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Author Topic: I-14 in Texas  (Read 41139 times)

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #325 on: July 03, 2019, 04:36:38 AM »

^^^^^^^^^
If you're from Austin, the only congressmen to whom you should be writing are your own as well as anyone from the districts along TX 71 and US 290 (including the portion west of Austin all the way to I-10).  Having personally dealt with the Alliance for I-69/Texas, it has become clear that the representatives are almost exclusively interested in those projects within their own districts -- which accounts for the "clusterfuck" in West Texas that is the I-14 multiple-corridor concept ("you get a corridor, you get a corridor.......everyone gets a corridor!")  And now that the Port-to-Plains has been tentatively revived, attention from anyone west of Brady and Junction is on that project.  So concentrate any efforts on those who can claim credit for "bringing home the bacon", so to speak!
I thought North Carolina was bad  :banghead:

Four I-69s, and now multiple I-14s?

Probably multiple fantasies and dreams of I-14, maybe.  If they even get 1 actual I-14, they'd be really lucky.  IMO, there's more chance of furthering I-27 (and maybe even an I-44 extension from Wichita Falls) than whatever ends up being I-14.  Even the interstating of US 287 between Amarillo and Fort Worth is really of more use and value than anything that results of the I-14 mess.
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #326 on: July 03, 2019, 05:00:19 AM »

^^^^^^^^^
If you're from Austin, the only congressmen to whom you should be writing are your own as well as anyone from the districts along TX 71 and US 290 (including the portion west of Austin all the way to I-10).  Having personally dealt with the Alliance for I-69/Texas, it has become clear that the representatives are almost exclusively interested in those projects within their own districts -- which accounts for the "clusterfuck" in West Texas that is the I-14 multiple-corridor concept ("you get a corridor, you get a corridor.......everyone gets a corridor!")  And now that the Port-to-Plains has been tentatively revived, attention from anyone west of Brady and Junction is on that project.  So concentrate any efforts on those who can claim credit for "bringing home the bacon", so to speak!
I thought North Carolina was bad  :banghead:

Four I-69s, and now multiple I-14s?

Probably multiple fantasies and dreams of I-14, maybe.  If they even get 1 actual I-14, they'd be really lucky.  IMO, there's more chance of furthering I-27 (and maybe even an I-44 extension from Wichita Falls) than whatever ends up being I-14.  Even the interstating of US 287 between Amarillo and Fort Worth is really of more use and value than anything that results of the I-14 mess.

The I-14 backers nailed down their basic corridor concept -- at least within TX -- by getting HPC #84, with the I-14 designation attached, into the US Code via a 2015 bit of legislation.   That particular sort of action has become de rigeur as a prerequisite for new Interstate corridors in recent years.  If the Port-to-Plains revival is serious, expect to see a similar extension for I-27 legislatively attached to the HPC #38 description -- which has been around for a couple of decades -- in the near future.   So, as far as a recognized albeit future Interstate corridor is concerned, besides the I-69 "family", I-14 is about it for the present within TX.  In short, the corridor's backers, in & out of Congress, were able to put the proverbial camel's nose through the tent opening regarding that route.  Sorting out the little internecine feuds between adjoining West Texas congressional districts will be the next step before any further activity out that way takes place; it's entirely possible that the addition of the P-to-P/potential I-27 concept to the mix might actually instigate some progress with both corridors simply because with the combination plans just about every congressional district from Midland/Odessa down to Laredo gets a "piece of the action" with one or both projects (San Angelo makes out like a bandit here!).  Right now it's something of a multi-ring circus in search of a ringmaster.  At least it has the potential to be an interesting show! 
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jbnv

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #327 on: July 03, 2019, 09:42:52 AM »

If they even get 1 actual I-14, they'd be really lucky.  IMO, there's more chance of furthering I-27 (and maybe even an I-44 extension from Wichita Falls) than whatever ends up being I-14.  Even the interstating of US 287 between Amarillo and Fort Worth is really of more use and value than anything that results of the I-14 mess.

I-14 already exists. And if you actually draw out the proposed route, you see that there is quite a bit of utility in that route as a bypass around Houston and Beaumont.
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sprjus4

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #328 on: July 03, 2019, 10:15:49 AM »

If they even get 1 actual I-14, they'd be really lucky.  IMO, there's more chance of furthering I-27 (and maybe even an I-44 extension from Wichita Falls) than whatever ends up being I-14.  Even the interstating of US 287 between Amarillo and Fort Worth is really of more use and value than anything that results of the I-14 mess.

I-14 already exists. And if you actually draw out the proposed route, you see that there is quite a bit of utility in that route as a bypass around Houston and Beaumont.
They slapped a shield on an existing interstate standard highway. US 175 is referring to new construction.

IMO, a corridor from Junction to Houston via US 290, along with the completion of TX-45 as a toll bypass of Austin, and TX-99 as a toll bypass of Houston, would satisfy this goal and allow travelers in the end a more direct route, and bypassing San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. That’s money well better spent, and it provides east-west interstate access for Austin.
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #329 on: July 03, 2019, 01:56:20 PM »

If they even get 1 actual I-14, they'd be really lucky.  IMO, there's more chance of furthering I-27 (and maybe even an I-44 extension from Wichita Falls) than whatever ends up being I-14.  Even the interstating of US 287 between Amarillo and Fort Worth is really of more use and value than anything that results of the I-14 mess.

I-14 already exists. And if you actually draw out the proposed route, you see that there is quite a bit of utility in that route as a bypass around Houston and Beaumont.
They slapped a shield on an existing interstate standard highway. US 175 is referring to new construction.

IMO, a corridor from Junction to Houston via US 290, along with the completion of TX-45 as a toll bypass of Austin, and TX-99 as a toll bypass of Houston, would satisfy this goal and allow travelers in the end a more direct route, and bypassing San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. That’s money well better spent, and it provides east-west interstate access for Austin.

It's unlikely that I-14 will get east of -- at furthest -- I-69 in any of our lifetimes; it may well not extend east of I-45.  The push for that corridor consists of parties in the "Triangle" (DFW-Houston-San Antonio) who want a bisecting Interstate to serve the State College/Bryan area and provide a more direct route to Houston from central points on I-35 (Waco, Temple).  Re any Austin corridor:  as I've long said, if parties in that city want a corridor, all they have to do is ask for one; with their population figures, it probably would be a slam dunk!  But unlike the good old chargeable Interstate years, there's no central planner looking at the overall situation and determining where corridors would be appropriate; these days, the individual regions are on their own and need to take the initiative.  The folks backing the I-14 corridor farther north aren't going to be magnanimous and say "please take the funding we fought for and build your Austin-Houston corridor instead"; the $$ appropriated to their project is theirs; any Austin servers will require a separate and unique effort.  Like it or not, the first rule of getting funding for these corridor projects is to show up and ask for it!  The I-14 folks did just that -- and are now somewhere within the planning process, which would be expedited if they could get their West Texas shit together and deal with (meaning take a chainsaw to) the "multi-corridor" 14N/14S concept.  Let the districts along the border have their Port-to-Plains/I-27 extension; it'll give them something to crow about -- route I-14 to San Angelo and be done with it; I-27 can take it from there! 
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thisdj78

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #330 on: July 03, 2019, 11:51:58 PM »

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
The SH 71 Corridor upgraded to and interstate (I have been pushing for Interstate 18) makes more sense to me as an Austinite.  US 290 is slow and hard to get to from north and south Austin, plus SH 71 connected with US 290 west of Austin (Austin-Fredericksburg to Junction) would serve as not only a El Paso-Austin-Houston connection, but would inadvertently serve as a San Antonio bypass for I-10 long-haul traffic since that route is shorter.  SH 71 is s more direct route to Austin from I-10 then US 290 is from Austin to Houston.

It would be easier/cheaper to upgrade TX-71 between Austin and Columbus, TX. But such an upgrade would be of no benefit to Austin-bound traffic coming from the Northern parts of the Houston metro. That's where most of the growth is taking place. There's a lot of development activity out West in places like Katy, Cinco Ranch, etc. But more is happening North and in higher dollar value, higher income segments. US-290 is the main pathway to Austin for those residents.

I'm not against upgrading TX-71 to full Interstate standards. As big as both the Houston and Austin metros are, and considering how fast they're growing, I don't think it's out of line to suggest both US-290 and TX-71 may both eventually have to be upgraded to full Interstate standards. On top of that there are other corridor "spokes" between I-10 and I-35 TX DOT will have to watch and likely develop as the space between Austin and San Antonio rapidly fills in with development. Places like San Marcos and New Braunfels are among the fastest growing cities in the US. TX-80 between San Marcos and Luling (I-10) is mostly a dinky 2 lane road now. TX-46 between New Braunfels and Seguin is an undivided 4-lane road.

Regarding the function of either corridor as a bypass route for long distance traffic, TX-71 would certainly help long distance traffic bypass San Antonio, if the US-290 corridor was improved West of Austin to I-10. That also depends on the TX-45 toll road getting properly completed. The 3.5 mile gap between I-35 and FM-1626 (where the new orphan segment of TX-45 ends) has to be filled in. Plus the Western end of TX-45 has to be extended out West to meet US-290. And then US-290 itself needs to be improved. There are plans to extend the US-290 freeway West about 3.5 miles. But it really has to get out past Dripping Springs to get into more "easy" expansion territory.

US-290 in conjunction with the Grand Parkway can function as a bypass for Houston. It would really be great as a relief route if the US-90 corridor between Beaumont and Dayton was upgraded. The TX-71 concept would put traffic bypassing San Antonio on a path to the center of Houston.

I just drove on 290 between Austin and Houston this evening and there’s a lot of construction activity to convert the undivided sections to divided. Of course, no grade separation, so with that said....I think it will be a long time (a few decades) before they convert it to a limited access highway.

On the other hand, upcoming work on 71 is including grade separated intersections.
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sprjus4

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #331 on: July 04, 2019, 02:05:08 AM »

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
The SH 71 Corridor upgraded to and interstate (I have been pushing for Interstate 18) makes more sense to me as an Austinite.  US 290 is slow and hard to get to from north and south Austin, plus SH 71 connected with US 290 west of Austin (Austin-Fredericksburg to Junction) would serve as not only a El Paso-Austin-Houston connection, but would inadvertently serve as a San Antonio bypass for I-10 long-haul traffic since that route is shorter.  SH 71 is s more direct route to Austin from I-10 then US 290 is from Austin to Houston.

It would be easier/cheaper to upgrade TX-71 between Austin and Columbus, TX. But such an upgrade would be of no benefit to Austin-bound traffic coming from the Northern parts of the Houston metro. That's where most of the growth is taking place. There's a lot of development activity out West in places like Katy, Cinco Ranch, etc. But more is happening North and in higher dollar value, higher income segments. US-290 is the main pathway to Austin for those residents.

I'm not against upgrading TX-71 to full Interstate standards. As big as both the Houston and Austin metros are, and considering how fast they're growing, I don't think it's out of line to suggest both US-290 and TX-71 may both eventually have to be upgraded to full Interstate standards. On top of that there are other corridor "spokes" between I-10 and I-35 TX DOT will have to watch and likely develop as the space between Austin and San Antonio rapidly fills in with development. Places like San Marcos and New Braunfels are among the fastest growing cities in the US. TX-80 between San Marcos and Luling (I-10) is mostly a dinky 2 lane road now. TX-46 between New Braunfels and Seguin is an undivided 4-lane road.

Regarding the function of either corridor as a bypass route for long distance traffic, TX-71 would certainly help long distance traffic bypass San Antonio, if the US-290 corridor was improved West of Austin to I-10. That also depends on the TX-45 toll road getting properly completed. The 3.5 mile gap between I-35 and FM-1626 (where the new orphan segment of TX-45 ends) has to be filled in. Plus the Western end of TX-45 has to be extended out West to meet US-290. And then US-290 itself needs to be improved. There are plans to extend the US-290 freeway West about 3.5 miles. But it really has to get out past Dripping Springs to get into more "easy" expansion territory.

US-290 in conjunction with the Grand Parkway can function as a bypass for Houston. It would really be great as a relief route if the US-90 corridor between Beaumont and Dayton was upgraded. The TX-71 concept would put traffic bypassing San Antonio on a path to the center of Houston.

I just drove on 290 between Austin and Houston this evening and there’s a lot of construction activity to convert the undivided sections to divided. Of course, no grade separation, so with that said....I think it will be a long time (a few decades) before they convert it to a limited access highway.

On the other hand, upcoming work on 71 is including grade separated intersections.
With it being divided at least, the next phase can be to complete bypasses around every town, and to extend the Brenham Bypass westward. With that, you can create an expressway design between Austin and Houston on US-290 - 75 mph divided highway with no traffic signals, no slow downs, no interruptions, bypasses around every town, and full continuity. Then later on, construct frontage roads and elevate the divided portions of US-290 over selected cross roads with bridges and construct slip-on and slip-off ramps - and boom - limited-access freeway.
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #332 on: July 04, 2019, 04:59:33 AM »

With it being divided at least, the next phase can be to complete bypasses around every town, and to extend the Brenham Bypass westward. With that, you can create an expressway design between Austin and Houston on US-290 - 75 mph divided highway with no traffic signals, no slow downs, no interruptions, bypasses around every town, and full continuity. Then later on, construct frontage roads and elevate the divided portions of US-290 over selected cross roads with bridges and construct slip-on and slip-off ramps - and boom - limited-access freeway.

The problem with a multi-phase approach such as described above is time -- the various phases would be done, sit for a while, and then the next phase will commence, probably haltingly (particularly if funding is eked out rather than awarded in large blocks).  Your grandchildren would likely be the first to drive on a fully limited access facility under such a program. 
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SquonkHunter

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #333 on: July 04, 2019, 11:05:22 AM »

I just drove on 290 between Austin and Houston this evening and there’s a lot of construction activity to convert the undivided sections to divided. Of course, no grade separation, so with that said....I think it will be a long time (a few decades) before they convert it to a limited access highway. . .


As a local resident and frequent traveller on this section it is good to see the upgrading of US 290 between Elgin and Giddings finally beginning. Too many years overdue. The ROW was purchased many years ago but sat unused. This 4 lane undivided section is very dangerous and has had many fatal accidents over the years. Very high traffic volume, especially on weekends and holidays. IIRC, this is the last segment between Austin and Houston that is not at least a divided roadway.  While a full-fledged limited access freeway would be preferable, at least this will be some improvement.
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sprjus4

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #334 on: July 04, 2019, 01:03:45 PM »

With it being divided at least, the next phase can be to complete bypasses around every town, and to extend the Brenham Bypass westward. With that, you can create an expressway design between Austin and Houston on US-290 - 75 mph divided highway with no traffic signals, no slow downs, no interruptions, bypasses around every town, and full continuity. Then later on, construct frontage roads and elevate the divided portions of US-290 over selected cross roads with bridges and construct slip-on and slip-off ramps - and boom - limited-access freeway.

The problem with a multi-phase approach such as described above is time -- the various phases would be done, sit for a while, and then the next phase will commence, probably haltingly (particularly if funding is eked out rather than awarded in large blocks).  Your grandchildren would likely be the first to drive on a fully limited access facility under such a program.
I would love for it to get done in one string. But unfortunately, with the amount of funding there is today, that's not that possible. I'd rather it get completed to a continuous 65 - 75 mph divided expressway with town bypasses and no stop lights if anything at all. That should be the priority. In the future, as traffic demands grow, then expand it to a freeway.

US-59 / US-77 is an expressway between Houston and Refugio, 75 mph speed limit, no stop lights, continuity, and town bypasses - it's an easy stress free drive, it feels like a freeway - interstate speeds, high quality road design, etc. The only difference is there's driveway connections and minor cross streets. Major junctions would have interchanges. That is a lot cheaper than a full freeway and would satisfy the need for now at least.

And just like US-59 / US-77 is planned to be expanded to Interstate 69, the same can happen with an expressway US-290 in the future.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #335 on: July 05, 2019, 12:27:55 AM »

Push will eventually give way to shove regarding improvement of US-290 between Austin and Houston. The continuing rapid population growth of both metro areas will FORCE the upgrades to happen. I think it's pretty baffling US-290 isn't already a full blown Interstate quality highway between the two cities.

In addition to US-290 and TX-71, as well as the corridors to I-10 from San Marcos and New Braunfels, a number of corridors North of Houston will eventually have to be upgraded in response to growth. There's already the planned extension of the Tomball Parkway (TX-249) up to Navasota. That would give College Station a non-stop Interstate quality link to Houston. There's new Google Earth imagery dated 4/1/19 showing clearing all the way up to Todd Mission. FM-1488 between Magnolia and The Woodlands is getting very busy. It's mostly undivided 4-lane road. So much development has grown around it that the road may not be possible to upgrade further. The TX-105 corridor from Navasota to Conroe and Cleveland may eventually need to be upgraded. There's at least a chance to preserve ROW there for future 4-lane or freeway expansion.

With all the development activity and growing traffic demands going on in the Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio metros (not to mention growth in places like El Paso or the Rio Grande Valley) it's tough for even long established projects like I-69 to make much progress. That's what makes the porky push for I-14 to seem especially ridiculous.

Temple to College Station and then perhaps Huntsville is about all that can be currently justified for I-14. Considering the suburban Houston growth, it would be easy to argue that Navasota-Conroe-Cleveland is a bigger priority in terms of moving traffic.
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #336 on: July 05, 2019, 05:32:20 AM »

^^^^^^^^
Except for nascent housing areas between Austin and Bastrop, it seems as if Austin has cast its connectivity lot with the other cities arrayed along I-35 from San Antonio up to Temple; improving connections to Houston does not seem to be high on Austin-area priority lists -- perhaps Austin and its denizens just don't feel that they have much in common with Houston -- in a sociopolitical and/or socioeconomic sense.  The opposite seems to be driving the Triangle backers of the current I-14 configuration -- they want that Houston connection, whether via I-45 from Huntsville or a TX 249/TX 6 composite corridor southeast of Bryan, and they allied with their West Texas counterparts and the folks who've been backing a cross-Gulf States corridor for years to get the corridor on the books.  That being said, I don't see any I-14 development outside the Triangle happening in my own lifetime (I'm pushing 70, so take that with a grain of salt!).  In that respect I'm in complete agreement with Bobby. 

Question:  is a potential Navasota-Conroe-Cleveland corridor something that is getting looks within official TX transportation circles?   If extended east to Beaumont and southwest to somewhere in the vicinity of Brenham, it might well be a stand-alone Houston bypass (the Brenham connection would, of course, tie in to a US 290-based Austin corridor if that ever came to pass). 
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #337 on: July 05, 2019, 02:17:31 PM »

Quote from: sparker
Except for nascent housing areas between Austin and Bastrop, it seems as if Austin has cast its connectivity lot with the other cities arrayed along I-35 from San Antonio up to Temple; improving connections to Houston does not seem to be high on Austin-area priority lists -- perhaps Austin and its denizens just don't feel that they have much in common with Houston -- in a sociopolitical and/or socioeconomic sense.

Anti-roads citizens in Austin don't really have much of a say in how roads are improved outside Austin city limits. At least not in terms of blocking efforts to improve the state-wide (and national) highway network.

Upgrading highways like US-290 and TX-71 is just as much to help flow of traffic and safety of towns between Houston and Austin as much as it is to benefit the motorists who travel those roads to major destinations. Quite a few of those motorists are long distance travelers, including a bunch of commercial truckers. Improvements are continuing on both corridors, albeit in piece-meal, spot-upgrade fashion. The new freeway exit of TX-71 and TX-95 in Bastrop was recently completed. Some other freeway exits along that route were recent upgrades. As traffic levels increase, and crash rates increase along with them, pressure will increase to remove more at grade turns and intersections along those two very busy highways, if not eliminate all the at-grade turns completely.

Quote from: sparker
The opposite seems to be driving the Triangle backers of the current I-14 configuration -- they want that Houston connection, whether via I-45 from Huntsville or a TX 249/TX 6 composite corridor southeast of Bryan, and they allied with their West Texas counterparts and the folks who've been backing a cross-Gulf States corridor for years to get the corridor on the books.

One problem is the thing they're wanting is not a functional connection to Houston, or even a bypass of it. The currently proposed route of I-14 thru the Texas Triangle doesn't even go to Huntsville. The path ping-pongs from Cameron down to Milano, a 90° turn up to Hearne then a 90° degree turn down to Bryan and then, for some stupidly odd reason, another 90° turn up to Madisonville, which is more than 25 NW of Huntsville. The Huntsville area only gets included in the I-14 parade if I-14 is multiplexed with I-45 that whole way, provided if I-14 was ever built east of Huntsville. Adding to the comedy is all the proposed "me too" branches off I-14 being added to the pork parade, many of which are far lower priorities in terms of traffic movement in Texas.

Quote from: sparker
Question: is a potential Navasota-Conroe-Cleveland corridor something that is getting looks within official TX transportation circles? If extended east to Beaumont and southwest to somewhere in the vicinity of Brenham, it might well be a stand-alone Houston bypass (the Brenham connection would, of course, tie in to a US 290-based Austin corridor if that ever came to pass).

I'm sure the TX-105 corridor has to be on TX-DOT's radar screens. The segment between Montgomery and Conroe is a very busy 6-lane undivided street. The road switches between 2-lane and 4-lane undivided the rest of the way West to Navasota and East to Cleveland. TX-105 has a Super-2 bypass South of Cleveland. The South half of Loop 336 in Conroe would have to be incorporated into a Navasota-Cleveland project. Any super highway link spanning those suburbs would need to have pretty substantial amounts of the road built on new terrain alignments. A lot of the existing TX-105 corridor is pretty covered up in development. I think TX-DOT will have to start planning something big sooner than later otherwise they're not going to be able to build anything at all.
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sprjus4

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #338 on: July 05, 2019, 03:00:23 PM »

Here's a concept for a US-290 "expressway" I created.

Approximately 27 miles of new location freeway would be needed, along with 8 miles of upgrading the existing roadway to freeway.

In the end, a consistent 65 - 75 mph expressway between I-35 and I-610 would be created with town bypasses and no traffic signals.

At $25 million per mile, this would cost $875 million, and at $50 million per mile, $1.75 billion.

Parts of it especially outside of Austin could become an extension of the existing toll road.

This would not create a full freeway, but rather a free-flowing corridor at interstate speeds.

For the 90 miles, a full freeway upgrade would likely cost between $2.25 billion - $4.5 billion. This semi-upgrade would accommodate a future build out, as the improved sections would be built to full freeway standards.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HRsTJF4gd149v-uNeIYheL4Fnoga0RHq&usp=sharing
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #339 on: July 05, 2019, 07:22:30 PM »

One problem is the thing they're wanting is not a functional connection to Houston, or even a bypass of it. The currently proposed route of I-14 thru the Texas Triangle doesn't even go to Huntsville. The path ping-pongs from Cameron down to Milano, a 90° turn up to Hearne then a 90° degree turn down to Bryan and then, for some stupidly odd reason, another 90° turn up to Madisonville, which is more than 25 NW of Huntsville. The Huntsville area only gets included in the I-14 parade if I-14 is multiplexed with I-45 that whole way, provided if I-14 was ever built east of Huntsville. Adding to the comedy is all the proposed "me too" branches off I-14 being added to the pork parade, many of which are far lower priorities in terms of traffic movement in Texas.

Looks like someone is taking the "first edition" preliminary map showing I-14 sitting atop US 190, including all its convolutions, from I-35 to I-45 as unmitigated "gospel truth"!  I'll take an educated guess that the final route will at least cut off the corner between Cameron and the Brazos River floodplain west of Hearne, since (a) those are the towns of substantial size along 190 that would be able to successfully press for some sort of service, and (b) that floodplain is at its narrowest near the US 79/190 and adjacent UPRR crossings, so that immediate zone will likely be pressed into service for I-14 as well.  Hearne will likely get a bit of a bypass to the SE connecting 79/190 and 190/TX 6 and will simply segue onto the existing TX 6 freeway through Bryan and College Station.  And I'd also expect a direct connection between Texas A&M and Huntsville -- if nothing else but to expedite the flow of present and former Aggies from Houston to the campus area (seeing as how A&M alums are very much overrepresented in state government as well as within business enterprises in the general vicinity, including metro Houston).  They're going to want to make egress from the campus area to both the east/southeast and west as short and efficient as feasible; a "zig-zag" route strictly along existing US 190 wouldn't accomplish that goal.

As for Austin not having much influence outside their own immediate area when it comes to putting the kibosh on certain concepts -- that is probably a correct analysis.  But while they might piss & moan about a Houston connector freeway west of TX 130 -- and be able to influence decisions about that segment of such a corridor, the remainder of such intercity plans still need "champions" who will actively engage in the lobbying and even "schmoozing" necessary to initially get it off the ground.  And, at least from the lack of activity toward such an end within Austin circles, their participation in the planning and eventual deployment of a Houston connecting corridor can't be considered a certainty.  Impetus for such a corridor may well have to come from either the other end (Houston) or one of the areas in between.  It that occurs, and the selling of the project meets with success, I for one certainly wouldn't expect much in the way of organized opposition to such a corridor outside the usual roving sideshow of BANANA types.  It's not so much that they don't want an Interstate-grade direct path to Houston, it's just that one can't expect much in the way of enthusiasm from that quarter either.  Maybe I'm just an old cynical fart, but for the past 45 years I've seen the possibility for even highly warranted expansion of Interstate mileage largely hinge on political considerations (I-22 was almost derailed back around 2001-02 by Trent Lott's impolitic misfortunes until Alabama interests took over point and resurrected it later).  The lifeblood of politicos is to a large degree delivering projects -- and subsequently money inflow -- to their constituency; if that constituency is indifferent to a concept -- regardless of its historic and/or obvious merits -- there's little to be gained by devoting time and effort to it.  Not a pretty or altruistic picture, but simply how such things tend to work in this day & age.  Even if the salient points of such a project are in the realm of safety: "you'll be a lot safer when driving to Houston if the roadway is constructed to Interstate standards -- just look at the stats!", the response just might be "uhhh......we don't need to go to Houston all that much; why should we care?  Indifference is a harder hurdle to get past than outright opposition; at least with the latter one can formulate a viable argument.  At this point, the burden of planning & promoting Austin-Houston will in all likelihood have to emanate from somewhere where they feel they have a "dog in the race", so to speak. 

 
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MaxConcrete

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #340 on: July 05, 2019, 07:36:38 PM »

Here's a concept for a US-290 "expressway" I created.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HRsTJF4gd149v-uNeIYheL4Fnoga0RHq&usp=sharing

That's a nice plan. The Giddings, Elgin and Brenham bypasses would be very nice to have.

But as far as I know, the only location receiving any planning attention is the cloverleaf on the east side of Brenham (see link). Concept B seems like the only reasonable option, and I wonder what prompted the crazy C concept. Study at this location just started, so it's probably 10-20 years before anything happens.
http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/get-involved/bry/us290-brenham/032719-us290-concepts.pdf

As Sparker notes, any corridor-wide improvement plan would need political and business community support, and I don't know of any organized support for US 290. (I-69, I-27 Port-to-Plains and I-14 do have political support.) So to echo Sparker: I don't see much of anything happening for the indefinite future.

The I-10 expansion between west Houston (Brookshire) and Columbus is already happening and all work should be underway within a few years. The next job estimated at $151 million is scheduled to go to bid in October. As others have noted, SH 71 will be upgraded to freeway status between Austin and Bastrop.

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/austin.htm#027102049

My view is that I'll be very happy to see the planned IH-10 and SH 71 work done, hopefully by the mid 2020s. Any other corridor improvements in my lifetime would be an unexpected bonus (I'm 52).
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 07:49:36 PM by MaxConcrete »
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sprjus4

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #341 on: July 05, 2019, 07:48:06 PM »

As others have noted, SH 71 will be upgraded to expressway status between Austin and Bastrop.
FTFY. While all of the traffic signals will be replaced by select interchanges and frontage roads specifically at those locations, private driveways and minor cross roads will still be permitted, the frontage roads aren't going to go the entire corridor. Nonetheless, it's a welcome improvement that will create a freeway-like corridor with constant 65 - 75 mph speed limits, and no interruptions.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #342 on: July 07, 2019, 07:13:29 PM »

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
The SH 71 Corridor upgraded to and interstate (I have been pushing for Interstate 18) makes more sense to me as an Austinite.  US 290 is slow and hard to get to from north and south Austin, plus SH 71 connected with US 290 west of Austin (Austin-Fredericksburg to Junction) would serve as not only a El Paso-Austin-Houston connection, but would inadvertently serve as a San Antonio bypass for I-10 long-haul traffic since that route is shorter.  SH 71 is s more direct route to Austin from I-10 then US 290 is from Austin to Houston.

It would be easier/cheaper to upgrade TX-71 between Austin and Columbus, TX. But such an upgrade would be of no benefit to Austin-bound traffic coming from the Northern parts of the Houston metro. That's where most of the growth is taking place. There's a lot of development activity out West in places like Katy, Cinco Ranch, etc. But more is happening North and in higher dollar value, higher income segments. US-290 is the main pathway to Austin for those residents.

I'm not against upgrading TX-71 to full Interstate standards. As big as both the Houston and Austin metros are, and considering how fast they're growing, I don't think it's out of line to suggest both US-290 and TX-71 may both eventually have to be upgraded to full Interstate standards. On top of that there are other corridor "spokes" between I-10 and I-35 TX DOT will have to watch and likely develop as the space between Austin and San Antonio rapidly fills in with development. Places like San Marcos and New Braunfels are among the fastest growing cities in the US. TX-80 between San Marcos and Luling (I-10) is mostly a dinky 2 lane road now. TX-46 between New Braunfels and Seguin is an undivided 4-lane road.

Regarding the function of either corridor as a bypass route for long distance traffic, TX-71 would certainly help long distance traffic bypass San Antonio, if the US-290 corridor was improved West of Austin to I-10. That also depends on the TX-45 toll road getting properly completed. The 3.5 mile gap between I-35 and FM-1626 (where the new orphan segment of TX-45 ends) has to be filled in. Plus the Western end of TX-45 has to be extended out West to meet US-290. And then US-290 itself needs to be improved. There are plans to extend the US-290 freeway West about 3.5 miles. But it really has to get out past Dripping Springs to get into more "easy" expansion territory.

US-290 in conjunction with the Grand Parkway can function as a bypass for Houston. It would really be great as a relief route if the US-90 corridor between Beaumont and Dayton was upgraded. The TX-71 concept would put traffic bypassing San Antonio on a path to the center of Houston.

I have thought about this, and though I agree with what you are saying, the only rebuttal is you are thinking of this (SH 71 corridor) as an outright San Antonio bypass and thinking Houston is more deserving. This is not so much a bypass of a major metropolitan area as it is a bypass of a major metropolitan area where the main through route goes unnaturally out of its way to get to said major metropolitan area. Two examples come to mind and they are both on I-10, New Orleans and Phoenix where I-10 goes out of its way to service these areas and have bypasses because of them (I-12 and I-8, SH-85 respectively). Traveling from east to west, I-10 goes way south to get to San Antonio and then leaving San Antonio you are traveling north for nearly 100 miles before you start heading west. The SH-71/US 290 corridor corrects this unnatural bend for long range travel while servicing Austin at the same time. I-10 is pretty much a straight shot through Houston so a loop (which Houston will soon have 4 to choose from) pretty much serves the bypass situation. This is the same as I-35E and I-35W where everyone knows I-35W is the fastest way through for long haul traffic. In addition the the Columbus to Houston expansion to at least 6 lanes, this really doesn’t dump more traffic into downtown Houston.
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #343 on: July 08, 2019, 03:42:48 AM »

^^^^^^^^^^^
And that in a nutshell is a telling difference between the TX 71 and US 290 potential Austin-Houston corridors:  TX 71 simply dumps Houston-bound traffic onto I-10; traffic going that way must endure the "slog" that is I-10/Katy Freeway in the west part of metro Houston (from I-10, the northern bypasses add substantial N-S mileage to any trip beyond the metro area).  US 290 at least has the potential to tie more directly into any of the northern bypasses of Houston; if 290 itself is improved as far as TX 6 (the end of the existing freeway radiating from NW Houston) that would take care of that traffic going to Houston, while a connection to the 99 loop provides at least for the present a partial northern bypass of the area -- and the previously discussed TX 105-based bypass might be an even more useful corridor.  Austin, even as a stand-alone metro area, is enough of a traffic generator/destination for eastward movement not only to and from Houston but for areas well beyond that metro region;  concentrating on a TX 71 improvement would put that traffic on a beeline for Houston without much in the way of consideration for traffic intended for points east of there.  A US 290-based corridor would be considerably more versatile in terms of interregional service for Austin in that it more easily accesses the present (99) and potential future (105) corridors that would divert traffic for eastern points around Houston -- while being close-in enough to provide that metro service option as well. 

At that point, the various projects in central TX could be considered to be "layered" bypasses:  if ever extended west along US 290, a corridor incorporating that highway on both sides of Austin -- plus any of the northern Houston bypasses or bypass concepts -- could be an effective bypass of both San Antonio and Houston -- but through Austin, which is already becoming a "bottleneck" in its own right (at close to 1M, there's little or no doubt about that!).  But then there's I-14, which pretty much bypasses it all, serving mostly metro areas in low 6 figures -- relatively ideal for a long-distance commercial corridor.   While all this sounds like one hell of a lot of projects to accommodate; the growth in TX warrants a multifaceted approach to commercial/interregional mobility -- and at least TX hasn't shied away from such large-scale concepts.     

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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #344 on: July 09, 2019, 04:55:06 PM »

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
I have thought about this, and though I agree with what you are saying, the only rebuttal is you are thinking of this (SH 71 corridor) as an outright San Antonio bypass and thinking Houston is more deserving.

US-290 West of Austin is a critical link to make any San Antonio bypass concept work. Otherwise long distance travelers might as well just use the North portion of Loop-1604 to get around San Antonio. Serious upgrades are going to be needed to TX-46 from Seguin up to New Braunfels and West out to Boerne to meet I-10. That's just for metro San Antonio. An Interstate quality highway along or near US-290 West out of Austin over to Fredericksburg and then I-10 would make I-quality upgrades of either TX-71 or US-290 far more valuable to the state/national highway network.

I'm not really saying one corridor is more deserving of being upgraded than the other. Certainly not a zero-sum game approach where one road's upgrade comes at the expense of the other. Both TX-71 and US-290 East of Austin have legit reasons for being upgraded to Interstate quality. But both roads cannot serve all of the needs of traffic heading out of Austin toward Houston. The Houston metro is just too big. The traffic going to the rapidly growing Northern reaches of the Houston metro is going to stay on US-290, even if TX-71 is converted into full Interstate quality. Those drivers aren't going to take TX-71 to wind up Katy Freeway and then have to back-track North, likely along even more miles of toll roads, to get up to places like The Woodlands.

Quote from: sparker
But while they might piss & moan about a Houston connector freeway west of TX 130 -- and be able to influence decisions about that segment of such a corridor, the remainder of such intercity plans still need "champions" who will actively engage in the lobbying and even "schmoozing" necessary to initially get it off the ground.

Serious or fatal vehicle collisions are a major factor at influencing highway upgrades outside of big cities. It's that and responding to the growth trends of traffic levels on a particular road. Schmoozing does its part on getting roads and bridges built to nowhere. But we wouldn't have a functional highway network at all, and not even an Interstate system, if getting results was determined most by political schmoozing.

When one considers current politics in Texas it makes the I-14 campaign look even more like wishful thinking. There has been a backlash against toll roads in Texas, and probably with some good reason. The toll rates per mile are quite a bit higher than here in Oklahoma. At the same time the state's politics won't allow for major hikes in gasoline taxes to fund pie in the sky projects like I-14, much less far more established projects like I-69. The federal government is mostly AWOL on these efforts, leaving states with more of the funding burden.

Meanwhile Houston and Austin both continue to grow and the traffic counts on corridors between these two major cities only stands to grow as well. Funding isn't available for any massive projects. So TX DOT is stuck having to pick and choose what it can build, much of it in the form of spot upgrades, like converting a single at grade intersection along US-290 or TX-71 into a freeway style exit. We're going to see a lot more of those spot upgrades on both corridors. Maybe if enough spot upgrades accumulate it will give way to filling in the gaps between each upgrade site.
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #345 on: July 11, 2019, 03:05:44 AM »

^^^^^^^^^^
"Schmoozing" has been around a lot longer than just the post-chargeable era; at least two of the routes that were part of the 1968 1500-mile addition package were specifically shepherded by notable political figures of the era:  the late Sen. Everett Dirksen (R-IL, and minority leader for many terms) ushered the original I-72 from Springfield to Champaign/Urbana as a tip of the hat to his hometown of Decatur, more or less at the route's midpoint.  Since he was to retire in a couple of years, he viewed the route as a sort of "swan song".    And I-88 in upstate NY was championed by both of the state's senators, Jacob Javits and Bobby Kennedy; it was more of a "make-work" concept than a vitally needed corridor -- although it was to some degree sold as a way to get from the I-81 corridor to central New England.  But upstate was hurting financially at the time (well into the "rust belt" age) -- and projects such as I-88 were viewed as a way to address that problem.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #346 on: July 11, 2019, 01:46:43 PM »

I-72 in Illinois and I-88 in New York (or more recent examples like I-68 in West Virginia) are arguably porky routes, but they didn't come at the expense of other in-progress Interstate projects. Under the current funding environment there's very little money to go around to already proposed projects, even within Texas alone. Funding one project on I-14 would erase funding for other projects in the state. I think it's going to be a big struggle just to get a leg of I-14 extended into the College Station area.
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sprjus4

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #347 on: July 11, 2019, 03:16:16 PM »

(or more recent examples like I-68 in West Virginia)
I-68 in West Virginia and Maryland was originally a regular freeway and built as such. It wasn't until the very end they designated the entire completed corridor as an interstate highway (I-68) in the early 90s.
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sparker

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #348 on: July 11, 2019, 04:58:10 PM »

(or more recent examples like I-68 in West Virginia)
I-68 in West Virginia and Maryland was originally a regular freeway and built as such. It wasn't until the very end they designated the entire completed corridor as an interstate highway (I-68) in the early 90s.

I-68 (former 2nd iteration of US 48) was an ARC corridor that was elevated to freeway status by both WV and MD; it was completed from I-79 to Cumberland by 1989 and east over Sideling Hill to I-70 by 1991, at which time it was proposed an accepted as I-68 (despite the decidedly substandard 40mph segment through Cumberland). 

I-72 in Illinois and I-88 in New York (or more recent examples like I-68 in West Virginia) are arguably porky routes, but they didn't come at the expense of other in-progress Interstate projects. Under the current funding environment there's very little money to go around to already proposed projects, even within Texas alone. Funding one project on I-14 would erase funding for other projects in the state. I think it's going to be a big struggle just to get a leg of I-14 extended into the College Station area.

Right now I-14, aside from the operational segment from I-35 to Copperas Cove, is in the study phase; AFAIK there's not a finalized alignment either east nor west of the existing facility, so no funds have been spent for ROW purchase or any other physical activity -- just studies.  OTOH, the only other active new Interstate project in Texas, I-69 and its suffixed siblings (and I-2, for that matter) are much farther along in the planning and deployment processes; they'll likely be substantively completed (with the probable exception of I-2) -- at least south of Houston -- well before the first I-14 project is let.  I for one, given the Houston-based I-69 backers' aims, am quite surprised to not see more prioritization given to the Houston-Texarkana (69/369) stretch, since an Interstate-grade outlet to the northeast was and is one of their primary objectives -- but that's a subject that needs to be discussed in the I-69/Texas thread.  It'll be interesting to see if the latest push for the I-27/Port-to-Plains corridor gains traction -- and whether (a) its support groups start competing with the I-14 folks to see who can get the most $$ directed toward them, or (b) start working with those same folks on a composite regional corridor plan that isn't duplicative or just plain gratuitous. 
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-14 in Texas
« Reply #349 on: July 12, 2019, 12:49:48 AM »

I don't expect any cooperation, collaboration, etc between I-14 backers and people pushing improvements to the Ports to Plains Corridor (with possible extensions of I-27 in the long term). The two corridors serve very different purposes. I-14 has only limited reach in Texas between one military base and only small to medium sized cities at best on the proposed route. The Ports to Plains corridor provides a somewhat more direct connection from Colorado's Front Range cities down to the Gulf of Mexico. Cities like Amarillo, Lubbock and Laredo are along the path as well as the growing Rio Grande Valley region in the far South end of Texas. The P2P Corridor would provide a faster connection between Denver and San Antonio.

The factors that hurt the P2P Corridor are sheer long distance of the thing and that a bunch of it is in sparsely populated rural areas. Plenty of people would think a 2-lane road is good enough for many parts of the route. One of my girlfriend's friends was killed in a head on collision North of Boise City a few years ago. So I'm definitely NOT among the crowd who thinks 2 lanes is good enough. That stretch of US-287 is still just 2 lanes. All elements of the P2P Corridor should be upgraded to at least of 4-lane divided expressway standards. IMHO, the 4-lane expressway upgrades ought to be built with enough ROW to allow conversion to Interstate quality at later dates.
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