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Author Topic: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas  (Read 35433 times)

Anthony_JK

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At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« on: April 22, 2015, 09:12:28 PM »

[Split off from the I-69 in Texas thread: http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=3624.0 -S.]

That would be a BAD idea to keep the at-grades, because that would set a bad precedent for allowing at-grades on Interstate grade facilities. The current proposal for US 77 (the intermittent exits and grade-separated turnarounds) is a reasonable compromise. It's bad enough we have Breezwood and I-180 in Cheyenne.

A better idea for flexibility in future Interstate designation would be to allow "future designations" in corridors already in the works to be upgraded.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2015, 04:22:58 PM by Scott5114 »
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2015, 11:04:17 PM »

That would be a BAD idea to keep the at-grades, because that would set a bad precedent for allowing at-grades on Interstate grade facilities.
Uh, I-10 and I-40 already have them in slightly more populated areas of west Texas.
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2015, 12:03:36 AM »

That would be a BAD idea to keep the at-grades, because that would set a bad precedent for allowing at-grades on Interstate grade facilities.
Uh, I-10 and I-40 already have them in slightly more populated areas of west Texas.

That I have noticed, with minimally travelled dirt tracks at a grade-level junction with the I-10 in the Texas Mountain Corridor well east of El Paso.  Though I would barely be comfortable with turning onto an 80mi/h interstate from a dirt track which might be good for 30mi/h on a good day.
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Bobby5280

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2015, 04:45:02 PM »

At grade right/left turns & at grade traffic crossing should not be happening on an Interstate highway, especially one with the high speeds I-10 has in West Texas. There are no turn lanes for acceleration or deceleration at those intersections. Traffic has to slow down from going 80mph or faster down to nothing to make any of those turns. From what I've seen via Street View in Google Earth those intersections are poorly signed.

The other danger is the element of surprise to motorists, cruising along at 80mph not expecting any at grade turns with possible crossing or turning traffic. Plenty of drivers are distracted and inattentive. On a very long drive, like the trek between El Paso and San Antonio one can get a little hypnotized by both the length and desolation of the trip. They might not be perfectly ready to have to suddenly hit the breaks for cars ahead slowing to make a right or left turn, or other drivers turning onto the road in front of them.

I think the short stretches of frontage roads for at grade right turns and no crossing traffic across Interstate lanes is a good alternative. It's not going to hurt a rural farmer or oil field work to drive a mile or two down the road to the next bridge to get across to the other side of the highway.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2015, 03:42:52 AM »

At grade right/left turns & at grade traffic crossing should not be happening on an Interstate highway, especially one with the high speeds I-10 has in West Texas. There are no turn lanes for acceleration or deceleration at those intersections. Traffic has to slow down from going 80mph or faster down to nothing to make any of those turns. From what I've seen via Street View in Google Earth those intersections are poorly signed.

The other danger is the element of surprise to motorists, cruising along at 80mph not expecting any at grade turns with possible crossing or turning traffic. Plenty of drivers are distracted and inattentive. On a very long drive, like the trek between El Paso and San Antonio one can get a little hypnotized by both the length and desolation of the trip. They might not be perfectly ready to have to suddenly hit the breaks for cars ahead slowing to make a right or left turn, or other drivers turning onto the road in front of them.

I think the short stretches of frontage roads for at grade right turns and no crossing traffic across Interstate lanes is a good alternative. It's not going to hurt a rural farmer or oil field work to drive a mile or two down the road to the next bridge to get across to the other side of the highway.

That is exactly my point...we already have major issues on US 90 between Lafayette and Morgan City where drivers going at 70mph speeds through the freeway-completed segments all of a sudden run into the at-grade intersections at LA 318 and/or going into Broussard or Patterson.  If you are going to build a freeway, build a FREEWAY....not a half-ass "temporary" facility.

The proposal for US 77/I-69E and US 281/I-69C are more than adequate compromises that retain the freeway concept while allowing for access to the ranch properties. I'd still prefer continuous frontage roads throughout that segment to completely separate farm equipment from through traffic on the mainlanes; and I do hope that TXDOT has allowed for auxillary lanes between the "ramps" and the "crossunders" along with adequate vertical clearance for the overpasses for farm/ranch equipment. Better that than risking death with at-grade crossovers, which have no business being on a fully- controlled access facility.
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Brian556

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2015, 04:15:05 PM »

quote from Anthony_JK:
Quote
If you are going to build a freeway, build a FREEWAY....not a half-ass "temporary" facility.

amen. thank you. Half-assed temporary facilities are unsafe.
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2015, 04:35:41 PM »

Yes.  The reason that they wanted an Interstate shield instead of a state route was the prestige that comes with a limited access route!  If you didn't want to actually build a limited-access route, make it a state route.
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Atomica

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2015, 03:34:44 AM »

Considering that Texas have a $15bn surplus, I would think they would be able to afford a few million just to build frontage roads, an occasional overpass, and even an occasional interchange along the I-10 in Hudspeth and Jeff Davis Counties - or failing that at least an occasional turn lane and a flashing TRAFFIC APPROACHING sign like there are at a number of Missouri interchanges for those dirt tracks branching off the I-10.
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dfwmapper

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2015, 11:41:55 AM »

Better to spend those millions where it will actually have an impact on safety or traffic flow. There just isn't enough volume on the driveways or freeways to make it worth the effort to go back and close off access on I-10/I-40. It's not like you're going to randomly come upon a truck that just made the turn either, all of them are in areas with flat terrain and miles of visibility, and the people who use them are smart enough to not play chicken with semis doing 80.
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2015, 11:12:36 AM »

At grade right/left turns & at grade traffic crossing should not be happening on an Interstate highway, especially one with the high speeds I-10 has in West Texas. There are no turn lanes for acceleration or deceleration at those intersections. Traffic has to slow down from going 80mph or faster down to nothing to make any of those turns. From what I've seen via Street View in Google Earth those intersections are poorly signed.

The other danger is the element of surprise to motorists, cruising along at 80mph not expecting any at grade turns with possible crossing or turning traffic. Plenty of drivers are distracted and inattentive. On a very long drive, like the trek between El Paso and San Antonio one can get a little hypnotized by both the length and desolation of the trip. They might not be perfectly ready to have to suddenly hit the breaks for cars ahead slowing to make a right or left turn, or other drivers turning onto the road in front of them.

I think the short stretches of frontage roads for at grade right turns and no crossing traffic across Interstate lanes is a good alternative. It's not going to hurt a rural farmer or oil field work to drive a mile or two down the road to the next bridge to get across to the other side of the highway.

What's the traffic like on that part of I-10?  I imagine it's easily a LOS A facility.  If a farm truck slows down to turn off the freeway ahead of you, just change lanes to pass.  You probably won't even have to disengage your cruise control.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2015, 10:17:10 PM »

At grade right/left turns & at grade traffic crossing should not be happening on an Interstate highway, especially one with the high speeds I-10 has in West Texas. There are no turn lanes for acceleration or deceleration at those intersections. Traffic has to slow down from going 80mph or faster down to nothing to make any of those turns. From what I've seen via Street View in Google Earth those intersections are poorly signed.

The other danger is the element of surprise to motorists, cruising along at 80mph not expecting any at grade turns with possible crossing or turning traffic. Plenty of drivers are distracted and inattentive. On a very long drive, like the trek between El Paso and San Antonio one can get a little hypnotized by both the length and desolation of the trip. They might not be perfectly ready to have to suddenly hit the breaks for cars ahead slowing to make a right or left turn, or other drivers turning onto the road in front of them.

I think the short stretches of frontage roads for at grade right turns and no crossing traffic across Interstate lanes is a good alternative. It's not going to hurt a rural farmer or oil field work to drive a mile or two down the road to the next bridge to get across to the other side of the highway.

What's the traffic like on that part of I-10?  I imagine it's easily a LOS A facility.  If a farm truck slows down to turn off the freeway ahead of you, just change lanes to pass.  You probably won't even have to disengage your cruise control.

A 40 mph farm truck negotiating a turn-off on a freeway posted for 75 or 80 mph??? Seriously?? By the time you do disengage your cruise control you're dead.  Unless you have proper warning signals for such turn-offs, better to have frontage roads or back roads for that.
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Molandfreak

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2015, 10:24:15 PM »

What kind of idiot wouldn't pull off and slow down on the shoulder for those turns? Leave them there, no harm in them.


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dfwmapper

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2015, 11:07:48 PM »

A 40 mph farm truck negotiating a turn-off on a freeway posted for 75 or 80 mph??? Seriously?? By the time you do disengage your cruise control you're dead.  Unless you have proper warning signals for such turn-offs, better to have frontage roads or back roads for that.
Maybe pay attention while you're driving. It's not like you're going to go over a hill and randomly come upon turning traffic. All of the areas with direct freeway access are flat as a board. You'll see that truck at least a mile before you get to it and have plenty of time to move over.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2015, 11:58:00 PM »

What kind of idiot wouldn't pull off and slow down on the shoulder for those turns? Leave them there, no harm in them.


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So...you're saying that through traffic on a freeway designed for 70 mph should cede to the shoulder for turning traffic onto a direct crossover? In that case, it's no longer a freeway. Would you recommend that everywhere for all Interstate-grade freeways to have direct access crossovers? NO.
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Molandfreak

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2015, 12:01:00 AM »


What kind of idiot wouldn't pull off and slow down on the shoulder for those turns? Leave them there, no harm in them.


iPhone

So...you're saying that through traffic on a freeway designed for 70 mph should cede to the shoulder for turning traffic onto a direct crossover? In that case, it's no longer a freeway. Would you recommend that everywhere for all Interstate-grade freeways to have direct access crossovers? NO.
I'm taking about traffic on RIROs going into the shoulder to turn. Not other traffic going on the shoulder.


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Anthony_JK

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2015, 12:06:22 AM »


What kind of idiot wouldn't pull off and slow down on the shoulder for those turns? Leave them there, no harm in them.


iPhone

So...you're saying that through traffic on a freeway designed for 70 mph should cede to the shoulder for turning traffic onto a direct crossover? In that case, it's no longer a freeway. Would you recommend that everywhere for all Interstate-grade freeways to have direct access crossovers? NO.
I'm taking about traffic on RIROs going into the shoulder to turn. Not other traffic going on the shoulder.


iPhone

OK...for RIRO's, that would be acceptable, although I still would prefer a dedicated turning lane rather than using the shoulder, just to free up the mainlaines.

My real issue is with *left-turn* at-grade crossovers used for direct access on otherwise freeway facilities. HELL TO THE NO on that.
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2015, 10:11:11 AM »

Like this one near Sierra Blanca. It's not really a deserted stretch of freeway with 18,000 vehicles per day.

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2015, 11:31:39 AM »

The only grade crossings I know of are west of I-20, where traffic counts are significantly higher.  East of I-20 traffic is ridiculously light, reaching as low as 3,800.  This is a predictable outcome, since west of the junction the road serves as the route for two combined highways.  I do wonder about why they put the grade crossings there instead of between I-20 and Junction.
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2015, 10:04:11 PM »

Yes but what was the projected traffic count for 20 years in the future when the highway was designed 50+ years ago? Some people on the forum seem to imagine those at-grade crossings were approved and built yesterday. Are they problematic today? Probably not, or there would be a whole thread here about the constant accidents. They certainly weren't problematic within a couple decades of the highway's construction.

Bringing the thread back on topic, I suspect traffic counts on the roads that will become I-69 are already high enough that at-grade crossings would be too conspicuous a deficiency.
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2015, 10:55:58 PM »

Traffic counts in Kenedy County are 9,000 to 10,000, significantly less than where these crossings are.  I doubt if Interstating the road will increase that, since it's already the only viable connection.

I'm not opposed to the crossings, if they're rare exceptions.  On I-10 I think they're all, or almost all, for private drives, so it's only the few people who use those drives who use the crossings.  I did once make a hard right turn onto the frontage road, just for the novelty (there was an exit to where I wanted to go).  I've never turned left or gone straight across one.  Since there aren't a lot of them, and (I think) they're only for private drives (I need to inventory all of them), and they're in a pretty desolate area, it doesn't bother me.  The same argument could be made in Kenedy County, where there are no public roads for nearly 50 miles (more than twice the distance between roads on I-10).

If there are going to be grade crossings on I-10, I'd rather see them east of I-20.  To the west, the road is by no means busy, but to the east, it's desolate.  Some of the money spent on frontage roads and overpasses could have been shifted west.
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O Tamandua

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2015, 11:38:33 PM »

Traffic counts in Kenedy County are 9,000 to 10,000, significantly less than where these crossings are.  I doubt if Interstating the road will increase that, since it's already the only viable connection.

I'm not opposed to the crossings, if they're rare exceptions.  On I-10 I think they're all, or almost all, for private drives, so it's only the few people who use those drives who use the crossings.  I did once make a hard right turn onto the frontage road, just for the novelty (there was an exit to where I wanted to go).  I've never turned left or gone straight across one.  Since there aren't a lot of them, and (I think) they're only for private drives (I need to inventory all of them), and they're in a pretty desolate area, it doesn't bother me.  The same argument could be made in Kenedy County, where there are no public roads for nearly 50 miles (more than twice the distance between roads on I-10).

If there are going to be grade crossings on I-10, I'd rather see them east of I-20.  To the west, the road is by no means busy, but to the east, it's desolate.  Some of the money spent on frontage roads and overpasses could have been shifted west.

I will probably get laughed at for this and maybe rightly so, but, wondering out loud...

One major difference I would see between I-10 and (future) I-69E through Kenedy County is that the latter (unless things have changed) must be a HUGE route for "spring breakers" down to South Padre Island.  I've been to Big Bend National park south of I-10 and it's pretty cool...but my gut feeling is that I-10, while carrying much interstate traffic, also carries a lot of West Texas traffic which more than likely would expect or at least be more used to ranches and their occasional need for an Interstate grade crossing, and that there will be far less kids from D/FW, Houston and beyond going to Big Bend, Fort Stockton, Ozona and Eldorado than will be going to Harlingen, Brownsville and the powdery beaches to the east.

JMO, but I-69 in Kenedy would have to see, at times, a LOT of kids driving down who've never seen a real live ranch before, and could probably care less as they're likely driving like bats out of you-know-where trying to get to a place of sun, booze and the opposite sex in bathing suits.  Again, I'm just wondering, but my gut feeling is that there is a potential for more and very, deadly serious accidents among the crowd who still think they're 10 feet tall and bulletproof, hence the possible perceived need for a different type of protection on this route.

Laugh for the day.  :sombrero:
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 11:52:04 PM by O Tamandua »
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dfwmapper

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2015, 12:52:38 AM »

But the question for those people is whether they would even notice a distinction between the road as a 4 lane divided highway with all major crossings grade separated but occasional driveways accessible at-grade, versus a fully access-controlled freeway. And the answer is "probably not". Anyone who has driven any length of time in Texas (or really, just about anywhere in the central US) is already used to driving on this type of road. There are so many better ways to use that money than closing off a couple driveways that see no traffic.
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2015, 01:47:25 PM »

Quote from: Molandfreak
What kind of idiot wouldn't pull off and slow down on the shoulder for those turns?

Lots of people actually. Never ever underestimate the stupidity and selfishness of other drivers on the road.

Here in the Lawton area I see drivers do all kinds of stupid nonsense, including slowing down to a near stop in the travel lanes of a high speed divided road like OK-7 or OK-49 to make a hard right or left turn. It would make sense to pull off to the shoulder, slow down and then make the turn. Plenty of drivers prefer doing things that don't make any sense. Or they just like driving with their heads up their backsides (digital backsides if it involves a phone). Just a couple days ago a bad accident happened on OK-49 right in front of the Fisherman's Cove restaurant. A guy leaving the restaurant in broad daylight just pulled right out in front of an oncoming car despite good visibility in both directions.

I see drivers around here routinely never using a turn signal. I see funny things like right turns made from the left lane and left turns from the right lane. It's great fun to have timid drivers come to a complete stop on an I-44 on ramp or off ramp. Everyone gets to test their breaks and then their vehicle's acceleration capabilities when they now have next to nothing in terms of an acceleration lane. Let's not forget the huge range of driving speeds! We have both lane swerving maniacs going 20mph over the posted limit and others driving 20mph below the limit at the same time.

Maybe driving etiquette is a little different in far West Texas, but I would be horrified if ODOT built any new at grade right/left turns on I-44 around here. They would be invitations to fatal disaster.

Quote from: dfwmapper
Maybe pay attention while you're driving. It's not like you're going to go over a hill and randomly come upon turning traffic. All of the areas with direct freeway access are flat as a board. You'll see that truck at least a mile before you get to it and have plenty of time to move over.

It's more difficult to gauge distance, particularly slowing and stopping distance needed, when you're driving really fast -like at those 80mph limits (and 5-10mph above) on I-10. Some knucklead slowing down to nothing in the main lanes rather than the shoulder to make a turn and not using his turn signal creates an outrageous hazard for others on the road. And that's just at daytime. It's going to be even worse at night. Cooter Brown could be making one of those turns in his 50 year old beater truck with taillights barely as bright as a firefly's butt.

Quote from: wxfree
Traffic counts in Kenedy County are 9,000 to 10,000, significantly less than where these crossings are.  I doubt if Interstating the road will increase that, since it's already the only viable connection.

The traffic counts may not be much now, but they'll surely increase as more of I-69 gets completed and as the far South Texas region continues to grow in population.

Right now I-35 is the primary road link between Texas and Mexico. A good bit of that traffic could shift East to Reynosa & Matamoros and the I-69C & I-69W corridors as I-69 gets filled in between South Texas and Houston. Traffic headed to the US from places like Mexico City might hug more to coastal routes than having to go over the mountains to get to Monterrey.

Mexico's efforts to modernize its oil industry (by inviting outside investment & development from companies from the US and elsewhere) will certainly result in at least some additional road & rail traffic between the US & Mexico. A lot of that traffic will probably stay close to the Gulf Coast, which leads up through Matamoros and Brownsville.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2015, 01:29:14 AM by Bobby5280 »
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Molandfreak

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2015, 06:59:39 PM »

Quote from: Molandfreak
What kind of idiot wouldn't pull off and slow down on the shoulder for those turns?

Lots of people actually. Never ever underestimate the stupidity and selfishness of other drivers on the road.

Here in the Lawton area I see drivers do all kinds of stupid nonsense, including slowing down to a near stop in the travel lanes of a high speed divided road like OK-7 or OK-49 to make a hard right or left turn. It would make sense to pull off to the shoulder, slow down and then make the turn. Plenty of drivers prefer doing things that don't make any sense. Or they just like driving with their heads up their backsides (digital backsides if it involves a phone). Just a couple days ago a bad accident happened on OK-49 right in front of the Fisherman's Cove restaurant. A guy leaving the restaurant in broad daylight just pulled right out in front of an oncoming car despite good visibility in both directions.

I see drivers around here routinely never using a turn signal. I see funny things like right turns made from the left lane and left turns from the right lane. It's great fun to have timid drivers come to a complete stop on an I-44 on ramp or off ramp. Everyone gets to test their breaks and then their vehicle's acceleration capabilities when they now have next to nothing in terms of an acceleration lane. Let's not forget the huge range of driving speeds! We have both lane swerving maniacs going 20mph over the posted limit and others driving 20mph below the limit at the same time.

Maybe driving etiquette is a little different in far West Texas, but I would be horrified if ODOT built any new at grade right/left turns on I-44 around here. They would be invitations to fatal disaster.
Those people shouldn't be allowed to drive. Doesn't mean that the DOT has to waste money to remove at-grades with roads nobody uses.
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2015, 08:17:36 PM »

Quote
Those people shouldn't be allowed to drive. Doesn't mean that the DOT has to waste money to remove at-grades with roads nobody uses.

If nobody uses them then why are the at-grades there in the first place? Why is TX DOT wasting money maintaining those intersections and roads no one supposedly uses?

While I agree certain drivers I encounter shouldn't be allowed to drive, enforcing such a thing is only possible in a perfect world. Limited access highways not only allow higher, uninterrupted driving speeds, they make an attempt to idiot-proof the flow of traffic, limiting how and when drivers can make a turn. Having at-grade right/left turns directly off the main lanes of a 80mph Interstate defeats that purpose.

If it was up to me, those parts of I-10 and I-40 in far West Texas and the Texas Panhandle wouldn't carry Interstate designations along the segments where those at-grade turns existed. I'd have "freeway ends" signs posted to alert drivers they're coming up on at-grade intersections.
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