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Author Topic: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free  (Read 3883 times)

Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2019, 12:25:24 PM »

I still think it's odd how the new section of the TX-45 toll road is being built on such a narrow alignment.

Most of the development on the SW side of Austin is indeed pretty spread out. However, new choke points are building up along US-290 to the West of the proposed freeway project's end at Circle Drive. The Belterra Village shopping center is one example. I don't think property set backs for the new restaurants and other stores going up near US-290 are wide enough to allow any future expansion of the existing road. Nearby both North and South of US-290 new residential developments are densely packing in a bunch of McMansions. That takes the option of a new terrain alignment off the table.

I think it's pretty critical for US-290 to operate as a Western gateway for the Austin area, with the TX-45 toll road connecting to it somehow.

The proposed freeway extension of US-290 would eliminate 9 traffic signal intersections for main line traffic. There are 16 more traffic signaled intersections along US-290 from the end of the proposed freeway extension to the West side of Dripping Springs.
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2019, 12:41:01 PM »

I still think it's odd how the new section of the TX-45 toll road is being built on such a narrow alignment.
It's due to the environmental features and the hilly terrain. Narrow footprint = less impact. It's not flat and wide open like how the other sections are.
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Echostatic

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2019, 05:38:46 PM »

I still think it's odd how the new section of the TX-45 toll road is being built on such a narrow alignment.

It's not "being built," it's open and has been for two months. The narrow alignment was to please the environmentalists, unsurprisingly. But they did construct SH45 sustainably:

Quote
To ensure the project is constructed using the highest standards in environmental protection, the Mobility Authority will be using a combination of structural and non-structural Best Management Practices (BMPs). These BMPs include:
  • Permeable Friction Course (PFC) pavement
  • Water quality ponds
  • Vegetated controls such as grassy swales
  • Vegetated filter strips
  • Hazardous materials traps located at all creeks, waterways, and culverted drainage ways
In addition, to protect the extensive karst features in the area, 90 percent of the project will be constructed on top of fill and will not require excavation.
from www.sh45sw.com

longhorn

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #28 on: August 01, 2019, 12:30:10 AM »

Most of the new development out in SW Austin is very spread out with lots of open space, thanks to them. But they (fortunately) haven't stopped construction entirely. SH45SW got built, after all.

Are they responsible for the 25% rule? You can only develop  25% of your property and leave the rest for green space.
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Echostatic

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2019, 05:04:28 PM »

Are they responsible for the 25% rule? You can only develop  25% of your property and leave the rest for green space.

Save Our Springs (the organization) is responsible for the 1992 Save Our Springs Act, which contains the 25% rule over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2019, 12:29:55 PM »

I still think it's odd how the new section of the TX-45 toll road is being built on such a narrow alignment.

Most of the development on the SW side of Austin is indeed pretty spread out. However, new choke points are building up along US-290 to the West of the proposed freeway project's end at Circle Drive. The Belterra Village shopping center is one example. I don't think property set backs for the new restaurants and other stores going up near US-290 are wide enough to allow any future expansion of the existing road. Nearby both North and South of US-290 new residential developments are densely packing in a bunch of McMansions. That takes the option of a new terrain alignment off the table.

I think it's pretty critical for US-290 to operate as a Western gateway for the Austin area, with the TX-45 toll road connecting to it somehow.

The proposed freeway extension of US-290 would eliminate 9 traffic signal intersections for main line traffic. There are 16 more traffic signaled intersections along US-290 from the end of the proposed freeway extension to the West side of Dripping Springs.

Yes it is a major gateway and part of the interstate proposal I have using SH-71 east of Austin and US-290 west of Austin to complete a I-35W/35E situation for San Antonio and Austin, were I-10 is 35W and I-18 (which is what I call my alignment) will be 35E.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2019, 01:52:37 PM »

I still think it's odd how the new section of the TX-45 toll road is being built on such a narrow alignment.

Most of the development on the SW side of Austin is indeed pretty spread out. However, new choke points are building up along US-290 to the West of the proposed freeway project's end at Circle Drive. The Belterra Village shopping center is one example. I don't think property set backs for the new restaurants and other stores going up near US-290 are wide enough to allow any future expansion of the existing road. Nearby both North and South of US-290 new residential developments are densely packing in a bunch of McMansions. That takes the option of a new terrain alignment off the table.

I think it's pretty critical for US-290 to operate as a Western gateway for the Austin area, with the TX-45 toll road connecting to it somehow.

The proposed freeway extension of US-290 would eliminate 9 traffic signal intersections for main line traffic. There are 16 more traffic signaled intersections along US-290 from the end of the proposed freeway extension to the West side of Dripping Springs.

Yes it is a major gateway and part of the interstate proposal I have using SH-71 east of Austin and US-290 west of Austin to complete a I-35W/35E situation for San Antonio and Austin, were I-10 is 35W and I-18 (which is what I call my alignment) will be 35E.

What is the argument against the corridor being named I-12?

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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2019, 02:00:42 PM »

I still think it's odd how the new section of the TX-45 toll road is being built on such a narrow alignment.

Most of the development on the SW side of Austin is indeed pretty spread out. However, new choke points are building up along US-290 to the West of the proposed freeway project's end at Circle Drive. The Belterra Village shopping center is one example. I don't think property set backs for the new restaurants and other stores going up near US-290 are wide enough to allow any future expansion of the existing road. Nearby both North and South of US-290 new residential developments are densely packing in a bunch of McMansions. That takes the option of a new terrain alignment off the table.

I think it's pretty critical for US-290 to operate as a Western gateway for the Austin area, with the TX-45 toll road connecting to it somehow.

The proposed freeway extension of US-290 would eliminate 9 traffic signal intersections for main line traffic. There are 16 more traffic signaled intersections along US-290 from the end of the proposed freeway extension to the West side of Dripping Springs.

Yes it is a major gateway and part of the interstate proposal I have using SH-71 east of Austin and US-290 west of Austin to complete a I-35W/35E situation for San Antonio and Austin, were I-10 is 35W and I-18 (which is what I call my alignment) will be 35E.

What is the argument against the corridor being named I-12?
I-12 already exists in Louisiana. I think this discussion is more suited for fictional highways, not here.
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longhorn

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2019, 04:15:20 PM »

^^^^^I-10S and I-10N^^^^^
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2019, 04:16:57 PM »

^^^^^I-10S and I-10N^^^^^

I would love it.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2019, 04:30:00 PM »

I still think it's odd how the new section of the TX-45 toll road is being built on such a narrow alignment.

Most of the development on the SW side of Austin is indeed pretty spread out. However, new choke points are building up along US-290 to the West of the proposed freeway project's end at Circle Drive. The Belterra Village shopping center is one example. I don't think property set backs for the new restaurants and other stores going up near US-290 are wide enough to allow any future expansion of the existing road. Nearby both North and South of US-290 new residential developments are densely packing in a bunch of McMansions. That takes the option of a new terrain alignment off the table.

I think it's pretty critical for US-290 to operate as a Western gateway for the Austin area, with the TX-45 toll road connecting to it somehow.

The proposed freeway extension of US-290 would eliminate 9 traffic signal intersections for main line traffic. There are 16 more traffic signaled intersections along US-290 from the end of the proposed freeway extension to the West side of Dripping Springs.

Yes it is a major gateway and part of the interstate proposal I have using SH-71 east of Austin and US-290 west of Austin to complete a I-35W/35E situation for San Antonio and Austin, were I-10 is 35W and I-18 (which is what I call my alignment) will be 35E.

What is the argument against the corridor being named I-12?
I-12 already exists in Louisiana. I think this discussion is more suited for fictional highways, not here.

Last thing Iíll note on it is that I-74 shows up in different states non-continuously and I donít believe there are any plans to connect them, unless they ran it concurrently with other interstates to complete part of the gap....which in theory could also be done with the 290 corridor. I-10/12 from Baton Rouge to Beaumont until it splits again.
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2019, 09:15:44 PM »

I still think it's odd how the new section of the TX-45 toll road is being built on such a narrow alignment.

Most of the development on the SW side of Austin is indeed pretty spread out. However, new choke points are building up along US-290 to the West of the proposed freeway project's end at Circle Drive. The Belterra Village shopping center is one example. I don't think property set backs for the new restaurants and other stores going up near US-290 are wide enough to allow any future expansion of the existing road. Nearby both North and South of US-290 new residential developments are densely packing in a bunch of McMansions. That takes the option of a new terrain alignment off the table.

I think it's pretty critical for US-290 to operate as a Western gateway for the Austin area, with the TX-45 toll road connecting to it somehow.

The proposed freeway extension of US-290 would eliminate 9 traffic signal intersections for main line traffic. There are 16 more traffic signaled intersections along US-290 from the end of the proposed freeway extension to the West side of Dripping Springs.

Yes it is a major gateway and part of the interstate proposal I have using SH-71 east of Austin and US-290 west of Austin to complete a I-35W/35E situation for San Antonio and Austin, were I-10 is 35W and I-18 (which is what I call my alignment) will be 35E.

What is the argument against the corridor being named I-12?
I-12 already exists in Louisiana. I think this discussion is more suited for fictional highways, not here.

Last thing Iíll note on it is that I-74 shows up in different states non-continuously and I donít believe there are any plans to connect them, unless they ran it concurrently with other interstates to complete part of the gap....which in theory could also be done with the 290 corridor. I-10/12 from Baton Rouge to Beaumont until it splits again.
I-74 was intended to be connected indeed, it was to follow I-77 through Virginia, but follow on new location in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.

Realistically though, it's never going to happen. IMO the North Carolina routing needs to be decommissioned and given different numbers. The short stretch that overlaps I-77 near the Virginia border needs to be decommissioned, the stretch between I-77 and I-73 needs to be renumbered as an I-x77 or I-x73, the overlap portion with I-73 wouldn't need new numbering - it would just be I-73, and the portion between Rockingham and Wilmington would be decommissioned in favor of a Wilmington to I-26 / Asheville interstate concept - I-38 or something alike.
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debragga

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2019, 10:02:58 PM »

I just drove through the Y today, it's a mess. Traffic was backed up a few miles onto the freeway from the first light, and it wasn't even rush hour yet
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2019, 12:46:51 AM »

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
Yes it is a major gateway and part of the interstate proposal I have using SH-71 east of Austin and US-290 west of Austin to complete a I-35W/35E situation for San Antonio and Austin, were I-10 is 35W and I-18 (which is what I call my alignment) will be 35E.

That doesn't make any sense. US-290 is a East-West corridor. Not a North-South corridor, which a I-35E/I-35W split would define.

The I-18 idea doesn't make much sense since there is now a (stupid and needless) I-14 corridor established a short drive to the North.

I'm in the camp of those who think the US-290 corridor between Houston and Austin should be developed into a segment of Interstate 12. Further, I think I-12 should run from roughly the US-290 junction with I-10 in West Texas thru Fredericksburg, then Austin, then to the Northern Houston metro, utilizing part of the Grand Parkway, then running concurrent with US-90 into Beaumont.

We already have separate, duplicate instances of Interstate highways in the system: I-69, I-74, I-76, I-84, I-86, I-87, I-88. What the hell is two disconnected segments of I-12 going to hurt? Considering the long term prospect of needs in the highway system the US-190 corridor North of I-10 in Louisiana as well as the short existing segment of I-12 could serve as a vital relief route and hurricane evacuation route for traffic off I-10. A whole bunch of I-10 in Louisiana is built up on really long bridges over swamp land. Upgrading the US-190 corridor a little farther North could provide a good bit of relief if major parts of I-10 had to be rebuilt for some reason, such as a serious hurricane land fall.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2019, 12:49:58 AM by Bobby5280 »
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2019, 01:40:37 AM »

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
Yes it is a major gateway and part of the interstate proposal I have using SH-71 east of Austin and US-290 west of Austin to complete a I-35W/35E situation for San Antonio and Austin, were I-10 is 35W and I-18 (which is what I call my alignment) will be 35E.

That doesn't make any sense. US-290 is a East-West corridor. Not a North-South corridor, which a I-35E/I-35W split would define.


I think he was just comparing to the ďsplit and returnĒ nature of 35W/35E vs the direction they run.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #40 on: August 05, 2019, 10:38:26 AM »

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
Yes it is a major gateway and part of the interstate proposal I have using SH-71 east of Austin and US-290 west of Austin to complete a I-35W/35E situation for San Antonio and Austin, were I-10 is 35W and I-18 (which is what I call my alignment) will be 35E.

That doesn't make any sense. US-290 is a East-West corridor. Not a North-South corridor, which a I-35E/I-35W split would define.

The I-18 idea doesn't make much sense since there is now a (stupid and needless) I-14 corridor established a short drive to the North.

I'm in the camp of those who think the US-290 corridor between Houston and Austin should be developed into a segment of Interstate 12. Further, I think I-12 should run from roughly the US-290 junction with I-10 in West Texas thru Fredericksburg, then Austin, then to the Northern Houston metro, utilizing part of the Grand Parkway, then running concurrent with US-90 into Beaumont.

We already have separate, duplicate instances of Interstate highways in the system: I-69, I-74, I-76, I-84, I-86, I-87, I-88. What the hell is two disconnected segments of I-12 going to hurt? Considering the long term prospect of needs in the highway system the US-190 corridor North of I-10 in Louisiana as well as the short existing segment of I-12 could serve as a vital relief route and hurricane evacuation route for traffic off I-10. A whole bunch of I-10 in Louisiana is built up on really long bridges over swamp land. Upgrading the US-190 corridor a little farther North could provide a good bit of relief if major parts of I-10 had to be rebuilt for some reason, such as a serious hurricane land fall.

Yes I was referring to the Interstate along SH-71 and US 290 to be a split and return to the mainline for I-10 mush like the I-35E/35W split leaves and returns, giving long haul traffic two options for the through route. 

I am very aware of the multiple interstate routes with the same number, but in all of those cases, the two routes exist so far away from each other it's not an issue.  Take I-76; the western version is in the Mountain Time Zone where the eastern version is 2 time zones away.  That's a long enough distance that most traffic won't encounter both instances on the same drive, and the ones that do, so much time will go by that the second time they see I-76, they will have forgotten about the previous incarnation. 

I am not a fan of the multiple interstate routes with the same number, and I am really not a fan of doing it in neighboring states, in the length of a time that you can encounter both in the course of 4 or 5 hours.  I think AASHTO might agree with me on that one as well, due to the fact they are big on reducing driver confusion.  I don't think it's worth having two separate I-12's that close just so it can fit a grid that has errors like I-11 east of I-15 and I-82 north of I-84 just to name a few off the top of my head.  I love the grid, I love how simple it is, but I am not going to want something as stupid as a 400 mile co-siging of I-10 and I-12 just because it has to fit the grid, which has it's flaws all over the place.

As for the US 290 east of town routing, most Austinites agree the best route to Houston from Austin is SH-71 and I-10 NOT US 290. To put it another way, US 290 sucks.  SH-71/I-10 is more direct and upgrading it has a double impact.  It upgrades the most direct Houston-Austin corridor (which by the way would be less work and $$ to do so than 290) plus gives long haul traffic the aforementioned I-35E/35W convenience, albeit being effectively I-10S/10N (with I-10 being your option to go through San Antonio, the long way[like I-35E through Dallas] and I-18 being your option to go through Austin [like I-35W through Ft. Worth]).  I like to look at it more like connecting Austin to New Orleans and El Paso, not just Houston to Austin.  Putting Austin on the main line I-10 corridor is huge.  You turn 290 into an interstate and its blocked in between Austin and Houston with nowhere to go.  Yes you can co-sign it down I-35 through downtown Austin like the current routing of US 290 to get to US 290 west of Austin, but everyone loves doing that!!!  I would rather have my fingernails pulled out.

I came up with my I-18 idea back long before I-14 was signed.  Seeing how I don't think it will go much further west than it currently is in course of two generations, I am perfectly fine with I-18 going through Fredericksburg. 
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 10:45:11 AM by ethanhopkin14 »
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #41 on: August 05, 2019, 10:45:47 AM »

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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #42 on: August 05, 2019, 12:04:51 PM »

I can make legit looking highways signs at my work place. But a custom made highway sign does nothing to legitimize a fictional highway route.

Regarding duplication of I-12, the existing route in Louisiana is only about 84 miles long. Honestly the route is hardly worth carrying a 2 digit designation. Baton Rouge and Houston are about 280 miles apart. I think that's a far enough gap to avoid any confusion. The only real way duplicates of I-12 could get confusing is if the Texas version of it began in Beaumont and the existing I-12 in LA was extended West along US-190.

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
As for the US 290 east of town routing, most Austinites agree the best route to Houston from Austin is SH-71 and I-10 NOT US 290. To put it another way, US 290 sucks. SH-71/I-10 is more direct and upgrading it has a double impact.

TX-71 is only a more direct route for Austin traffic headed to central Houston or points South. Much of the growth in both the Austin and Houston areas is happening on the North side of both metros. US-290 is the main link between both those growing regions. Even if TX-71 was fully upgraded to Interstate standards there would still be a lot of traffic taking US-290.

The only reason why TX-71 would cost less to upgrade than US-290 is because it hits I-10 in Columbus, TX nearly 50 miles West of the Grand Parkway. Once on I-10 that long haul traffic coming thru Austin is pretty much stuck there, in increasingly heavy traffic, going through the center of Houston. US-290 patches more direct into both the North sides of the Grand Parkway and Loop 8 beltway.
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In_Correct

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2019, 12:22:35 PM »

Are they responsible for the 25% rule? You can only develop  25% of your property and leave the rest for green space.

Save Our Springs (the organization) is responsible for the 1992 Save Our Springs Act, which contains the 25% rule over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.


Quote
SOS ordinance is applicable to Barton Springs Zone of the Edwards Aquifer, a small part of the overall watershed southwest of the city, limiting development in that zone to a maximum of 15% to 25% impervious cover, and mandating that stormwater runoff be as clean after development as before.

https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2002-08-09/99632/

The "Barton Springs Salamander" is probably just a Salamander.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #44 on: August 05, 2019, 12:44:23 PM »

I can make legit looking highways signs at my work place. But a custom made highway sign does nothing to legitimize a fictional highway route.

Regarding duplication of I-12, the existing route in Louisiana is only about 84 miles long. Honestly the route is hardly worth carrying a 2 digit designation. Baton Rouge and Houston are about 280 miles apart. I think that's a far enough gap to avoid any confusion. The only real way duplicates of I-12 could get confusing is if the Texas version of it began in Beaumont and the existing I-12 in LA was extended West along US-190.

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
As for the US 290 east of town routing, most Austinites agree the best route to Houston from Austin is SH-71 and I-10 NOT US 290. To put it another way, US 290 sucks. SH-71/I-10 is more direct and upgrading it has a double impact.

TX-71 is only a more direct route for Austin traffic headed to central Houston or points South. Much of the growth in both the Austin and Houston areas is happening on the North side of both metros. US-290 is the main link between both those growing regions. Even if TX-71 was fully upgraded to Interstate standards there would still be a lot of traffic taking US-290.

The only reason why TX-71 would cost less to upgrade than US-290 is because it hits I-10 in Columbus, TX nearly 50 miles West of the Grand Parkway. Once on I-10 that long haul traffic coming thru Austin is pretty much stuck there, in increasingly heavy traffic, going through the center of Houston. US-290 patches more direct into both the North sides of the Grand Parkway and Loop 8 beltway.

I just thought my sign was neat, and that I have it hanging in my garage.  That was all.  I didn't say, "I had a sign made so now it must have that number!!!"  I thought it was something we all liked. 

I live in Dripping Springs and work in downtown Austin.  My commute absolutely sucks.  I always find it very insulting when someone says the growth is happening north and not south.  There are plenty of new houses in Kyle, Buda and Dripping Springs going up daily and lots of high schools that used to be little rural schools that are now big time powerhouses in the course of 8 years.  There is plenty of growth in Austin, both north and south.  To be honest I'd rather drive in Georgetown or Round Rock than to sit on the flyover bridge from eastbound Ben White to south bound I-35 then proceed to Kyle on I-35 from there.  That has gotten to the point where it's horrible. 

As for your comment, "Once on I-10 that long haul traffic coming thru Austin is pretty much stuck there", that's the way things currently are.  You say that like it would be a new thing, yet a lot of people chose that route to go to Houston still, even with all that.  add to that the project to convert I-10 to 6 lanes and that will help mobility there.  US 290 is a good corridor to upgrade to an Interstate, I just feel upgrading the SH 71 corridor is better for the Interstate Highway System, not just those two towns.  I keep looking the big picture.  You are looking at the Houston-Austin corridor where I am focusing on the Beaumont-Austin-El Paso corridor.

The point is to finally connect the two biggest cities not connected by the interstate highway system.  Austin and Houston (downtown mind you), not Georgetown to The Woodlands.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #45 on: August 05, 2019, 01:49:38 PM »

I live in the Round Rock area and drive to Houston about once a month to visit relatives in the southeast part of the metro area. I use Waze and itís about 50/50 on whether it gives me 290 or 71 was the fastest route. Factors are based on time of day, construction traffic on 290/Northwest Freeway, SH130 or I-10 (around Brookshire).

My preference though is 71 because overall itís less stop lights and slowdowns. I would have to be going somewhere north of Beltway 8N before considering 290 (if Waze tells me 71 is only slightly quicker).

Yes, most of the residential metro growth is occurring north, but majority of the industry, commerce and attractions of the city are near I-10 and south. Iíd even venture to say that majority of the area population is in and around I-10 and south....the population is pretty dense from downtown on down to the southwest side.

Iím sure there are other metros in the country that are linked by a not-so-direct interstate route but with direct surface highway routes. Having 71 be the preferred route wouldnít be perfect but I think it would meet the needs of majority people traveling to Houston from Austin or vice versa.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #46 on: August 08, 2019, 12:24:00 PM »

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
I live in Dripping Springs and work in downtown Austin.  My commute absolutely sucks.  I always find it very insulting when someone says the growth is happening north and not south.  There are plenty of new houses in Kyle, Buda and Dripping Springs going up daily and lots of high schools that used to be little rural schools that are now big time powerhouses in the course of 8 years.

I didn't say growth wasn't happening at all in the Southern parts of Austin. Nevertheless there is more growth happening to the North. One reason is there is more room to build new housing and businesses in that areas. The terrain out West of Austin is much more hilly.

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
As for your comment, "Once on I-10 that long haul traffic coming thru Austin is pretty much stuck there", that's the way things currently are.

And the traffic on I-10 would get even worse if the primary link between Austin and Houston was via an improved TX-71 while leaving US-290 as-is.

Quote from: ethanhopkin14
You say that like it would be a new thing, yet a lot of people chose that route to go to Houston still, even with all that.  add to that the project to convert I-10 to 6 lanes and that will help mobility there.  US 290 is a good corridor to upgrade to an Interstate, I just feel upgrading the SH 71 corridor is better for the Interstate Highway System, not just those two towns.  I keep looking the big picture.  You are looking at the Houston-Austin corridor where I am focusing on the Beaumont-Austin-El Paso corridor.

I'm not opposed to converting TX-71 into a 100% Interstate quality route between Austin and Columbus, TX. Nevertheless the US-290 corridor needs to be upgraded regardless of what happens with TX-71. I'm looking at more than just a link between Houston and Austin. I'm all for upgrading the US-290 corridor to Interstate standards out West of Austin through Fredericksburg and all the way to I-10. I also think it would be great to upgrade US-90 between Beaumont and the Grand Parkway. That combination would effectively give Austin its own 350 mile long East-West Interstate quality route that bypasses San Antonio and the busiest parts of Houston.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2020, 06:00:33 PM »

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0430/6a-presentation.pdf

MASSIVE cost overrun in recommended bid for design-build construction

2020 UTP project listing cost: $406 million
I seem to recall recent estimates were somewhat higher, maybe $440 million
Low Bid: $677 million, 67% over UTP listed cost

The recent $1.7 billion LBJ East design-build also had a major overrun, around $300 million, but percent-wise that was only around 20%.

The presentation and associated discussion (I tuned in to the meeting) did not mention why it is so far over budget. They did mention that they are going to try to work it out financially, and it may require coming back to the commission for additional commission action. Apparently they have until August to finalize the contract.

In these design-build competitions, minimal or zero information about the competing bids is released. All we get for this bid is the rankings, with no financial info or proposal score. The transparency to the public is very poor, much less than the regular bidding process.

Also, it has been standard practice for TxDOT to pay losing bidders for bid preparation costs. I think this can lead to all bidders bidding high, since their rationale may be "There's no risk for me since I'm being paid for preparing this proposal, so I'll put in a high bid since it won't cost me anything and there's a chance I'll win." If all bidders use that rationale, this is what can happen.

Needless to say, I have soured on the Design-Build process. At the minimum, TxDOT is going to need to make the process more transparent to satisfy folks like me.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 06:02:49 PM by MaxConcrete »
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: US 290 Oak Hill Y project coming back to life, toll-free
« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2020, 11:43:01 PM »

I strongly suspect some people are heavily padding the bills so they can move to more wealthy zip codes and drive more expensive vehicles. Shouldn't everybody have a 5000 square foot home and a $100,000 pickup truck? The gravy train is about to derail off the tracks. It's obscene what road building costs in the United States now. We might as well go back to dirt roads and horse-drawn carriages with this kind of price gouging.

EDIT:
I wonder how well these clowns are going to be able to continue making such insane price bids for highway building contracts when various agencies are completely cancelling bid lettings as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The US government added a giant amount of debt to its balance sheet in very rapid order. The individual states are not exactly swimming with money. Maybe these firms who do road building (and price gouge the crap out of taxpayers) might want to take note of what's going on with oil. The same kind of "demand destruction" could end up happening to their line of work too. If the government goes too far in debt they'll just cancel every road project on the books.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2020, 12:08:57 AM by Bobby5280 »
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