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Author Topic: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes  (Read 1683 times)

MaxConcrete

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http://www.mystatesman.com/news/local/austin-vision-for-makeover-now-includes-two-toll-lanes-per-side/mlcJqKJIuWa0OjnUDpoBLN/

The latest proposal for I-35 Austin is a design like I-635 (LBJ) in North Dallas, with main lanes built over the toll lanes, and (for the Austin proposal) two levels beneath the frontage roads. But the Austin plan is 33 miles long, with a price tag of $8.1 billion. That's an obscene $245 million per mile. The cost estimate is surely approximate at this point since a $20 million environmental study has not started yet.

$8.1 billion is somewhat more than the $7 billion estimated cost for the planned total rebuild of downtown Houston freeways and major widening of I-45 from downtown to Beltway 8. But even Houston, with about 3.4 times of the population of Ausitn, may not be able to get the funding in place. http://www.ih45northandmore.com/

When I lived in Austin from 1996 to 2003 there were studies in progress for improving I-35, and a plan was made. It was actually a good plan, but it died for whatever reason. I'm thinking (and hoping) this plan dies. It's just way too much money.

Quote
Highlights

Officials Monday laid out an $8.1 billion vision for expanding I-35 from Round Rock to Buda.

That would include in Central Austin two levels of lanes below ground level, and demolishing the upper deck.

TxDOT intends to spend $20 million on an environmental study of the revised concept for expanding I-35.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 07:46:26 PM by MaxConcrete »
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longhorn

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2017, 11:36:13 PM »

Except a lot of corporations and potential corporations looking are stating to make noise about mobility or the lack of it. The number one complaint from visitors to events in Austin is the traffic.  The rich tree huggers west of Mopac may have gotten their wish on no freeway construction but its coming back to bite them and now they are scrambling to fix it. I guess moving 25K downtown to live in condos didn't work out.

Would like to see a schematic of this idea, especially around Caesar Chavez area. And how this multilevel mass cross Town Lake (will always be Town Lake to me). And while we are tearing up I-35 for the next 10 years, complete the rebuild to 290 to the south.

Might as well make the toll lanes three lanes and build for growth for once, and what is this no extra lanes? So I-35 through bottleneck Austin is stuck with the same three lanes per side as in rural areas? What engineer thought that was a good idea?
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 11:45:33 PM by longhorn »
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longhorn

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2017, 01:06:41 AM »

8 Billion dollars, how much would it cost to buy toll road 130 again and turn it into I35?
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Henry

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2017, 10:02:54 AM »

While in theory this would be a good idea, $8 billion is simply to much for a city like Austin. I could see that done in L.A., but not here.
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Chris

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 10:37:14 AM »

8 Billion dollars, how much would it cost to buy toll road 130 again and turn it into I35?

I don't think current and future traffic problems would be solved just by moving the I-35 designation to an alternate non-tolled freeway. The corridor between San Antonio and Austin is rapidly growing as well, which would only add more traffic to I-35.

There's no lack of ambition in Texas. This is a mind-boggling project.

But correct me if I'm wrong, I think Houston has a larger volume of future road projects than Austin. Austin seems to focus on US 183 and I-35. Houston has the downtown rebuild, US 290, Grand Parkway, Katy managed lanes extension, Hardy Toll Road extension, Westpark tollway extension, I-69 expansion, the Ship Channel Bridge replacement, Aggie Toll Road, Gulf Freeway expansion and who knows what for I-610 and Beltway 8. Houston has more projects to compete for the available funding whereas Austin seems to put their effort in 'only' two large projects.

longhorn

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 01:58:32 PM »

For this to work, trucks will have to be routed off I-35 through the city core during this 7-8 year construction project.  Traffic is unbearable now with three lanes per side. Now I am guessing they will have to reduce that three lane count to two each way during construction detours and  the like. Reroute I-35 and have a three digit go through the core.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2017, 03:22:20 PM »

$8 billion sounds like a lot for a highway project, but I wouldn't be surprised if the cost actually rose significantly higher. This project concept through Central Austin amounts to a deep, double deck tunnel nearly capped by a freeway. Tunnels, regardless of how they're labeled, are obscenely expensive to build in the United States. The task of utility relocation along the deep trenched parts of the project alone would be staggering.

It would be significantly cheaper to build upward, but the NIMBYs and other anti-freeway folks in Austin won't allow that. They already want the elevated section of I-35 from MLK up to Airport Blvd demolished. So the expansion effort is stuck having to go below grade. Big question: just what are they going to do with the I-35 crossing over the Colorado River? Tunnel the new lanes underneath or bridge over it?

Near term, I think the City of Austin and TX DOT should be working to improve (and complete) the other roads going in/out of Austin and running parallel to I-35. The US-183 expansion project is in progress. TX-71 by the airport is also being improved. The TX-45 loop South of Austin needs to be completed from I-35 all the way to US-290 West of Austin. Maybe the tolls on TX-130 need to be reduced to encourage more long haul I-35 traffic to take that route rather than go thru the middle of Austin. Of course, TX-130 doesn't connect directly to the rapidly growing suburbs of San Marcos and New Braunfels.

Chances are strong I-35 thru Central Austin may be stuck in its current configuration for many years to come. I'm not optimistic this $8 billion project will be approved. Other parallel roads have more room to build and expand. It's too bad the path of the TX-130 toll road is so crooked, otherwise it would be more effective as an I-35 relief route. I can imagine roads like TX-21 being expanded from San Marcos up to the TX-130 exit in Mustang Ridge, even in freeway/turnpike form.
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longhorn

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2017, 05:56:08 PM »

$8 billion sounds like a lot for a highway project, but I wouldn't be surprised if the cost actually rose significantly higher. This project concept through Central Austin amounts to a deep, double deck tunnel nearly capped by a freeway. Tunnels, regardless of how they're labeled, are obscenely expensive to build in the United States. The task of utility relocation along the deep trenched parts of the project alone would be staggering.

It would be significantly cheaper to build upward, but the NIMBYs and other anti-freeway folks in Austin won't allow that. They already want the elevated section of I-35 from MLK up to Airport Blvd demolished. So the expansion effort is stuck having to go below grade. Big question: just what are they going to do with the I-35 crossing over the Colorado River? Tunnel the new lanes underneath or bridge over it?

Near term, I think the City of Austin and TX DOT should be working to improve (and complete) the other roads going in/out of Austin and running parallel to I-35. The US-183 expansion project is in progress. TX-71 by the airport is also being improved. The TX-45 loop South of Austin needs to be completed from I-35 all the way to US-290 West of Austin. Maybe the tolls on TX-130 need to be reduced to encourage more long haul I-35 traffic to take that route rather than go thru the middle of Austin. Of course, TX-130 doesn't connect directly to the rapidly growing suburbs of San Marcos and New Braunfels.

Chances are strong I-35 thru Central Austin may be stuck in its current configuration for many years to come. I'm not optimistic this $8 billion project will be approved. Other parallel roads have more room to build and expand. It's too bad the path of the TX-130 toll road is so crooked, otherwise it would be more effective as an I-35 relief route. I can imagine roads like TX-21 being expanded from San Marcos up to the TX-130 exit in Mustang Ridge, even in freeway/turnpike form.

Or just take 45 on the south side at Buda to connect to 130. It will be definitely when this project goes into full swing.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2017, 08:56:52 PM »

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/local/austin-vision-for-makeover-now-includes-two-toll-lanes-per-side/mlcJqKJIuWa0OjnUDpoBLN/

The latest proposal for I-35 Austin is a design like I-635 (LBJ) in North Dallas, with main lanes built over the toll lanes, and (for the Austin proposal) two levels beneath the frontage roads. But the Austin plan is 33 miles long, with a price tag of $8.1 billion. That's an obscene $245 million per mile. The cost estimate is surely approximate at this point since a $20 million environmental study has not started yet.

$8.1 billion is somewhat more than the $7 billion estimated cost for the planned total rebuild of downtown Houston freeways and major widening of I-45 from downtown to Beltway 8. But even Houston, with about 3.4 times of the population of Ausitn, may not be able to get the funding in place. http://www.ih45northandmore.com/

When I lived in Austin from 1996 to 2003 there were studies in progress for improving I-35, and a plan was made. It was actually a good plan, but it died for whatever reason. I'm thinking (and hoping) this plan dies. It's just way too much money.

Quote
Highlights

Officials Monday laid out an $8.1 billion vision for expanding I-35 from Round Rock to Buda.

That would include in Central Austin two levels of lanes below ground level, and demolishing the upper deck.

TxDOT intends to spend $20 million on an environmental study of the revised concept for expanding I-35.


$8 billion?? Really?

I'm guessing that for less than half that, they can simply pay out the remaining bonds on SH 45 South and SH 130 north of 45 to 35 north of downtown, add an additional lane, and shift I-35 to that alignment. Revert the current alignment back to US 81/Business I-35. Also, extend MoPac down to SH 45 and use that and 45 North as a western bypass.

Of course, I say that, and the usual New Urbanism freaks immediately push to tear down downtown I-35 and convert it to a 6-lane surface boulevard... (ducks for cover)
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SquonkHunter

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2017, 09:11:28 PM »

...Maybe the tolls on TX-130 need to be reduced to encourage more long haul I-35 traffic to take that route rather than go thru the middle of Austin...

I cross Toll 130 every day on Toll 290 headed east. Northbound 130 is almost always at or near a complete stop by 5:00 PM weekdays. With the rain today, traffic backed up well onto 290. South of the airport 130 is a ghost town but from 290 north it is at capacity already.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2017, 09:31:56 PM »

I cross Toll 130 every day on Toll 290 headed east. Northbound 130 is almost always at or near a complete stop by 5:00 PM weekdays. With the rain today, traffic backed up well onto 290. South of the airport 130 is a ghost town but from 290 north it is at capacity already.

Work to add one lane in each direction between SH 71 and SH 45 (north) in Round Rock is scheduled to begin in 2018.

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2018/travis.htm#044006018


http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2018/travis.htm#044006017

longhorn

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2017, 12:45:26 AM »

I cross Toll 130 every day on Toll 290 headed east. Northbound 130 is almost always at or near a complete stop by 5:00 PM weekdays. With the rain today, traffic backed up well onto 290. South of the airport 130 is a ghost town but from 290 north it is at capacity already.

Work to add one lane in each direction between SH 71 and SH 45 (north) in Round Rock is scheduled to begin in 2018.

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2018/travis.htm#044006018


http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2018/travis.htm#044006017

Should not be hard it was designed from the get go for easy expansion. A freeway done right.
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nguyenhm16

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2017, 11:28:07 AM »

I cross Toll 130 every day on Toll 290 headed east. Northbound 130 is almost always at or near a complete stop by 5:00 PM weekdays. With the rain today, traffic backed up well onto 290. South of the airport 130 is a ghost town but from 290 north it is at capacity already.

Work to add one lane in each direction between SH 71 and SH 45 (north) in Round Rock is scheduled to begin in 2018.

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2018/travis.htm#044006018


http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2018/travis.htm#044006017

Should not be hard it was designed from the get go for easy expansion. A freeway done right.

Heh, not hard to do when you're building from scratch in the middle of nowhere  :)
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2017, 07:21:26 PM »

Work to add one lane in each direction between SH 71 and SH 45 (north) in Round Rock is scheduled to begin in 2018.

Bids for the first contract were opened today with a low bid of $36.7 million.

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/bidtab/12063201.htm



Estimate   $39,118,063.42   % Over/Under   Company
Bidder 1   $36,726,431.19   -6.11%   OHL USA, INC.
Bidder 2   $38,618,604.77   -1.28%   FLATIRON CONSTRUCTORS, INC.
Bidder 3   $38,999,677.93   -0.30%   MCCARTHY BUILDING COMPANIES, INC.
Bidder 4   $39,641,424.53   +1.34%   AUSTIN BRIDGE & ROAD SERVICES, LP
Bidder 5   $39,994,689.07   +2.24%   WEBBER, LLC
Bidder 6   $40,328,828.48   +3.10%   JAMES CONSTRUCTION GROUP, L.L.C.
Bidder 7   $42,669,776.99   +9.08%   SUNDT CONSTRUCTION, INC.
Bidder 8   $44,603,779.50   +14.02%   JORDAN FOSTER CONSTRUCTION, LLC
Bidder 9   $45,955,165.39   +17.48%   CAPITAL EXCAVATION COMPANY
Bidder 10   $46,003,013.27   +17.60%   MARIO SINACOLA & SONS EXCAVATING, INC.
Bidder 11   $46,334,102.22   +18.45%   ZACHRY CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION
Bidder 12   $46,600,972.15   +19.13%   STERLING DELAWARE HOLDING COMPANY, INC.

MaxConcrete

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2017, 08:55:20 PM »

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/toll-lanes-austin-cut-from-long-range-transportation-plan/98WXwT6W9x0nksJ4iPMVNI/

https://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2017/12/15/plan-to-add-toll-lanes-to-i-35-scrapped-for-now.html

The $8 billion IH 35 toll lanes project in Austin may already be dead. Today the Texas Transportation Commission voted to remove all toll projects from the long-term state plan, in spite of pleas from Austin interests to retain the IH 35 plan. This puts the toll lane plan on hold, and it will probably be revisited in 2019 when the legislature is back in session.

Of course Austin is not the only city affected. The LBJ East project in Dallas may also go on hold. I don't know the full list of affected projects, hopefully it will be posted online somewhere. There are four potential outcomes for the affected projects: the legislature will authorize tolls for some of the projects in 2019, non-toll funding will be made available, toll road authorities will take over the projects, or they'll die. I'm thinking it will be a mix of all outcomes.

Quote
I-35 toll lanes in Austin cut from long-range transportation plan
  • The Texas Transportation Commission, under pressure from Abbott and others, sliced all tolls from its plan.
  • A long line of Austin officials asked the commission to keep I-35 toll lane plans alive, to no avail.
  • Anti-toll activists have argued that Texas voters, in OK’ing more tax money for TxDOT, opposed new tollways.
State transportation officials, reacting to anti-toll pressure from Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, voted Thursday to remove all new tollway projects from a key 10-year construction plan — including what would have been the addition of two toll lanes to each side of Interstate 35 through Central Texas.

This fall the commission had been moving toward adding up to 15 toll projects to that long-term plan, arguing that, despite an annual infusion of $4 billion or more of tax money into the Texas Department of Transportation since the passage of constitutional amendments in 2014 and 2015, some large urban projects would not be possible without selling bonds and charging tolls. And as late as Thursday’s meeting, at least one version of the plan still had the I-35 toll lanes and a huge toll project for Interstate 635 in Northeast Dallas.

“This will have the effect of removing all the toll elements” for projects added Thursday to the $70 billion plan, commission Chairman Bruce Bugg said just before Thursday’s vote.

Whether to allow more toll projects in the future, Bugg said, is a “policy decision” for state leaders and the Legislature, not the appointed commission he leads. Transportation commission members are named by the governor and confirmed by the Texas Senate.

Thursday’s action could affect other pending Austin toll road projects as well, including expansion of U.S. 183 in North Austin, South MoPac Boulevard and the U.S. 290/Texas 71 “Y” at Oak Hill.





« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 06:43:15 PM by MaxConcrete »
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longhorn

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2017, 09:15:19 AM »

They can still build as plan but find funding to replace the toll revenue. The revenue was probably going to Austin anyway, but the interior lanes can still be HOV.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Latest proposal for I-35 in Austin: obscenely expensive toll lanes
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2017, 03:41:10 PM »

I think the TTC's vote to remove all toll projects from the long-term state plan was misguided. It may be the only way new road infrastructure can be financed in the Lone Star State.
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