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Regional Boards => Mid-South => Topic started by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 29, 2020, 02:38:39 PM

Title: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 29, 2020, 02:38:39 PM
Austin Texas has the Population of 964,000 (As of 2018) and its only Served by 1 Interstate? i know in the 1950's and 60's Austin only Had 100,000-250,000 People but still should've been served by another Interstate. Also why did TXDOT build so many Loops in Austin...
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: silverback1065 on March 29, 2020, 06:55:49 PM
if you look at Austin, the only other interstate that makes any sense would have been an east west interstate, i.e. 10, which went to san antonio instead.  It's interesting that they dont have a real loop though, although that's slowly changing.  Austin's layout is a bit weird to me, it doesn't really have a lot of suburbs either.  The completely useless i-14 should have gone through Austin to make it somewhat useful.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 29, 2020, 07:14:22 PM
if you look at Austin, the only other interstate that makes any sense would have been an east west interstate, i.e. 10, which went to san antonio instead.  It's interesting that they dont have a real loop though, although that's slowly changing.  Austin's layout is a bit weird to me, it doesn't really have a lot of suburbs either.  The completely useless i-14 should have gone through Austin to make it somewhat useful.

yea I'm not a fan of I-14 either, and they ran I-35 straight through the city and they should've bypassed I-35 to the east
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Ryctor2018 on March 29, 2020, 07:57:18 PM
Austin, like many cities in the West/Southwest developed later in the 20th Century. That plus politics and NIMBYism contribute to the city not having freeways like other places of similar population.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: In_Correct on March 29, 2020, 08:18:31 PM
A second North South Interstate would end up being U.S. 281. It is west of Austin, so there is your bypass. Project Tracker has numerous upgrade projects for U.S. 281 so it will be here eventually. ... Some of the projects are supposed to happen this year.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 29, 2020, 08:21:37 PM
A second North South Interstate would end up being U.S. 281. It is west of Austin, so there is your bypass. Project Tracker has numerous upgrade projects for U.S. 281 so it will be here eventually. ... Some of the projects are supposed to happen this year.

1. Probably I-37 Extension,
2. not from that far, i mean like a 15-25 mile Bypass 3di Route
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on March 29, 2020, 10:52:19 PM
There's already a north-south bypass for I-35... SH-130. For those who are willing to use it, it's very effective at avoiding the mess that I-35 through Austin is. More than once, I've been able to travel from Georgetown to San Antonio and vice versa during peak hours without hitting any congestion. It costs almost $20 for toll-by-plate from I-10 to I-35 North, but well worth it for a long-distance trip. It's about 90 miles long, and has a speed limit of at least 80 mph, 85 mph south of SH-45.

SH-45 is a loop around the east side that utilizes a segment of SH-130.

US-183 between SH-71 and US-290 is currently being upgraded into a toll freeway with frontage roads, again built to interstate standards. That will form an "inner" loop utilizing I-35 near Downtown, SH-71, and US-290.
It's not interstate highway, but is toll freeway built to interstate standards.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 29, 2020, 11:39:24 PM
There's already a north-south bypass for I-35... SH-130. For those who are willing to use it, it's very effective at avoiding the mess that I-35 through Austin is. More than once, I've been able to travel from Georgetown to San Antonio and vice versa during peak hours without hitting any congestion. It costs almost $20 for toll-by-plate from I-10 to I-35 North, but well worth it for a long-distance trip. It's about 90 miles long, and has a speed limit of at least 80 mph, 85 mph south of SH-45.

SH-45 is a loop around the east side that utilizes a segment of SH-130.

US-183 between SH-71 and US-290 is currently being upgraded into a toll freeway with frontage roads, again built to interstate standards. That will form an "inner" loop utilizing I-35 near Downtown, SH-71, and US-290.
It's not interstate highway, but is toll freeway built to interstate standards.

I donít think making US 290 a toll wouldnít be worth it but it gives them the funds to make I-69, I-369, and I-14
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on March 30, 2020, 12:08:57 AM
There's already a north-south bypass for I-35... SH-130. For those who are willing to use it, it's very effective at avoiding the mess that I-35 through Austin is. More than once, I've been able to travel from Georgetown to San Antonio and vice versa during peak hours without hitting any congestion. It costs almost $20 for toll-by-plate from I-10 to I-35 North, but well worth it for a long-distance trip. It's about 90 miles long, and has a speed limit of at least 80 mph, 85 mph south of SH-45.

SH-45 is a loop around the east side that utilizes a segment of SH-130.

US-183 between SH-71 and US-290 is currently being upgraded into a toll freeway with frontage roads, again built to interstate standards. That will form an "inner" loop utilizing I-35 near Downtown, SH-71, and US-290.
It's not interstate highway, but is toll freeway built to interstate standards.

I donít think making US 290 a toll wouldnít be worth it but it gives them the funds to make I-69, I-369, and I-14
The freeway portion of US-290 west of US-183 is a toll road. The tolls are to fund the construction of that highway, not other roads.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Scott5114 on March 30, 2020, 04:11:37 AM
A second North South Interstate would end up being U.S. 281. It is west of Austin, so there is your bypass.

SH-130...
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on March 30, 2020, 10:49:24 AM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on March 30, 2020, 12:49:13 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

It's a miracle we have half the freeways we do. MoPac would never have been built today, or any freeway segments of 290, or Loop 360. The US 290 freeway extension to Circle Dr, Oak Hill Parkway, took over two decades to get through local opposition. Same thing with 45SW, the highway in my flair. I-35 funding got passed, but the local response has been strongly against widening I-35 (somehow.) Hell, even the SH130 widening was an intense debate, and it's miles outside of town.

It would at least make sense if we had a decent transit system, but we've been voting down major transit packages since 2000. People complain about traffic nonstop, then advocate against widening freeways, then vote against public transit. It's ridiculous.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on March 30, 2020, 01:08:07 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

It's a very very blue city the "don't build it they won't come" mentality that exists.  My 90 minute drive home (14 miles)
now takes 18 it is truly amazing.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on March 30, 2020, 01:09:02 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

It's a miracle we have half the freeways we do. MoPac would never have been built today, or any freeway segments of 290, or Loop 360. The US 290 freeway extension to Circle Dr, Oak Hill Parkway, took over two decades to get through local opposition. Same thing with 45SW, the highway in my flair. I-35 funding got passed, but the local response has been strongly against widening I-35 (somehow.) Hell, even the SH130 widening was an intense debate, and it's miles outside of town.

It would at least make sense if we had a decent transit system, but we've been voting down major transit packages since 2000. People complain about traffic nonstop, then advocate against widening freeways, then vote against public transit. It's ridiculous.

Mayor Adler has this idea that his plans will work.  Maybe something like an el train.  High speed buses are not the answer. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on March 30, 2020, 01:13:50 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

Austin is / was a college town and a state Capitol when state capitols were seats of small government.  As long as the Universities were the center of Austin, it was a liberal, intimate collegial environment.  State government was small. The real government (the legislature) met for 6 weeks every other year. Back when, they might have an ocasional special session, but the bulk of the time, none of the legislators were there. Boards and commissions back when, the comissioners met in convenient places (often the chaiman's location) and held public but little publicised meetings.  Let's just say, state government was smaller and not concentrated in Austin. 
Plus before the 1980's Austin was an intellectual not a productive place. Dell and Whole Foods (which is mostly owned by Amazon) are the only fortune 500 companies headquartered there; even now.  It is that education that has led to Austin's growth.

Intelectuals EVERYWHERE hold a freeway bias. They seem to not want to build any more and even tear down what is there.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on March 30, 2020, 01:18:16 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

Austin is / was a college town and a state Capitol when state capitols were seats of small government.  As long as the Universities were the center of Austin, it was a liberal, intimate collegial environment.  State government was small. The real government (the legislature) met for 6 weeks every other year. Back when, they might have an ocasional special session, but the bulk of the time, none of the legislators were there. Boards and commissions back when, the comissioners met in convenient places (often the chaiman's location) and held public but little publicised meetings.  Let's just say, state government was smaller and not concentrated in Austin. 
Plus before the 1980's Austin was an intellectual not a productive place. Dell and Whole Foods (which is mostly owned by Amazon) are the only fortune 500 companies headquartered there; even now.  It is that education that has led to Austin's growth.

Intelectuals EVERYWHERE hold a freeway bias. They seem to not want to build any more and even tear down what is there.

They wanted to remove the upper deck of I-35.  Where you gonna put that traffic?  plus even if you have a plan you're talking 3 years of orange cones to get there
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on March 30, 2020, 01:19:00 PM
About the only route for another Austin Interstate would have been to route I-20 along US 79 from Shreveport. US-80 was already established as a MAJOR east / west thoroughfare. 

As far as that goes the three predominate historic auto routes east to west through Texas were the Dixie Overland Highway (US80 now I-20) and the Bankhead Hwy (US 67 from Texarkana to Dallas Now I-30)then MOSTLY concurrent with DOH to ElPaso,  and the OLD Spanish Trail (US 90, now I-10) .  The interstates followed them.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on March 30, 2020, 03:51:04 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

It's a miracle we have half the freeways we do. MoPac would never have been built today, or any freeway segments of 290, or Loop 360. The US 290 freeway extension to Circle Dr, Oak Hill Parkway, took over two decades to get through local opposition. Same thing with 45SW, the highway in my flair. I-35 funding got passed, but the local response has been strongly against widening I-35 (somehow.) Hell, even the SH130 widening was an intense debate, and it's miles outside of town.

It would at least make sense if we had a decent transit system, but we've been voting down major transit packages since 2000. People complain about traffic nonstop, then advocate against widening freeways, then vote against public transit. It's ridiculous.

Well, there is this incompetent agency called Cap Metro that populace do not trust one bit to run mass transit.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on March 30, 2020, 03:53:30 PM
I don't believe many here truly understand the anti freeway bias that exists in Austin. Especially west of MoPac.

Austin is / was a college town and a state Capitol when state capitols were seats of small government.  As long as the Universities were the center of Austin, it was a liberal, intimate collegial environment.  State government was small. The real government (the legislature) met for 6 weeks every other year. Back when, they might have an ocasional special session, but the bulk of the time, none of the legislators were there. Boards and commissions back when, the comissioners met in convenient places (often the chaiman's location) and held public but little publicised meetings.  Let's just say, state government was smaller and not concentrated in Austin. 
Plus before the 1980's Austin was an intellectual not a productive place. Dell and Whole Foods (which is mostly owned by Amazon) are the only fortune 500 companies headquartered there; even now.  It is that education that has led to Austin's growth.

Intelectuals EVERYWHERE hold a freeway bias. They seem to not want to build any more and even tear down what is there.

Just reminiscing what Austin used to be, when it was a fun city and Mueller Airport was only 15 minutes from downtown.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on March 30, 2020, 05:16:03 PM
I strongly believe Austin needs 1 or 2 East-West freeways connecting to and thru the metro area.

US-290 needs to be improved to Interstate standards 100% of the way between Austin and Houston. That is do-able. It's also feasible to improve TX-71 to Interstate standards from the I-10 exit in Columbus, TX up to the Southern side of Austin. The Austin metro has over 2 million people. Houston's metro has over 6 million. Plus the zone between Austin and San Antonio is growing rapidly.

US-290 needs to be improved to Interstate standards going West out of Austin, to/near Johnson City, Fredericksburg and then I-10. That's the harder project to build, but it needs to be built somehow. There is one expansion project to convert US-290 into a freeway just past the "Y" split at Circle Drive. But it's going to be difficult pushing the expansion farther West through Bear Creek and Dripping Springs. Parts of the existing route can be expanded, but others may require a new terrain path.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 30, 2020, 05:40:32 PM
I strongly believe Austin needs 1 or 2 East-West freeways connecting to and thru the metro area.

US-290 needs to be improved to Interstate standards 100% of the way between Austin and Houston. That is do-able. It's also feasible to improve TX-71 to Interstate standards from the I-10 exit in Columbus, TX up to the Southern side of Austin. The Austin metro has over 2 million people. Houston's metro has over 6 million. Plus the zone between Austin and San Antonio is growing rapidly.

US-290 needs to be improved to Interstate standards going West out of Austin, to/near Johnson City, Fredericksburg and then I-10. That's the harder project to build, but it needs to be built somehow. There is one expansion project to convert US-290 into a freeway just past the "Y" split at Circle Drive. But it's going to be difficult pushing the expansion farther West through Bear Creek and Dripping Springs. Parts of the existing route can be expanded, but others may require a new terrain path.

US 290 connects with I-610 in Houston, so thats a 3di spur right there
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on March 30, 2020, 06:04:14 PM
US 290 connects with I-610 in Houston, so thats a 3di spur right there
In addition, there's also dedicated ramps that take traffic from US-290 directly to I-10 without merging with I-610.

A western I-12 or similar 2di would be appropriate for the US-290 corridor between I-10 in Houston to I-35 in Austin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 30, 2020, 06:08:08 PM
US 290 connects with I-610 in Houston, so thats a 3di spur right there
In addition, there's also dedicated ramps that take traffic from US-290 directly to I-10 without merging with I-610.

A western I-12 or similar 2di would be appropriate for the US-290 corridor between I-10 in Houston to I-35 in Austin.

i did make a map of that one, but i didn't really like it,
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on March 30, 2020, 06:19:22 PM
i did make a map of that one, but i didn't really like it,
So there should be no connection between the two cities... because it didn't look good?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 30, 2020, 06:52:20 PM
i did make a map of that one, but i didn't really like it,
So there should be no connection between the two cities... because it didn't look good?

No, the Concurrency of I-10/I-12 From Baton Rouge to Houston, and if i routed it onto US 190 to Houston, it would be too Close to I-10, there would be no need for a freeway
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on March 30, 2020, 06:59:26 PM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. Itís a separate route.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: wxfree on March 30, 2020, 09:44:15 PM
I-12W
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on March 30, 2020, 09:50:26 PM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. Itís a separate route.

Or (I know this is fictional that i'm about to say) But you could have Current I-12 be I-410, then I-12 is transferred from Midland to Houston going through San Angelo and Austin
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Brian556 on March 30, 2020, 10:24:46 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb1DTsxBOfE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb1DTsxBOfE)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on March 31, 2020, 02:37:50 PM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. Itís a separate route.

Or (I know this is fictional that i'm about to say) But you could have Current I-12 be I-410, then I-12 is transferred from Midland to Houston going through San Angelo and Austin

The current I-12 has now been in use over 50 years; no need to effect any changes at this point in time.  The potential Austin corridor is in a separate state, so the number could be readily re-used in TX regardless of exact alignment (TX 71 or US 290 -- or possibly a combination of both).   These days, existing designations aren't terribly exclusionary (e.g., I-87!). 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on March 31, 2020, 03:27:59 PM
I'd make a freeway from Columbus to Junction.  Great way for cross country traffic to stay out of San Antonio.  Though that's about the last Austin freeway that is not overpacked.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: CoreySamson on March 31, 2020, 07:36:40 PM
I made a thread in Fictional Highways extending I-12 westward. My plan includes a 3di to Austin.

Hereís the link:

https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=26645.0
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on March 31, 2020, 11:57:19 PM
Good grief.

The Interstate highway system already has several duplicate 2-digit routes that are not connected to each other and will never connect with each other. Those routes include I-74, I-76, I-84, I-86, I-87 and I-88. There is an outside chance the disconnected segments of I-49 and I-69 will eventually be connected. With that said, who really should care if one I-12 route in Louisiana doesn't connect to an even bigger I-12 route in Texas? There's really no need for that.

But chances are likely if US-290 is ever brought up fully to Interstate standards from its split with I-10 in West Texas, going through Austin and over to Houston TX DOT will probably just keep US-290 named as US-290. TX DOT and the higher-ups in the Texas state legislature don't appear all that fond of getting new Interstate route designations.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 01, 2020, 01:50:40 PM
Texas is as a whole a compliance hawk. If new guidance comes down, TXDOT tries to retrofit even existing Interstates (ex: the bridge & culvert widing from the 90's and 00's.) An interstate designation just brings compliance issues with no significant income to offset them.

That in a nutshell is why Texas is not overly apt to make it an interstate.  Even the initial phases of I-69 had extra federal funding.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 01, 2020, 04:31:11 PM
Texas is as a whole a compliance hawk. If new guidance comes down, TXDOT tries to retrofit even existing Interstates (ex: the bridge & culvert widing from the 90's and 00's.) An interstate designation just brings compliance issues with no significant income to offset them.

That in a nutshell is why Texas is not overly apt to make it an interstate.  Even the initial phases of I-69 had extra federal funding.

Except for certain specified projects, the maximum Federal share of road projects is currently 80%; the major in progress and/or planned TX Interstate corridors are both Federally-legislated high priority corridors, slated to receive that 80-point share (HPC 18 & 20 for I-69, HPC #84 for I-14).  Of course, these days there's no guarantee that the money will be available at any given point; the state's congressional delegation has to stand in line and press for a portion of the yearly outlay like with every other state.  But when it comes, it's in the form of that eighty percent.  But then the state and/or locality has to come up with the other 20%, which has perpetually been a major issue. 

Adding an interstate designation to HPC legislation -- new or existing -- has been the default method of getting new Interstate trunks developed since the 1995 NHS legislation.  Originally these were "tacked on" to new corridors in omnibus legislation (like with the 30-odd corridors designated with 2005's SAFETEA-LU act); but in 2004 a new corridor (#45) was inserted into that year's transportation outlay; it contained the I-22 designation -- the first to be designated outside a major nationwide program.  Since then, others have followed, tacking on I-designations to existing corridors (such as I-11 onto HPC #26 Phoenix-LV -- and then later onto #68 LV-I-80; this was also used for I-87 on HPC #13) as well as new ones like the aforementioned HPC #84/I-14.  Of the five new Interstates designated from 2012 to 2016, only one, I-2, went through the "usual" AASHTO-approved method; the others were Congressionally mandated, bypassing AASHTO vetting.  Of course, FHWA still has to sign off on the routes once deployed, but if constructed to standard, that's usually not an issue. 

If by chance an E-W corridor through Austin is proposed, it'll almost certainly utilize the new-HPC/I-designation route, whether inserted into yearly USDOT outlays or the next phase of major nationwide legislation.  That way when actual development commences, it'll garner that 80% federal share (more, if the state's congressfolks can weasel some special consideration).   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on April 05, 2020, 01:13:15 PM
Long-distance routes to and from Austin are largely fine. The only real expansion that's needed is conversion of SH71 to an interstate (likely I-12 or I-510, would've easily been I-10N before the '70s).

Within town, the few expansions that are needed have largely been planned - the extension of 183 Toll and further expansion north of Mopac will be a big help. The current plans for 35 in town are good as well - that freeway does need to be sunk and expanded. Austin is trying to take the best examples of urban infrastructure from the other Texas cities, with Klyde Warren Park being the crown jewel.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 05, 2020, 02:52:40 PM
Long-distance routes to and from Austin are largely fine. The only real expansion that's needed is conversion of SH71 to an interstate (likely I-12 or I-510, would've easily been I-10N before the '70s).

Within town, the few expansions that are needed have largely been planned - the extension of 183 Toll and further expansion north of Mopac will be a big help. The current plans for 35 in town are good as well - that freeway does need to be sunk and expanded. Austin is trying to take the best examples of urban infrastructure from the other Texas cities, with Klyde Warren Park being the crown jewel.

I'll probably take some flack for this, but even if an eastern Interstate approach along either TX 71 or US 290 ever sees upgrades to Interstate status, the western section back to I-10 east of Junction could be replaced -- if and only if I-14 is developed along US 190 and US 87 west of Lampasas to San Angelo and beyond -- by an extension of the US 183 tollway/freeway north to meet I-14, giving Austin a westerly outlet.  The rationales here are simple -- (a) cost; if I-14 is going to be built to West Texas anyway, connecting to it via US 183 would require about 40 miles of new construction versus about 110-115 miles to I-10 generally via US 290; and (b) the presence of considerably more regional destinations (San Angelo, Midland/Odessa, etc.) via I-14 than the vast emptiness that is I-10.  Not all commercial traffic west of I-35 is headed only to El Paso and beyond; TX is a huge state that is still seeing growth in its western reaches.   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 05, 2020, 07:08:10 PM
No one needing to drive West out of Austin is going to drive clear up to the Killeen area if they're intending to connect to I-10. Such a path is way way out of way. That traffic is going to stay on US-290.

If I-14 can ever get extended to Lampasas and farther West (it's a long shot) chances are likely I-14 would only go to San Angelo and then to Midland. That second proposed Southern leg splitting off to I-10 is never going to happen.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 05, 2020, 11:38:10 PM
No one needing to drive West out of Austin is going to drive clear up to the Killeen area if they're intending to connect to I-10. Such a path is way way out of way. That traffic is going to stay on US-290.

If I-14 can ever get extended to Lampasas and farther West (it's a long shot) chances are likely I-14 would only go to San Angelo and then to Midland. That second proposed Southern leg splitting off to I-10 is never going to happen.

The idea was not to particularly connect with I-10 (well, not until the I-20 merge!) but to effect a general movement west from Austin via an extended US 183 tollway/freeway toward other populated areas in west Texas.  I-10 from US 290 west to I-20 wouldn't figure into that equation.   If one absolutely positively has to access that part of I-10 from Austin, then, yes, US 290 would remain in the picture as the routing of choice.   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TravelingBethelite on April 06, 2020, 12:17:42 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. Itís a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 06, 2020, 12:24:35 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. Itís a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.
An interstate highway along the US-290 would be around 150 miles long, linking two major metros along with I-10 and I-35.

I wouldn't call it a "spur" or "bypass". I think a 2di such as a western "I-12" would be an appropriate designation as opposed to be a 3di, which would become the longest in the country.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on April 06, 2020, 02:16:15 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. Itís a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.

I-210 has been reserved for El Paso since the start of the system, and if you don't think that matters, you don't know local politics.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 06, 2020, 02:34:27 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. Itís a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.

I-210 has been reserved for El Paso since the start of the system, and if you don't think that matters, you don't know local politics.

Most likely local El Paso politicos/interests are holding out hope that the Loop 375 alignment -- or at least the part of it north of I-10 -- will still eventually be part of the Interstate system (if they can deal with or realign around the steep gradients between US 54 and I-10 to the west).  That would, of course, be the most likely I-210 candidate. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TravelingBethelite on April 06, 2020, 02:44:33 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. Itís a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.

I-210 has been reserved for El Paso since the start of the system, and if you don't think that matters, you don't know local politics.

I can't say I do. What proves that? Who says that 210 is reserved for El Paso?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: BrandonC_TX on April 06, 2020, 04:32:58 PM
I guess you could number it I-810 if the need to reserve I-210 for El Paso remains.  Though the only reason I see to reserve I-210 in El Paso would be to allow for a west-east numerical increase in 3di routes (I-210 in El Paso, I-410 in San Antonio, I-610 in Houston, perhaps I-810 for Beaumont?), although this reflects practice with primary Interstates with higher numbers to the east.  Considering that this route also connects with Interstate 35, I-235, I-435, and I-835 are also options, with I-435 or I-235 probably making the most sense if you wanted to have higher 3di numbers to the north (since I-635 is in Dallas, possibly reserving I-835 for something like the northern DFW Outer Loop or Loop 288/US 380 between Denton & McKinney if US 75 north of Dallas becomes I-45); however, this route is more of a spur of I-10 than of I-35.

Although the route connects two Interstates, viewing the highway as a spur could allow for the use of a odd-first-digit 3di, such as I-310, I-510, I-710, or I-910 (I-110 is already in use in El Paso), but this would slightly break from convention.  I guess you could use I-310 for TX 71 and I-510 for US 290 (to reflect the higher number of primary Interstates with northward extent), or make one of those routes part of a western I-12 (US 290 most likely, because it directly connects Houston with Austin).
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 07, 2020, 09:54:48 AM
A -western- I-12.

It would -not- be related to the existing I-12. Itís a separate route.

Oughta be called I-210. No reason to reuse a mainline number for what amounts to a spur/bypass route! Texas hasn't even used that number yet anyway.

210 would be a loop. I-310 would be the correct demarcation for a spur.  Even though Texas doubtfully will number it an interstate.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 07, 2020, 10:39:17 AM
210 would be a loop. I-310 would be the correct demarcation for a spur.  Even though Texas doubtfully will number it an interstate.
While I disagree with the aspect of numbering an Austin to Houston corridor as a 3di, if it were to be, an even 3di would be appropriate.

Since it is connecting two interstates, I-35 and I-10, it would work.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 07, 2020, 12:37:52 PM
If people want to be anal retentive about it, that there can be only one I-12 route, then maybe the original I-12 in Louisiana should be re-numbered as a 3-digit I-10 route. The Louisiana version of I-12 is only 85 miles in length. The "I-12" I'd like to see built in Texas would be around 270 miles in length. The leg along US-290 between Houston and Austin alone is around 140 miles. It's another 130 or so miles West out of Austin to I-10. And then if the route were to actually begin in Beaumont and go West to the Grand Parkway that would add another 80 miles. It wouldn't make any sense at all for an Interstate 270 or 350 miles long to carry a 3 digit label.

Quote from: sparker
The idea was not to particularly connect with I-10 (well, not until the I-20 merge!) but to effect a general movement west from Austin via an extended US 183 tollway/freeway toward other populated areas in west Texas. I-10 from US 290 west to I-20 wouldn't figure into that equation. If one absolutely positively has to access that part of I-10 from Austin, then, yes, US 290 would remain in the picture as the routing of choice.

The concept of upgrading US-290 to the West out of Austin to I-10 is to provide high speed access to destinations out to the West that are far larger in population than San Angelo or Midland. Cities such as El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles are going to be accessed from Austin via the US-290 route to I-10. Going up to Killeen and Midland and then back down again from I-20 to I-10 is a wasteful diversion. Drivers and commerce coming from those major Southwest cities heading to Austin are going to take the same route.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: BrandonC_TX on April 07, 2020, 02:31:19 PM
You could even have I-10 share its designation with I-12 between Houston and Baton Rouge, if there were an insistence on a single I-12.  Both I-12 corridors (Houston-Austin-N of Kerrville and Slidell-Baton Rouge) would serve a similar purpose, to be a shortcut for the main I-10 corridor.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: wtd67 on April 07, 2020, 03:43:33 PM
Being that this is in Texas, it would be numbered I-10N and rename the other section of I-10 to I-10S.  :-D
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: CoreySamson on April 07, 2020, 06:12:29 PM
You could even have I-10 share its designation with I-12 between Houston and Baton Rouge, if there were an insistence on a single I-12.  Both I-12 corridors (Houston-Austin-N of Kerrville and Slidell-Baton Rouge) would serve a similar purpose, to be a shortcut for the main I-10 corridor.

My I-12 thread I posted about earlier in this thread does have a 10/12 concurrency, however, the concurrency goes from Baton Rouge to Beaumont, where I-12 splits off onto the TX-105 corridor, effectively turning 12 into a Houston bypass.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 07, 2020, 08:13:18 PM
There isn't any need for an I-10/I-12 concurrency. I think it would look pretty silly on a map to have I-10 and I-12 signed on the same road for roughly 180 miles from Beaumont to Baton Rouge for I-12 to only exist another 85 miles before ending in Slidell.

Another (long shot) alternative: upgrading US-190 to Interstate standards from Baton Rouge to Ragley and then LA-12/TX-12 down back to I-10 in Vidor, TX (just East of Beaumont). That would create a pair of short I-10/I-12 concurrences, one in Baton Rouge and one in Beaumont.

There might be value in an extended I-12 route across Southern Louisiana to the North of I-10. It might help serve as an alternate route in case of hurricanes. Plus those really long I-10 bridges over those swamps are going to need to be replaced in the not too distant future. An extended I-12 would be a major relief route for such efforts. Unfortunately Louisiana already has its plate full with a few other Interstate projects, I-49 being the main one, I-69 being a lower priority and I-14 being another long shot prospect. It looks like Louisiana's plans for the US-190 corridor from Baton Rouge thru Opelousas are no better than a regular 4-lane divided expressway with at grade crossings.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 08, 2020, 03:20:07 PM
Being that this is in Texas, it would be numbered I-10N and rename the other section of I-10 to I-10S.  :-D

Given the proclivity toward suffixed numbers back in 1957, I'm just surprised that what's now I-12 wasn't originally designated I-10N as part of a split I-10N/I-10S, with the former addressing cross-country traffic and the latter serving N.O.  But in 1980 it would likely have been renumbered as it is today when suffixes were no longer considered generally acceptable (except, as later demonstrated, by Congressional decree!). 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 15, 2020, 12:43:20 PM
Refocusing to an actual project in Austin, the Mopac Intersections Project should wrap up tomorrow with the opening of the La Crosse Avenue bridge over the new Mopac mainlanes. This will finally make Mopac a freeway for its entire length, as La Crosse Avenue is currently the last light on the highway. The bridge was delayed for months after the contractors found karst formations under the original bridge pillars, so they had to fill in the caves and change the bridge's design. The project's sound walls, landscaping, and signage will still be worked on for a few months, but all new structures should be open tomorrow.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: silverback1065 on April 15, 2020, 05:51:34 PM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 15, 2020, 06:34:39 PM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?

That's still in planning at this point but it's definitely a priority. There won't be much opposition from residents that live by 45 itself but the SOS folk will protest any highway. If I had to bet I'd say 45 in the gap will open around 2030.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on April 15, 2020, 06:46:55 PM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?

1? lol.  My roommate once called it Loop 1.   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 15, 2020, 06:54:48 PM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?

1? lol.  My roommate once called it Loop 1.
Texas Loop 1, MoPac Expressway.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on April 15, 2020, 11:18:17 PM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?

1? lol.  My roommate once called it Loop 1.
Texas Loop 1, MoPac Expressway.

Mopac!  Mo-park is also acceptable.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: rlb2024 on April 16, 2020, 10:53:38 AM
Being that this is in Texas, it would be numbered I-10N and rename the other section of I-10 to I-10S.  :-D

Given the proclivity toward suffixed numbers back in 1957, I'm just surprised that what's now I-12 wasn't originally designated I-10N as part of a split I-10N/I-10S, with the former addressing cross-country traffic and the latter serving N.O.  But in 1980 it would likely have been renumbered as it is today when suffixes were no longer considered generally acceptable (except, as later demonstrated, by Congressional decree!).
I don't believe I-10 and I-12 were initially planned to come back together on the east end of I-12 near Slidell.  If I remember right I-10 was originially going to take a slightly more southerly route along US 90, with I-59 extending southward to meet I-10 south of Lake Pontchartrain by roughly following the path of US 11.  I-12 and I-59 were to intersect north of the lake as they currently do.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 16, 2020, 11:56:33 AM
Being that this is in Texas, it would be numbered I-10N and rename the other section of I-10 to I-10S.  :-D

Given the proclivity toward suffixed numbers back in 1957, I'm just surprised that what's now I-12 wasn't originally designated I-10N as part of a split I-10N/I-10S, with the former addressing cross-country traffic and the latter serving N.O.  But in 1980 it would likely have been renumbered as it is today when suffixes were no longer considered generally acceptable (except, as later demonstrated, by Congressional decree!).
I don't believe I-10 and I-12 were initially planned to come back together on the east end of I-12 near Slidell.  If I remember right I-10 was originially going to take a slightly more southerly route along US 90, with I-59 extending southward to meet I-10 south of Lake Pontchartrain by roughly following the path of US 11.  I-12 and I-59 were to intersect north of the lake as they currently do.

Actually I12 and I59 were supposed to meet North of Slidell, out near Pearl River LA.  Knowing the geography of the Riggolets and Venician Isles, cannot imagine they ever thought about running a freeway out that way unless they planned on sticking it in Lake St Catherine or  Lake Borgne.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: rlb2024 on April 16, 2020, 02:02:54 PM
Being that this is in Texas, it would be numbered I-10N and rename the other section of I-10 to I-10S.  :-D

Given the proclivity toward suffixed numbers back in 1957, I'm just surprised that what's now I-12 wasn't originally designated I-10N as part of a split I-10N/I-10S, with the former addressing cross-country traffic and the latter serving N.O.  But in 1980 it would likely have been renumbered as it is today when suffixes were no longer considered generally acceptable (except, as later demonstrated, by Congressional decree!).
I don't believe I-10 and I-12 were initially planned to come back together on the east end of I-12 near Slidell.  If I remember right I-10 was originially going to take a slightly more southerly route along US 90, with I-59 extending southward to meet I-10 south of Lake Pontchartrain by roughly following the path of US 11.  I-12 and I-59 were to intersect north of the lake as they currently do.

Actually I12 and I59 were supposed to meet North of Slidell, out near Pearl River LA.  Knowing the geography of the Riggolets and Venician Isles, cannot imagine they ever thought about running a freeway out that way unless they planned on sticking it in Lake St Catherine or  Lake Borgne.
I can't imagine it either, but this would have been before Hurricanes Betsy, Camille, and Katrina.  The thought processes changed a lot after those storms.  Before that they may have thought about an elevated freeway like I-10 through the Atchafalaya Basin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: BrandonC_TX on April 17, 2020, 07:48:22 AM
will the 45 gap in between 1 and 35 be filled any time soon?  or is there opposition?

That's still in planning at this point but it's definitely a priority. There won't be much opposition from residents that live by 45 itself but the SOS folk will protest any highway. If I had to bet I'd say 45 in the gap will open around 2030.

Here's how I would close the gap on SH-45 between FM-1626 and I-35. (https://drive.google.com/open?id=19K8lmW_COrtgRXMjotKJGI_33haLB464&usp=sharing)  To discourage development in that area, I would have no intermediate interchanges between FM-1626 and I-35, except for access to and from FM-1327 (essentially the end of FM-1327 would default onto westbound SH-45).  The stack interchange with I-35 would have only 4 levels (rather than 5); the current WB-to-SB ramp is only the third level of the interchange (not the fourth), so a five-level stack there would require that SH-45 go under I-35 (much like the design of the interchange between I-30 and the President George Bush Turnpike in Grand Prairie, TX), unless there is a desire to rebuild that ramp entirely. 

Rather than rebuild the existing ramps, or build additional bridges for I-35 (2nd level) and its frontage roads (3rd level), it may be more economical to have the SH-45 mainlanes cross I-35 at the current location of the southern "frontage road" bridge, which looks to have empty pillars on its southern edge (presumably for U-turn lanes, as the FM-1327 bridge has them too).  Also at the point where it crosses over I-35, SH-45 would narrow to the 4-lane, median-barrier configuration currently seen between FM-1626 and Loop 1.  Where the ramps to/from I-35 merge with SH-45 on the west side of the stack, a 6-lane, median-barrier configuration could be used between I-35 and FM-1626 (with a short fourth acceleration lane where traffic from FM-1327 merges onto westbound SH-45).  Nevertheless, it would still be necessary to build new bridges over the I-35 frontage roads (which would drop to level 1 of the interchange at the SH-45 overpass, and also flare out to allow more room for the frontage roads to rise to the grade of the FM-1327 bridge north of the SH-45 overpass)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 17, 2020, 11:40:00 AM
That's a very well thought out plan and probably close to what CTRMA has in mind for the long-term, especially the lack of intersections between I-35 and FM-1626. However, I think the main reason 45 won't be extended eastward in the near future isn't environmental or local opposition but the cost of building a new stack at I-35. I feel pretty certain that any connection project will include a full stack at I-35, probably not a 5-level like Ben White/I-35 but still quite a large interchange.

The intersection at FM-1626 will probably be reconfigured to a typical diamond once 45 is extended, but I guess it could be changed slightly to a SPUI. Whatever's planned for 1626 is probably the cheapest part of the project anyway so it doesn't matter much. The mainlanes will probably keep the 2-2 median barrier layout for as long as possible due to environmental impact. It is the recharge zone after all, and the existing 45SW was marketed on sustainability with a shared-use trail and PFC roadway surfacing. I don't think 45SC will be different.

I think your depiction of the 45/I-35 stack is pretty close to what the final product will be. Maybe the FM1327 connectors will be cut out for cost saving, but I think that 45 running along the south of the intersection is likely and I-35's frontage roads running level with I-35 is very likely for avoiding a 5-level stack.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: CoreySamson on April 17, 2020, 02:18:58 PM
That's a very well thought out plan and probably close to what CTRMA has in mind for the long-term, especially the lack of intersections between I-35 and FM-1626. However, I think the main reason 45 won't be extended eastward in the near future isn't environmental or local opposition but the cost of building a new stack at I-35. I feel pretty certain that any connection project will include a full stack at I-35, probably not a 5-level like Ben White/I-35 but still quite a large interchange.

The intersection at FM-1626 will probably be reconfigured to a typical diamond once 45 is extended, but I guess it could be changed slightly to a SPUI. Whatever's planned for 1626 is probably the cheapest part of the project anyway so it doesn't matter much. The mainlanes will probably keep the 2-2 median barrier layout for as long as possible due to environmental impact. It is the recharge zone after all, and the existing 45SW was marketed on sustainability with a shared-use trail and PFC roadway surfacing. I don't think 45SC will be different.

I think your depiction of the 45/I-35 stack is pretty close to what the final product will be. Maybe the FM1327 connectors will be cut out for cost saving, but I think that 45 running along the south of the intersection is likely and I-35's frontage roads running level with I-35 is very likely for avoiding a 5-level stack.

Does there really need to be a stack interchange there within the next 10 years? They could simply just add feeder roads, make them intersect, and then build a bridge for 45 over the entire thing, looking something like this interchange:

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.6133881,-95.4935916,16z/data=!3m1!1e3

That would be much simpler and much more cost-efficient than building a full-blown stack. Then if they wanted to, they could build the ramps over that to complete the stack in 10-20 years or so, unless that interchange really needs a stack.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 17, 2020, 02:48:36 PM

Does there really need to be a stack interchange there within the next 10 years? They could simply just add feeder roads, make them intersect, and then build a bridge for 45 over the entire thing, looking something like this interchange:

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.6133881,-95.4935916,16z/data=!3m1!1e3

That would be much simpler and much more cost-efficient than building a full-blown stack. Then if they wanted to, they could build the ramps over that to complete the stack in 10-20 years or so, unless that interchange really needs a stack.


The reason I think a stack is required at the 45/I-35 intersection has less to do with total volume and more to do with direction of traffic (but the volume is probably high enough to justify it alone.)

Traffic heading North on I-35 is coming from the suburban cities of Buda/Kyle, both of which have grown at a blistering pace in 2000s and are continuing to grow. Much of this traffic will be heading onto 45 Westbound to access The Domain and other job centers along Mopac in West Austin. Not as much will head Eastbound on 45 but that flyover already exists so it's not relevant.

Traffic heading West on SH 45 already has ramps in both directions so it's irrelevant, but there's a lot of open land along 45 in that direction that has future plans for more homes.

Traffic heading South on I-35 will be coming back from Downtown and other East Austin job clusters, and they'll want to get to their homes around Hays and North Buda which are difficult to access from existing I-35 crossings but easy to access from FM 1626 on SH 45 Westbound. Eastbound 45 will again be in lower demand but that will change with the new construction planned out East.

Traffic heading East on SH 45 will want to go home to Buda and Kyle, which would demand a SB I-35 connection. Frankly the EB 45 -> NB I-35 flyover probably isn't needed at this point but with more development spurred on by 45's extension it might eventually demand it. All the other ramps have enough existing traffic that would shift to the connected SH 45 to warrant them.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on April 17, 2020, 03:35:54 PM
They tend to build those stub ramps then wait years to finish e.g. 183 & 35
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 17, 2020, 03:36:20 PM
That's a very well thought out plan and probably close to what CTRMA has in mind for the long-term, especially the lack of intersections between I-35 and FM-1626. However, I think the main reason 45 won't be extended eastward in the near future isn't environmental or local opposition but the cost of building a new stack at I-35. I feel pretty certain that any connection project will include a full stack at I-35, probably not a 5-level like Ben White/I-35 but still quite a large interchange.

The intersection at FM-1626 will probably be reconfigured to a typical diamond once 45 is extended, but I guess it could be changed slightly to a SPUI. Whatever's planned for 1626 is probably the cheapest part of the project anyway so it doesn't matter much. The mainlanes will probably keep the 2-2 median barrier layout for as long as possible due to environmental impact. It is the recharge zone after all, and the existing 45SW was marketed on sustainability with a shared-use trail and PFC roadway surfacing. I don't think 45SC will be different.

I think your depiction of the 45/I-35 stack is pretty close to what the final product will be. Maybe the FM1327 connectors will be cut out for cost saving, but I think that 45 running along the south of the intersection is likely and I-35's frontage roads running level with I-35 is very likely for avoiding a 5-level stack.

Does there really need to be a stack interchange there within the next 10 years? They could simply just add feeder roads, make them intersect, and then build a bridge for 45 over the entire thing, looking something like this interchange:

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.6133881,-95.4935916,16z/data=!3m1!1e3

That would be much simpler and much more cost-efficient than building a full-blown stack. Then if they wanted to, they could build the ramps over that to complete the stack in 10-20 years or so, unless that interchange really needs a stack.

TXDOT built the simple intersection you outlined at US75 / US82 in Sherman. It is scheduled for replacement with a stack.
NETRMA did it at Loop49 and I-20 it is probably not going anywhere in the immediate future, but it is universally hated by those who go from I-20 To 49Toll.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on April 17, 2020, 04:57:02 PM

NETRMA did it at Loop49 and I-20 it is probably not going anywhere in the immediate future, but it is universally hated by those who go from I-20 To 49Toll.

That intersection is a mess and one of the worst parts on my trips from Austin to Jackson. However the other linked interchange at US 75/US 82 seems much more efficient with the Texas U-turns and better signage but still low-capacity for 45/I-35.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 20, 2020, 01:51:43 PM
I started writing this as there is no need..... Then I looked at the map.  I still do not see the need for an interstate from the Austin or even Temple area to Midland Odessa.

On the other hand, It makes perfect sense to build freeway from I-10 west of Fredricksburg to Austin. Follow along US290 to Loop 99 then the North side of Loop99 to US 90. Then Build US90 out as freeway to Beaumont or perhaps go on down to I-10 near Winnie on the proposed Loop99.

It bypasses SanAntonio and most of Houston.  There needs to be some straighening on 290 that probably won't happen, but it does lessen the load on I-10 in Houston and San Antonio which particularly in Houston is severe and unavoidable without a HUGE loop around. (I-610 is nearly as congested as I-10)

Beltway 8 is congested AND dramatically out of the way. Loop 99 (when completed) from I-10 is so circumnavigous as to make a hour sitting still in gridlock preferable .
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 20, 2020, 02:33:18 PM
I started writing this as there is no need..... Then I looked at the map.  I still do not see the need for an interstate from the Austin or even Temple area to Midland Odessa.

On the other hand, It makes perfect sense to build freeway from I-10 west of Fredricksburg to Austin. Follow along US290 to Loop 99 then the North side of Loop99 to US 90. Then Build US90 out as freeway to Beaumont or perhaps go on down to I-10 near Winnie on the proposed Loop99.

It bypasses SanAntonio and most of Houston.  There needs to be some straighening on 290 that probably won't happen, but it does lessen the load on I-10 in Houston and San Antonio which particularly in Houston is severe and unavoidable without a HUGE loop around. (I-610 is nearly as congested as I-10)

Beltway 8 is congested AND dramatically out of the way. Loop 99 (when completed) from I-10 is so circumnavigous as to make a hour sitting still in gridlock preferable .
What you're proposing is a freeway that bypasses San Antonio and Houston, by dumping traffic through Austin, which would only make the horrific traffic problem along I-35 (which US-290 overlaps) worse.

If you want an effective bypass, a routing through Temple, which avoids Austin, San Antonio, and Houston entirely, would be the best solution.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 20, 2020, 09:24:58 PM
I started writing this as there is no need..... Then I looked at the map.  I still do not see the need for an interstate from the Austin or even Temple area to Midland Odessa.

On the other hand, It makes perfect sense to build freeway from I-10 west of Fredricksburg to Austin. Follow along US290 to Loop 99 then the North side of Loop99 to US 90. Then Build US90 out as freeway to Beaumont or perhaps go on down to I-10 near Winnie on the proposed Loop99.

It bypasses SanAntonio and most of Houston.  There needs to be some straighening on 290 that probably won't happen, but it does lessen the load on I-10 in Houston and San Antonio which particularly in Houston is severe and unavoidable without a HUGE loop around. (I-610 is nearly as congested as I-10)

Beltway 8 is congested AND dramatically out of the way. Loop 99 (when completed) from I-10 is so circumnavigous as to make a hour sitting still in gridlock preferable .
What you're proposing is a freeway that bypasses San Antonio and Houston, by dumping traffic through Austin, which would only make the horrific traffic problem along I-35 (which US-290 overlaps) worse.

If you want an effective bypass, a routing through Temple, which avoids Austin, San Antonio, and Houston entirely, would be the best solution.

Something tells me that the rationale behind I-14 included the metro bypass notion, along with serving previously unserved but decidedly smaller metros like Bryan/College Station and San Angelo. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 20, 2020, 10:52:52 PM
Quote from: sprjus4
What you're proposing is a freeway that bypasses San Antonio and Houston, by dumping traffic through Austin, which would only make the horrific traffic problem along I-35 (which US-290 overlaps) worse.

First thing: the Austin area is in far greater need of an East-West Interstate highway connecting to the rest of the system (I-10 in this case) than freaking Killeen. Austin is a major destination. Killeen is not. The horrific traffic problems along I-35 in the middle of Austin were created by Austin itself when it chose to grow like crazy into a city of almost 1 million people within the city limits and over 2 million in the metro area. More and more people are moving to that region every day. Continued growth is THE thing that will make those horrific traffic problems worse. The need for improving highway corridors going in and out of Austin only grows much worse as that metro continues to grow.

Now, a completed TX-45 partial loop on the South side of Austin could help bypass long distance US-290 traffic around the middle of Austin and away from the I-35 corridor. Making long distance traffic do stupid zig-zags along the jagged, nonsensical paths proposed for I-14 won't work so well. Long distance traffic will just stick to the long established I-10 and I-20 routes.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 21, 2020, 12:35:01 AM
First thing: the Austin area is in far greater need of an East-West Interstate highway connecting to the rest of the system (I-10 in this case) than freaking Killeen. Austin is a major destination. Killeen is not. The horrific traffic problems along I-35 in the middle of Austin were created by Austin itself when it chose to grow like crazy into a city of almost 1 million people within the city limits and over 2 million in the metro area. More and more people are moving to that region every day. Continued growth is THE thing that will make those horrific traffic problems worse. The need for improving highway corridors going in and out of Austin only grows much worse as that metro continues to grow.
I'd argue improving the western connection - US-290 - to I-10 West - is a greater need than US-290 or TX-71 to the east.

Now, a completed TX-45 partial loop on the South side of Austin could help bypass long distance US-290 traffic around the middle of Austin and away from the I-35 corridor. Making long distance traffic do stupid zig-zags along the jagged, nonsensical paths proposed for I-14 won't work so well. Long distance traffic will just stick to the long established I-10 and I-20 routes.
I-14 isn't a "jagged" route as refuted umpteenth times.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 21, 2020, 11:54:38 AM
I started writing this as there is no need..... Then I looked at the map.  I still do not see the need for an interstate from the Austin or even Temple area to Midland Odessa.

On the other hand, It makes perfect sense to build freeway from I-10 west of Fredricksburg to Austin. Follow along US290 to Loop 99 then the North side of Loop99 to US 90. Then Build US90 out as freeway to Beaumont or perhaps go on down to I-10 near Winnie on the proposed Loop99.

It bypasses SanAntonio and most of Houston.  There needs to be some straighening on 290 that probably won't happen, but it does lessen the load on I-10 in Houston and San Antonio which particularly in Houston is severe and unavoidable without a HUGE loop around. (I-610 is nearly as congested as I-10)

Beltway 8 is congested AND dramatically out of the way. Loop 99 (when completed) from I-10 is so circumnavigous as to make a hour sitting still in gridlock preferable .
What you're proposing is a freeway that bypasses San Antonio and Houston, by dumping traffic through Austin, which would only make the horrific traffic problem along I-35 (which US-290 overlaps) worse.

If you want an effective bypass, a routing through Temple, which avoids Austin, San Antonio, and Houston entirely, would be the best solution.

Something tells me that the rationale behind I-14 included the metro bypass notion, along with serving previously unserved but decidedly smaller metros like Bryan/College Station and San Angelo.

I-14 is just a BRACC point. While you will hear ongoing discussions of expanding it, it is just that: discussion.  There is no real appetite for a cross country interstate especially one that totally misses the major cities. Oil travels by pipeline. Not highway. Copperas cove to Midland then to wherever is a lot of extra lane-miles. And doesn't change much. It still links El Paso and points west to the deep south just like I-10

I69 works because 1) congress mandated and funded it (with local matching). 2) It goes from Mexico and the Texas Gulf ports to the upper midwest. 3) US-59 was already a very busy corridor in spite of its journeys through Corrigan, Diboll, and Atlanta.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 21, 2020, 07:19:44 PM
I-14 is just a BRACC point. While you will hear ongoing discussions of expanding it, it is just that: discussion.  There is no real appetite for a cross country interstate especially one that totally misses the major cities. Oil travels by pipeline. Not highway. Copperas cove to Midland then to wherever is a lot of extra lane-miles. And doesn't change much. It still links El Paso and points west to the deep south just like I-10

I69 works because 1) congress mandated and funded it (with local matching). 2) It goes from Mexico and the Texas Gulf ports to the upper midwest. 3) US-59 was already a very busy corridor in spite of its journeys through Corrigan, Diboll, and Atlanta.

I-69, in TX and elsewhere, has no dedicated fund for development; being a high-priority corridor, it is eligible for the maximum 80% federal share (a bit more if other fund pools can be tapped) -- but like multiplying anything by zero, if those funds aren't allotted, it's still zero.  Funding comes from a state congressional delegation queueing up yearly, submitting their requests to get their projects into the yearly USDOT budgetary outlay; sometimes that quest isn't successful.  Since I-14 is also a designated HPC (#84), the funding process is technically identical.  But the mechanism for actually squeezing federal funds out for the project for I-69 has been in place since 1995 and has been reasonably successful at doing so; besides the existing 26 miles of freeway near Killeen, the portion of I-14 from Temple to Huntsville is presently undergoing an alignment study to determine a specific routing -- a very preliminary step; in that respect, that corridor's backers are more than 20 years behind the I-69 effort, which has amassed one hell of a lot of in-state support within both public and private sectors over its 25-year lifespan.  Because I-69 extends in two directions from Houston along egress corridors long sought within that city's corporate circles, it's kept in the public eye.  I-14 is just getting started; if segments are built within the "triangle", it'll start getting more notice -- but compared with the more immediate benefits promised by the I-69 (and 369 for that matter) corridor cluster, it'll draw less attention, at least until there's continuous rather than sporadic progress on I-69, particularly north of Houston.  That is to be expected; I-69, at least to Houston and environs, is considered a necessity; I-14 still falls in the "it'd be nice to have" category, a situation that will likely persist until I-69 is substantially completed.   
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on April 22, 2020, 11:37:25 AM
I-14 is just a BRACC point. While you will hear ongoing discussions of expanding it, it is just that: discussion.  There is no real appetite for a cross country interstate especially one that totally misses the major cities. Oil travels by pipeline. Not highway. Copperas cove to Midland then to wherever is a lot of extra lane-miles. And doesn't change much. It still links El Paso and points west to the deep south just like I-10

I69 works because 1) congress mandated and funded it (with local matching). 2) It goes from Mexico and the Texas Gulf ports to the upper midwest. 3) US-59 was already a very busy corridor in spite of its journeys through Corrigan, Diboll, and Atlanta.

I-69, in TX and elsewhere, has no dedicated fund for development; being a high-priority corridor, it is eligible for the maximum 80% federal share (a bit more if other fund pools can be tapped) -- but like multiplying anything by zero, if those funds aren't allotted, it's still zero.  Funding comes from a state congressional delegation queueing up yearly, submitting their requests to get their projects into the yearly USDOT budgetary outlay; sometimes that quest isn't successful.  Since I-14 is also a designated HPC (#84), the funding process is technically identical.  But the mechanism for actually squeezing federal funds out for the project for I-69 has been in place since 1995 and has been reasonably successful at doing so; besides the existing 26 miles of freeway near Killeen, the portion of I-14 from Temple to Huntsville is presently undergoing an alignment study to determine a specific routing -- a very preliminary step; in that respect, that corridor's backers are more than 20 years behind the I-69 effort, which has amassed one hell of a lot of in-state support within both public and private sectors over its 25-year lifespan.  Because I-69 extends in two directions from Houston along egress corridors long sought within that city's corporate circles, it's kept in the public eye.  I-14 is just getting started; if segments are built within the "triangle", it'll start getting more notice -- but compared with the more immediate benefits promised by the I-69 (and 369 for that matter) corridor cluster, it'll draw less attention, at least until there's continuous rather than sporadic progress on I-69, particularly north of Houston.  That is to be expected; I-69, at least to Houston and environs, is considered a necessity; I-14 still falls in the "it'd be nice to have" category, a situation that will likely persist until I-69 is substantially completed.   

You are technically correct on the funding. The long term funding is not already authorized. This said, congress and US-DOT have made a comittment to follow through. Funding for a continuing project is easier to obtain than for a new project. This said, TXDOT could theorethetically scrap I-69 and spend the money somewhere else. How congress would react to that in future budgets is a different issue. It is kind of like if your family is saving up for the down payment on a house. It would either be in the checking (general) funds or savings (transportation) funds. While not legally bound, there will be repercussions if you take the money and buy an ORV or some other recreational vehicle.  Likewise with highway funds.

The HPC's are not all freeway (Such as LA1 south of Baton Rouge). On I-14, the points west might have a good rural divided highway design applied to US190 all the way to near Iraan (I-10). My belief is the portion of I-14 that exists may be extended to I-45 because of the burgeoning population of Bryan - College Station. Maybe not. By 2050 it might make it to I-69. Beyond US59/ I69 I again see at best Rural Divided Highway especially since any possible construction in Louisiana is a non-starter. More likely nothing beyond Woodville.

I also think it is naive to dismiss the powers of BRACC in getting the current section of I-14 built and numbered. While Ft Hood doesn't seem a likely target for BRACC, it is subject to missional realignment both positive and negative. When one base is closed or its mission reduced, that mission usually moves somewhere else. Part of the BRACC game is getting additional missions, not just staying open.  Texas CHOSE to spend the money to UPGRADE a relatively small stretch of  us 190 to interstate specs and to get it branded as Interstate. I am not of the opinion that extending it additionally as interstate is in the cards.

Sure they are studying it. Just because it is / was labeled a high priority corridor just means the congressional delegation had it labeled as such not that TXDOT, the State Legislature, or the people of Texas really want to upgrade it beyond a good rural divided highway.

I want a Polaris Ranger and a new house. I might get one. I might get both. I have studied the reality. I am getting NEITHER. So goes regional transportation studies. Just because you study something you want doesn't mean you get it.

Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on April 22, 2020, 03:05:39 PM
^^^^^^^^^^^
At this juncture, this thread seems to have drifted away from Austin matters and toward the I-14 corridor, which originally was used simply for comparison in earlier thread posts.  There are a couple of specific I-14 threads that would be more appropriate for any further in-depth discussion of the various issues concerning that corridor.  I'll be replying to the above post (#76) in one of those shortly.  S.P. (sparker)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: AcE_Wolf_287 on April 23, 2020, 07:23:57 PM
^^^^^^^^^^^
At this juncture, this thread seems to have drifted away from Austin matters and toward the I-14 corridor, which originally was used simply for comparison in earlier thread posts.  There are a couple of specific I-14 threads that would be more appropriate for any further in-depth discussion of the various issues concerning that corridor.  I'll be replying to the above post (#76) in one of those shortly.  S.P. (sparker)

yea i was trying to get the point about traffic in Austin and about the population but I-14 seems to be the focus
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 23, 2020, 09:50:02 PM
Quote from: bwana39
I also think it is naive to dismiss the powers of BRACC in getting the current section of I-14 built and numbered. While Ft Hood doesn't seem a likely target for BRACC, it is subject to missional realignment both positive and negative. When one base is closed or its mission reduced, that mission usually moves somewhere else. Part of the BRACC game is getting additional missions, not just staying open.  Texas CHOSE to spend the money to UPGRADE a relatively small stretch of  us 190 to interstate specs and to get it branded as Interstate. I am not of the opinion that extending it additionally as interstate is in the cards.

Base Realignment and Closure proceedings are not really an effective argument at getting something like I-14 built, especially when the efforts are likely going to come at the expense of other corridors in Texas in need of improvement and expansion, like TX-71 and US-290 in the Austin region as well as TX-6 within the Texas Triangle.

The leadership of the US Army and US military in general don't really give two farts about local economic development when those efforts try to conflict with military strategy and planning. Politicians are the ones who manage to maintain outdated programs or unneeded programs as a jobs thing. But the Generals get blamed for the pork anyway.

Sometimes even politicians can't save a military related jobs building effort. Here in the Lawton area almost 20 years ago United Defense had big plans to build a factory for a mobile artillery platform called the Crusader. A bunch of elected officials in Oklahoma were all on board with it. But deep down the Army really didn't want it. The system was too big, heavy and cumbersome and it designed with an outdated Cold War purpose in mind. Donald Rumsfeld ended up pulling the plug on Crusader. Since then BAE Systems has continued to improve the M109 platform. They build the latest versions at a new plant in Elgin, OK and test them nearby at Fort Sill.

Just like the oil industry doesn't move oil by highway, the military doesn't move a lot of its might by the highways either. Aircraft and railroads move a lot more gear. The I-14 concept would not help the Army at all strategically. If it was really important for military bases to be linked by freeways US-281 would already be an Interstate between Fort Sill and Fort Hood.

Fort Hood is one of the most important posts in the entire US Army. I-14 makes no difference in the future of that Army post. It would pretty much take dismantling much of the Army itself for Fort Hood to come under any threat of closure or serious mission reduction. Even if people in the US government or Texas state government wanted to shut down Fort Hood where would they relocate those missions without costing the Army (and taxpayers) a lot of money? The cost of living and cost of doing business in the Killeen area is relatively low compared to other more populated areas nearby. There are very few other temperate places around the nation that offer the same cost equations. A little over 10 years ago Fort Sill was under greater threat of getting its missions cut. But the BRAC proceedings determined Fort Sill was actually a great place to relocate missions from other posts due in part to the cost advantages in the Lawton area and local community support of the military. However Fort Sill is not big enough to replace the functions of Fort Hood. Most of Fort Sill's real estate is artillery ranges.

Quote from: bwana39
exas CHOSE to spend the money to UPGRADE a relatively small stretch of  us 190 to interstate specs and to get it branded as Interstate. I am not of the opinion that extending it additionally as interstate is in the cards.

US-190 in the Killeen-Copperas Cove area has been a freeway for many years. Aside from spot improvements to ramps and a couple of exits the freeway is not much different than it was 30 or more years ago. It's not like a whole bunch of work was done to get I-14 shields installed on that existing route.

A great deal of upgrade work is needed on other corridors in Texas, as I said before. I suppose one can make a case for building I-14 from Belton to College Station and Huntsville. I can make a better case of upgrading the Texas corridors I mentioned earlier, particularly the ones going through Austin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 24, 2020, 12:02:52 AM
I suppose one can make a case for building I-14 from Belton to College Station and Huntsville. I can make a better case of upgrading the Texas corridors I mentioned earlier, particularly the ones going through Austin.
2 lane, zig-zag road through towns vs. 4-lane divided 75 mph highway with town bypasses.

How is the latter more important?

If the I-14 corridor was already served by a 4-lane divided highway, I could understand the rationale of a US-290 or SH-71 corridor having more importance, but it's not. I'd rather see a 2-lane route improved before an adequate 4-lane divided highway is fully upgraded.

If you've noticed, for the most part, the only segments of I-69 currently built are town bypasses. The upcoming long-distance upgrades of US-59, US-77, and US-281 are the first of those kind on the I-69 system. One major segment - Corpus Christi to Houston - will not be improved for decades to come, but it's already a 75 mph expressway with zero traffic signals between Refugio and Houston. The most I could see immediately needed are town bypasses of Refugio and Odem. Yes, I would like to see the entire thing completed one day, but they are much lower priorities than the town bypasses. The same principal I'd say for 2 lane routes, especially the largely unimproved one I-14 follows. I'd like to see an I-69 routing via US-59 and SH-44 constructed between Laredo and Corpus Christi before US-77 and US-59 is improved between Corpus Christi and Houston.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on April 24, 2020, 12:34:40 AM
Quote from: sprjus4
If the I-14 corridor was already served by a 4-lane divided highway, I could understand the rationale of a US-290 or SH-71 corridor having more importance, but it's not. I'd rather see a 2-lane route improved before an adequate 4-lane divided highway is fully upgraded.

Adequate? You've gotta be kidding. Austin is literally the only large metro area in the United States with a MSA population of over 2 million people that is not served by both North-South and East-West super highway corridors. But you insist on diverting any East-West Interstate corridor development to an area with a comparatively TINY population. That's completely nuts.

If ordinary 4-lane divided non-freeway routes are good enough to serve East-West movements thru Austin we might as well down-grade I-10 thru San Antonio. The Austin metro is just as populous as the San Antonio metro and the city limits population of Austin is growing faster than San Antonio. If the current trend holds Austin will pass San Antonio in city limits population.

US-190 does have a crooked zig-zag route through the Texas Triangle. The US-290 and TX-71 corridors between Austin and Houston are far more direct than that even with the bypasses around towns. Some of those bypasses are already freeways. US-290 and TX-71 don't run on a "W" shape or saw-tooth shape like US-190. Both corridors would be relatively easy to upgrade. And both corridors are direct links between two metros that are in the top 10 of the nation's largest metros. I don't see how Killeen trumps that.

Quote from: sprjus4
If you've noticed, for the most part, the only segments of I-69 currently built are town bypasses.

And the only section of I-14 currently on the map is a merely re-signed section of a I-35 freeway stub that has already existed for many years.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on April 24, 2020, 12:54:31 AM
Adequate? You've gotta be kidding. Austin is literally the only large metro area in the United States with a MSA population of over 2 million people that is not served by both North-South and East-West super highway corridors. But you insist on diverting any East-West Interstate corridor development to an area with a comparatively TINY population. That's completely nuts.

If ordinary 4-lane divided non-freeway routes are good enough to serve East-West movements thru Austin we might as well down-grade I-10 thru San Antonio. The Austin metro is just as populous as the San Antonio metro and the city limits population of Austin is growing faster than San Antonio. If the current trend holds Austin will pass San Antonio in city limits population.
I-10 between San Antonio and Houston at its lowest point has 33,500 AADT, we can assume that's an average volume for metro to metro traffic.
SH-71 between Austin and I-10 at its lowest point has 11,900 AADT.
US-290 between Austin and Houston at its lowest point has 12,500 AADT.

Poor comparison between I-10 and SH-71 / US-290, significantly more traffic.

I'm not saying there should be no improvements to the two corridors. The freeways should continue to be extended east as the region grows outward, and the remaining towns on the corridors should be bypassed. Once a 65 - 75 mph divided highway with zero traffic signals is established, the corridor would be more than adequate. In the long term, a freeway would be ideal, but is not a necessity at this point.

If the two corridors were combined to one roadway, presumably they would carry around 24,000 AADT, and even then a 4 lane divided 65 - 75 mph expressway with zero traffic signals and town bypasses would be adequate with a freeway the long-term vision.

US-190 does have a crooked zig-zag route through the Texas Triangle. The US-290 and TX-71 corridors between Austin and Houston are far more direct than that even with the bypasses around towns[/b]. Some of those bypasses are already freeways. US-290 and TX-71 don't run on a "W" shape or saw-tooth shape like US-190. Both corridors would be relatively easy to upgrade. And both corridors are direct links between two metros that are in the top 10 of the nation's largest metros. I don't see how Killeen trumps that.
First off, the current US-190 corridor is a zig-zag. The proposal for I-14 would generally follow this, but in an alignment that is significantly straighter.

US-190 between Temple and College Station at its lowest point has 7,800 AADT, not much less than the Austin - Houston corridors. The College Station / Bryan metro of 270,000 population has 4 lane divided highways going to Austin, Houston, and Waco. They lack 4 lane access to the Killeen / Temple / Fort Hood metro of 460,000 along with to Huntsville of 40,000. Because of its crooked alignment, a 4 lane divided highway would likely be built on new location on a straight alignment, avoiding the towns in the process, and you have I-14.

The US-190 / Future I-14 corridor is more inadequate than US-290 or SH-71 are, and rightfully is a higher priority.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 03, 2020, 02:17:50 PM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on June 03, 2020, 04:01:53 PM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

Step 1:  Get a shitload of Austin/Round Rock/etc. folks together and make your case to your local congressman for a high-priority corridor connecting the two cities.  Do your homework re AADT's on both US 290 and TX 71, and present a rational proposal.  If you congressman's IQ is at least in triple digits, he/she should know how to both formulate the language for such a proposal and how to get it inserted into the next year's USDOT funding bill.  The best bet for a corridor description would be a specification of end points (Austin, Houston), so future funding references could be utilized for either corridor, including -- if a TX 71 alignment is selected -- upgrades of I-10 east of Columbus.  Also make sure an Interstate designation (likely a 2nd I-12) is attached to the legislation. 
Step 2:  Keep the pressure up.  Contact the local towns along the potential route(s) (i.e. Bastrop, Brenham, etc.) to join in the effort; remind them that it's in their best interest to do so.  And don't be afraid to pit one route option against another; if it hits the press, that'll bolster the chances that the effort will be seen as legitimate rather than just another slice of pork.  Let the 290 folks and the 71 folks duke it out over which route makes more sense.  Chances are, there will be a study (likely about 3-4 years worth of data collection and compilation) to determine just that.  Eventually a route will be selected within the corridor parameters of the legislation (my guess knowing TX proclivities -- it'll head east from Austin on 71, cut up to 290 east of Bastrop, and follow 290 the rest of the way into Houston).
Step 3:  This is vital -- make sure your local state legislators from the affected areas are on board; they'll need to shepherd approval of the state's share of funding for the project once actual development occurs -- and this will be a "rinse and repeat" process until the last project is let. 

This is how successful corridor concepts have progressed in the last couple of decades:  I-22 and the completed/in process sections of I-49 in AR and MO were done this way; even the I-14 corridor is employing this method, although, of course, in the very early stages.  It takes work -- and not letting up despite the invariable setbacks that'll be encountered.  If some party can get enough Austin-area folks involved and active in the process, there would be a decent chance that an actual working corridor concept could be established.  Bottom line -- you never know until you try!     
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 05:14:23 PM
From what I've seen, US-290 may well be the best corridor for an Austin - Houston interstate.

Pros -
- Divert traffic off the SH-71 / I-10 routing which could ease some pressure on I-10 which is seeing ever increasing traffic between Columbus and Houston. The 6 lane widening will help but consider 20 years from now. Might reduce the need for 8 lane widening, and even larger scale widening east of Katy.
- US-290 is better built out leaving the Austin area than SH-71 is. 6 lane freeway out to SH-130.
- US-290 is already built out to freeway standards approximately 60 miles out of Downtown Houston.
- Allows through traffic from Austin to the east to have easier access to the future northern Loop 99 to bypass Houston.
- US-290 has better connections to central and northern Austin.

Cons -
- Additional 15 miles of upgrade needed (80 miles on SH-71 vs. 95 miles of US-290). This is offset though by having less upgrade work needed on I-10 between Columbus and Houston to handle diverted traffic from US-290.
- Tolls on US-290 Manor Expwy leaving the Austin area. Could either incorporate the existing toll road into the interstate system or buy out & remove the tolls.

Anything else I might be missing?

Ultimately, I could see US-290 being upgraded to interstate standards between Houston and Austin, SH-71 upgraded to interstate standards out to Bastrop, and SH-21 upgraded to interstate standards between Bastrop to US-290.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 03, 2020, 05:29:53 PM
From what I've seen, US-290 may well be the best corridor for an Austin - Houston interstate.

Pros -
- Divert traffic off the SH-71 / I-10 routing which could ease some pressure on I-10 which is seeing ever increasing traffic between Columbus and Houston. The 6 lane widening will help but consider 20 years from now. Might reduce the need for 8 lane widening, and even larger scale widening east of Katy.
- US-290 is better built out leaving the Austin area than SH-71 is. 6 lane freeway out to SH-130.
- US-290 is already built out to freeway standards approximately 60 miles out of Downtown Houston.
- Allows through traffic from Austin to the east to have easier access to the future northern Loop 99 to bypass Houston.
- US-290 has better connections to central and northern Austin.

Cons -
- Additional 15 miles of upgrade needed (80 miles on SH-71 vs. 95 miles of US-290). This is offset though by having less upgrade work needed on I-10 between Columbus and Houston to handle diverted traffic from US-290.
- Tolls on US-290 Manor Expwy leaving the Austin area. Could either incorporate the existing toll road into the interstate system or buy out & remove the tolls.

Anything else I might be missing?

Ultimately, I could see US-290 being upgraded to interstate standards between Houston and Austin, SH-71 upgraded to interstate standards out to Bastrop, and SH-21 upgraded to interstate standards between Bastrop to US-290.

Here are the cons to US-290 and in favor of SH71:

1) US-290, although having substantial freeway sections leaving both Houston and Austin, it serves as "Main Street USA" for Elgin, Giddings and has a piece of crap bypass for Brenham.  it would require extensive upgrading through most of it's routing to make it an interstate.  SH-71 on the other hand, is a divided highway for its entire length and has freeway bypasses of Bastrop, Smithville and La Grange already, so just the rural stretches on an already wide right-of-way would need upgrading, with the one holdout being Ellinger (but that would require bypassing 2 gas stations, not a whole downtown).

2) US-290 would serve as a Houston-Austin interstate connection, but that would be it.  It would stop right there.  SH-71 will tap into I-10 in Columbus, and, utilizing the US-290 corridor west of Austin would connect back with I-10 southeast of Junction to connect Austin with a larger, transcontinental route in the system, not just a spur route like 290 would be.

3) Every Austinite agrees when going to Houston, US-290 is the crappier way.  Mabey that would change if it was interstate grade the whole way, but it just is the longer, more out of the way, way to go over the more direct SH-71/I-10 way.

I have tried most of the above mentioned tactics.  I have written to may Congressmen and Senators in both the US and state senates along the corridor about this.  My problem is I don't know many people, and the few friends I have don't care about roads.  If I said Austin needs another interstate to them, they hear "let's build an oil refinery in your back yard."
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 03, 2020, 05:41:50 PM
In any "red state" it's tough to make any headway at all with local and regional representatives who only think of spending in terms of spending cuts and tax cuts. It's difficult to get them excited about any kind of highway idea. The big problem is it's all seen from the optics of local perspective rather than larger, big picture, national terms. The original Interstate system was a federal-driven project national in scale. In the last couple decades the federal government has abdicated its role in road building more and more to the states. That makes it very difficult to build properly functional new long distance highway corridors crossing multiple state borders.

Quote from: sparker
This is how successful corridor concepts have progressed in the last couple of decades

Highway corridor development in the last couple of decades has been a joke -especially in the follow-thru part of it. Budgets busted with cost overruns, deadlines missed and end results often being a WTF crooked as hell path. The current model of getting roads built SUCKS.

If roads could only be built through political whoring and favoritism the United States wouldn't even have a functional national road network in the first place. There is zero such thing as big picture, system-wide function with any kind of setup built on who does the most networking.

But we've been through this same discussion many times previously.

Quote from: sprjus4
From what I've seen, US-290 may well be the best corridor for an Austin - Houston interstate.

I prefer the US-290 route linking Austin and Houston for numerous reasons. It serves a larger population than the TX-71 route. Most of the growth happening in both the Houston and Austin metros is taking place on the North sides of both metros. Most of the affluent growth is happening on the North sides of both metros. So if one route had to be prioritized I'd take US-290 over TX-71.

Nevertheless, the TX-71 route between Austin and Columbus (I-10) is still worthy of upgrading as well. Millions of people living South of I-10 in the Houston metro going to/from Austin would take TX-71.

With Houston still growing and the area between Austin and San Antonio growing rapidly it creates the situation over the long term of additional Interstate quality spokes being needed between I-10 and I-35 South of Austin. San Marcos to Luling is one. New Braunfels to Seguin is another obvious one. Loop 1604 on the NE side of San Antonio has to be upgraded.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 05:48:53 PM
Here are the cons to US-290 and in favor of SH71:

1) US-290, although having substantial freeway sections leaving both Houston and Austin, it serves as "Main Street USA" for Elgin, Giddings and has a piece of crap bypass for Brenham.  it would require extensive upgrading through most of it's routing to make it an interstate.  SH-71 on the other hand, is a divided highway for its entire length and has freeway bypasses of Bastrop, Smithville and La Grange already, so just the rural stretches on an already wide right-of-way would need upgrading, with the one holdout being Ellinger (but that would require bypassing 2 gas stations, not a whole downtown).
New terrain construction near Elgin and Giddings would be needed, a bypass extension could be constructed near Brenham to allow it to seamless tie into western US-290, similar to what's happening on I-69 near Nacogdoches.

IIRC, the rural segments that were still undivided 4 lane have been or are planned to be widened to have a wide median. The rural segments are adequate on US-290 after these upgrades are complete.

2) US-290 would serve as a Houston-Austin interstate connection, but that would be it.  It would stop right there.  SH-71 will tap into I-10 in Columbus, and, utilizing the US-290 corridor west of Austin would connect back with I-10 southeast of Junction to connect Austin with a larger, transcontinental route in the system, not just a spur route like 290 would be.
A US-290 interstate between Houston and Austin would then tie into US-290 West in Austin and I-10 East in Houston. It's the same thing once at the endpoints. I'm missing your point here.

Either way, anything west of Austin is more in the fictional territory vs. a realistic US-290 or SH-71 eastern connection.

3) Every Austinite agrees when going to Houston, US-290 is the crappier way.  Mabey that would change if it was interstate grade the whole way, but it just is the longer, more out of the way, way to go over the more direct SH-71/I-10 way.
Downtown Austin to Downtown Houston -
US-290 - 2 hours 35 minutes, 162 miles
SH-71 / I-10 - 2 hours 29 minutes, 165 miles

Assuming a 75 mph speed limit along US-290 between SH-130 and the Brazos River, that would cut approximately 14 minutes of travel time off the current travel time, reducing 2 hours 35 minutes to 2 hours 21 minutes, approximately 8 minutes faster and still 3 miles shorter than SH-71.

Ultimately, I think both routes should be studied in detail to determine the best one for an interstate highway upgrade. If one corridor is ever upgraded, the current 50-50 split between both the routes will likely shift with most traffic favoring the interstate and less traffic on the bypassed route. Right now, both corridors carry about 10,000 - 15,000 AADT each. Whatever becomes an interstate, the numbers would probably be 20,000 - 25,000 AADT, and 5,000 - 8,000 AADT on the bypassed route.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 05:50:04 PM
Neverthless, the TX-71 route between Austin and Columbus (I-10) is still worthy of upgrading as well. Millions of people living South of I-10 in the Houston metro going to/from Austin would take TX-71.
Perhaps an expressway quality road - eliminate all the signals, bypasses of every town, consistent 65 - 75 mph speed limit throughout, etc.

Freeway / interstate connection along US-290.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 03, 2020, 06:04:27 PM
Here are the cons to US-290 and in favor of SH71:

1) US-290, although having substantial freeway sections leaving both Houston and Austin, it serves as "Main Street USA" for Elgin, Giddings and has a piece of crap bypass for Brenham.  it would require extensive upgrading through most of it's routing to make it an interstate.  SH-71 on the other hand, is a divided highway for its entire length and has freeway bypasses of Bastrop, Smithville and La Grange already, so just the rural stretches on an already wide right-of-way would need upgrading, with the one holdout being Ellinger (but that would require bypassing 2 gas stations, not a whole downtown).
New terrain construction near Elgin and Giddings would be needed, a bypass extension could be constructed near Brenham to allow it to seamless tie into western US-290, similar to what's happening on I-69 near Nacogdoches.

IIRC, the rural segments that were still undivided 4 lane have been or are planned to be widened to have a wide median. The rural segments are adequate on US-290 after these upgrades are complete.

2) US-290 would serve as a Houston-Austin interstate connection, but that would be it.  It would stop right there.  SH-71 will tap into I-10 in Columbus, and, utilizing the US-290 corridor west of Austin would connect back with I-10 southeast of Junction to connect Austin with a larger, transcontinental route in the system, not just a spur route like 290 would be.
A US-290 interstate between Houston and Austin would then tie into US-290 West in Austin and I-10 East in Houston. It's the same thing once at the endpoints. I'm missing your point here.

Either way, anything west of Austin is more in the fictional territory vs. a realistic US-290 or SH-71 eastern connection.

3) Every Austinite agrees when going to Houston, US-290 is the crappier way.  Mabey that would change if it was interstate grade the whole way, but it just is the longer, more out of the way, way to go over the more direct SH-71/I-10 way.
Downtown Austin to Downtown Houston -
US-290 - 2 hours 35 minutes, 162 miles
SH-71 / I-10 - 2 hours 29 minutes, 165 miles

Assuming a 75 mph speed limit along US-290 between SH-130 and the Brazos River, that would cut approximately 14 minutes of travel time off the current travel time, reducing 2 hours 35 minutes to 2 hours 21 minutes, approximately 8 minutes faster and still 3 miles shorter than SH-71.

Ultimately, I think both routes should be studied in detail to determine the best one for an interstate highway upgrade. If one corridor is ever upgraded, the current 50-50 split between both the routes will likely shift with most traffic favoring the interstate and less traffic on the bypassed route. Right now, both corridors carry about 10,000 - 15,000 AADT each. Whatever becomes an interstate, the numbers would probably be 20,000 - 25,000 AADT, and 5,000 - 8,000 AADT on the bypassed route.

I do have a bias living in south Austin and southwest of Austin my whole life.  There are a lot of people living south of the river that will not drive through I-35 downtown to get to the new interstate that usurps US 290.  It makes no sense.  I also see how the reverse would make no sense, but I do believe it is the smarter choice to SH-71 so that it can, eventually be part of the interstate that branches off I-10, then back a la I-35E and I-35W, so that long-haul traffic can choose to go to San Antonio or Austin, which ever the driver sees fit.   It also helps that the route through Austin as a freeway is almost complete albeit the Oak Hill section that is 40 years too late. 

I am more for the system viability to the connector rather than the link from Houston to Austin.  Putting Austin on the long-haul grid is very important.  Its a big city and the capital of the 2nd most populous state.  If you only upgrade US-290, then the long-haul traffic gets diverted onto I-35 downtown.  We all know how lovely that is.  There are entire forums devoted to how horrible the traffic issue is there.

Hell, upgrade them both, but SH-71 should be the priority.  Doing US 290 first feels more like a band aid (here we gave you your interstate, shut up) than it does a long term solution. 

Lastly, I have never come close to making the drive on 290 in 2 and a half hours, not at night nor in the wee hours of the morning.  I commuted from Austin to Houston for years for work.  It never happened once, not close.  More like 3:15, and that's when my office was at Loop 360 and FM 2222 and jumping on US 290 was very quick and without driving I-35 downtown.  SH 71, even with a drive south on Loop 360 to get to 71, I did it once in 2:15, and I don't speed.  Its just a better road/route.  There have been many debates from other people I knew, completely unprompted that said exactly "They say 290 is quicker to get to Houston, but  I have never made it quicker once."
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 06:12:08 PM
I do have a bias living in south Austin and southwest of Austin my whole life.  There are a lot of people living south of the river that will not drive through I-35 downtown to get to the new interstate that usurps US 290.

If you only upgrade US-290, then the long-haul traffic gets diverted onto I-35 downtown.  We all know how lovely that is.  There are entire forums devoted to how horrible the traffic issue is there.
This is why, in addition to US-290 into Austin, I suggested upgrading SH-71 out to Bastrop, then SH-21 up to US-290.

Provides two egress routes out of Austin (SH-71 and US-290), then tie back near Paige to follow US-290 all the way to Houston.

In regards to your comment about thru traffic, one could argue using US-290 allows thru traffic to bypass Houston via the SH-99 northern loop. Using a SH-71 route that departs Houston via I-10 West doesn't allow traffic to use SH-99 to bypass, or at least not directly (way north, then way back south).

Perhaps a split route going into Austin, and US-290 east of there would be the best, a thru traveler could use SH-99, US-290, connect to SH-71 via Bastrop, and avoid Houston and central Austin. In addition, if SH-45 is ever completed around to Oak Hill, that would bypass the entire area.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 06:15:59 PM
Lastly, I have never come close to making the drive on 290 in 2 and a half hours, not at night nor in the wee hours of the morning.  I commuted from Austin to Houston for years for work.  It never happened once, not close.  More like 3:15, and that's when my office was at Loop 360 and FM 2222 and jumping on US 290 was very quick and without driving I-35 downtown.  SH 71, even with a drive south on Loop 360 to get to 71, I did it once in 2:15, and I don't speed.  Its just a better road/route.  There have been many debates from other people I knew, completely unprompted that said exactly "They say 290 is quicker to get to Houston, but  I have never made it quicker once."
Moot point comparing today's conditions vs. a future upgrade. The mileage won't change. A 75 mph speed limit throughout, no signals, interchanges, town bypasses, and rural freeway would significantly improve conditions and make it a preferred connection.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 03, 2020, 06:21:01 PM
Lastly, I have never come close to making the drive on 290 in 2 and a half hours, not at night nor in the wee hours of the morning.  I commuted from Austin to Houston for years for work.  It never happened once, not close.  More like 3:15, and that's when my office was at Loop 360 and FM 2222 and jumping on US 290 was very quick and without driving I-35 downtown.  SH 71, even with a drive south on Loop 360 to get to 71, I did it once in 2:15, and I don't speed.  Its just a better road/route.  There have been many debates from other people I knew, completely unprompted that said exactly "They say 290 is quicker to get to Houston, but  I have never made it quicker once."
Moot point comparing today's conditions vs. a future upgrade. The mileage won't change. A 75 mph speed limit throughout, no signals, interchanges, town bypasses, and rural freeway would significantly improve conditions and make it a preferred connection.

I swear I mentioned I drove 290 late at night and in the very wee hours of the morning, i.e. nobody on the road and still was an hour slower than 71 during a week day.  That part isn't moot.  Trust me, it's more out of the way.  It just is. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 06:22:30 PM
I swear I mentioned I drove 290 late at night and in the very wee hours of the morning, i.e. nobody on the road and still was an hour slower than 71 during a week day.  That part isn't moot.  Trust me, it's more out of the way.  It just is.
Towns, traffic signals, slower speed limits, etc.

Did you drive said route after the Manor Expwy, and US-290 freeway upgrade to SH-6 were complete?

Google says otherwise as far as "out of the way". It says 162 miles for US-290, and 165 miles for SH-71 / I-10. Routed from Downtown Houston to Downtown Austin.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 03, 2020, 06:25:19 PM
I swear I mentioned I drove 290 late at night and in the very wee hours of the morning, i.e. nobody on the road and still was an hour slower than 71 during a week day.  That part isn't moot.  Trust me, it's more out of the way.  It just is.
Towns, traffic signals, slower speed limits, etc.

Did you drive said route after the Manor Expwy, and US-290 freeway upgrade to SH-6 were complete?

Google says otherwise as far as "out of the way". It says 162 miles for US-290, and 165 miles for SH-71 / I-10. Routed from Downtown Houston to Downtown Austin.

Okay, then I guess I don't know what I'm talking about.

I was also referencing 15-20 years ago when there was no freeway bypass in Bastrop and less freeway in Austin to deal with and it was still faster.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 03, 2020, 08:11:58 PM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the only place I've ever heard the idea of an interstate between Austin and Houston being promoted is on this forum.

Over the last 30+ years, I've never heard or seen (in the press) the idea promoted by an elected official, government entity, business organization, TxDOT, transportation council (i.e. HGAC or CAMPO), transportation advocacy group. or small city between Houston and Austin.

Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

As Sparker has pointed out (multiple times), it takes strong political advocacy from influential entities (i.e. elected officials, business groups) to get major upgrades, and there is a total lack of advocacy. Other corridors, like IH 69, IH 22 and port-to-plains have very strong advocacy. And TxDOT has a high priority on corridors including IH 45 (Houston-Dallas) and IH 10 (Houston-San Antonio).

On the plus side, there is an ongoing program of upgrades. This week bids are being received for $47 million in work to eliminate two intersections on SH 71 east of Austin.
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036 (https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 03, 2020, 11:07:53 PM
Wear: Work underway to speed up the sometimes slow road to Houston
 (https://www.statesman.com/news/20180526/wear-work-underway-to-speed-up-the-sometimes-slow-road-to-houston)
Quote
The nagging question always pops up for anyone who sets out for Houston on Texas 71 or U.S. 290 and, not far down the road, runs into a red light: Why in the world is there not an interstate highway between the state capital and Texasí largest metro area?

Why did highway builders choose to route Interstate 10 not through Austin but instead to San Antonio? Looking at the map, I-10 dips south out of the way and adds at least a few miles to the trip westward to El Paso and California beyond.

The answer, which Iíll get into in a second, is embedded in history and population. But itís worth knowing that the Texas Department of Transportation is in the final stages of a decadeslong effort to at least make that 170-mile trip from Austin to Houston free of traffic lights.

Right now, there are just five traffic signals left on Texas 71 between Interstate 35 in South Austin and I-10 in Columbus, all of them between Austin and Bastrop. And TxDOT has engineering plans and money set aside to eliminate four of those lights by adding overpasses over the next four years. The fifth one ó at FM 1209 just west of Bastrop ó is in the cross hairs as well, but the timing of its removal is less certain, TxDOT Austin district engineer Terry McCoy told me.

Now back to why thereís no interstate heading southeast to Houston from here.

Plans for a national grid of superhighways had been kicking around for at least 20 years before Congress in 1956 managed to pass a landmark bill, signed by President Dwight Eisenhower, that funded the final engineering and construction of such a system. President Franklin Roosevelt, according to ďThe Big Roads,Ē a history of the interstate system published a few years ago, in the late 1930s sketched out his version of an interstate system from his Oval Office desk.

And the plain fact is that when this routing work was going on, Austin didnít have the people or the prominence it does now. San Antonio in 1955 had almost 500,000 people, while Austin had 160,000 and virtually no industry to produce the sort of truck traffic that was to be a major user of this cross-country highway system.

San Antonio did.

ďThatís where the traffic wanted to go,Ē said Richard Ridings, a senior vice president with the venerable engineering firm HNTB Corp. The company was deeply involved in the original design of the interstates, said Ridings, who has been working in civil engineering for 55 years. And anyone looking at the big picture back then would have started with the port of Houston and its cargo headed inland.

ďThey wanted to get that stuff north, and they wanted to get it west and east,Ē Ridings said. ďAt the time, Austin was almost an afterthought.Ē

Since then, of course, the population and commerce disparities between Austin and San Antonio have narrowed. The greater San Antonio area now has about 2.5 million people, Austin about 2.1 million. So San Antonio has gone from three times the size of Austin to being about 20 percent larger.

The U.S. interstate system was essentially built out by 1990, although there have been some additions in the years sincel. But turning Texas 71 into an interstate between Austin and Columbus, a distance of about 90 miles, would be tremendously expensive and disruptive.

Interstates have certain standards of curvature and slope that could require some rerouting, but, most of all, interstates are what is known as controlled-access highways. Meaning, no driveways. If you want to get on or off an interstate, you have to take a ramp.

That means that either no businesses, homes, farms or ranches can connect directly to the highway for miles at a time or, as is the case on Interstate 35 through the heart of the state, there are frontage roads.

Texas 71, other than in Austin and through Bastropís commercial district, has no frontage roads. And it has scads of roads and private drives entering it throughout the other, more rural sections. So to turn it into interstate now would require TxDOT not only to acquire a lot of right of way for what would be a wider highway in many places, but also to pay some property owners for lost access to the road.

Or, more likely, to build many, many miles of frontage roads. Either way, the cost would be enormous. This isnít a project thatís going to happen in the foreseeable future.

What TxDOT is doing instead ó trying to eliminate traffic lights little by little ó is the next best thing.

During my youth in Austin, through the mid-1970s, a trip to Houston included going through Bastrop, Smithville, La Grange and Columbus, including a few lights in each town and the odd right or left turn. The towns broke up the trip and were interesting to look at out the window, but going through them added a lot of time to the trip. By the early 1990s, TxDOT had completed loops around all those towns and few traffic lights remained east of FM 973 in Del Valle.

But little by little, as development stretched southeast of Austin, traffic lights were added first to that Bastrop bypass and then to several other spots along the way. About 15 years ago, TxDOT began to take those on, building overpasses and associated frontage lanes at several spots in Bastrop and major roads along the way like Texas 21. More recently, TxDOT installed a deep underpass on Texas 71 at Riverside Drive and a short tollway to bypass traffic signals at Texas 130′s frontage roads.

But lights remain at Ross Road and Kellam Road in Del Valle, at Tucker Hill Lane and Pope Bend Road about halfway to Bastrop, and at FM 1209.

TxDOT has set aside $48 million to build overpasses at Ross and Kellam ó work set to begin as soon as fall 2019 and be done by summer 2021 ó and $52.6 million for overpasses at Tucker Hill and Pope Bend. That second set of projects, TxDOT hopes, will start in fall 2020 and be done by summer 2022. All of this, TxDOT officials caution, could be delayed somewhat by environmental clearance work and acquisition of right of way.

The FM 1209 overpass, TxDOT estimates, would cost an additional $35 million. That money has not been nailed down.

McCoy, by the way, said he would like to make similar progress on U.S. 290, the northern route to Houston, but it has far more traffic signals standing in the way.

So, something like five years from now, a driver might be able to get to and from Houston on Texas 71 without hitting a red light.

Thatís assuming, of course, that yet another traffic signal or three arenít added in the meantime.
Arguments about high cost and having to build frontage roads that are preventing such a project don't seem to stop planning efforts along I-14 and I-69.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Scott5114 on June 03, 2020, 11:08:26 PM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

Step 1:  Get a shitload of Austin/Round Rock/etc. folks together and make your case to your local congressman for a high-priority corridor connecting the two cities.

Yeah, about that:
(https://www.austinchronicle.com/binary/c38e/pols_set1.jpg)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 04, 2020, 12:10:09 AM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the only place I've ever heard the idea of an interstate between Austin and Houston being promoted is on this forum.

Over the last 30+ years, I've never heard or seen (in the press) the idea promoted by an elected official, government entity, business organization, TxDOT, transportation council (i.e. HGAC or CAMPO), transportation advocacy group. or small city between Houston and Austin.

Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

As Sparker has pointed out (multiple times), it takes strong political advocacy from influential entities (i.e. elected officials, business groups) to get major upgrades, and there is a total lack of advocacy. Other corridors, like IH 69, IH 22 and port-to-plains have very strong advocacy. And TxDOT has a high priority on corridors including IH 45 (Houston-Dallas) and IH 10 (Houston-San Antonio).

On the plus side, there is an ongoing program of upgrades. This week bids are being received for $47 million in work to eliminate two intersections on SH 71 east of Austin.
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036 (https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036)
It seems once the remaining few lights west of Bastrop are eliminated, there will be a traffic signal free route from Houston to Austin in place, effectively a free-flowing expressway.

They need to at minimum widen that "toll bypass" near SH-130 to four lanes. The existing two-lane setup doesn't have the ability to handle high traffic volumes.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sparker on June 04, 2020, 02:45:20 AM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

Step 1:  Get a shitload of Austin/Round Rock/etc. folks together and make your case to your local congressman for a high-priority corridor connecting the two cities.

Yeah, about that:
(https://www.austinchronicle.com/binary/c38e/pols_set1.jpg)

Ooh!  The dictionary definition of gerrymandering -- involving at least 3 districts!  I guess buttonholing your local congressperson has limited effectiveness when one goes a few blocks and has to deal with someone else!  But holding on to power/influence once one has it in hand has been the name of the game (regardless of party) since I can remember -- and this is just another tactic.  All in all, a recipe for inaction.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on June 04, 2020, 10:27:42 AM
35 goes to San Antonio.  MJ Hegar is not elected she was a candidate, she lost last time

It's even more deceptive.  Austin goes well into 31, so all 6 are indeed Austin!

Part of the reason Houston to Austin is fine without an interstate is having two expressways  Plenty of lanes without backup.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 04, 2020, 11:33:24 AM
The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the only place I've ever heard the idea of an interstate between Austin and Houston being promoted is on this forum.

Over the last 30+ years, I've never heard or seen (in the press) the idea promoted by an elected official, government entity, business organization, TxDOT, transportation council (i.e. HGAC or CAMPO), transportation advocacy group. or small city between Houston and Austin.

Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

As Sparker has pointed out (multiple times), it takes strong political advocacy from influential entities (i.e. elected officials, business groups) to get major upgrades, and there is a total lack of advocacy. Other corridors, like IH 69, IH 22 and port-to-plains have very strong advocacy. And TxDOT has a high priority on corridors including IH 45 (Houston-Dallas) and IH 10 (Houston-San Antonio).

On the plus side, there is an ongoing program of upgrades. This week bids are being received for $47 million in work to eliminate two intersections on SH 71 east of Austin.
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036 (https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036)

I doubt Phoenix and Las Vegas look at each other as equals and don't look down their nose at each other, yet I-11 is being built between them.  Just because two metropolitan areas don't think of themselves as the same doesn't mean there shouldn't be an interstate.  Houston and Dallas have for years thought of themselves as completely different, Houston thinking Dallas was too stuck up.  I-45 connects the two. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 04, 2020, 11:45:32 AM
Wear: Work underway to speed up the sometimes slow road to Houston
 (https://www.statesman.com/news/20180526/wear-work-underway-to-speed-up-the-sometimes-slow-road-to-houston)
Quote
The nagging question always pops up for anyone who sets out for Houston on Texas 71 or U.S. 290 and, not far down the road, runs into a red light: Why in the world is there not an interstate highway between the state capital and Texas’ largest metro area?

Why did highway builders choose to route Interstate 10 not through Austin but instead to San Antonio? Looking at the map, I-10 dips south out of the way and adds at least a few miles to the trip westward to El Paso and California beyond.

The answer, which I’ll get into in a second, is embedded in history and population. But it’s worth knowing that the Texas Department of Transportation is in the final stages of a decadeslong effort to at least make that 170-mile trip from Austin to Houston free of traffic lights.

Right now, there are just five traffic signals left on Texas 71 between Interstate 35 in South Austin and I-10 in Columbus, all of them between Austin and Bastrop. And TxDOT has engineering plans and money set aside to eliminate four of those lights by adding overpasses over the next four years. The fifth one — at FM 1209 just west of Bastrop — is in the cross hairs as well, but the timing of its removal is less certain, TxDOT Austin district engineer Terry McCoy told me.

Now back to why there’s no interstate heading southeast to Houston from here.

Plans for a national grid of superhighways had been kicking around for at least 20 years before Congress in 1956 managed to pass a landmark bill, signed by President Dwight Eisenhower, that funded the final engineering and construction of such a system. President Franklin Roosevelt, according to “The Big Roads,” a history of the interstate system published a few years ago, in the late 1930s sketched out his version of an interstate system from his Oval Office desk.

And the plain fact is that when this routing work was going on, Austin didn’t have the people or the prominence it does now. San Antonio in 1955 had almost 500,000 people, while Austin had 160,000 and virtually no industry to produce the sort of truck traffic that was to be a major user of this cross-country highway system.

San Antonio did.

“That’s where the traffic wanted to go,” said Richard Ridings, a senior vice president with the venerable engineering firm HNTB Corp. The company was deeply involved in the original design of the interstates, said Ridings, who has been working in civil engineering for 55 years. And anyone looking at the big picture back then would have started with the port of Houston and its cargo headed inland.

“They wanted to get that stuff north, and they wanted to get it west and east,” Ridings said. “At the time, Austin was almost an afterthought.”

Since then, of course, the population and commerce disparities between Austin and San Antonio have narrowed. The greater San Antonio area now has about 2.5 million people, Austin about 2.1 million. So San Antonio has gone from three times the size of Austin to being about 20 percent larger.

The U.S. interstate system was essentially built out by 1990, although there have been some additions in the years sincel. But turning Texas 71 into an interstate between Austin and Columbus, a distance of about 90 miles, would be tremendously expensive and disruptive.

Interstates have certain standards of curvature and slope that could require some rerouting, but, most of all, interstates are what is known as controlled-access highways. Meaning, no driveways. If you want to get on or off an interstate, you have to take a ramp.

That means that either no businesses, homes, farms or ranches can connect directly to the highway for miles at a time or, as is the case on Interstate 35 through the heart of the state, there are frontage roads.

Texas 71, other than in Austin and through Bastrop’s commercial district, has no frontage roads. And it has scads of roads and private drives entering it throughout the other, more rural sections. So to turn it into interstate now would require TxDOT not only to acquire a lot of right of way for what would be a wider highway in many places, but also to pay some property owners for lost access to the road.

Or, more likely, to build many, many miles of frontage roads. Either way, the cost would be enormous. This isn’t a project that’s going to happen in the foreseeable future.

What TxDOT is doing instead — trying to eliminate traffic lights little by little — is the next best thing.

During my youth in Austin, through the mid-1970s, a trip to Houston included going through Bastrop, Smithville, La Grange and Columbus, including a few lights in each town and the odd right or left turn. The towns broke up the trip and were interesting to look at out the window, but going through them added a lot of time to the trip. By the early 1990s, TxDOT had completed loops around all those towns and few traffic lights remained east of FM 973 in Del Valle.

But little by little, as development stretched southeast of Austin, traffic lights were added first to that Bastrop bypass and then to several other spots along the way. About 15 years ago, TxDOT began to take those on, building overpasses and associated frontage lanes at several spots in Bastrop and major roads along the way like Texas 21. More recently, TxDOT installed a deep underpass on Texas 71 at Riverside Drive and a short tollway to bypass traffic signals at Texas 130′s frontage roads.

But lights remain at Ross Road and Kellam Road in Del Valle, at Tucker Hill Lane and Pope Bend Road about halfway to Bastrop, and at FM 1209.

TxDOT has set aside $48 million to build overpasses at Ross and Kellam — work set to begin as soon as fall 2019 and be done by summer 2021 — and $52.6 million for overpasses at Tucker Hill and Pope Bend. That second set of projects, TxDOT hopes, will start in fall 2020 and be done by summer 2022. All of this, TxDOT officials caution, could be delayed somewhat by environmental clearance work and acquisition of right of way.

The FM 1209 overpass, TxDOT estimates, would cost an additional $35 million. That money has not been nailed down.

McCoy, by the way, said he would like to make similar progress on U.S. 290, the northern route to Houston, but it has far more traffic signals standing in the way.

So, something like five years from now, a driver might be able to get to and from Houston on Texas 71 without hitting a red light.

That’s assuming, of course, that yet another traffic signal or three aren’t added in the meantime.
Arguments about high cost and having to build frontage roads that are preventing such a project don't seem to stop planning efforts along I-14 and I-69.

I have always understood why Austin was bypassed in the original interstate proposal.  That has never been argued.  San Antonio was way bigger, plus a base city and Austin was like Waco is today.  I grew up here and even in my short lifetime it was at one point still a sleepy little town.  I have never argued why a Houston-Austin interstate wasn't built in the 1956 plan.  I have said, now that its not 1956, why are we still operating like Austin is still at 200,000?

Also, when the system was laid out, Albuquerque was about the size of Austin, yet got I-25 and I-40, so sometimes lack of population is a week argument. 

Now I read that, and I think every interstate ever built faced those same things.  Either cutting off access or the building of frontage roads.  There are over 3,000 miles of interstates in Texas built with long frontage roads.  What makes this project so special that you can't build frontage roads in this particular situation?  If that was such a hurdle, none of the interstates would have been built.  I personally don't like the expressway model because it's so unsafe.  Who wants to drive 75 miles per hour with driveways entering the main lanes?  Stuff like that is what kills people.  Make it an interstate for the interest of safety.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 04, 2020, 12:01:58 PM
I have always understood why Austin was bypassed in the original interstate proposal.  That has never been argued.  San Antonio was way bigger, plus a base city and Austin was like Waco is today.  I grew up here and even in my short lifetime it was at one point still a sleepy little town.  I have never argued why a Houston-Austin interstate wasn't built in the 1956 plan.  I have said, now that its not 1956, why are we still operating like Austin is still at 200,000?

Also, when the system was laid out, Albuquerque was about the size of Austin, yet got I-25 and I-40, so sometimes lack of population is a week argument.
In that instance, that just has to do with the previous routes both interstates were following. They just happen to junction there.

I-27 between Amarillo and Lubbock was authorized in the 1968 additions and constructed until the 1990s. The entire route was already a four-lane divided highway, the project required frontage roads, overpasses, and ramps constructed along most of its length, and a few new terrain segments.

What warranted an interstate to connect two cities of 200,000 and 250,000 (today's population, likely lower in 1968), but the state capital and Houston, both of which have a population of over 1 million each, still lack a connection today?

To give you an idea, I-27 has lower traffic volumes in many locations than US-290 or SH-71 do between Austin and Houston.

I'm not against having I-27, but I think that a connection between Austin and Houston, or along the US-59 corridor north or south of Houston, would've been a higher priority. But it's likely that there was political motive in getting I-27 authorized and funded.

Now I read that, and I think every interstate ever built faced those same things.  Either cutting off access or the building of frontage roads.  There are over 3,000 miles of interstates in Texas built with long frontage roads.  What makes this project so special that you can't build frontage roads in this particular situation?  If that was such a hurdle, none of the interstates would have been built.
That argument does seem surprising in my mind, especially considering TxDOT has over 80 miles of frontage road projects planned to complete I-69E and I-69C in southern Texas over the next decade, plus the I-69 upgrades leaving north and south of Houston along US-59 which are constructing miles of frontage roads. 

I personally don't like the expressway model because it's so unsafe.  Who wants to drive 75 miles per hour with driveways entering the main lanes?  Stuff like that is what kills people.  Make it an interstate for the interest of safety.
I've usually never had any issues with drivers impeding traffic flow by entering. The volumes are low enough that there's gaps in traffic from time to time that allows a safe entry. The risk does still exist though, and an interstate highway would reduce this significantly.

75 mph is an appropriate speed limit for the expressway model and represents the speed most people drive.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 04, 2020, 01:00:18 PM
I've usually never had any issues with drivers impeding traffic flow by entering. The volumes are low enough that there's gaps in traffic from time to time that allows a safe entry. The risk does still exist though, and an interstate highway would reduce this significantly.

75 mph is an appropriate speed limit for the expressway model and represents the speed most people drive.

Personally I do.  I always get pulled out in front of by that person on the driveway when I am doing 75.  It's happened more than I want it to.  It drives me insane, and it makes me so mad I don't know why everyone is okay with "we took out the traffic lights, but we left all the driveways.  Close enough, right?"  It's not.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: kphoger on June 04, 2020, 01:46:34 PM
I always get pulled out in front of by that person on the driveway when I am doing 75.  It's happened more than I want it to.  It drives me insane, and it makes me so mad I don't know why everyone is okay with "we took out the traffic lights, but we left all the driveways.  Close enough, right?"  It's not.

Maybe you should go 65 instead.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 04, 2020, 05:44:58 PM
I don't think TX-71 would be as difficult to upgrade between Austin and Columbus as that quoted article stated. A lot of the hardest work is already done. There are already bypasses built to freeway standards or partial limited access at Columbus, La Grange, Smithville and Bastrop. A few other intersections along the way have been converted to freeway style exits.

The rest of the road is divided 4-lane highway for the most part except for a few instances of undivided 4-lane road. There is still a lot of driveways and at-grade intersections. Some zones would require a fair amount of property acquisition and removal. But it's also possible in plenty of other areas to squeeze in a 4-lane Interstate closely flanked by frontage roads.

Between Bastrop and the TX-130 toll road there are still 5 intersections with traffic signals: FM-1209, Pope Bend Road, Tucker Hill Lane, Buck Lane and Ross Road. The one at Ross Road is due to be replaced with a freeway exit, followed by the others.

Quote from: MaxConcrete
Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

Towns in between, like Brenham, Giddings and Elgin get to deal with the traffic moving between the two metros along with the dangers associated with the traffic. Brenham has a somewhat adequate freeway bypass for US-290. But US-290 doesn't have a good outlet going West toward Austin.

Quote from: sprjus4
75 mph is an appropriate speed limit for the expressway model and represents the speed most people drive.

That depends on the road geometry. Driveways and at-grade intersections on 4-lane divided highways can be really dangerous if the driveway or intersection is just past the crest of a hill.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 04, 2020, 09:02:25 PM
But US-290 doesn't have a good outlet going West toward Austin.
Out of Houston?

US-290 is built to interstate standards for nearly 50 miles from I-10 to SH-6. East of the Brazos River, it's 65 mph due to Houston's speed limit cap, though it becomes 75 mph divided highway west of there. This same condition applies for the SH-71 / I-10 routing along I-10.

US-290 is adequate on its rural portions, especially with the current dualization projects to create a grassy median where parts are currently undivided 4 lane, though needs bypasses constructed at Elgin, McDade, and Giddings, along with an extended Brenham bypass to the west.

The US-290 Manor Expwy extends from I-35 north of Downtown Austin to west of SH-130 as a six lane toll road.

I imagine ultimately SH-71 will the preferred corridor for an upgrade over US-290, but I believe both should still be studied in depth. SH-71 is less construction and has bypasses already in place, though this important fact needs to be considered in any study -

A SH-71 corridor utilizes 70 miles of I-10 on the eastern portion. Constructing a SH-71 interstate would draw more traffic onto I-10, which would require eventual 8 lane widening out to Columbus. A US-290 interstate on the other hand might draw people -away- from I-10 that currently use SH-71 helping to ease traffic on there, a good 8,000 - 10,000 AADT.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 05, 2020, 01:23:19 PM
Quote from: sprjus4
Out of Houston?

No, out of the bypass around Brenham. Currently US-290 leaves the bypass in a partial cloverleaf at West Main Street. Then US-290 proceeds West along an undivided 5-lane street for a couple miles before it turns into a 4-lane divided highway. A new terrain route would be required if a freeway was going to be built in that location.

The outlet for US-290 leaving Houston is all Interstate quality (and pretty much all new) out to the TX-6 exit in Hempstead. TX DOT just needs to extend that work farther West.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on June 06, 2020, 09:22:07 PM
We just went to Brazos Bend, both ways on 71.  the 4 lane expressway is fairly empty, no freeway needed.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: sprjus4 on June 06, 2020, 11:26:38 PM
We just went to Brazos Bend, both ways on 71.  the 4 lane expressway is fairly empty, no freeway needed.
I've driven on I-10, I-37, and I-35 at times where there's been fairly light traffic... I suppose those freeways could just suffice as divided highways.

SH-71 and US-290 both carry about 12,000 - 15,000 AADT each. If there was one freeway route constructed, it would likely attract some from the other route, producing one interstate route with 20,000 - 25,000 AADT and one arterial route with 5,000 - 10,000 AADT. For comparison, parts of I-10 between San Antonio and Houston carry 30,000 AADT.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on June 25, 2020, 11:39:55 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/3w0DIR5.jpg)

Construction completed at I-35/Oltorf and I-35/Woodland
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on July 19, 2020, 11:35:13 AM
Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

More than that, Houston has a conflicted sense of being "Texan". It's a Gulf Coast city first and foremost. That's why I-69 was such a priority - there's much more cultural and economic affinity toward the Gulf Coastal Plain and South Texas/Mexico than there is Central Texas. This was partially why UH was able to block the UT expansion south of DT Houston - UT is seen as foreign in a strange way, even though many in the city have ties with the university.

Houston doesn't do general tech, and only needs Austin for its government and educational functions (and frankly, finds those to be a complete pain most of the time, and would rather build education endogenously). Austin doesn't do O&G, biomedical, or logistics. There just isn't a need for a full interstate connection beyond the sense that a state's largest city and capital should be connected by a full interstate.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 19, 2020, 08:41:57 PM
Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

More than that, Houston has a conflicted sense of being "Texan". It's a Gulf Coast city first and foremost. That's why I-69 was such a priority - there's much more cultural and economic affinity toward the Gulf Coastal Plain and South Texas/Mexico than there is Central Texas. This was partially why UH was able to block the UT expansion south of DT Houston - UT is seen as foreign in a strange way, even though many in the city have ties with the university.

Houston doesn't do general tech, and only needs Austin for its government and educational functions (and frankly, finds those to be a complete pain most of the time, and would rather build education endogenously). Austin doesn't do O&G, biomedical, or logistics. There just isn't a need for a full interstate connection beyond the sense that a state's largest city and capital should be connected by a full interstate.

Agreed with all that about Austin and Houston being different. They are, but the last line is why.  The largest city and capital need connecting. Just because towns are different in thinking doesnít mean you deny them an interstate. I would venture to say New Orleans is nothing like the rest of Louisiana, politically and culturally, but that doesnít mean there shouldnít be an infrastructure running toward it.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on July 20, 2020, 11:24:05 PM
Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

More than that, Houston has a conflicted sense of being "Texan". It's a Gulf Coast city first and foremost. That's why I-69 was such a priority - there's much more cultural and economic affinity toward the Gulf Coastal Plain and South Texas/Mexico than there is Central Texas. This was partially why UH was able to block the UT expansion south of DT Houston - UT is seen as foreign in a strange way, even though many in the city have ties with the university.

Houston doesn't do general tech, and only needs Austin for its government and educational functions (and frankly, finds those to be a complete pain most of the time, and would rather build education endogenously). Austin doesn't do O&G, biomedical, or logistics. There just isn't a need for a full interstate connection beyond the sense that a state's largest city and capital should be connected by a full interstate.

Agreed with all that about Austin and Houston being different. They are, but the last line is why.  The largest city and capital need connecting. Just because towns are different in thinking doesnít mean you deny them an interstate. I would venture to say New Orleans is nothing like the rest of Louisiana, politically and culturally, but that doesnít mean there shouldnít be an infrastructure running toward it.

I don't think that's a good enough reason, to be honest.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on July 20, 2020, 11:56:08 PM
If it's busy enough make it a freeway. If it's convenient, sign it as an Interstate. Why does there need to be any reason beyond that? If there's significant traffic on TX 71 or US 290, and that traffic would be improved by a conversion to Interstate standards, then improve it. If the traffic doesn't demand improvements, then don't. Why does the culture or the type of city or the "thinking of a place" matter? If there's trucks and cars, and they're impacted, then it warrants a freeway. If there's not, it doesn't.

Personally, I think TX 71 should have all the remaining stoplights removed between Austin and Columbus, along with a minor bypass of Ellinger. If traffic grows, which it almost surely will knowing Texan cities recently, then start working on the minor crossings and the driveways. Same goes for US 290.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on July 21, 2020, 09:32:22 AM
If it's busy enough make it a freeway. If it's convenient, sign it as an Interstate. Why does there need to be any reason beyond that? If there's significant traffic on TX 71 or US 290, and that traffic would be improved by a conversion to Interstate standards, then improve it. If the traffic doesn't demand improvements, then don't. Why does the culture or the type of city or the "thinking of a place" matter? If there's trucks and cars, and they're impacted, then it warrants a freeway. If there's not, it doesn't.

Personally, I think TX 71 should have all the remaining stoplights removed between Austin and Columbus, along with a minor bypass of Ellinger. If traffic grows, which it almost surely will knowing Texan cities recently, then start working on the minor crossings and the driveways. Same goes for US 290.

You hit the nail on the head.  We are talking about numbers here, not politics.  No matter what people think amount each other, a lot of people drive from Houston and Austin and vis versa, no matter if one town thinks you should stand on your head and the other thinks fish should have the right to vote, and they don't agree with each other.  Just because they don't agree doesn't make the traffic disappear.  That never played a part in the original system.  Do you tell the truck driver who is driving his shipment from Houston to Austin that he doesn't get a freeway because the two towns don't see the world the same?

The whole entire reason for putting an interstate corridor from Austin to Houston, whether it be SH-71 (which I prefer) or US 290 is two fold, and this goes back to why the system was created in the first place:

1. Honestly, I can't stand driving 75 miles per hour on SH-71 to a large city knowing at any given moment a farmer could pull out of his driveway in front of me and kill me because the highway lacks grade separation.  I can't stand seeing road intersections, and people crossing the median because it is legal to do so.  It's about safety.  If you want a high speed corridor between the cities, you should go all out and make it a high speed freeway.  Don't get halfway there and call it good, that's lazy and very poor work.  It is all about safe driving.  Freeways are safer, period.  Interstate freeways are safer than other freeways because there are standards that must be met that are designed for 75 mile an hour driving.  A state or US highway freeway can be built below those standards, which sometimes work out, but not really.  I can't tell you how many Texas freeways I have seen with sharp turns and blind hills.

2. The average motorist is smarter than the people on this forum give them credit for.  Yes, they don't know the ends and outs of every road like you all know, but they do know a few things.  The family going to Disney World and the two blondes driving to Spring Break with he radio on and GPS because they can't read a map all know the interstate shield means a faster route and it's a freeway.  Some are scared of it or that reason, but most know its a guaranteed freeway.  They also know a US or state shield promises nothing.  It could mean a freeway or an unpaved road.  Even me coming from a state that paves all of it's state maintained highways and has a good highway system, gets a little weary when planning a route to a destination and the route evolves state highways.  I start to look for the nearest interstate and try to see if I can stay on it as long as possible.  They are easier to drive and yes most people don't understand they are also safer, but the average person knows they are a whole lot faster. 

So in conclusion it comes down to safety and brand recognition.  The people who have always driven from Houston to Austin will drive the route whether it has a shield or not, but the unfamiliar ones will follow the shield, I guarantee it.  Which ever corridor gets the shield, the trucks will move on that corridor and free up the traffic on the less safe corridor. 
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: motorola870 on November 24, 2020, 01:53:23 AM
Are these people actually understanding that this interchange needs an overhaul and not some beautification project due to traffic volumes?

https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2020/11/txdot-to-hear-case-for-livable-oak-hill-design/

All they are doing is trying to delay the eventual of having to build a interchange. I don't think they will win what they want if they do TXDOT should just veer the routes around them and turn it into a 4 lane boulevard split and turn it over to local jurisdictions and not give them a fantasy green scape. It is one thing to be environmentally friendly it is another to demand a street level boulevard that goes against the traffic volume and studies that prove an need for an upgrade.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on November 24, 2020, 11:31:28 AM
The contract has already been approved for the Oak Hill Parkway and the first phases of construction have already started, so this should be a non-story.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on November 24, 2020, 03:28:55 PM
Doesn't the Oak Hill Parkway project to upgrade US-290 to a freeway go as far West as the Y split with Circle Drive?

With the way the Austin region is growing, it's really should be a foregone conclusion that US-290 will need additional freeway upgrades going farther and farther West out of the area. I think US-290 could be upgraded into a freeway at least as far as the US-281 corridor, if not all the way out to I-10.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: MaxConcrete on November 24, 2020, 04:16:58 PM
The contract has already been approved for the Oak Hill Parkway and the first phases of construction have already started, so this should be a non-story.
Has the contract been awarded?
The award was scheduled for summer, but I never saw any items in the TxDOT commission proceedings.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0430/6a-presentation.pdf

Echostatic:  can you confirm that Colorado River Constructors is already set up on site and at work?

If the contract is awarded and work is underway, that mediation attempt seems pointless, but is probably necessary if the courts are mandating it.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: motorola870 on November 24, 2020, 07:46:12 PM
The contract has already been approved for the Oak Hill Parkway and the first phases of construction have already started, so this should be a non-story.
Has the contract been awarded?
The award was scheduled for summer, but I never saw any items in the TxDOT commission proceedings.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0430/6a-presentation.pdf

Echostatic:  can you confirm that Colorado River Constructors is already set up on site and at work?

If the contract is awarded and work is underway, that mediation attempt seems pointless, but is probably necessary if the courts are mandating it.
If anything they should do what they did on the new 45 toll give some greenspace trails and try to preserve the creek area but the fact they are depicting a ground level boulevard with more greenscape than currently there... I don't understand it tbh they don't want to accept reality Texas is growing and the only projects getting downverted to ground level boulevards are projects that bypassed aging freeways the Lancaster Elevated and the US175 reroute are two examples in DFW. Replacing aging and outdated highway routes that needed to happen.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on November 24, 2020, 10:57:57 PM
Has the contract been awarded?
The award was scheduled for summer, but I never saw any items in the TxDOT commission proceedings.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0430/6a-presentation.pdf

Echostatic:  can you confirm that Colorado River Constructors is already set up on site and at work?

If the contract is awarded and work is underway, that mediation attempt seems pointless, but is probably necessary if the courts are mandating it.

I live in Southwest Austin and can confirm that while ground has not officially been broken yet, some preliminary markings and other work has started and I've seen demolition permits in the city's system for the already acquired buildings in the ROW.

The most recent source other than me is this newsletter from Oak Hill Parkway: https://mailchi.mp/3b5496698c4f/oak-hill-parkway-update-10-2020 (https://mailchi.mp/3b5496698c4f/oak-hill-parkway-update-10-2020)
Quote
In August 2020, TxDOT authorized the selected Design-Build contractor, Colorado River Constructors (CRC), to begin their efforts to prepare final design plans and to construct Oak Hill Parkway.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on November 27, 2020, 10:39:33 AM
CRC will be taking soil samples along the eastbound frontage road of 290 next week, which marks the first lane closures of the Oak Hill Parkway project. Yay.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: -- US 175 -- on November 28, 2020, 02:54:31 PM
TxDOT has a construction project underway--for itself.  A new combined campus on Austin's SE side will bring together different departments that are currently in multiple parts of the city.  Completion is set for February 2022.

https://www.statesman.com/news/20201127/txdotrsquos-new-300-million-hq-starts-to-take-shape
https://www.kvue.com/article/money/economy/boomtown-2040/austin-texas-txdot-new-300-million-hq/269-d90fb93d-3879-4608-878e-067acab4b45e
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Echostatic on December 11, 2020, 10:30:23 AM
A project that isn't talked about much on here is the US 183 South project in Austin. It's wrapping up early next year.

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eo9t6VVXUAYFP3C?format=jpg&name=medium)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: texaskdog on December 11, 2020, 02:22:03 PM
I love how they kept the Montopolis bridge for a bike/pedestrian path
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 11, 2020, 10:41:19 PM
Hopefully after they get TX-183 finished they'll work on improving TX-71 on the North side of Austin-Bergstrom Int'l Airport. The road is basically nothing more than a very busy street merely dressed up to look like a freeway. It's ridiculous for all the driveways and other junk emptying directly into the main lanes. TX-71 also needs more than a pair of barrier-separated single lanes when it crosses thru the TX-130 interchange. That whole thing is just really odd.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: radDFW on December 12, 2020, 01:39:44 PM
Hopefully after they get TX-183 finished they'll work on improving TX-71 on the North side of Austin-Bergstrom Int'l Airport. The road is basically nothing more than a very busy street merely dressed up to look like a freeway. It's ridiculous for all the driveways and other junk emptying directly into the main lanes. TX-71 also needs more than a pair of barrier-separated single lanes when it crosses thru the TX-130 interchange. That whole thing is just really odd.
The highway is called US 183, it's really easy to get those two messed up since they are prominent highways in Austin in Dallas-Fort Worth.
I also think that 71 should be converted into a freeway, no reason not to (in my opinion)
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Plutonic Panda on December 13, 2020, 07:41:14 AM
Not really road related hit Austin just landed the Oracle HQ relocation. Yet ANOTHER major HQ relocation out of California. Texas is absolutely on fire. I wonder how long they can keep traffic from becoming California level.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 13, 2020, 04:37:55 PM
In the Austin area they're going to have to get more serious about upgrading certain roads, like I-35 through the middle of Austin and US-290 going out the West side of Austin. Tesla's Gigafactory 5 is going to be built near TX-130 and Harold Green Road, which is one exit North of the TX-71/TX-130 interchange. That will add to the traffic load. I think there is a good chance an NFL team will relocate to the Austin-San Antonio region within the next 10 years.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: bwana39 on December 13, 2020, 05:16:23 PM
In the Austin area they're going to have to get more serious about upgrading certain roads, like I-35 through the middle of Austin and US-290 going out the West side of Austin. Tesla's Gigafactory 5 is going to be built near TX-130 and Harold Green Road, which is one exit North of the TX-71/TX-130 interchange. That will add to the traffic load. I think there is a good chance an NFL team will relocate to the Austin-San Antonio region within the next 10 years.

Austin hates roads I agree they need upgraded, but the no-build option often wins there.

NFL- Not if Jerry Jones has anything to do with it.  As far as that goes, the McNairs, and the Bidwells are not wanting any new blood in their regions.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 13, 2020, 05:59:57 PM
If traffic gets bad enough it will hurt business in downtown Austin. The same goes for other parts of Austin such as the Western outskirts or Northern suburbs. The new urbanist types may hate freeways, but Austin is still an extremely automobile-centric city. As Austin continues to grow they're going to be forced to improve and expand roads.

Jerry Jones is losing a lot of clout. And he isn't going to live forever either. The Dallas Cowboys haven't won a Super Bowl since the mid 1990's. The current organization is kind of a joke really.

The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex continues to grow rapidly. But Austin is growing faster and the zone between Austin and San Antonio is adding population faster than just about anywhere else in the nation. Austin will soon be the fourth city in Texas with a city limits population over 1 million. There is about 5 million people living in the Austin-San Antonio region. That's the biggest market in the nation without NFL or MLB teams.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: silverback1065 on December 13, 2020, 06:48:41 PM
i thought there were plans to double decker 35 in austin?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Plutonic Panda on December 14, 2020, 12:19:29 AM
i thought there were plans to double decker 35 in austin?
They plan to widen I-35 but that wonít last long given how fast growth is occurring. They should be proactive and add many more lanes than currently planned and look for preserving ROW for new freeways. Alternative transportation also needs to be thrown in the mix.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: TXtoNJ on December 15, 2020, 06:48:56 PM
Austin's system is fine if they get 35 fixed (really, it's the downtown geometry more than anything that's the problem). Tunnels would be great for separating through traffic. Rush hour isn't great, but it's not as horrible as it appears given geographical constraints. I'm able to commute 8 miles in 15 minutes in the morning and 30-40 in the evening.

Future growth will be multinodal, mitigating existing limitations
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on December 16, 2020, 05:03:41 PM
A project that isn't talked about much on here is the US 183 South project in Austin. It's wrapping up early next year.

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eo9t6VVXUAYFP3C?format=jpg&name=medium)

So they used the bridge supports built in the 80s for the southbound lanes across the river? Interesting, love to have read the engineering reports on that one.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Scott5114 on December 22, 2020, 03:03:34 AM
NFL discussion moved to the Sports forum (https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=28179.0).
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: longhorn on February 26, 2021, 09:19:46 PM
https://www.183south.com/multimedia/photos

Am I seeing this correctly? If you are southbound on 183 and you want to go west on 71, you have to go through the Riverside intersection? Only the toll roads have a direct connection to west 71.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: Mapmikey on February 26, 2021, 09:41:03 PM
https://www.183south.com/multimedia/photos

Am I seeing this correctly? If you are southbound on 183 and you want to go west on 71, you have to go through the Riverside intersection? Only the toll roads have a direct connection to west 71.

The schematic does appear to show that you can slide from free 183 into the toll flyovers to TX 71 before you reach the Patton interchange, but yes, the only direct ramps to TX 71 west from US 183 south will be tolled unless you go through the Riverside interchange.
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: The Ghostbuster on February 27, 2021, 08:36:20 PM
I think the TX 183 Toll Road in Cedar Park and Leander should be part of mainline US 183, and existing 183 should be either Business 183 or a local street (N./S. Bell Rd.). Was the Bergstrom Expressway given the TX 183 Toll designation because Texas's Toll Roads have either a state highway designation, or are otherwise unnumbered?
Title: Re: Austin, TX
Post by: wxfree on February 28, 2021, 01:54:12 AM
I think the TX 183 Toll Road in Cedar Park and Leander should be part of mainline US 183, and existing 183 should be either Business 183 or a local street (N./S. Bell Rd.). Was the Bergstrom Expressway given the TX 183 Toll designation because Texas's Toll Roads have either a state highway designation, or are otherwise unnumbered?

That's a little complicated.  The 183A toll road was originally planned to be built by TxDOT and designated as US 183A.  When the regional mobility authority got the road, it was not made into a state highway, but it kept the 183A name, which is just a name, like "Dallas North Tollway."  The 290 and 183 toll roads are the same, they're just names, not highway designations.  TxDOT's toll roads have highway numbers.  Near Tyler, the road planned as Loop 49 was built by the regional mobility authority and the loop designation was removed.  People still call it Loop 49, but it's officially Toll 49, which is the name given to it by the RMA.  The 360 Tollway in south Arlington is the same, just a name, with TX 360 running along the frontage roads.  Other NTTA roads have non-numerical names.  The Sam Rayburn Tollway was originally planned as a state highway owned by TxDOT and leased to a private company.  It would have had the SH 121 designation.  When NTTA won the project, it was removed from the state highway system.

In general, a TxDOT road has a state highway designation and a road that is owned by a local or regional authority does not.  What I believe an exception is I-169.  I think that is owned by the RMA, but it is designated on the state highway system.  There may be some other arrangement.  It may be owned by and leased from TxDOT, like the southern half of TX 130.  Or it may be that TxDOT owns the road and the RMA just handles the billing.