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Author Topic: I-14 in Texas  (Read 35145 times)

Grzrd

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I-14 in Texas
« on: November 21, 2016, 05:04:02 PM »

The scope of the I-14 project has expanded well beyond Copperas Cove and Belton. I decided to start a "catch-all" I-14 thread for Texas.

This Nov. 8 article report that Midland may seek an amendment to the i-14 legislation which would change the western terminus to Midland.  Also, they want TxDOT to further study possible extensions of I-27 down to I-20, which might theoretically link to the I-14 extension:

Quote
The Midland Development Corp. in recent years has put much of its effort into developing the aerospace industry in the Tall City, but at Monday’s monthly meeting, the MDC made clear its continued support for transportation on the ground.
The MDC voted unanimously to approve engaging in a promotional agreement with the Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance (MOTRAN) in the sum of $90,000, which is to be paid in two equal installments, first on Dec. 1 and again on April 1.
MOTRAN, whose main purpose is to create a trade corridor between Midland-Odessa to Chihuahua City in Mexico, has been active this year in the creation of Interstate 14, known as the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway System or “Ports to Forts.”
The already-congressionally approved plan would create a terminus where I-10 meets U.S. Highway 190 at Iraan and create an interstate east through Central Texas to Fort Polk in Louisiana. MOTRAN is working to change the west terminus to connect with I-20 at State Highway 158 in Midland, instead, thus turning SH 158 and U.S. 87 between Midland and Brady into interstate highway. A change would require congressional approval.
MOTRAN Executive Director James Beauchamp said at Monday’s meeting that this is a better use of transportation dollars because the roadway between Brady and Midland sees more than 1,100 trucks per day carrying frac sand on this corridor, and he estimates the frac sand traffic will grow to 2,000 per day in the next few years.
The area at US 190 and I-10 only sees 1,000 vehicles per day, Beauchamp said.
Another major benefit to changing the Forts to Ports plan is that it better connects Midland-Odessa to other major energy centers on the Gulf Coast and would provide easier access to Corpus Christi through an I-10 and I-37 feeder connector running south through San Antonio.
The MDC board showed its support for MOTRAN’s I-14 plan by voting unanimously to support the re-designation at Monday’s meeting. But the MDC doesn’t have its sights only set on south Midland.
The MDC board voted unanimously to approve a resolution to request the Texas Department of Transportation to evaluate and study the extension of I-27, whose southern terminus is south of Lubbock. MDC will request TxDOT look at several possible routes beyond what was suggested in a 1997 study. That study showed a few possibilities where I-27 could have a terminus on I-10.
MOTRAN and MDC will ask TxDOT to pursue a study about possible routes in this area that will create a terminus at I-20.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board supported the creation of ready-to-go projects, such as finishing the eastern portion of Loop 250, so that it will be easier to fund these projects when federal and state money is available.

Here is a snip of the map accompanying the article:

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nexus73

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2016, 08:00:02 PM »

Looks like all the Jade Helm FEMA camps will get connected with freeways...LOL!  On a more serious note, since I do not live in Texas, is an I-14 corridor worthwhile?  If so, I hope you get the whole shebang, sooner than later too.

Rick
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2016, 01:59:40 AM »

That's some Porky Pig crap right there. I've said my peace about "I-14" and how that route should really be a Houston thru Austin to I-10 in West Texas past Fredricksburg kind of a thing. This little news story just seems to be a big solicitation for a whole lot of federal pork. And it's pork that most likely will not be awarded.

IMHO, the Belton to Copperas Cove corridor is just fine as it is. If it needs to be named as an Interstate highway, call it I-135. Don't waste a I-14 designation on it. There's no justification to build out such a route. The destinations along that corridor are not nearly big enough to warrant an Interstate.

OTOH, I will certainly agree I-27 needs to be extended, both North and South. But NOT through Midland. Point I-27 thru Big Spring and San Angelo. I think I-27 should meet I-10 in Junction, TX to create an Amarillo to San Antonio corridor. From there I-27 gets extended North through Dumas, TX and Boise City, OK and then sent up into SE Colorado thru Lamar and Kit Carson on the way to a connection in Limon with I-70. That would be a really beneficial addition to the Interstate highway system. This I-14 nonsense is a bunch of would be pork barrel indulgence. Central Texas needs other corridors built out to freeway quality more urgently than this I-14 concept garbage. TX-6 between Waco and College Station needs an Interstate quality upgrade far more than this I-14 nonsense. Both US-290 and TX-71 between metro Houston and Austin need freeway quality upgrades. This I-14 thing should really be way way down on the list of priorities.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2016, 03:31:19 PM »

I agree about an Interstate 14 following the US 290 corridor between Austin and Houston. The existing US 190 freeway should be a three-digit spur of Interstate 35, if it needs an Interstate designation at all.
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longhorn

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2016, 10:36:20 AM »

290 between AUS and Elgin have been a "poor man's four lane" hwy for so long, TXDot must not  think its a priority. AUS-Houston does need to be upgraded.

Finding an alternate route from Amarillo to Houston is a great idea, and get some traffic off of I45 and 287.

I half agree about the three digit interstate on 190 between Cove and Belton. I believe I-14 should run north of Bryan and connect with I-10 at Beamont on the east side. On the west side split near San Angelo, turn 87 into I-27 and have I-14 end at Ft. Stockton at I-10. This routing would provide alternate Amarillo-Houston route and provide a route to have big trucks bypass San Antonio and Houston, providing a bypass like I-12 in Louisiana.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2016, 04:28:32 PM »

I could certainly imagine an Interstate quality Northern bypass of Houston leaving I-10 at Beaumont and following along or near the TX-105 corridor.

Once the route gets close to the US-59/I-69 corridor it could be a tough slog to build. However traffic levels along TX-105 between Montgomery, Conroe and Cleveland have grown pretty bad. TX DOT has some conservative plans to 4-lane TX-105 between Conroe and Cleveland. With fast growth spreading in that area it may really need a Navasota-Cleveland freeway/turnpike or at least the beginnings of one via a divided highway with wide median.

It would be cheaper to hook a "I-14" bypass of Houston into the Northern part of the Grand Parkway and then have it follow TX-249 toward Navasota. But that wouldn't solve as many problems.

The part of this "I-14" coming from the Killeen and Temple area is tougher to justify. The preliminary route they have drawn is really jagged. It is doing more to whore itself to every community possible in Central Texas without giving car drivers and truckers a reasonably straight path they would expect from an Interstate.

I still contend Austin needs a complete East-West Interstate, not just Austin to Houston. From I-10 Exit 477 in West Texas, thru Fredericksburg, Austin, Brenham, Hempstead and back down to I-10 at Exit 763 in Houston. US-290 will eventually claw its way out the Western side of Austin. I would prefer the route as "I-14" but "I-12" wouldn't be the end of the world. Still, I think TX-71 between Austin and Columbus (I-10) has a better shot of a freeway upgrade than this I-14 concept to connect some military bases, especially when the bases don't even need it.

Regarding Amarillo, that is an important transportation hub. It's certainly vital for freight rail. For a long time I've thought US-287 between Amarillo and Fort Worth should be upgraded to Interstate quality, with the upgrade going to Ennis and I-45. The I-32 designation has been mentioned for this corridor. Any bypass around Dallas-Fort Worth would probably have to involve the proposed Loop 9 corridor.

I have co-workers and other friends who like to drive to Houston by way of TX-6 from Waco through College Station. Houston will at least have an Interstate quality connection to College Station via the Tomball Tollway extension of TX-249 to Navasota.
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Grzrd

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2016, 08:36:19 PM »

This article reports that the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition is on board with having the west terminus at Loop 338 in Odessa and "that language has been filed":

Quote
Midland-Odessa is one step closer to getting a new interstate — and possibly a southern loop.
At its annual meeting Tuesday, the Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance, or MOTRAN, announced that Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition is on board with changing its plans and moving the western terminus of the upcoming Interstate 14 project to the Midland-Odessa area.
As previously reported, MOTRAN has pushed for a change to I-14’s western terminus, which originally was planned to start at the junction of I-10 and U.S. Route 190 west of Iraan. MOTRAN President James Beauchamp said in his presentation that the I-14 coalition will pursue having the terminus start at Loop 338 in Odessa. The new interstate would run parallel with I-20 into Midland.
The Reporter-Telegram has reported in the past that I-14 could break off from I-20 at State Highway 158 and run south along U.S. Route 87 to Brady. However, according to an updated — though not final — map during the presentation, a new break-off point would be south of I-20 across from Loop 250 and curve toward and connect with SH 158, creating the western portion of a southern loop around the city.
The map also showed a roadway with a terminus at SH 158 extending eastward directly across from the west junction that curved north to I-20 with the eastern intersection with Loop 250, thus filling out the southern loop and creating a complete loop around the city.
Beauchamp said the new I-14 route would have about six times more traffic than the original route.
The route adjustment requires congressional approval, but “we’ve gotten (the change) retooled, and that language has been filed,” Beauchamp said.
Beauchamp said it’s important to have I-14 start in Odessa and continue into Midland. “That way, it is unquestionable that both communities will have access to the highway.” ....
— A broad look at I-27: I-27 is unique in the U.S. interstate system in that it has a terminus not connected to another interstate. Ports-to-Plains and MOTRAN are looking to fix that by having I-27 connect with I-20. The terminus point remains to be seen. Ports-to-Plains is pushing for a connection near Big Spring. MOTRAN, however, is asking for a complete study that evaluates U.S. Route 385, SH 349 and other routes for consideration.

The article also includes a photo of MOTRAN swag. This may or may not be a wonderful Christmas gift for a roadgeek:

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The Ghostbuster

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2016, 05:09:08 PM »

The highways were always great, in my opinion. As for the article, is it likely that this proposal of Interstate 14 will actually be constructed?
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2016, 06:08:58 PM »

This article reports that the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition is on board with having the west terminus at Loop 338 in Odessa and "that language has been filed":

Quote
Midland-Odessa is one step closer to getting a new interstate — and possibly a southern loop.
At its annual meeting Tuesday, the Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance, or MOTRAN, announced that Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition is on board with changing its plans and moving the western terminus of the upcoming Interstate 14 project to the Midland-Odessa area.
As previously reported, MOTRAN has pushed for a change to I-14’s western terminus, which originally was planned to start at the junction of I-10 and U.S. Route 190 west of Iraan. MOTRAN President James Beauchamp said in his presentation that the I-14 coalition will pursue having the terminus start at Loop 338 in Odessa. The new interstate would run parallel with I-20 into Midland.
The Reporter-Telegram has reported in the past that I-14 could break off from I-20 at State Highway 158 and run south along U.S. Route 87 to Brady. However, according to an updated — though not final — map during the presentation, a new break-off point would be south of I-20 across from Loop 250 and curve toward and connect with SH 158, creating the western portion of a southern loop around the city.
The map also showed a roadway with a terminus at SH 158 extending eastward directly across from the west junction that curved north to I-20 with the eastern intersection with Loop 250, thus filling out the southern loop and creating a complete loop around the city.
Beauchamp said the new I-14 route would have about six times more traffic than the original route.
The route adjustment requires congressional approval, but “we’ve gotten (the change) retooled, and that language has been filed,” Beauchamp said.
Beauchamp said it’s important to have I-14 start in Odessa and continue into Midland. “That way, it is unquestionable that both communities will have access to the highway.” ....
— A broad look at I-27: I-27 is unique in the U.S. interstate system in that it has a terminus not connected to another interstate. Ports-to-Plains and MOTRAN are looking to fix that by having I-27 connect with I-20. The terminus point remains to be seen. Ports-to-Plains is pushing for a connection near Big Spring. MOTRAN, however, is asking for a complete study that evaluates U.S. Route 385, SH 349 and other routes for consideration.

The article also includes a photo of MOTRAN swag. This may or may not be a wonderful Christmas gift for a roadgeek:



Ever since the I-14 (TX version) proposal was floated, I sort of figured that San Angelo would come into play -- that the original leg along or below US 190 down to I-10 was just a "placeholder", so to speak.  San Angelo is to TX what Fresno is to CA -- a sizeable burg (not at Fresno city's 500K, but still the center of its region) bypassed by the I-system.  Midland and/or Odessa are just trying to get some local projects done -- striking while the iron's reasonably hot.  Port-to-Plains has been batted around for decades without any progress, so the interests that be in W. Texas are simply trying to maneuver the newer I-14 proposal to their advantage (and if that provokes renewed interest in P-to-P, that's icing on their cake!).  But unless there's interest in placing I-14 along TX 71 through the heart of "hill country" (unlikely for a myriad of reasons), east of Brady the most feasible corridor remains along US 190.  However, if the full proposal gets legs, I for one wouldn't be at all surprised to see plans for corridor improvement along US 183 up to Lampasas to connect to the main I-14 trunk -- an effective (though a bit indirect) limited access route from Austin & environs to points west -- emptying out onto I-20 rather than I-10.  Austin to Houston would be addressed separately.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2016, 11:47:26 AM »

If I had to bet, I would bet connections between Austin and Houston will be built out long before this "I-14" concept.

I can understand people in Midland and Odessa wanting to cash in on this porky "I-14" thing. But the reality is money directed at that jaggy, crooked pipe dream will be money potentially taken away from unfinished road projects in Midland and Odessa. Loop 338, TX-191, Loop 250 and US-385 all need their own improvements.

San Angelo should be connected to the Interstate system. But I think an extension of I-27 through Big Spring is the best way to do it (via the Ports to Plains corridor effort). I also think I-44 should be extended from Wichita Falls to Abilene, if not to San Angelo. It's a point of debate where the road should go South of San Angelo. The Ports to Plains Corridor includes Del Rio. I think it would be cheaper and more beneficial to build it to Junction, TX (ending at I-10), creating a fairly direct link to San Antonio. The ports in Corpus Christi and Brownsville can be reached faster that way. How much NAFTA traffic crosses the border at Del Rio anyway?

There aren't any major destinations large enough along this proposed I-14 corridor to generate the traffic counts needed to justify building it through the hill country of West Texas. It would be pretty expensive to build the highway correctly -meaning building a more direct new terrain route rather than following existing roads along a very jagged, wasteful and ultimately pointless path.
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2016, 02:02:25 PM »

If I had to bet, I would bet connections between Austin and Houston will be built out long before this "I-14" concept.

I can understand people in Midland and Odessa wanting to cash in on this porky "I-14" thing. But the reality is money directed at that jaggy, crooked pipe dream will be money potentially taken away from unfinished road projects in Midland and Odessa. Loop 338, TX-191, Loop 250 and US-385 all need their own improvements.

San Angelo should be connected to the Interstate system. But I think an extension of I-27 through Big Spring is the best way to do it (via the Ports to Plains corridor effort). I also think I-44 should be extended from Wichita Falls to Abilene, if not to San Angelo. It's a point of debate where the road should go South of San Angelo. The Ports to Plains Corridor includes Del Rio. I think it would be cheaper and more beneficial to build it to Junction, TX (ending at I-10), creating a fairly direct link to San Antonio. The ports in Corpus Christi and Brownsville can be reached faster that way. How much NAFTA traffic crosses the border at Del Rio anyway?

There aren't any major destinations large enough along this proposed I-14 corridor to generate the traffic counts needed to justify building it through the hill country of West Texas. It would be pretty expensive to build the highway correctly -meaning building a more direct new terrain route rather than following existing roads along a very jagged, wasteful and ultimately pointless path.

For better or worse, like it or not, ad nauseum.........political will (particularly the regional variety) appears to prevail much more than "normal" deliberative methods when it comes to modern-day Interstate corridor placement.  Looking at W. Texas as a whole, the logical routings outlined in the above post are the ones that rationally should be planned and eventually constructed:  the original Port-to-Plains corridor using US 87 south from Lubbock to San Angelo, and US 277 south from there at least to Del Rio and probably on to  I-35 & Laredo.  The concept of following US 277 from San Angelo northeast to Wichita Falls via Abilene is also rational and should be considered.  At that point, San Angelo would have sufficient egress in all directions (but due east!) for all intents & purposes.  In addition, US 84 between I-20 and Lubbock, according to published data, is one of the commercially most heavily traveled non-Interstate corridors (not quite to CA 99 standards, but not too shabby indeed!) and probably, more than any other single W. Texas segment of highway, deserves consideration for I-status based on AADT/truck traffic alone. 

But interests in Lubbock & Abilene haven't been sufficiently active in the public arena to call attention to these matters; Midland-Odessa interests have been!.  Recall that soon after HPC 38 was legislated in the '90's, a study was commissioned to explore the possibilities of extending I-27 south to at least I-20.  It concluded that choosing one of the four available paths (intersecting I-20 at US 84, Big Spring, Midland, or Odessa) would not draw the traffic required to justify an Interstate facility because the dispersion of traffic at either Lubbock or Lamesa to the various destinations would continue at the expense of the selected corridor; and that spot improvements to US 84, TX 349, and US 87 should be the interim priority.  Of course, this didn't begin to satisfy the M-O folks; the 2005 Safetea-LU legislation (which brought us some 40 new HPC corridors) featured a rewrite of the original P-to-P language, specifying a western branch of HPC 38 using TX 158 from US 87 west into Midland before turning north along TX 349 to intersect the original US 87-based corridor at Lamesa.  They wanted a piece of that corridor and raised enough of a squawk that they got it.  When the legislation was enacted 11 years ago, I thought that eventually someone would propose a I-27W/I-27E split (encouraged by you-know-what further southeast!) via Midland and, alternately, Big Spring. 

However. it appears that the southern section of that corridor modification is being separately addressed as part of the nascent I-14 concept -- not surprising, considering the historical inaction on the P-to-P south of Lubbock.  It's more ego than egress at this point -- M-O (the "alpha" in this region), with San Angelo in tow, wants a 2nd interstate and is hitching their wagon to the I-14/HPC 84 concept to get it done.  Actually, from San Angelo east to I-35 at Belton, the existing US 87 and US 190 routes are reasonably direct already, with some deviation from a straight line to serve towns as well as optimally utilize topography.  The convolutions of the route occur east of I-35 all the way to the LA state line (it does resemble a broken saw blade!) -- but if it connects to Toll 249 into Houston, at least the portion east to Bryan will have some purpose (OK, maybe not directly to Waco).  Chances are that if this thing reaches fruition east of San Angelo it'll utilize as much of existing US 87 as possible to keep costs down; it'll probably have to deviate a bit more from US 190 in order to bypass the various towns along the corridor.

Yeah, it's cobbled together by political interests across the state -- but that's how things seem to get done these days.  Local interest groups are quite adept at two things:  getting local bond issues passed to cover any regional contribution to the project, and lobbying, lobbying,lobbying -- both at state and federal levels.  Let's put it this way -- if Lubbock, Big Spring, and San Angelo had been able to put the kind of effort into the original P-to-P corridor that is evidenced by the recent I-14 activity, there might be at least "Future I-27 Corridor" BGS's along US 87 and 277 right now!   


 
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longhorn

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2016, 09:36:55 AM »

I still see a purpose for this interstate through Texas as an I-10 reliever bypassing Houston and San Antonio
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2016, 12:13:59 PM »

Quote from: sparker
For better or worse, like it or not, ad nauseum.........political will (particularly the regional variety) appears to prevail much more than "normal" deliberative methods when it comes to modern-day Interstate corridor placement.

When political will turns a highway's path into a jagged, sawtooth shape, adding a lot more miles (and cost) to the project then it's better not to build it in the first place.

If the proposed Interstate is only going to follow a patch work of existing roads then those roads should merely be upgraded as traffic needs increase on them. As it stands traffic counts on those existing roads in Central and West Texas aren't high enough to justify an Interstate quality upgrade.

It would be funny to see how well this I-14 pipe dream would progress if it had to do so only with Texas taxpayer dollars. There's no way it would get built. Hence slapping a "I-14" label on it and lobbying for lot of federal cash.

Quote from: sparker
Actually, from San Angelo east to I-35 at Belton, the existing US 87 and US 190 routes are reasonably direct already, with some deviation from a straight line to serve towns as well as optimally utilize topography.

The path could still be improved. Good choices on bypass alignment around Brady, Rochelle, Richland Springs, San Saba, Lometa and Lampasas could straighten the route more.

Quote from: longhorn
I still see a purpose for this interstate through Texas as an I-10 reliever bypassing Houston and San Antonio

This "I-14" concept, as currently drawn, is placed too far North and has a far too jagged, distance-adding path for it to work as any kind of relief route for Houston and San Antonio. Given the choice I'd much rather drive through both of those cities and use the beltways in the worst case scenario.
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2016, 04:43:16 PM »

Quote from: sparker
For better or worse, like it or not, ad nauseum.........political will (particularly the regional variety) appears to prevail much more than "normal" deliberative methods when it comes to modern-day Interstate corridor placement.

When political will turns a highway's path into a jagged, sawtooth shape, adding a lot more miles (and cost) to the project then it's better not to build it in the first place.

If the proposed Interstate is only going to follow a patch work of existing roads then those roads should merely be upgraded as traffic needs increase on them. As it stands traffic counts on those existing roads in Central and West Texas aren't high enough to justify an Interstate quality upgrade.

It would be funny to see how well this I-14 pipe dream would progress if it had to do so only with Texas taxpayer dollars. There's no way it would get built. Hence slapping a "I-14" label on it and lobbying for lot of federal cash.

Quote from: sparker
Actually, from San Angelo east to I-35 at Belton, the existing US 87 and US 190 routes are reasonably direct already, with some deviation from a straight line to serve towns as well as optimally utilize topography.

The path could still be improved. Good choices on bypass alignment around Brady, Rochelle, Richland Springs, San Saba, Lometa and Lampasas could straighten the route more.

Quote from: longhorn
I still see a purpose for this interstate through Texas as an I-10 reliever bypassing Houston and San Antonio

This "I-14" concept, as currently drawn, is placed too far North and has a far too jagged, distance-adding path for it to work as any kind of relief route for Houston and San Antonio. Given the choice I'd much rather drive through both of those cities and use the beltways in the worst case scenario.

Lots of good points made here.  Any San Antonio "relief route" involving traversing metro Austin is probably not much "relief" given Austin's own traffic issues; while a bit convoluted and admittedly a bit farther north than optimal, a TX 249/I-14 via Temple/Belton and San Angelo might be an easier (in terms of existing/potential choke points) run than I-10 is now; considering the east-to-west nearly right-angle route that I-10 takes through S.A. -- and I-410 or even Loop 1604 isn't viable relief either much of the time.  When one backs off and looks at the entire I-14 corridor across the Gulf States, it doesn't function as much as relief for any one I-10 or I-20 metro slog as an alternate for long-distance E-W regional traffic that essentially avoids those metro choke points on the existing corridors.  Remember that the '56 Interstate network was largely laid out along existing highly-trafficked U.S. and state corridors (which in turn more often than not, at least in the Midwest and Plains states, followed the railroads' alignments) -- which meant a "connect-the-dots" approach to the metro areas within the larger region.  With those metro areas growing dramatically over the past six decades, it's not surprising that corridors traversing less-populated regions have been deployed or at least proposed to serve through/long-distance traffic -- as, yes, "relief routes" of sorts.  But without a dedicated funding mechanism for these, they tend to appear as if they were cobbled together by a committee -- which is invariably an apt description of the process to get a corridor designated in the first place (at least since the last major top-down Interstate additions of 1968).  One can argue whether the Interstate concept was intended to be a "build the original plan as close as feasible and then we're done" undertaking or a type of "organic" system to be augmented as need and/or demographics are considered.  The "bar" for determining which, if any, I-addition projects are to reach fruition seems to raise or lower depending upon whose hand is on the lever and how successfully they're framed the rationales for such activity.  Folks in TX and NC seem to have figured out how to "game" the process (having a cooperative or at worst neutral DOT certainly helps!), so corridors seem to blossom quite regularly from those quarters; the strategy of adding HPC's, with their promise of 80% federal input, is the current modus operandi of choice.  But, as the overall history of the Interstate system shows, plans can change, modify, or evaporate when it comes time to actually implement.  As far as I-14, as a strictly TX server or a multi-state routing, we shall just have to see..................       
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Scott5114

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2016, 04:04:26 AM »

Are we even certain that I-14 is going to exactly follow the jagged corridor shown on maps east of I-35? That may have been more of a "follow this route to this city and then this route to this city" type of corridor definition to give legislators a rough idea of where the road runs. I'm guessing there's no road that runs due east in that area because the road system is more of a skewed grid. (The county lines in that area are about 45° from N-S and E-W.)
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2016, 05:31:38 AM »

Are we even certain that I-14 is going to exactly follow the jagged corridor shown on maps east of I-35? That may have been more of a "follow this route to this city and then this route to this city" type of corridor definition to give legislators a rough idea of where the road runs. I'm guessing there's no road that runs due east in that area because the road system is more of a skewed grid. (The county lines in that area are about 45° from N-S and E-W.)

East of I-35, there's absolutely nothing that has been written in stone re an I-14 alignment; the only reasonably safe bet is that it will pass near the College Station/Bryan area (population center + Texas A&M).  Scott is absolutely correct about the "skew" of the existing roads in the area; most of the major highways follow the major rail lines (TX 36 follows the Temple-Galveston/Houston main line, while TX 6/TX 14 is adjacent to the UP Dallas-Houston main (ex-SP).  These in turn more or less followed the river topology of the region.  However, except for the Texas exit point specified in the HPC 84 language (along TX 63 east of Jasper), the alignment of I-14 east of Bryan is even less defined -- and because that section has little value as a intra-TX metro connector, it is less likely to be prioritized in the near term. 
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longhorn

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2016, 03:14:23 PM »

And since the route east of I-35 is not defined it may still be straighter route than the present 190 route now. Have a connection to I-10 at either Beaumont or Lake Charles and voila, the "Texas I-12" becomes viable. It would make for a better business case to build such a section first before continuing east.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2016, 07:53:12 PM »

In my humble opinion US-290 between Austin and Houston should be addressed as a higher priority than these I-14 concepts. If an "I-12" route can include that and even extend over to Beaumont that's cool. But even a Westward extension of US-290 as a superhighway to I-10 in West Texas should be a big priority.

Quote from: sparker
Any San Antonio "relief route" involving traversing metro Austin is probably not much "relief" given Austin's own traffic issues; while a bit convoluted and admittedly a bit farther north than optimal, a TX 249/I-14 via Temple/Belton and San Angelo might be an easier (in terms of existing/potential choke points) run than I-10 is now; considering the east-to-west nearly right-angle route that I-10 takes through S.A. -- and I-410 or even Loop 1604 isn't viable relief either much of the time.

That's too far North to drive for avoiding I-10. A bypass for I-10 traffic going around San Antonio would be far better shooting the gap between Austin and San Antonio, from the East beginning around Flatonia, hitting I-35 near San Marcos and reaching I-10 again at Kerrville. Bypassing Houston is another animal.

Metro Houston covers so much area. The northern quadrant of the Grand Parkway could function as one part of an Interstate bypass beginning around Beaumont. Huntsville is 45 miles North of the I-45/Grand Parkway interchange. That's one possible route for "I-14," with another alternative being Madisonville another 25 miles farther North on I-45. That's way too far for bypass functions for Houston and San Antonio.

Quote from: sparker
When one backs off and looks at the entire I-14 corridor across the Gulf States, it doesn't function as much as relief for any one I-10 or I-20 metro slog as an alternate for long-distance E-W regional traffic that essentially avoids those metro choke points on the existing corridors.

A true relief route doesn't stray far from the original route for which it is providing the relief or take the motorist way out of his way. This I-14 concept would add hundreds of miles to a trip for anyone avoiding cities on the I-10 or I-20 corridors.

Quote from: sparker
The "bar" for determining which, if any, I-addition projects are to reach fruition seems to raise or lower depending upon whose hand is on the lever and how successfully they're framed the rationales for such activity.

Yeah, far be it the most obvious reason for building an Interstate highway: responding to traffic needs. It's probably a safe bet there is a lot more traffic on the US-290 corridor between Austin and Houston than there is any other route inside the I-45/I-35/I-10 triangle. Yet that route seems to be way down the list of priorities for super highway conversion.

I still think it's laughable for the I-14 highway backers to use military posts/bases as a justification for building this road. If Interstates so were vital to the Army, Air Force, etc. we would already have a North-South Interstate connection between Fort Hood in Killen and Fort Sill here in Lawton (with Sheppard AFB getting connected in Wichita Falls). There is a great deal of activity going on between Fort Hood and Fort Sill. Fort Bliss in El Paso is involved those operations. Maybe they need to extend I-44 from Wichita Falls to Lubbock and thru New Mexico to run to El Paso.
:-P

Quote from: sparker
East of I-35, there's absolutely nothing that has been written in stone re an I-14 alignment; the only reasonably safe bet is that it will pass near the College Station/Bryan area (population center + Texas A&M).

Final alignments would only be "written in stone" after all of the EIS, public comment and FONSI process was finished. Nevertheless, comments from the highway's backers strongly suggest they would upgrade along existing highways as much as possible. I don't think they would illustrate such a jagged path through East Texas in all their concept maps otherwise.

There is also only so many potential paths I-14 could take through Central and East Texas. Aside from dodging existing development there are large lakes and wetlands areas North of those lakes to dodge (Lake Conroe, Lake Livingston, Lake Sam Rayburn, B. A. Steinhagen Lake, Toldeo Bend Resevoir).
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2016, 02:05:59 AM »

And since the route east of I-35 is not defined it may still be straighter route than the present 190 route now. Have a connection to I-10 at either Beaumont or Lake Charles and voila, the "Texas I-12" becomes viable. It would make for a better business case to build such a section first before continuing east.

I'm not so sure about a Beaumont or Lake Charles connection. I-14 at its most "effective" needs to be as much a straight west-to-east connection through Central Texas and on to central Louisiana. If you really want to create a "Texas I-12", it would be better to use US 90 via the Crosby Freeway east of Houston to near Dawes, then go on new alignment north of Beaumont to meet with existing TX 12 near Deweyville, then upgrade TX 12/LA 12/US 190 all the way to Baton Rouge to connect with existing I-12. Then, you could justify running I-12 through US 290 to Austin (with either I-10 or I-610 being the connection between the two) and further west.

Personally, I'm with the consensus that only the freewayized portion of US 190 between Bryan and Fort Hood needs an I-shield (I-x35). Maybe upgrade 190 east to connect with an extended TX 249 tollway or an upgraded TX 6 or US 290. But more pressing priorities exist than this boondoggle.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2016, 11:22:19 AM »

I don't think there is much hope or even any need really to connect I-12 in Louisiana with another possible I-12 in Texas. We already have a few disconnected/duplicate 2-digit Interstates in the system (I-74, I-76, I-84, I-86, I-88) and potentially more (I-66 and I-87).

I could see US-90 between upgraded between Houston, Dayton and Beaumont, with a western connection from Dayton attaching into the Grand Parkway to get a bypass up over the northern part of Houston. Overall, if there will be new I-12 shields going up in Texas (and "I-14" is congressionally gobbled up by a bunch of pork barrel nonsense) those I-12 shields ought to be going up between Houston and Austin along the US-290 corridor. Running I-12 on the northern quadrant of the Grand Parkway would unite both roads, giving I-10 in coming from Louisiana a fairly straight shot at 2 million people in metro Austin.
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2016, 05:37:19 PM »

In my humble opinion US-290 between Austin and Houston should be addressed as a higher priority than these I-14 concepts.

A true relief route doesn't stray far from the original route for which it is providing the relief or take the motorist way out of his way. This I-14 concept would add hundreds of miles to a trip for anyone avoiding cities on the I-10 or I-20 corridors.

Wholeheartedly agree on the need for a direct Austin-Houston Interstate-grade connector; but always thought TX 71 via its Columbus junction with I-10 would be a more efficient routing than US 290.  Both options would require extensive upgrades, especially through the various towns along their alignments.  But I too can see a western I-12 being designated along such a route once fully deployed.  I'm just surprised that with all the other corridor activity in the general vicinity (including I-14)  that such a connector hasn't been added to the mix of proposals -- the need is certainly there -- but AFAIK, there hasn't been any groundswell emanating from Austin and environs toward this end -- at least not generally publicized.  I'd venture that some sort of specific proposal from regional interests would necessarily precede any formal proposal for an Austin eastward connector.

As far as the prospect of I-14 as a relief route is concerned -- I'll acknowledge that in its planned form (assuming the folks out west in M/O & San Angelo are successful at routing the corridor through their areas) it does function considerably better as a reliever of I-20 than I-10, since east of TX it veers up to the US 84 E-W alignment; its presumed junction with I-59 near Laurel is only 50 miles south of I-20 at that point.  A traveler, commercial or not, would need to weigh the somewhat longer aggregate distance vs. I-20 against any congestion-related delays along the more direct original route.  Also, if some sort of connector down to the Beaumont area from the more likely I-14 alignments in East Texas were to be considered, then I-14's role vis-à-vis I-10 might be enhanced -- but that's something to be more appropriately discussed in Fictional at this point.   
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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2016, 10:31:04 AM »

While it would be nice to have an Interstate that completely misses the three largest cities in TX (Houston and San Antonio to the south, and Dallas to the north), I see it as basically an east-west version of I-69, especially if the already-proposed I-14 in LA, MS, AL and GA is not built.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2016, 01:43:17 PM »

Interstates connect cities, not miss them. That's one of the big failings about the jagged corridor of the proposed "I-14." The road has no major connections. And its benefit to military bases is, at best, pretty sketchy.

One could try to argue Interstates do avoid big cities using examples like I-81 in Virginia and Pennsylvania or I-5 in Northern California. I-81 does bypass the Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia areas, but only to hook into I-78 and provide a direct route into the New York City metro area. That helps pull some traffic off I-95. I-5 in Northern California does some of the same thing, pulling traffic to/from Oregon and Washington away from the SF Bay Area and away from the Bakersfield/Fresno corridor. But it funnels into the L.A. area. US-101 and CA-99 compliment I-5. But all those roads are actually going somewhere significant even if they bypass another place of significance.

This I-14 idea in Texas does none of those things. Because the corridor is so jagged and so out of the way it can't work well at all as a bypass for the Houston, Austin or Dallas areas. In order to draw traffic onto that route, the road has to eventually lead directly to a big destination, like I-81 pointing directly at New York City (via I-78). There really is no other point of building "I-14" in Texas than legislating pork.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 01:45:21 PM by Bobby5280 »
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2016, 08:10:55 PM »

Interstates connect cities, not miss them. That's one of the big failings about the jagged corridor of the proposed "I-14." The road has no major connections. And its benefit to military bases is, at best, pretty sketchy.

One could try to argue Interstates do avoid big cities using examples like I-81 in Virginia and Pennsylvania or I-5 in Northern California. I-81 does bypass the Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia areas, but only to hook into I-78 and provide a direct route into the New York City metro area. That helps pull some traffic off I-95. I-5 in Northern California does some of the same thing, pulling traffic to/from Oregon and Washington away from the SF Bay Area and away from the Bakersfield/Fresno corridor. But it funnels into the L.A. area. US-101 and CA-99 compliment I-5. But all those roads are actually going somewhere significant even if they bypass another place of significance.

This I-14 idea in Texas does none of those things. Because the corridor is so jagged and so out of the way it can't work well at all as a bypass for the Houston, Austin or Dallas areas. In order to draw traffic onto that route, the road has to eventually lead directly to a big destination, like I-81 pointing directly at New York City (via I-78). There really is no other point of building "I-14" in Texas than legislating pork.

I'll certainly agree that there are other corridors in TX that, according to present traffic numbers, would be better prioritized than anything along the various I-14 corridor iterations -- Ft. Worth to Amarillo, Austin to Houston, Lubbock south to I-10 -- these all have demonstrated interregional or interurban usage.  But I can also see what the interests promoting I-14 are attempting to do (more "earmark" than "pork", in this instance), namely, string together a corridor that serves heretofore secondary cities and metro regions -- those whose population base has increased since 1973, when Interstate augmentation became a matter of "bottom-up" activities from states & localities rather than the "top-down" Federally-based preconceived routings that characterized the original 1956 system and its 1968 additions.  In spite of the vagueness of the 2015 I-14 (HPC #84) authorizing legislation, it has become clear that there are a few entities that want to obtain or enhance Interstate service:  San Angelo, the Temple/Belton/Fort Hood extended metro area, and College Station/Bryan.  Of course, Midland-Odessa has injected itself into the mix as well as of late.  What is clear is that there's a pretty straight shot east of San Angelo to I-35 at Belton.  East of there, if one simply follows the US 190 path to Bryan, it is certainly a jagged path -- sort of looks like a rough-cut circular saw blade, in fact!  But the chances are that any alignment in this area will cut off a lot of the corners; a completed corridor stands as good a chance of being an efficient routing than it does as a series of right angles as US 190 is today. 

As far as actually going to an existing population center, it could be extrapolated that if the west end of the proposed I-14 corridor makes it to Midland/Odessa, it would then empty traffic onto westerly I-20, which will, via I-10 of course, make it to El Paso and points beyond.  And at Bryan/College Station the corridor will ostensibly intersect the extended TX Toll 249, which will take traffic straight into metro Houston.  As with I-81, it wouldn't itself get to the major metro areas in the region, but the facilities with which it connects would. 

Whether minor/secondary metro areas "deserve" Interstate service is a concept that will likely be volleyed back and forth in this forum without resolution.  Back in '56 the notion was that cities over 50K population would be served by the system; considering the population of the nation was at that time about half what it is today, it would be rational to suppose that 100K might be a more modern standard.  If applied to metro areas, San Angelo, Temple, and Bryan/State College would certainly fall within that criterion.  Collectively, they're promoting the I-14 corridor concept; the fact that they got it written into the U.S. Code last year speaks volumes.  My own guess is that sometime in the next 10-15 years there will be a few signed segments of I-14 across the state; most likely in & around those three metro areas cited above.  The rest of the corridor?....likely to be "back-burnered" until either more pressing statewide projects are addressed or if dedicated funding becomes available.  There might be a few bypasses built (Brady, Lampasas for example) as effective SIU's, but unless some event such as a high-level fundraiser by A & M alums can kickstart a 3P, most of the rural sections will go undeveloped for a very long time. 

I'm not a cheerleader for I-14 -- but I think I do understand why its various iterations have been proposed and why there's a "bandwagon" at all.  It might come to pass, it might not; it'll be interesting to see how it plays out down the line.   
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2016, 03:45:15 PM »

Quote from: sparker
I'll certainly agree that there are other corridors in TX that, according to present traffic numbers, would be better prioritized than anything along the various I-14 corridor iterations -- Ft. Worth to Amarillo, Austin to Houston, Lubbock south to I-10 -- these all have demonstrated interregional or interurban usage.  But I can also see what the interests promoting I-14 are attempting to do (more "earmark" than "pork", in this instance), namely, string together a corridor that serves heretofore secondary cities and metro regions -- those whose population base has increased since 1973, when Interstate augmentation became a matter of "bottom-up" activities from states & localities rather than the "top-down" Federally-based preconceived routings that characterized the original 1956 system and its 1968 additions.

I still call the road would-be pork, and the backers of this "I-14" project will be lucky to get any earmarks to fund it.

The "top-down" view from the federal government and its pre-conceived Interstate route selections were drawn from a big picture, national view -which is really how the Interstate highway system is supposed to work. It's not supposed to be a hodge podge of crooked, mileage wasting routes twisting to the whims and demands of each political interest. If the Interstate system does that then you get a bunch of roads going to nowhere.

Quote from: sparker
In spite of the vagueness of the 2015 I-14 (HPC #84) authorizing legislation, it has become clear that there are a few entities that want to obtain or enhance Interstate service:  San Angelo, the Temple/Belton/Fort Hood extended metro area, and College Station/Bryan.  Of course, Midland-Odessa has injected itself into the mix as well as of late.  What is clear is that there's a pretty straight shot east of San Angelo to I-35 at Belton.

Here's the problem: US-190 between San Angelo and Copperas Cove is picking up very little long distance traffic from elsewhere. That probably won't change with the road blown up to an Interstate-class facility. The traffic there is mostly local and region-specific.

A lot more of that corridor would already be divided 4-lane if the traffic counts were high enough. I'm sure the people in Midland-Odessa would like another East-West Interstate. But when those folks hop in their cars and drive hundreds of miles East they're almost always heading up I-20 to Dallas-Fort Worth. If they're heading to Austin they'll get on TX-71 at Brady and not bother going to Killeen. That road is mostly a dinky, winding 2-lane road most of the way. It grows to undivided 4-lane once it crosses US-281.

Quote
East of there, if one simply follows the US 190 path to Bryan, it is certainly a jagged path -- sort of looks like a rough-cut circular saw blade, in fact!  But the chances are that any alignment in this area will cut off a lot of the corners; a completed corridor stands as good a chance of being an efficient routing than it does as a series of right angles as US 190 is today.

Look how crooked I-69 is being built in Southern Indiana and Kentucky. If that new Interstate could be built with such a jagged, time-wasting, fuel-wasting path I don't have much hope for this "I-14" concept to straighten out its jagged path either. The path for "I-14" looks pretty crooked on purpose, probably to try to come near as many towns as possible in Central Texas and get enough of a political bandwagon together there.

Quote from: sparker
As far as actually going to an existing population center, it could be extrapolated that if the west end of the proposed I-14 corridor makes it to Midland/Odessa, it would then empty traffic onto westerly I-20, which will, via I-10 of course, make it to El Paso and points beyond.  And at Bryan/College Station the corridor will ostensibly intersect the extended TX Toll 249, which will take traffic straight into metro Houston.

An immense destination and source of traffic such as Houston would be a valuable feeder into such an East-West corridor, but only if I-10 didn't already present a shorter, more direct and toll free route for Houston traffic heading to El Paso or points beyond. A connection in San Angelo with a possible I-27 extension is also iffy. There are other faster more direct routes from Houston to the Texas panhandle and front range of the Rockies.

Quote from: sparker
Whether minor/secondary metro areas "deserve" Interstate service is a concept that will likely be volleyed back and forth in this forum without resolution.  Back in '56 the notion was that cities over 50K population would be served by the system; considering the population of the nation was at that time about half what it is today, it would be rational to suppose that 100K might be a more modern standard.

Cities and towns have been skirted or completely bypassed by Interstates in the past based on the big picture needs of the overall system for linking major destinations. Look at I-20 in East Texas for instance. It goes directly East to Shreveport rather than zig-zagging its way through Athens, Tyler, Longview and Marshall.

The United States has over a 100 million more people than it did in the early days of the Interstate system. Unfortunately it also now costs far more money to build new highways and there are far more legal and bureaucractic hurdles than ever. To top it off, our funding mechanism for highways and other major infrastructure projects is completely broken. We have a general public who seems to believe roads get built for nothing and they're already paying way too much in fuel taxes. But build that new Interstate in my town, by golly!

Quote
My own guess is that sometime in the next 10-15 years there will be a few signed segments of I-14 across the state; most likely in & around those three metro areas cited above.  The rest of the corridor?....likely to be "back-burnered" until either more pressing statewide projects are addressed or if dedicated funding becomes available.  There might be a few bypasses built (Brady, Lampasas for example) as effective SIU's, but unless some event such as a high-level fundraiser by A & M alums can kickstart a 3P, most of the rural sections will go undeveloped for a very long time.

It's possible to crowd-source small projects, like raising money for a disabled child's life saving operation. Highways are just so painfully expensive they're way out of reach for any crowd sourcing efforts to be effective. Such a grass roots thing might even be undermined by new urbanists pitching sidewalk, bike path and green space projects instead. "Hey everyone! We'll hike to El Paso! It'll be fun!"

As San Angelo and other central Texas towns grow, I certainly expect to see some upgrades along the US-190 corridor, such as a freeway quality bypasses around Lampasas, Brady and San Saba. The US-190 freeway might be extended from Copperas Cove to Lampasas in the somewhat near future. I think the other segments to San Angelo will only get upgraded as needed.
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