east-leaving-expansion-limbo)

As I reported in the IH 35 (Austin) thread, the TxDOT Commission action to remove all toll roads from the TxDOT transportation plan also removed the toll component of this project, which means the project has insufficient funding.

The members of the North Texas Regional Transportation Council were very upset, to put it mildly. Apparently Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick exerted heavy pressure on the Commission to make this decision, since Patrick has been leading the effort against toll road hegemony in Texas.  See the video item 6 (be advised it is long)
http://nctcog.swagit.com/play/12142017-821 (http://nctcog.swagit.com/play/12142017-821)

North Texas officials plan to make another appeal for the toll authorization at next month's meeting.

My suspicion is that Patrick and the Commission may succumb to pressure to allow the LBJ East toll lanes to proceed. If they don't then the project is most likely on hold until the legislature meets in 2019, when the legislature will need to provide more money to finance the project, or officially legislatively authorize tolled managed lanes.

Quote
State scraps plans to partially toll I-635 East, leaving expansion in limbo

The Texas Transportation Commission on Thursday unanimously voted to eliminate a $1.8 billion rebuild and expansion of Interstate 635 East from the state's 2018 plan.

By taking I-635 East — the No. 1 project on regional planners' list — and Austin's Interstate 35 project off the table, the state commission accomplished its task of scrubbing all tolled projects from its Unified Transportation Program.

The 10.8 miles of freeway in Dallas, Garland and Mesquite was to have included both free and managed lanes, with tolls on the managed lanes used to pay back the project's debt. But Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told commissioners last month that toll roads were no longer an option.

"It's pure politics," Garland Mayor Douglas Athas told the Regional Transportation Commission during its meeting Thursday in Arlington. "A few people financed by a few people are holding up things across the state over and over and over again. And I don't know when we're going to get tired of that."
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: Plutonic Panda on December 15, 2017, 07:42:50 PM
Not sure how I feel about this. I can understand the anti-toll sentiment but I’ve always felt HOT Lanes provided a happy medium as long as any HOT lane added came with a GP lane. Seems like a fair compromise anyways.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 16, 2017, 06:26:08 PM
Politicians and the general public are woefully out of touch in understanding the topic of highway funding. Too many seem to think the fuel taxes they pay at the pump are more than enough to cover all road funding needs. That's certainly the case here in Oklahoma: where the fuel tax hasn't been raised since 1993. They think the toll gates on all the turnpikes need to be dismantled and that they don't need to pay anymore in fuel taxes either. And by that logic I should be able to go buy a brand new Cadillac Escalade for under $10,000.

Toll roads, like them or not, are a necessary evil since we can't seem to properly fund super highway construction and maintenance through the usual method of fuel taxes.

Texas has been doing a lot of improvements to major highways. Without the toll options we're going to see a lot of planned projects stall and progress on "free road" projects (like I-69) really slow down.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: Plutonic Panda on December 16, 2017, 08:33:15 PM
Had the I-35E project been representative of TxDOTs recent work? By this I mean has TxDOT quality gone downhill? Any other construction projects turned out like this?
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 17, 2017, 08:30:00 PM
Parts of the I-820 expansion in Fort Worth are kind of odd. Much of the road has been paved with asphalt rather than longer lasting concrete. Even though there's 2 toll lane going in each direction there's as few as 2 general purpose lanes in each direction as well.  They probably could have had 5 or 6 lanes going in each direction within the same space.

The I-35E project North of Dallas is certainly not as good as other expansion projects in the DFW area. My main gripe is the narrow striped lanes. However, that is an interim project. The plan is to do another expansion project a few years from now. That would add another pair of toll lanes (getting rid of the current reversible toll lanes setup) and presumably fix the lane widths, getting them back to 12' wide.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: Plutonic Panda on December 17, 2017, 09:37:11 PM
That project won’t be affected by the recent anti toll position taken?
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 18, 2017, 05:09:36 PM
Oh, the second half of the I-35E expansion project certainly could be badly affected by these recent political moves against toll roads. It would be a hell of a lot harder to get funding for the project. Voters hate toll roads, but they sure hate fuel taxes and any rate hikes on them every bit as much too.

It will be interesting to see what kinds of increases in traffic accidents occur on I-35E between Dallas and Denton. It seems fair to assume narrow lanes and high traffic counts will result in many more cars "trading paint." If the number of accidents and resulting back-ups really accumulate then the public anger over it could eventually get the rest of that I-35E project funded. As a "free" road the separate 2 lane roadways would be used for HOV traffic rather than Lexus lane traffic.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on December 25, 2017, 10:31:46 AM
News report about NCTCOG's plans to make a presentation to the Texas Transportation Commission at the January 25 meeting.

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/dallas/2017/12/24/backers-toll-financed-lbj-east-expansion-hope-state-officials-will-take-road-block (https://www.dallasnews.com/news/dallas/2017/12/24/backers-toll-financed-lbj-east-expansion-hope-state-officials-will-take-road-block)

At the last meeting when toll projects were removed from the plan, Austin had a large delegation in support of toll lanes on IH 35, but it didn't help. I'm thinking North Texas officials need to do some work behind the scenes to lobby the people that really matter: Lieutenent Governor Patrick and Governor Abbott.

Quote
A plan to fund 14-plus free lanes on LBJ Freeway by adding tolls to four lanes on the same highway is likely to fall on deaf ears when its presented to the Texas Transportation Commission next month.

But with no other solution on the board to fund the $1.8 billion LBJ East expansion project, the leaders of the Regional Transportation Commission — which allocates the area's state and federal transportation dollars — feel they have to make a unified pitch to state transportation officials.

The 10.8 miles of Interstate 635 through Dallas, Garland and Mesquite has become a focal point in the the state's tolled freeway debate. Leaders in those cities fear a "pay as you go" approach would saddle the area from Central Expressway to Interstate 30 with a decade of construction.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have directed the Texas Transportation Commission not to use toll revenue to finance public roadway projects around the state.

Stalled in the crossfire of three consecutive legislative sessions without funding approval for LBJ East is the $65 million reconfiguration of the Skillman/Audelia interchange at LBJ.

It's a project that Dallas leaders say simply can't wait anymore. Approved separately, it was tied to LBJ East because the Texas Department of Transportation wanted to keep concurrent projects from having separate contractors.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 08, 2018, 12:26:54 AM
The Dallas Morning News is reporting that a compromise has been reached to end the stalemate. The new plan (pending approval and no new issues) keeps the same number of lanes but changes the configuration from 5-2E-2E-5 to 6-1M-1M-6. This would be the longest stretch of 6 sustained free lanes each way in Texas (about 11 miles). Anti-toll leadership in Austin apparently deems this acceptable since there are already two HOT lanes on the freeway, and most users of the HOT lane (carpools) don't pay the toll.

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/2018/05/07/austin-north-texas-leaders-seeing-eye-eye-lbj-east-another-shot-states-list (https://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/2018/05/07/austin-north-texas-leaders-seeing-eye-eye-lbj-east-another-shot-states-list)

Quote
State officials are promising a long-awaited go-ahead for the $1.8 billion LBJ East freeway improvements if regional officials agree to build the road without additional tolled lanes in a Thursday meeting.

Interstate 635, LBJ Freeway, currently has four free lanes and an HOV/express lane running down the middle in each direction, a "4-1-1-4" format. That would change to "6-1-1-6" with widening to include two more free lanes in each direction between Central Expressway and Mesquite.

In addition, the plan being proposed to the Regional Transportation Council at its meeting this week in Arlington stipulates the continuous frontage roads and a rebuilt interchange at Interstate 30 that Dallas, Garland and Mesquite officials have wanted.

"Based on agreement from the RTC ... the commission and TxDOT are ready to advance," J. Bruce Bugg, chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission, told regional leaders in a letter. The TTC oversees the Texas Department of Transportation.

Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: txstateends on May 25, 2018, 01:06:17 AM
The squabbles and hand-wringing look to be over on this one.  Construction contract will be awarded next year, with completion in 2024.  Oh, goodie, 5 years of fun and detours...

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/2018/05/24/txdot-gets-long-awaited-go-ahead-move-forward-lbj-east-project
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 25, 2018, 11:40:18 AM
Unfortunately the approved plan does not convert the two cancelled toll lanes into regular lanes. So if the plan proceeds as proposed, the net gain for main traffic lanes is only 1 regular lane each way. (Of course there are also big improvements to frontage roads and auxiliary lanes).

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2018/0524/6a-presentation.pdf (http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2018/0524/6a-presentation.pdf)

According the news article, elected officials are going to push for the 6 free lanes each way. I think the costs of the bids will be the main determining factor if the sixth free lane each way is included

Quote
Because there were space and plans for a configuration with five free lanes and two managed lanes in each direction, the senators said they would push for a switch to six free lanes with the grandfathered single managed lane in each direction.

"I think there would still be enough money for 14 lanes," Huffines said.

Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 30, 2019, 11:05:58 PM
http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2019/0530/6a-presentation.pdf (http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2019/0530/6a-presentation.pdf)

The TxDOT Commission revealed the winner for the design-build contract today. The winner is Pegasus Link constructors, which consists of Fluor and Balfour Beatty, at  $1.737 billion. Pegasus Link also built the Horseshoe project, and is currently building the $666 million Southern Gateway project on IH 35E.

Unfortunately it appears to be a budget buster because the estimated amount was around $1.56 billion, which included $278 million for the I-30/I-635 interchange, and I don't know for certain that the interchange work is included in the bid. Some local officials (mainly Michael Morris, NCTCOG director) had mentioned they thought the bid could come in below the estimate.

Unfortunately the presentation is totally lacking in any details of the proposal. There was no discussion at the meeting (which was available on a live feed). There's nothing in Dallas Morning News yet.

Since the project was originally designed to have four managed lanes, there is space for two more lanes which some officials had suggested could be general-purpose lanes. The proposal details will need to be available to find out the fate of those two lanes.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: MaxConcrete on September 15, 2019, 12:54:46 AM
Since the contract award I have not seen any information about the final design. (Design-bid proposers can tweak the design for cost reduction.) Also, the managed lanes were supposedly reduced from 4 to 2, which would be a substantial change compared to the approved design of the ROD.

On Thursday's NCTCOG meeting agenda was the first glimpse of any information about the final design. The design has been changed at SH 78 (Garland Avenue). Originally the frontage roads were slated to intersect SH 78 and go under the KCS railroad, with SH 78 also sunk for the intersection. Now the frontage roads are going over SH 78 due to KCS being uncooperative, and also to reduce cost.

See item 6 in the agenda documents for a depiction of the revised design
https://www.nctcog.org/nctcg/media/Transportation/Committees/RTC/2019/presentations-sept.pdf?ext=.pdf (https://www.nctcog.org/nctcg/media/Transportation/Committees/RTC/2019/presentations-sept.pdf?ext=.pdf)

The design clearly shows 4 managed lanes, which would be very good news if the 4 lanes are in fact retained on the entire project.

The schematics I have (from January 2017) also show NW Highway going over 635, but the depiction shows 635 now going over NW Highway.

On a possibly related subject: Does anyone know what happened to plans to award the contract for the $320 million interchange at Loop 12 and SH 183 (Texas Stadium site)? It was slated to receive bids in July, then it was pushed back to September, and now it has entirely disappeared from the FY 2020 letting list. I'm thinking the project's funds may have been shifted to cover the cost overrun on 635.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: Bobby5280 on September 15, 2019, 01:25:38 AM
It would be very good news if the managed lanes portion of the project featured at least 2 lanes in each direction.

IMHO, toll/managed lanes featuring only 1 lane per direction is STUPID! What person in their right mind wants to pay EXTRA to drive on a single separate lane only to likely get stuck behind some slow poke old fart puttering along 10-20 mph under the posted speed limit? Being hemmed in with concrete Jersey barriers on both sides you're completely stuck behind the slow poke. There's only one single lane. You cannot pass. Or like Gandalf said, "You shall not pass!!!"

Any HOV or toll/managed lanes configuration is not worth doing at all unless the separated roadway has at least 2 lanes, allowing faster drivers to pass the slow pokes. If the facility only has a budget to do a single HOV/Toll lane per direction then it's not worth doing at all. Put that extra money into more "free" general purpose lanes or other roadway improvements.

The single toll lanes that have been popping up in a few places in the DFW metro, such as along TX-183, are just blatantly idiotic. It's at least as stupid as the 2-2-2-2 configuration of I-820 on the North side of Fort Worth. After all that construction traffic jams on the minuscule general purpose lanes of I-820 are commonplace. There's even visual evidence of it in Google Street View. A single barrier-separated HOV/toll lane is really bad since the barriers eat up valuable space, particularly if they're the concrete Jersey barrier variety. The end result is a road which is arguably less efficient. Most drivers are going to steer clear of a single barrier-separated toll lane for all its downsides. But that toll lane eats into the space that would be used for general purpose lanes. So everything is getting squeezed in some way. Add to that the new habit of re-striping lanes at widths of less than 12'. I really hate driving on roads with lanes striped at widths of only 11' or 10'. That's claustrophobic.
Title: Re: Dallas: officials seeking funding for I-635 east expansion
Post by: -- US 175 -- on September 15, 2019, 08:51:44 AM
Since the contract award I have not seen any information about the final design. (Design-bid proposers can tweak the design for cost reduction.) Also, the managed lanes were supposedly reduced from 4 to 2, which would be a substantial change compared to the approved design of the ROD.

On Thursday's NCTCOG meeting agenda was the first glimpse of any information about the final design. The design has been changed at SH 78 (Garland Avenue). Originally the frontage roads were slated to intersect SH 78 and go under the KCS railroad, with SH 78 also sunk for the intersection. Now the frontage roads are going over SH 78 due to KCS being uncooperative, and also to reduce cost.

See item 6 in the agenda documents for a depiction of the revised design
https://www.nctcog.org/nctcg/media/Transportation/Committees/RTC/2019/presentations-sept.pdf?ext=.pdf (https://www.nctcog.org/nctcg/media/Transportation/Committees/RTC/2019/presentations-sept.pdf?ext=.pdf)

The design clearly shows 4 managed lanes, which would be very good news if the 4 lanes are in fact retained on the entire project.

The schematics I have (from January 2017) also show NW Highway going over 635, but the depiction shows 635 now going over NW Highway.

On a possibly related subject: Does anyone know what happened to plans to award the contract for the $320 million interchange at Loop 12 and SH 183 (Texas Stadium site)? It was slated to receive bids in July, then it was pushed back to September, and now it has entirely disappeared from the FY 2020 letting list. I'm thinking the project's funds may have been shifted to cover the cost overrun on 635.

The Loop 12/TX 183/Spur 482 interchange is on the UTP list  (as well as LBJ East) so apparently the TTC had enough $$$ for both.