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Author Topic: San Antonio: TxDOT selects contractor for $1.51 billion IH 35 express lanes  (Read 2171 times)

MaxConcrete

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http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2019/0425/4-presentation.pdf

In today's proceedings, the process was launched for the six elevated express lanes. Funding is available for the 9-mile-long, $915 million base section from IH 410 northeast to FM 3009. North and south extensions costing around 1 billion are included in the bid, and would move forward as part of the contract when funds become available, similar to how extra sections of the DFW connector are being built in North Texas.

As usual with the design-build jobs, the contract award process is lengthy and the contract execution is listed as August 2020 with completion in April 2025.

This project will add three-lane elevated structures on each side of the road, with each structure having two regular non-tolled lanes and one HOV lane, for a total of six new lanes. (See diagram in presentation.)

San Antonio deserves credit for making good moves. They accept elevated lanes, whereas Austin, Dallas and Houston have an aversion to elevated lanes which substantially drives up project cost. San Antonio also resisted pressure to succumb to toll roads during the period of TxDOT toll road hegemony, and now they're getting crucial expansions toll-free since TxDOT is now focusing on toll-free expansions.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2021, 09:03:24 PM by MaxConcrete »
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The Ghostbuster

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Seems like a very interesting proposal. Extra capacity is very likely needed in the corridor, and they probably ruled expanding outward to be impractical. Therefore, elevating the lanes was a smart choice (they also could have put the new lanes underground, but that would likly jack up the cost).
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MaxConcrete

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Re: San Antonio: TxDOT launches design-build process for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2019, 07:49:40 PM »

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2019/0926/5-presentation.pdf

The TxDOT Commission officially solicited proposals from the three shortlisted proposers. Houston's Williams Brothers is on the approved short list. In my mind, Williams Brothers is the favorite because they are very competitive in any project with elevated structures - among their strengths, it is probably their best strength.

As usual for design-build projects in Texas, the bid and award process is long and will take about a year.

The funded section is 12.5 miles long, and deferred section is 2.9 miles long. I can't think of any urban elevated freeways (not over water) that are longer, but there may be some in areas I'm not too familiar with (e.g. NYC).


« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 08:28:31 PM by MaxConcrete »
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Stephane Dumas

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Re: San Antonio: TxDOT launches design-build process for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2019, 09:49:31 PM »

Texas Highway Man had posted some schematics of I-35 express lanes. http://texashighwayman.com/i35nex.shtml 
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sprjus4

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Re: San Antonio: TxDOT launches design-build process for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2019, 10:28:03 PM »

San Antonio deserves credit for making good moves. They accept elevated lanes, whereas Austin, Dallas and Houston have an aversion to elevated lanes which substantially drives up project cost. San Antonio also resisted pressure to succumb to toll roads during the period of TxDOT toll road hegemony, and now they're getting crucial expansions toll-free since TxDOT is now focusing on toll-free expansions.
San Antonio has done good, agreed. No toll roads, yet miles of new freeways, widening projects, interchange improvements, and mega-projects like this.

Another upcoming project in the area is the badly-needed expansion of Loop 1604 from a four-lane freeway to a ten-lane freeway for nearly 20 miles - no tolls, no HO/T lanes.
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longhorn

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Re: San Antonio: TxDOT launches design-build process for IH 35 express lanes
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2019, 10:01:18 AM »

This project should move fast since they are mostly just building bridges with minimum interruption of right of way.
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MaxConcrete

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The winning proposer was revealed today

https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/commission/2021/0325/9-presentation.pdf

And the winner is
Alamo NEX Construction, comprised of Webber and Ferrovial Agroman US, with a bid of $1.515 billion

Observations
  • This bid process took a very long time. The process was launched in September 2019 and was listed for conditional award in summer 2020. I thought it had been canceled. I suppose Covid played a role in the delay
  • There were three shortlisted bidders, but apparently Fluor did not submit a bid so there were only two bidders, the winner and Houston's Williams Brothers ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2019/0926/5-presentation.pdf
  • Williams Brothers is usually highly competitive for projects with long elevated structures, so I'm surprised they lost
  • The map on today's presentation includes sections of IH-410 and Loop 1604 which were not shown in the original project map (see link at second bullet item). However, the map for the bid results does not include any of IH-35 south of IH-410, which was included in the original project scope
  • The original document listed the "Base Central" section at $965 million. The $639 "Base South" appears to be excluded from the scope of this project, but the sections of IH-410 and  Loop 1604 were added. I don't have any estimates for the IH-410 and Loop 1604 work, but $545 million seems high. So I'm thinking the bid is over a little over budget. However, the bid is below the committed funding of $1.604 billion, so it will surely proceed.
  • As usual, there is very little information provided about the bidding process. We don't know if the winner included any design changes, and we don't know anything about the losing bid
  • This is a big win for San Antonio, the first award of a big year which will include $403 million for Loop 1604 expansion. The first section of 1604, listed at $169 million, receives bids next month.
  • Completion is listed as 2027
« Last Edit: March 27, 2021, 09:56:28 AM by MaxConcrete »
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MaxConcrete

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Official press release from the winning bidder, which includes statistics about the project

https://newsroom.ferrovial.com/en/press_releases/ferrovial-awarded-i-35-northeast-expansion-central-san-antonio-texas/

longhorn

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Why is the press release showing the I-35 Waco rebuild as its main pic?
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achilles765

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Man I wish they would do some stuff like this here in Houston. Iíve been reading and seeing pictures and video of some of the stuff being built in San Antonio and Dallas and it just makes me jealous. Dallas gets thinks like the TEXpress lanes and all these new sweeping interchanges with elevated hot lanes, San Antonio gets a long double deck and here in Houston we just shelved a horrible idea for a neighborhood destroying tunnel.
I would love to see elevated express lanes for IH 45 and IH 10, IH 610 from South Post Oak to US 290, an extension of the 249 freeway down to Ih 45, and another east-west freeway route in north Houston Along like
FM 1488 or SH 242
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MaxConcrete

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Man I wish they would do some stuff like this here in Houston. Iíve been reading and seeing pictures and video of some of the stuff being built in San Antonio and Dallas and it just makes me jealous. Dallas gets thinks like the TEXpress lanes and all these new sweeping interchanges with elevated hot lanes, San Antonio gets a long double deck and here in Houston we just shelved a horrible idea for a neighborhood destroying tunnel.
I would love to see elevated express lanes for IH 45 and IH 10, IH 610 from South Post Oak to US 290, an extension of the 249 freeway down to Ih 45, and another east-west freeway route in north Houston Along like FM 1488 or SH 242

NNHIP includes new elevated lanes along IH-10 on the north side of downtown, including multiple new elevated structures in the interchange complex on the northwest side of downtown.

TxDOT is proposing elevated express lanes on the West Loop from IH 69 to IH 10.

TxDOT has a study in progress for managed lanes on the Inner Katy Freeway, and two of the three build options are for elevated express lanes.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/hou/i-10-inner-katy-corridor/022521-ml-presentation.pdf

As for SH 249 inside BW8, that has recently been approved to be a 4x4 arterial street, so it will never be a freeway.
I don't think elevated express lanes would be considered for FM 1488 or SH 242. Elevated lanes are expensive and I don't see those corridors justifying the expense. The West Loop express lanes are listed at $558,352,698, which is around $160 million per mile. I think that value is inflated by the inclusion of transit centers. Still, elevated express lanes are a minimum of $50 million per mile and are an option only in situations where there is no right-of-way available and right-of-way cannot be acquired.

DNAguy

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Iím kind of disappointed that this is the option for the corridor.

Now, adding an elevated 3 lanes is exactly what I wanted.... just not for 35.

My plan / thought was this:
Make 410 the elevated section. Separate 410 and I 35 on the duplexed road section. It adds capacity, 410 and I 35 donít have to share lanes, AND it by keeping the roadways separate it eliminates the traffic snarl thatís going to happen when the express lanes have to merge back into 35.

Add direct, 2 lane fly overs (yes I understand that ROW would need to be purchased) from 410 to those elevated sections to make a continuous on 410 loop. You could actually incorporate a 410 exit / Austin highway exit into one to minimize the sharpness of the flyovers.

I just hate the 410 / I 35 connections that slow up everything on the east side of SA. Headed east on 410 and exiting stay on 410 south is nuts. In addition, itís one lane that has a speed limit of 25 mph due to the sharpness of the curve. But you could actually keep that exit to preserve a 410 east exit to the remaining ground level I 35 south.

But what do I know.
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achilles765

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Man I wish they would do some stuff like this here in Houston. Iíve been reading and seeing pictures and video of some of the stuff being built in San Antonio and Dallas and it just makes me jealous. Dallas gets thinks like the TEXpress lanes and all these new sweeping interchanges with elevated hot lanes, San Antonio gets a long double deck and here in Houston we just shelved a horrible idea for a neighborhood destroying tunnel.
I would love to see elevated express lanes for IH 45 and IH 10, IH 610 from South Post Oak to US 290, an extension of the 249 freeway down to Ih 45, and another east-west freeway route in north Houston Along like FM 1488 or SH 242

NNHIP includes new elevated lanes along IH-10 on the north side of downtown, including multiple new elevated structures in the interchange complex on the northwest side of downtown.

TxDOT is proposing elevated express lanes on the West Loop from IH 69 to IH 10.

TxDOT has a study in progress for managed lanes on the Inner Katy Freeway, and two of the three build options are for elevated express lanes.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/hou/i-10-inner-katy-corridor/022521-ml-presentation.pdf

As for SH 249 inside BW8, that has recently been approved to be a 4x4 arterial street, so it will never be a freeway.
I don't think elevated express lanes would be considered for FM 1488 or SH 242. Elevated lanes are expensive and I don't see those corridors justifying the expense. The West Loop express lanes are listed at $558,352,698, which is around $160 million per mile. I think that value is inflated by the inclusion of transit centers. Still, elevated express lanes are a minimum of $50 million per mile and are an option only in situations where there is no right-of-way available and right-of-way cannot be acquired.

I actually kind of do not expect much of the NHHIP to end up being built as described.  Don't get me wrong, there is a part of me that thinks it would be f***ing awesome looking if it were, but I think about the destruction and displacement that is going to have to happen to make it work.  And I actually like the Pierce Elevated because I have so many memories on that stretch...good times. 
I have read about the planned elevated lanes on IH 10, which inside the loop would be the method that would make the most sense because there just isn't another good way to add capacity there: development is way too heavy like right along the freeway especially with homes. It would be awesome but its going to be a long time before those are a reality.
As for IH 610 and the elevated express lanes: they have been "planning" those since I first moved to Houston in 2010...I doubt those will ever be a reality either. 
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Henry

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From the FAQ that TexasHighwayMan provided:

Quote
Will this project be tolled?
No. Although earlier versions of this project proposed adding managed toll lanes, funding was secured to remove the toll component. Instead, non-tolled express lanes and HOV lanes will be added.

Why are they building expensive elevated lanes instead of a more conventional at-grade widening?
The existing right-of-way along most of the corridor is inadequate for a traditional widening, and because of the extensive development along the frontage roads, the cost to acquire the needed right-of-way would be more expensive-- and disruptive to the businesses and neighborhoods along the corridor-- than building the elevated lanes.

Why aren't there more entrances and exits from the elevated lanes?
A study of the corridor in the 1990s determined that a significant percentage of the traffic is passing all the way through the corridor or traveling between the major interchanges, a pattern that hasn't changed much today. Therefore, the intent of the new elevated lanes is to provide an express corridor for that traffic-- including a lot of truck traffic-- thus removing it from the existing mainlanes below. Since that traffic is traveling longer-distances, they don't need those intermediate entrances and exits, and additional entrance and exits would increase the traffic volumes on those elevated lanes, defeating their purpose. Also, providing those additional entrances and exits would require additional right-of-way, which is limited in this corridor. This same concept is used on the I-35 elevated lanes in Austin, the Katy Freeway express lanes in Houston, and the Dan Ryan express lanes in Chicago, among others.

The lack of entrances and exits will hinder emergency response and will trap traffic on the upper level if a crash blocks all the lanes.
To improve access for emergency vehicles and provide an escape route for trapped traffic, emergency crossovers will be constructed at three locations in the corridor: between Eisenhauer Rd. and Walzem Rd., near O'Connor Rd., and near Olympia Pkwy. This same approach has been used on other long dual-span roads that have limited or no access, most notably in Louisiana on I-10 over the Atchafalaya Swamp and on the two bridges over Lake Pontchartrain.

I will not use/can't access the elevated lanes, so how will it benefit me?
Traffic that uses the elevated lanes will not be on the mainlanes below, so this will reduce congestion there. It is estimated that when the first phase is complete, travel time on the existing mainlanes between the Bexar county line and Loop 410 North will be cut in half from about 20 minutes to less than 10 minutes.

Interesting that there'll be no tolls on the I-35 Express Lanes; I might use them if I come through San Antonio that way.
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The Ghostbuster

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I think the Express Lanes should be used for Through Traffic, while Local Traffic should use the existing lanes. Of course, if the Express Lanes get heavily congested, or even gridlocked, maybe they should implement tolls on the lanes.
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sprjus4

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I think the Express Lanes should be used for Through Traffic, while Local Traffic should use the existing lanes. Of course, if the Express Lanes get heavily congested, or even gridlocked, maybe they should implement tolls on the lanes.
I agree, though I feel like the heavy influx of through traffic is simply going to clog the express lanes. One potential solution could be to restrict heavy trucks to the local lanes and restrict the through lanes to cars and buses, only if congestion is an issue.
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In_Correct

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I think the Express Lanes should be used for Through Traffic, while Local Traffic should use the existing lanes. Of course, if the Express Lanes get heavily congested, or even gridlocked, maybe they should implement tolls on the lanes.

I also agree. Perhaps place Tolls during Rush Hours.
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sprjus4

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I think the Express Lanes should be used for Through Traffic, while Local Traffic should use the existing lanes. Of course, if the Express Lanes get heavily congested, or even gridlocked, maybe they should implement tolls on the lanes.

I also agree. Perhaps place Tolls during Rush Hours.
I donít necessarily agree with that, perhaps since the majority of the elevated lanes will be 2 ďthroughĒ lanes and 1 HOV lane each way, toll the HOV lane, but thatís it.

Itíll be interesting to see how the express lanes hold out. I feel like the problem is going to be where they merge back with the mainline thatís going to cause the backup, or that god-foresaken 1 express + 1 HOV concept proposed on the northern part. It needs a minimum of 2 general purpose lanes all the way.
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