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Author Topic: Texas 349 in Midland  (Read 1040 times)

bugo

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Texas 349 in Midland
« on: September 01, 2017, 10:55:46 AM »

What's up with the routing of Texas 349 around Midland? It splits into a mainline and a business route at I-20 on the south side of Midland, follows I-20 all the way west to FM 1788 which it follows north to a split near TX 158 and follows a two lane bypass road and reconnects with the business route a few miles north of Midland. The distances between the two junctions with BR 349 north and south of town are the following:

Via BR 349: 9 miles
Via I-20 east and Loop 250 west: 17 miles
Via I-20 west and Loop 250 north/east: 18 miles
Via I-20, FM 1788 and the TX 349 bypass: a whopping 29 miles

Why does it go so far out of the way? Is the part of Bus 349 between Loop 250 and TX 349 north of Midland so bad that it is worth going all the way to FM 1788 to bypass? Why doesn't it follow a combination of I-20 and Loop 250? The western bypass via I-20 and Loop 250 is all freeway while the eastern bypass via I-20 and Loop 250 is freeway along I-20 and a mixture of freeway and "Texas expressway" (4 lanes divided with a wide median with room in the middle for future freeway lanes). I can see why TXDot doesn't want through traffic going through the middle of Midland but I don't see why it is worth going another 11-12 miles out of the way to avoid less than 4 miles of BR 349 north of Midland which looks like (according to Google Earth) to be a 4 lane undivided highway with at grade intersections, but not a terrible amount of development. What is their logic here?
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wxfree

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Re: Texas 349 in Midland
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2017, 03:32:01 PM »

I wonder about that, too.  Just for fun I tried a route that follows FM 1787, well south of Midland, to FM 1788 to the current route.  It's 3 miles shorter than the signed route and avoids more developed area.  It also avoids I-20, on which traffic can be heavy.  The new route seems excessive to me.  It also seems to be in keeping with the area's obsession with its own importance.  Maybe the TxDOT district office has been influenced by that.
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sparker

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Re: Texas 349 in Midland
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2017, 03:25:22 AM »

Question:  Are there any truck (weight/axle, etc.) restrictions on BR 349 through town?  It seems that that convoluted "bypass" route is an attempt to divert through truck traffic (in that area, likely featuring a high concentration of tankers) around the central city. 

That being mentioned -- it's likely there's a higher-than-average level of civic ego in place within M/O planning and/or promotion circles, considering their pursuit of their own Port-to-Plains branch on TX 158 and TX 349 as well as their more recent activities regarding the western end of the proposed I-14.

To paraphrase the late great Firesign Theater: "We're not only proud of our city, we're downright smug about it!" 
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aboges26

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Re: Texas 349 in Midland
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2017, 02:30:25 PM »

Signing the arcing bypass as TX 349 is largely just a place-holder designation rather than the encouraged routing of 349 traffic trying to go from south of or north of Midland to the opposite side.  They bypass was built to funnel traffic to and from 349 north of Midland to I-20 west, not to function as a reroute of 349 that goes through Midland.  Not to mention, as a way to secure the right-of-way for when that section becomes an actual freeway.  Traffic had always used Loop 250 either way to bypass downtown.  I hope that this clears up the convolution.
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