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Author Topic: Private section of SH 130-Toll crumbling, $60 million in repairs to start  (Read 1672 times)

MaxConcrete

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http://www.mystatesman.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/new-texas-130-owners-make-million-repairs-bumpy-road/yaRKOE9zB9xocqv0ZGehFK/

I've never driven on this section, which is the privately-developed section south of Austin between SH 45 and Interstate 10. But according to the article, the 5-year-old tollway has been crumbling since it opened in 2012. This is somewhat surprising, since you would think that anyone spending $1.1 billion on an investment would make sure they use proper engineering standards. But it appears that there was some seriously negligent engineering, since the subgrade needs to be dug out and replaced. My suspicion is that good practices were not used to save money. I seem to recall a similar situation occurred on the private Camino-Columbia toll road near Laredo, which was taken over by TxDOT after it went bankrupt and needed rehabilitation. It is now SH 255 and was recently made toll-free due to low traffic.



Quote
The southern, privately built section of Texas 130, which has been an obstacle course of bumps and cracks since shortly after its October 2012 opening, will see $60 million of pavement repairs over the next year in 35 spots between Mustang Ridge and Seguin.

Crews in many cases will be removing five feet or more of the road’s “sub-base,” the treated and compacted soil layers that underlie the highway’s asphalt driving surface, replacing it with soil with different, stronger properties, and then repaving those rehabilitated sections.


[The] light use of the road’s mostly rural route through Caldwell and Guadalupe counties meant that the original company could not make its loan payments and had to file for bankruptcy about three and a half years after the road opened. But long before the money ran out, the road’s bumps and rolls had led the original company to make what it said was about $2 million in repairs over 6 percent of the road’s length.

This second, much more expensive round of work, will cover 5 percent of the 40 miles, according to officials with SH 130 Concession Co.

« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 09:20:35 PM by MaxConcrete »
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Private section of SH 130-Toll crumbling, $60 million in repairs to start
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2017, 07:02:23 AM »

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/new-texas-130-owners-make-million-repairs-bumpy-road/yaRKOE9zB9xocqv0ZGehFK/

I've never driven on this section, which is the privately-owned section south of Austin between SH 45 and Interstate 10. But according to the article, the 5-year-old tollway has been crumbling since it opened in 2012. This is somewhat surprising, since you would think that anyone spending $1.1 billion on an investment would make sure they use proper engineering standards. But it appears that there was some seriously negligent engineering, since the subgrade needs to be dug out and replaced. The reality is that the tollway was built on the cheap since it did not need to meet TxDOT or FHWA standards. I seem to recall a similar situation occurred on the private Camino-Columbia toll road near Laredo, which was taken over by TxDOT after it went bankrupt and needed rehabilitation. It is now SH 255 and was recently made toll-free due to low traffic.



Quote
The southern, privately built section of Texas 130, which has been an obstacle course of bumps and cracks since shortly after its October 2012 opening, will see $60 million of pavement repairs over the next year in 35 spots between Mustang Ridge and Seguin.

Crews in many cases will be removing five feet or more of the road’s “sub-base,” the treated and compacted soil layers that underlie the highway’s asphalt driving surface, replacing it with soil with different, stronger properties, and then repaving those rehabilitated sections.


[The] light use of the road’s mostly rural route through Caldwell and Guadalupe counties meant that the original company could not make its loan payments and had to file for bankruptcy about three and a half years after the road opened. But long before the money ran out, the road’s bumps and rolls had led the original company to make what it said was about $2 million in repairs over 6 percent of the road’s length.

This second, much more expensive round of work, will cover 5 percent of the 40 miles, according to officials with SH 130 Concession Co.

Wasn't this section supposed to be built to such high standards to support 75 - 80 mph speeds? Kind of hard to drive those speeds on a damaged road.

This is the very reason I oppose private toll roads. If there is any justice in this world, SH 130 would be returned to the state and made a freeway, and portions of it made into a bypass of I-35.


Alcatel_4060A

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froggie

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Re: Private section of SH 130-Toll crumbling, $60 million in repairs to start
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2017, 09:08:35 AM »

Out of curiosity, where is the $60 million coming from?
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Henry

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Re: Private section of SH 130-Toll crumbling, $60 million in repairs to start
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2017, 09:20:49 AM »

I can't believe it was built this cheap!
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Private section of SH 130-Toll crumbling, $60 million in repairs to start
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2017, 09:40:39 AM »

"The reality is that the tollway was built on the cheap since it did not need to meet TxDOT or FHWA standards. "

I find it hard to believe that a roadway - private or public - doesn't need to meet federal roadway standards.  There's a reason why those standards are there - so that any roadway will be safe for its users.  Even toll roads like the NJ Turnpike that doesn't collect a penny in fed funds needs to meet those standards, and the feds have been pushing them lately to abide by FHWA and MUTCD standards such as signage.

That said - it's not the first road to fall apart, including Interstate highways.  I-495 in Delaware had to undergo a complete reconstruction within 10-15 years of being built due to a poorly laid foundation and the concrete used.
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wxfree

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Re: Private section of SH 130-Toll crumbling, $60 million in repairs to start
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2017, 10:27:17 AM »

I can't believe it was built this cheap!

I don't think the road was ever meant to be successful.  The original leaseholder was the company that built the road, a partnership between a Texas road builder and a Spanish toll road company.  Those two companies paid themselves to build the road and perform the business functions with the money they borrowed.  They knew, everyone knew, that it was unlikely there would be enough toll revenue to make the payments.  They found a company to give them inflated traffic and revenue numbers to trick potential lenders.  The two companies made their money before the road even opened.  I'm sure they would have loved 50 years of profits, but they had no real need for any toll profits.  This was a get-rich-quick scheme on the backs of the lenders, who include the taxpayers through government loans.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Private section of SH 130-Toll crumbling, $60 million in repairs to start
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2017, 11:34:45 PM »

"The reality is that the tollway was built on the cheap since it did not need to meet TxDOT or FHWA standards. "

I find it hard to believe that a roadway - private or public - doesn't need to meet federal roadway standards. 
Good point, I don't know for a fact that standards did not need to be met for the private toll road, and I will strip that statement out of my original post.

But it does seem suspicious that the entire TxDOT section has concrete pavement, while the private section is all (cheaper) asphalt. And when the SH 161 toll road was built in Irving about 10 years ago, NTTA used extraordinary measures such as deep injection of lime to deal with poor soil conditions, and also used concrete paving.

aboges26

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Re: Private section of SH 130-Toll crumbling, $60 million in repairs to start
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2017, 12:45:19 AM »

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/new-texas-130-owners-make-million-repairs-bumpy-road/yaRKOE9zB9xocqv0ZGehFK/

I've never driven on this section, which is the privately-owned section south of Austin between SH 45 and Interstate 10. But according to the article, the 5-year-old tollway has been crumbling since it opened in 2012. This is somewhat surprising, since you would think that anyone spending $1.1 billion on an investment would make sure they use proper engineering standards. But it appears that there was some seriously negligent engineering, since the subgrade needs to be dug out and replaced. The reality is that the tollway was built on the cheap since it did not need to meet TxDOT or FHWA standards. I seem to recall a similar situation occurred on the private Camino-Columbia toll road near Laredo, which was taken over by TxDOT after it went bankrupt and needed rehabilitation. It is now SH 255 and was recently made toll-free due to low traffic.



Quote
The southern, privately built section of Texas 130, which has been an obstacle course of bumps and cracks since shortly after its October 2012 opening, will see $60 million of pavement repairs over the next year in 35 spots between Mustang Ridge and Seguin.

Crews in many cases will be removing five feet or more of the road’s “sub-base,” the treated and compacted soil layers that underlie the highway’s asphalt driving surface, replacing it with soil with different, stronger properties, and then repaving those rehabilitated sections.


[The] light use of the road’s mostly rural route through Caldwell and Guadalupe counties meant that the original company could not make its loan payments and had to file for bankruptcy about three and a half years after the road opened. But long before the money ran out, the road’s bumps and rolls had led the original company to make what it said was about $2 million in repairs over 6 percent of the road’s length.

This second, much more expensive round of work, will cover 5 percent of the 40 miles, according to officials with SH 130 Concession Co.

Wasn't this section supposed to be built to such high standards to support 75 - 80 mph speeds? Kind of hard to drive those speeds on a damaged road.

This is the very reason I oppose private toll roads. If there is any justice in this world, SH 130 would be returned to the state and made a freeway, and portions of it made into a bypass of I-35.


Alcatel_4060A

The speed limit on this section is 85 MPH actually.
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Brian556

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Re: Private section of SH 130-Toll crumbling, $60 million in repairs to start
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2017, 01:48:28 AM »

Other that the poor quality roadbed/pavement, does it meets standards in all other ways? ROW width, curve banking, median width, signage, and all that good stuff?

I would love to know what highway standards, if any, the law requires these private toll roads to be built to.

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wxfree

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Re: Private section of SH 130-Toll crumbling, $60 million in repairs to start
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2017, 02:16:01 AM »

This isn't exactly a private toll road.  It was built under a contract with TxDOT, which owns the road and had complete authority to dictate standards, as the company had the right to accept or refuse the contract.  Having driven the road the full length in both direction, I'd say it's built to very high geometrical standards (in my amateur estimation).  Specifically, the design speed is 80, the minimum horizontal radius is 5,095 feet, the maximum grade is 4% (I'm pretty sure it doesn't get anywhere near that), and minimum horizontal clearance is 30 feet (the actual clearance is much more than that, generally more than 100 feet).

You can have a look at amendment 2 for more details.
http://www.txdot.gov/government/partnerships/current-cda/sh-130.html
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 02:19:58 AM by wxfree »
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