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Author Topic: Austin: IH 35 rebuild  (Read 9353 times)

MaxConcrete

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Austin: IH 35 rebuild
« on: April 25, 2019, 12:03:01 AM »

Meeting page https://www.txdot.gov/business/consultants/architectural-engineering-surveying/meetings/041819.html
Presentation with cross section views  http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/ppd/041819/pre-rfp-presentation.pdf

The presentation emphasizes that the managed lanes are non-tolled, using the "non-tolled" prefix in virtually all references.

The project is divided into the 3 sections: north, central and south

The north section is modest, adding only two managed lanes in the interior shoulder area of the existing 3x3 freeway. On the plus side, cost is estimated at $400 million and projected contract award is March 2022.

The south section is slightly more ambitious, adding four managed lanes (2x2) in the interior of the existing 3x3 freeway. The cross section view suggests standards will be low (i.e. no shoulders and narrow lanes). Cost is $300 million with a projected contract award in January 2022.

The central section, in contrast, is hugely ambitious and will be hugely expensive and difficult to construct. No cost or timeline is mentioned.
* The current section with elevated lanes is proposed to be a three-level stacked freeway, with two levels below grade.
* The cross section looks like the lower 2x2 managed lanes will barely fit between the existing elevated lane piers. If it doesn't fit, the freeway will need to be entirely closed to build it. If it does fit, the freeway will need to be reduced to only the upper deck lanes while the bottom level is built.
* It looks like the middle deck will be open to the surface (like the LBJ Express lanes in Dallas), but the Express lanes appear to be tunnels


The downtown section replaces the existing 3x3 mostly elevated freeway with a 4-2M-2M-4 sunk into a trench. This should be able to be built while keeping the existing freeway lanes open. I'm thinking there will be provisions to overdeck the freeway with a park, although locals would have to pay for that.


The south section has 2x2 managed lanes in a tunnel underneath the main lanes. I'm assuming this will be a cut and cover tunnel, which may also be difficult to build and still keep 6 lanes open.


The solicitation also calls for a signature bridge over Lake Lady Bird, which will be costly due to the number of lanes, probably 20 including the frontage road lanes.

The cost and funding are big questions for this section. I suppose we'll see some numbers within a couple years. There have been many plans for IH 35 through Austin during the past 20 years, and none have moved forward. I'm thinking this proposal is definitely not a sure thing.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2021, 05:07:25 PM by MaxConcrete »
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2019, 09:27:04 AM »

Interesting, looks very similar to an idea I posted on the now defunct speakup4mobility site regarding the elevated lanes. My idea was to connect and join the elevated lanes with a structure that would support additional lanes and convert the lower deck into managed lanes.



If they have to shut 35 down for an extended amount of time, they will need to temporarily remove tolls on SH130 and establish that as a construction bypass route.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2019, 03:07:34 PM »

That would be exciting! Hopefully it happens.

Austin also needs to seriously invest in mass transit preferably rail based. A 10-20 billion dollar package over 10 years would be great.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2019, 04:10:41 PM »

Could the elevated lanes proposal in Austin connect with the elevated lanes proposal in San Antonio? Or would that be overkill?
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2019, 05:47:47 PM »

Could the elevated lanes proposal in Austin connect with the elevated lanes proposal in San Antonio? Or would that be overkill?

That would be nearly 70 miles of continuously elevated lanes. I couldn’t foresee that happening.

On the other hand, I could definitely see “express/HOV” lanes built along the entire length of 35 between the two cities.
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longhorn

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2019, 04:35:38 PM »

Look at the I-35/290 interchange, see how wide 35 is there as an idea of how many lanes wide 35 could be from the lake to the south.
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Chris

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2019, 02:29:23 PM »

What are 'managed lanes' if they are not tolled? Just general purpose lanes with a truck ban? The whole idea of 'managed lanes' is that toll rates would manage demand and thereby traffic flow. If there is no tolling involved, how are they managing it?

US 89

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2019, 02:34:44 PM »

What are 'managed lanes' if they are not tolled? Just general purpose lanes with a truck ban? The whole idea of 'managed lanes' is that toll rates would manage demand and thereby traffic flow. If there is no tolling involved, how are they managing it?

I don't know if this is the case for this example specifically, but they can also manage HOV restrictions. Depending on time of day and/or traffic, they might be able to change the HOV restrictions from 2+ to 3+ or even 4+, or maybe even drop the restriction during light traffic periods.

Plutonic Panda

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2019, 03:31:05 PM »

What are 'managed lanes' if they are not tolled? Just general purpose lanes with a truck ban? The whole idea of 'managed lanes' is that toll rates would manage demand and thereby traffic flow. If there is no tolling involved, how are they managing it?
They are calling them express lanes. Even the term “managed” could be spun to say they manage the access more so than the “regular” lanes by having fewer entry and exit points.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2019, 11:50:58 AM »

Apologies for if this was already mentioned and I overlooked it, but those cross section views of the highway give me a bad feeling. Will the finished project feature lane widths more narrow than the 12 foot standard? The cross section drawings sure look like they're shaving off at least one or maybe even two feet from each lane to squeeze the few extra lanes into an already pretty confined space.

I really dislike I-35E going North out of Dallas for the sub-standard narrow lanes on that recently completed widening project. I feel like I could trade paint, touch door handles or take off side view mirrors of other vehicles in the adjacent lanes. That's not so good if you're traveling at "normal" Dallas traffic speeds. A normal 12' wide lane doesn't give off such a dreadful, claustrophobic feeling.
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longhorn

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2019, 03:46:16 PM »

The expansion north of 290 to 45 is not much of an expansion.  Just adding an inside HOV lane. The frontage roads are 3 lanes wide in most areas.

 The area around I-35 and Yeager needs to be rethought though.

I remember when I-35 was rebuilt from 183 to Round Rock back in the 80s and thinking," they rebuilt a freeway to add one lane?!!!" I see TxDot doing the samething again.
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In_Correct

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2019, 05:00:03 PM »

Could the elevated lanes proposal in Austin connect with the elevated lanes proposal in San Antonio? Or would that be overkill?

That would be nearly 70 miles of continuously elevated lanes. I couldn’t foresee that happening.

On the other hand, I could definitely see “express/HOV” lanes built along the entire length of 35 between the two cities.

I could see that happening.

But you are right. It should not be necessary.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2019, 11:55:16 PM »

https://www.kvue.com/mobile/article/traffic/debris-on-i-35-northbound-lower-deck-caused-by-crash-on-upper-deck-hitting-rail-txdot-confirms/269-1afe8b2c-2060-4002-aedb-56f3f98a3a46

Looks like this project might need to be fast tracked! I sure hope they build it as proposed. With those tunnels as such could be one of the most impressive stretches of freeway in the world.
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Echostatic

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2019, 12:31:48 AM »

I've seen a lot of typical urbanist / anti-highway folk get alarmed by this wreck. If they bundle some message about safety along with the reconstruction I think TxDot can get a lot more support from the city.

Anthony_JK

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2019, 01:41:19 AM »

I've seen a lot of typical urbanist / anti-highway folk get alarmed by this wreck. If they bundle some message about safety along with the reconstruction I think TxDot can get a lot more support from the city.

Nope, won't happen.

The general plan for I-35 in Austin proposed by New Urbanists is to simply keep it at 4 x 4 with no new lane additions, cap the road through downtown, toll it to divert traffic to SH 45 SE and SH 130, and build more light rail to "improve" downtown.

This is a website to their counterproposal: Reconnect Austin.

I'm surprised they don't advocate just converting I-35 back into a surface boulevard and divert I-35 onto SH 45 and SH 130.
 
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2019, 02:28:03 AM »

^^^ geeze...  not surprising. I can see why they want that but I like the widening proposal better. Hopefully their idea is shot down and the widening happens, and soon at that.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2019, 07:44:54 AM »

I've seen a lot of typical urbanist / anti-highway folk get alarmed by this wreck. If they bundle some message about safety along with the reconstruction I think TxDot can get a lot more support from the city.

Nope, won't happen.

The general plan for I-35 in Austin proposed by New Urbanists is to simply keep it at 4 x 4 with no new lane additions, cap the road through downtown, toll it to divert traffic to SH 45 SE and SH 130, and build more light rail to "improve" downtown.

This is a website to their counterproposal: Reconnect Austin.

I'm surprised they don't advocate just converting I-35 back into a surface boulevard and divert I-35 onto SH 45 and SH 130.

No matter what, 35 needs to be shifted to 130/45.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2019, 02:10:14 PM »

TX-130 is too crooked. Additionally, If I-35 was shifted to the TX-130 corridor that would give the New Urbanists an even better shot at dismantling segments of the current I-35 freeway.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2019, 02:18:54 PM »

Yeah I'd prefer keeping 2di's going right past city centres and bypasses available if so. They need to remove the tolls on the 130 and widen it to 6-8 lanes if it isn't already.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2019, 03:32:11 PM »

Yeah I'd prefer keeping 2di's going right past city centres and bypasses available if so. They need to remove the tolls on the 130 and widen it to 6-8 lanes if it isn't already.

They are currently in the process of widening 130 to 6 lanes.
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2019, 03:35:19 PM »

TX-130 is too crooked. Additionally, If I-35 was shifted to the TX-130 corridor that would give the New Urbanists an even better shot at dismantling segments of the current I-35 freeway.

At the very least it should be an interstate I-x35. As far as the existing route, it will still be too important of a thoroughfare to be removed in part or completely.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2019, 04:06:30 PM »

TX-130 is too crooked. Additionally, If I-35 was shifted to the TX-130 corridor that would give the New Urbanists an even better shot at dismantling segments of the current I-35 freeway.

At the very least it should be an interstate I-x35. As far as the existing route, it will still be too important of a thoroughfare to be removed in part or completely.
Glad they are widening it. I wonder what the impact would be removing tolls and adding a 3di designation. Would 8 lanes even be enough? lol... seriously there would seem to be an uptick in traffic.
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longhorn

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2019, 04:34:13 PM »

TX-130 is too crooked. Additionally, If I-35 was shifted to the TX-130 corridor that would give the New Urbanists an even better shot at dismantling segments of the current I-35 freeway.
At the very least it should be an interstate I-x35. As far as the existing route, it will still be too important of a thoroughfare to be removed in part or completely.
Glad they are widening it. I wonder what the impact would be removing tolls and adding a 3di designation. Would 8 lanes even be enough? lol... seriously there would seem to be an uptick in traffic.


Not sure one can legally take a tollway away from the consortium that has a 99 year lease or something like that on it. Don't think they will be in the selling mood, it prints money. And if the tolls did come down in a matter of a few years the whole stretch will have been developed, and kiss small town feel Hutto (its gone now) good bye.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 10:45:28 PM by longhorn »
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thisdj78

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Re: Austin: TxDOT solicits consultants for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2019, 05:26:44 PM »

TX-130 is too crooked. Additionally, If I-35 was shifted to the TX-130 corridor that would give the New Urbanists an even better shot at dismantling segments of the current I-35 freeway.

At the very least it should be an interstate I-x35. As far as the existing route, it will still be too important of a thoroughfare to be removed in part or completely.
Glad they are widening it. I wonder what the impact would be removing tolls and adding a 3di designation. Would 8 lanes even be enough? lol... seriously there would seem to be an uptick in traffic.

I think 6 would be enough. Traffic would probably be similar to 35 between Austin and New Braunfels (which is still pretty heavy but manageable at 6 or 8 lanes).

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