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Author Topic: Interstate 369  (Read 56878 times)

Bobby5280

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #225 on: December 03, 2018, 10:16:34 PM »

In the case of these I-69 segments from Louisiana up to Indiana they're not being designed to serve the regional and long distance functions of the overall highway network. They're being tailored for local interests. Considerations for long distance traffic (and reducing vehicle counts on the overloaded I-40 corridor) are not being factored into the design. The route wouldn't be so crooked otherwise. The route turns into a kind of dead end route serving sparsely or modestly populated zones. You don't really need a full blown Interstate highway for that. There's nothing wrong with securing ROW and then building an upgrade-able route. That can be in the form of a 4 lane expressway with ample property set backs. It could be a Super 2 with or without limited access interchanges, but with room to grow into a full freeway. Or it could be a combination of both.
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sparker

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #226 on: December 04, 2018, 12:32:18 AM »

In the case of these I-69 segments from Louisiana up to Indiana they're not being designed to serve the regional and long distance functions of the overall highway network. They're being tailored for local interests. Considerations for long distance traffic (and reducing vehicle counts on the overloaded I-40 corridor) are not being factored into the design. The route wouldn't be so crooked otherwise. The route turns into a kind of dead end route serving sparsely or modestly populated zones. You don't really need a full blown Interstate highway for that. There's nothing wrong with securing ROW and then building an upgrade-able route. That can be in the form of a 4 lane expressway with ample property set backs. It could be a Super 2 with or without limited access interchanges, but with room to grow into a full freeway. Or it could be a combination of both.

Which is precisely what will happen -- and is happening -- in S Arkansas.  The SIU's of I-69 are, deliberately or inadvertently, tailored for this approach (including the AR 530 segment that is SIU #28 of the corridor definition).  Take care of the local needs first with 2-lane facilities built to Interstate geometrics on full-width ROW, and build out as needed.  Until the Great River bridge is actually a let project, that's all anything north of I-20 will need for the time being.  Seeing that US 278 across AR is merely a re-badged state facility, it's no wonder that even a 2-lane new-terrain expressway will benefit connectivity across that part of the state -- essentially "throwing a bone" to that historically ignored area while putting off the more costly aspects of an Interstate corridor (twinning and structures) until well down the line. 

One thing that has perplexed me about the routing of I-69 in southern Arkansas is why the US 278 corridor was selected over the parallel US 82 about 30 miles south.  Two things come to mind as reasons:  trying not to duplicate the I-20 corridor across LA and ensuring that Monticello, home of a U of A branch campus, was served by the corridor.  But the presence of the aforementioned SIU #28, aka the N-S AR 530 expressway (and presumably future I-530 freeway extension) immediately west of Monticello (at about the same radial distance from the city center as the new I-69/US 278 bypass) means that town and university would be served by a segment of the corridor regardless of the main I-69 trunk's path.   In a more efficient universe, I-69 would merge with I-20 east of Shreveport and multiplex over to Monroe, where it would follow US 165 and then 425 north to US 82; it would meet with the south end of AR 530 somewhere around Hamburg.  From there I-69 could simply follow US 82 east and use that nice new multilane bridge over the Mississippi River into MS (and directly serve Greenville in the process) before turning north along US 61.  Monticello and its university would be served by a N-S corridor directly linking it with the state capital; a shitload of $$ would be saved by obviating new-terrain construction as well as the big new-terrain bridge.  Yeah, El Dorado will no longer be near an Interstate -- but when all is said & done, it'd be much more cost-effective -- and actually stand a chance in hell of being completed in our lifetimes!  Just thinking.................   :hmmm:
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Bobby5280

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #227 on: December 04, 2018, 01:28:18 PM »

Quote from: sparker
Which is precisely what will happen -- and is happening -- in S Arkansas.  The SIU's of I-69 are, deliberately or inadvertently, tailored for this approach (including the AR 530 segment that is SIU #28 of the corridor definition).  Take care of the local needs first with 2-lane facilities built to Interstate geometrics on full-width ROW, and build out as needed.  Until the Great River bridge is actually a let project, that's all anything north of I-20 will need for the time being.

I'm certain if they ever managed getting the Great River Bridge built the traffic counts on upgrade-able Super 2 roads leading to the bridge wouldn't rise to the levels needed to justify adding the second set of lanes, much less all the other pricey features common to Interstate highways. I think most long distance drivers will stay on I-30 and I-40 in droves. They won't shift to I-69 unless something forces them to do so, such as a massive construction project on the existing I-40 bridge over the Mississippi.

Quote from: sparker
One thing that has perplexed me about the routing of I-69 in southern Arkansas is why the US 278 corridor was selected over the parallel US 82 about 30 miles south.

I am more perplexed why the proposed I-69 route was not aimed more directly from Shreveport to Memphis. El Dorado and Warren are along a logical path, but not Monticello and McGehee. It seems obvious the routing choice was made to be South of the confluence with the Arkansas River so only one large bridge crossing would be needed rather than two. But it comes at the cost of pulling the route farther out of the way, rendering it less desirable to drivers who default to using the I-30 and I-40 combo to cross Arkansas to Memphis. If money wasn't an issue it would have been better for I-69 to go directly NE from Warren up to the Helena-West Helena area and cross the Mississippi River there. The route would have skirted much closer to Pine Bluff.

Pulling I-69 even farther South along US-82 would make the route across Arkansas and Mississippi into an even more wasteful, way out of the way route. It would be a giant backward L shape path. The only benefit of diverting the route down there is overlaying I-69 onto a relatively new US-82 bridge over the Mississippi. But that comes at a cost of building many more miles of new terrain Interstate just to get there. That's going to offset much of the cost savings. And that translates into even more miles of driving for people expected to use this road as an alternative to I-30 and I-40 to get to Memphis.
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sparker

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #228 on: December 04, 2018, 05:59:20 PM »

^^^^^^^^
It wasn't just the projected cost of bridges over both the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers that prompted the location of the Great River bridge, it was the fact that the confluence of the two rivers and much of the land in the "V" north of the Arkansas is federally protected wetlands.  One of the original options when the corridor was being put together in the early '90's was pretty much straight up US 79 via El Dorado and Pine Bluff -- but that was shot down by the Arkansas delegation, which was under intrastate pressure to provide something that would serve the "neglected" southern area of the state.  A 2-corridor solution, the "Dickey Split" which would have used mostly US 79 but shift east across the Mississippi near Helena in order to avoid loading down the existing Memphis-area river crossings, was suggested (it would have supplemented the existing corridor rather than replacing it) but the cost to develop both branches was deemed exorbitant; the AR 530 extension was crafted to replace the Pine Bluff-based branch. 

Pulling I-69 even farther South along US-82 would make the route across Arkansas and Mississippi into an even more wasteful, way out of the way route. It would be a giant backward L shape path. The only benefit of diverting the route down there is overlaying I-69 onto a relatively new US-82 bridge over the Mississippi. But that comes at a cost of building many more miles of new terrain Interstate just to get there. That's going to offset much of the cost savings. And that translates into even more miles of driving for people expected to use this road as an alternative to I-30 and I-40 to get to Memphis.

The concept I mentioned in my last thread post would have cut down the total unconstructed mileage significantly by merging I-69 with I-20 from east of Shreveport to Monroe.  Using a combination of US 165, 425, and 82 north and then east from there would be considerably less than the path via El Dorado, Warren, Monticello, and McGehee; and, of course, also eliminating the LA mileage NE of the I-20 junction near Barksdale.  The only actual additional new-terrain mileage would be an approximately 30-mile southern extension of AR 530 down to the revised I-69 trunk at Hamburg.  The cost savings alone of utilizing the extant US 82 Mississippi River bridge versus a new structure to the north (particularly now that the rail crossing originally proposed for the structure, to be offset by a trackage lease to either UP, CSX, or NS, is no longer a component of the project) renders the project feasible in a shorter term.  In terms of traffic shifting to I-69 rather than the present I-30/40 combination, it's likely that commercial traffic would be the first to make the move, since the congestion points of Little Rock and West Memphis, plus the perpetually crowded stretch of I-40 between those points, would be readily circumvented by using the new route.  General traffic flow will take a bit longer to become acclimated to the new option -- but it'll eventually get there.   
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Bobby5280

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #229 on: December 05, 2018, 12:42:40 AM »

An I-69 multiplex with I-20 to Monroe? While it might save money on new terrain construction costs such a route would create even more of an L-shape than the previously mentioned versions of I-69 in Arkansas and Mississippi. The I-20 portion would be pretty straight, but West to East.

Hypothetically, if such a route were built it might possibly attract long haul trucks looking to avoid the I-30 & I-40 corridors on the way to Memphis. But I don't see it attracting other long distance motorists. There wouldn't be any mileage savings. Plus there would be fewer services along the way. I-30 and I-40 in Arkansas might have a lot of traffic, but there is a lot of places to eat, fuel up and sleep along that way.
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sparker

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #230 on: December 05, 2018, 04:58:24 PM »

^^^^^^^^
Most of which are in and around Little Rock (I've stayed there or in NLR quite often!); the concentration of restaurants and lodging is impressive.  But that's the thing about established Interstate corridors -- they do tend to attract enough roadside business to enhance the travel environment.  But if and when the "midsection" of I-69 is completed, it is most likely that the initial usage will be dominated by commercial traffic; there isn't a metro area like LR along that route with an existing selection of travel amenities; those will have to be developed concurrent with or after the facility itself.  In time El Dorado, Monticello, Clarksdale, and the other larger towns along the route will get the smattering of La Quintas, Denny's, Waffle Houses, etc. such as currently found along I-30 and I-40.  If and when that occurs, choosing a Texas-Memphis route might be as simple as determining the lodging location with an available room!  But one of the deciding factors hasn't been mentioned yet -- what will be the toll rate for the Great River Bridge.  If set too high, then it will tend to drive off both commercial and recreational drivers -- and if excessive per-axle rates are applied to trucks, it would prompt route reconsideration regarding those who drive for a living.  The bridge will be costly; attempts to recoup those costs too quickly via tolls would be counterproductive in the long haul.     
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Grzrd

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #231 on: July 19, 2019, 02:25:36 PM »

At the end of January, TxDOT held an Open House for the initial, approximately four-mile segment of Future I-369 (to be initially called SL 390) that will be part of the relief route around Marshall:

Quote
The approximately four-mile roadway, designated as SL 390, would be designed to interstate standards and would eventually become part of the US 59 Relief Route and the future I-369 (part of the I-69 system through Texas). The proposed roadway would connect to the existing SL 390 at US 80 to the north and would terminate south of I-20, extending the partial loop around Marshall that currently exists.
The proposed section of SL 390 would include two mainlanes in each direction separated by a grassy median. One-way frontage roads may be constructed on either side of the proposed roadway ....

They provided an alternative direct connection for west-bound I-20 traffic to access Future I-369:

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sparker

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #232 on: July 19, 2019, 06:00:45 PM »

^^^^^^^^^^
Absent the outflung SB>EB/WB>NB ramps as shown above, the 20/369 interchange looks like a standard-issue Texas Stack; quite appropriate, since it'll likely be carrying the bulk of Houston-Shreveport traffic for quite a while -- presuming the likely event that I-369 is prioritized over the mainline I-69 into LA.  Out that far, I would have expected a cloverleaf/CD with a WB>SB flyover added -- but it looks like TXDOT's going all out with this particular project. 
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #233 on: July 19, 2019, 06:38:16 PM »

I think they should finish more of 69 in Texas (especially the portion where future 69 meets future 369) before they build more of Interstate 369. In the interim, any additional portions of future 369 constructed should be signed solely as US 59. I don't think 369 should have been signposted before the connecting segment of future 69 was constructed.
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sparker

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #234 on: July 19, 2019, 06:53:03 PM »

I think they should finish more of 69 in Texas (especially the portion where future 69 meets future 369) before they build more of Interstate 369. In the interim, any additional portions of future 369 constructed should be signed solely as US 59. I don't think 369 should have been signposted before the connecting segment of future 69 was constructed.

As I (and others) have insinuated over the last few years, it seems that the TX-based I-69 backers and their cohorts at TXDOT don't share that sentiment; instead they consider the combination 69/369 corridor "Job #1" for its value as an effective northeast outlet from Houston and the surrounding "chemical coast" -- something lacking from the time of the original 50's Interstate route layout.   And they're probably at least as cynical as many of us about the prospects for the middle I-69 segment and are hedging their bets with the I-369 "appendage", which at least gets traffic to both I-20 and I-30 -- and which they can develop unilaterally without any input from adjoining states.   And as stated before -- there's a reason the entire corridor was broken up into individual SIU's -- so the more determined jurisdictions can get their sections done according to their own schedules. 
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Bobby5280

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #235 on: July 20, 2019, 02:35:31 PM »

The I-369 corridor is definitely a priority for TX DOT. However, that doesn't mean they're giving segments of I-69 farther South toward Houston a short shrift. The nearer term emphasis is on building bypasses and/or upgrading segments of US-59 to Interstate quality in small cities along the corridor, such as segments of I-69 in Lufkin-Diboll and Nacogdoches. Basically TX DOT has to get ahead of the very messy, anything goes nonsense in many communities along the route that stupidly allow developers to build way too close to the highway ROW. These jerk developers have known the Interstate was coming for many years but choose to build in the way anyway.

Unfortunately the emphasis of getting ahead of developers in towns and small cities along the way comes at the expense of building the longer rural connections of I-69 and I-369.

A lot of planning work has already gone into I-369 in the Marshall area. That is compounded by TX DOT efforts at extending the TX Toll-49 highway from Tyler up across I-20 over the top of Longview and ending at I-369. I'm a little surprised TX DOT intends to build a directional stack interchange with I-20 and I-369. If the same project was taking place in Oklahoma it would almost certainly be built as an old fashioned (and CHEAP) cloverleaf interchange. ODOT couldn't build a stack interchange to save its own life.

I think TX DOT needs to work much harder and much much faster at simply securing the required ROW for I-69 and I-369 and clearing the properties in the way off of the corridor. Texas is seeing unprecedented rapid growth and development. The standard operating procedure process of literally taking decades to build any of this new highway infrastructure simply is not going to work. While TX DOT and others spend years endlessly studying a given corridor segment all sorts of hair-brained, greedy developers are going to continue building all over the land on the proposed corridor. Each year that passes will see more and more homes, businesses hugging up next to US-59, along with lots of driveways spilling traffic directly onto the US-59 main lanes.

It's a Catch-22 situation with these towns. Many of them want the new Interstate coming thru town, along existing US-59 so it doesn't bypass the town on a new terrain alignment. But the town fathers in many of these places have so little discipline at keeping developers in line and keeping their new buildings and driveways off the existing corridor that it all but forces the Interstate on a new terrain alignment.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2019, 02:47:43 PM by Bobby5280 »
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sparker

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Re: Interstate 369
« Reply #236 on: July 20, 2019, 03:27:54 PM »

^^^^^^^^
Yeah, small towns -- and their correspondingly small town budgets -- are often no match for the siren song of development dollars rolling in -- so strip malls get built, motels crowd around interchanges, and invariably a Super Wal-Mart opens next to the bypass, sucking consumer $$ away from the town center.   But the calculus of disrupting town business with an immediately adjacent freeway against all of the above doesn't favor anything but the bypass approach (especially when local residents chime in).  And except for a few chain stores, local businesses are the ones who would piss & moan the most about denial of access to the main drag.  So the circus continues town by town.  And that's the general approach that TXDOT is taking with the US 59/I-69 upgrades north of Houston -- do the most expensive (town bypass) sections first before inflation wreaks havoc, saving the intervening more rural mileage for later.   But being TX, just about any facility save those with frontage roads features full road access via driveways, farm roads (sub-FM variety), ad hoc parking lots carved out next to the roadway, etc.  So either TXDOT has to make provisions for alternate access modes in those locations or simply plan a new-terrain parallel facility (which, IIRC, is what has been planned for the Nacgodoches-Tenaha segment in any instance).  For better or worse, this isn't the '50's or '60's, where eminent domain paperwork was distributed like the local pennysaver -- and folks took their money and hightailed it somewhere else.  Now the paperwork is dominated by impact statements -- both environmental and socioeconomic -- one of the principal reasons actual development proceeds at a glacial pace compared with 50-60 years ago, when such considerations were brushed off or blithefully ignored.  Nevertheless, TX seems to be more proactive than most jurisdictions about making some continuous measure of progress once a corridor concept has been nailed down; so it's likely that, one step at a time, I-69 will make it at least as far north as Tenaha and the I-369 junction in most of our lifetimes.
 
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