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Author Topic: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas  (Read 35406 times)

Anthony_JK

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2015, 12:17:24 PM »

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.

While I'd much rather those at-grades simply not exist, and frontage road connections to the nearest interchanges built; I think that they are so rare and so rarely used that advanced warning signs would be suitable enough. Rather than "Freeway Ends", I'd have "WARNING: Direct Crossing Ahead 1 MILE: WATCH FOR CROSSING TRAFFIC" signs with even flashing yellow lights.
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kkt

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2015, 12:41:57 PM »

Legally it is no longer a freeway at those points.  "Freeway Ends" is a pretty clear description.  Maybe add a "Cross Traffic Ahead" as well, to make it clearer.  But I have to wonder how hard it would be to make a one-lane gravel road paralleling the freeway to the next interchange, and how that cost would compare with putting up warning signs.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2015, 12:50:48 PM »

Problem is, once past the crossing, it becomes a freeway once again; it's not like the road becomes an arterial past that isolated crossing. An isolated "Cross Traffic Ahead" sign would probably do the trick.
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kkt

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2015, 01:15:42 PM »

Then you put a "Begin Freeway" sign after the crossing.
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noelbotevera

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2015, 01:24:30 PM »

Then you put a "Begin Freeway" sign after the crossing.
People would be confused if there was an "End Freeway" sign before the ranch road, then a "Begin Freeway" sign after the ranch road. It's better to use a W1-7 sign or a W2-1 sign from the MUTCD instead.
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2015, 08:20:14 PM »

I've seen Nebraska put up "END/BEGIN FREEWAY" signs at either end of a work zone with a crossover section, so there is precedent for it, I guess. Maybe instead of "begin" it could say "FREEWAY RESUMES". Not that it's particularly necessary.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2015, 01:32:15 AM »

Then you put a "Begin Freeway" sign after the crossing.


All that just for one crossing?? I'd understand if this was an extended segment of at-grades, but not for one mere isolated crossing.
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kkt

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2015, 10:24:29 AM »

Then you put a "Begin Freeway" sign after the crossing.
All that just for one crossing?? I'd understand if this was an extended segment of at-grades, but not for one mere isolated crossing.

it only takes one vehicle pulling in to cause a serious accident if there's not space or they're not seen.

If putting up signs is too much work, they could build a frontage road to the next interchange.  You know, like you're supposed to do with interstates...

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Anthony_JK

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2015, 03:12:07 PM »

Then you put a "Begin Freeway" sign after the crossing.
All that just for one crossing?? I'd understand if this was an extended segment of at-grades, but not for one mere isolated crossing.

it only takes one vehicle pulling in to cause a serious accident if there's not space or they're not seen.

If putting up signs is too much work, they could build a frontage road to the next interchange.  You know, like you're supposed to do with interstates...



My point exactly. It wouldn't be that hard to simply build a frontage road for local traffic, and use the closest interchange for access, rather than breaking the controlled access rules for one house or two.
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dfwmapper

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2015, 03:31:39 PM »

Some of these are located in places where there might not be another interchange for 5 or 10 miles. That's a lot of pavement to lay for half a vehicle per day. Especially when the vehicle in question is a pickup with good ground clearance and Texas is a state where medians are often viewed as mere suggestions.
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lordsutch

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2015, 05:25:16 PM »

As an alternative to median breaks or flyovers, I think it would be safe enough to install median U-turns a mile or two upstream and downstream of each at-grade access - essentially a Superstreet treatment without the signalization. That would avoid the potential T-bone problems and save money on overpasses.
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2015, 05:47:32 PM »

As an alternative to median breaks or flyovers, I think it would be safe enough to install median U-turns a mile or two upstream and downstream of each at-grade access - essentially a Superstreet treatment without the signalization.
I-10 at I-20 gets more U-turning traffic than these ever would.
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kkt

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #37 on: June 15, 2015, 04:43:38 PM »

If Texas wants the red, white, and blue shield, they've gotta build them to interstate standards.  If they don't want to build interstates, they can stay US routes.

Sure, the crossings are only used once in a while, but that only means the freeway traffic will not be looking for cross-traffic at all.  It would be entirely on the cross-traffic to judge how quickly the freeway traffic is approaching, and it's well-known that it's hard to estimate how quickly someone is coming almost directly toward you.
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mwb1848

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #38 on: June 15, 2015, 05:34:28 PM »

Legally it is no longer a freeway at those points.  "Freeway Ends" is a pretty clear description.  Maybe add a "Cross Traffic Ahead" as well, to make it clearer.  But I have to wonder how hard it would be to make a one-lane gravel road paralleling the freeway to the next interchange, and how that cost would compare with putting up warning signs.

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Bobby5280

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2015, 01:22:14 PM »

Quote from: Anthony_JK
Problem is, once past the crossing, it becomes a freeway once again; it's not like the road becomes an arterial past that isolated crossing. An isolated "Cross Traffic Ahead" sign would probably do the trick.

Those stretches of I-10 in West Texas and I-40 in the Texas Panhandle have several at grade crossings. It's not just one or a couple. There is a whole series of those crossings. I would remove the Interstate designation between where the at grade crossings begin and end. The speed limits ought to be lowered from 80mph down to 65mph or 70mph.

The "Freeway Ends" signs would be consistent with other highways in Texas that transition from freeway facilities to expressway facilities with at-grade turns. Flashing yellow caution lights would be a good idea at the beginning of the sequence of crossover turns. I might even include signs stating the at grade turns occur for the next X number of miles.

Quote from: lordsutch
As an alternative to median breaks or flyovers, I think it would be safe enough to install median U-turns a mile or two upstream and downstream of each at-grade access - essentially a Superstreet treatment without the signalization. That would avoid the potential T-bone problems and save money on overpasses.

Both freeway roadways would have to be re-built and spread fairly wide apart to allow a large enough U-turn inside the median that doesn't require turning traffic to turn at very slow speeds. Such a thing could be costly, maybe even as much as building a normal exit with an overpass. Might as well build a service plaza or rest area in the median for such an approach.
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lordsutch

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2015, 01:49:16 PM »

Quote from: lordsutch
As an alternative to median breaks or flyovers, I think it would be safe enough to install median U-turns a mile or two upstream and downstream of each at-grade access - essentially a Superstreet treatment without the signalization. That would avoid the potential T-bone problems and save money on overpasses.

Both freeway roadways would have to be re-built and spread fairly wide apart to allow a large enough U-turn inside the median that doesn't require turning traffic to turn at very slow speeds. Such a thing could be costly, maybe even as much as building a normal exit with an overpass. Might as well build a service plaza or rest area in the median for such an approach.

Looks like a pretty big-ass median to me. Pave a 1/3 mile acceleration and deceleration lane in the median, and you've got plenty of room for a 10-15 mph curve. You can build a lot of high-quality U-turns for overpass money.

If cops can safely pull a U-turn at an unpaved median break without acceleration and deceleration lanes, mere mortals can probably pull one off safely with this much help.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 05:02:35 PM by lordsutch »
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Anthony_JK

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #41 on: June 17, 2015, 01:48:42 AM »

Quote from: Anthony_JK
Problem is, once past the crossing, it becomes a freeway once again; it's not like the road becomes an arterial past that isolated crossing. An isolated "Cross Traffic Ahead" sign would probably do the trick.

Those stretches of I-10 in West Texas and I-40 in the Texas Panhandle have several at grade crossings. It's not just one or a couple. There is a whole series of those crossings. I would remove the Interstate designation between where the at grade crossings begin and end. The speed limits ought to be lowered from 80mph down to 65mph or 70mph.

The "Freeway Ends" signs would be consistent with other highways in Texas that transition from freeway facilities to expressway facilities with at-grade turns. Flashing yellow caution lights would be a good idea at the beginning of the sequence of crossover turns. I might even include signs stating the at grade turns occur for the next X number of miles.

Doing that would essentially render them useless as Interstate routes. If you have too many at-grade crossovers, it no longer is a controlled access facility, and thusly should not be considered an Interstate. It's one thing to have isolated at-grades in the middle on nowhere, but too many of them is a dangerous thing. Frontage roads to the next available interchange would be a better alternative.

Quote
Quote from: lordsutch
As an alternative to median breaks or flyovers, I think it would be safe enough to install median U-turns a mile or two upstream and downstream of each at-grade access - essentially a Superstreet treatment without the signalization. That would avoid the potential T-bone problems and save money on overpasses.

Both freeway roadways would have to be re-built and spread fairly wide apart to allow a large enough U-turn inside the median that doesn't require turning traffic to turn at very slow speeds. Such a thing could be costly, maybe even as much as building a normal exit with an overpass. Might as well build a service plaza or rest area in the median for such an approach.

You could do as Louisiana has done with their "J-turns" and build turn bays where the U-turn movements have enough space beyond the mainline ROW to negotiate median U-turns. Once again, though, that still would break the controlled access aspect of the highway, and possibly create a dangerous situation.

One or two isolated at-grades used as RIRO's I have no problem with. More than two, though? Use continuous frontage roads or use what TX is doing with US 77 with off-ramp RIRO's and intermettent "cross-under" overpasses. An Interstate shield should mean "fully controlled access" if it has any meaning at all.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2015, 01:52:33 AM »

Quote from: lordsutch
As an alternative to median breaks or flyovers, I think it would be safe enough to install median U-turns a mile or two upstream and downstream of each at-grade access - essentially a Superstreet treatment without the signalization. That would avoid the potential T-bone problems and save money on overpasses.

Both freeway roadways would have to be re-built and spread fairly wide apart to allow a large enough U-turn inside the median that doesn't require turning traffic to turn at very slow speeds. Such a thing could be costly, maybe even as much as building a normal exit with an overpass. Might as well build a service plaza or rest area in the median for such an approach.

Looks like a pretty big-ass median to me. Pave a 1/3 mile acceleration and deceleration lane in the median, and you've got plenty of room for a 10-15 mph curve. You can build a lot of high-quality U-turns for overpass money.

If cops can safely pull a U-turn at an unpaved median break without acceleration and deceleration lanes, mere mortals can probably pull one off safely with this much help.

There is a fundamental difference between cops and emergency personnel having median breaks on Interstates for emergency response reasons, and regular people having them just for the fun of turning around. The former is vital; the latter simply isn't.
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Bobby5280

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #43 on: June 19, 2015, 01:12:56 AM »

Ultimately you can't have people making right turns or left turns off the main lanes of an Interstate highway. They're going to slow down at speeds of next to nothing to make the CHEAP, non-Interstate standard, 90 degree turn.

Most divided expressways with at-grade turns have dedicated turn lanes, especially for left turns. I see none of those with the at-grade right/left turns on I-10, I-40 or any other Interstate for that matter. That's a dangerous design flaw.

A U-turn in the median must allow adequate room for deceleration away from main lane traffic. A narrow median is not going to provide the space for that.

As far as I'm concerned, I-10 and I-40 in Texas remain incomplete as long as those at grade turns are in place. I think the powers that be just went ahead and signed the routes all the way through as if they were completed. But they really were not. Those segments of the road are expressway standard bearing Interstate shields. They're not full Interstate quality.
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Molandfreak

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #44 on: June 19, 2015, 07:19:04 AM »

As far as I'm concerned, I-10 and I-40 in Texas remain incomplete as long as those at grade turns are in place. I think the powers that be just went ahead and signed the routes all the way through as if they were completed. But they really were not. Those segments of the road are expressway standard bearing Interstate shields. They're not full Interstate quality.
OK, since you appear to not understand an exaggeration, very few people make those turns. Probably two or less per day. The folks that need them understand that drivers aren't expecting this and are going to give ample warning that they are doing so.
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #45 on: June 19, 2015, 03:39:11 PM »

True, but if you are eastbound on 10 and you see a vehicle with their left signal on for a few miles in advance, won't you just ignore it and assume they are a retiree for AZ.
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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #46 on: June 19, 2015, 07:26:48 PM »

True, but if you are eastbound on 10 and you see a vehicle with their left signal on for a few miles in advance, won't you just ignore it and assume they are a retiree for AZ.

How much driving experience do you have? Watching out for other drivers doing unexpected things is part of the task of driving on any road. You're less likely to encounter someone using one of these at-grades on an Interstate than any number of surprising and possibly more dangerous manoeuvres anywhere else.
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Sykotyk

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #47 on: June 20, 2015, 05:44:47 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.

I think you're greatly exaggerating the volume of traffic utilizing these ranch accesses on a daily basis. I've driven through West Texas many times on I-10 and I-20 and have never once seen a car either pulling off or pulling onto the highway.

In addition, traffic volumes on the interstate themselves aren't so high as someone who wanted to get onto the highway at an at-grade would generally be able to find a reasonable gap, even at 80mph, to get on and accelerate up to highway speed. As for traffic slowing to stop, in Texas drivers utilize shoulders on almost all rural roads to make a right turn, and a left turn can be accomplished almost the same along most stretches of I-10 or I-20.

I-40 has a few just east of New Mexico, but again, I've never yet seen someone use them. I'm sure the AADT for one of these 'crossroads' is less than .5/day.
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Sykotyk

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #48 on: June 20, 2015, 05:47:39 PM »

True, but if you are eastbound on 10 and you see a vehicle with their left signal on for a few miles in advance, won't you just ignore it and assume they are a retiree for AZ.

How much driving experience do you have? Watching out for other drivers doing unexpected things is part of the task of driving on any road. You're less likely to encounter someone using one of these at-grades on an Interstate than any number of surprising and possibly more dangerous manoeuvres anywhere else.

I think there's more utilization of illegal crossovers on a daily basis by traffic volume than there is usage of these at-grade intersections in West Texas.
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Rothman

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Re: At-grade intersections on Interstates in Texas
« Reply #49 on: June 21, 2015, 02:21:50 PM »

Quote from: Sykotyk link=topic=3624.msg2073207#msg2073207
  I've never yet seen someone use them. I'm sure the AADT for one of these 'crossroads' is less than .5/day.

Heh.  Reminds me of someone who calculated the Vatican City's population density as "more or less 2 Popes."
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 05:59:42 PM by Rothman »
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