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Author Topic: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced  (Read 2688 times)

Bobby5280

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2020, 01:57:53 PM »

I think the key to pushing a new super highway on West past the proposed US-290 freeway extension to Circle Drive is bypassing Dripping Springs far enough to the North. One possible path is running along/near Fitzhugh Road. There is a significant utilities corridor running through there. And the area isn't all that packed in with high priced developments either.

I think the US-290 freeway could be extended along the existing highway to a point just East of the Fitzhugh Road intersection. Then the new terrain freeway could depart existing US-290 and take a more direct path toward Johnson City. It would also bypass Barton Creek to the North. One added advantage of a new terrain path: the super highway could be built with up to date curve geometry. A superhighway built along (or elevated above) the existing US-290 path would not be able to have curves as mild and graceful.

Quote from: texasdog
My apologies....I meant I don't see a need for a freeway on either side of FREDERICKSBURG, that paragraph was about Fred.

I think Austin needs an Interstate class freeway going West out of town to meet I-10 past Fredericksburg. The town of Fredericksburg would be connected to that corridor simply by being along the path.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 04:27:07 PM by Bobby5280 »
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texaskdog

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2020, 04:46:43 PM »

I think the key to pushing a new super highway on West past the proposed US-290 freeway extension to Circle Drive is bypassing Dripping Springs far enough to the North. One possible path is running along/near Fitzhugh Road. There is a significant utilities corridor running through there. And the area isn't all that packed in with high priced developments either.

I think the US-290 freeway could be extended along the existing highway to a point just East of the Fitzhugh Road intersection. Then the new terrain freeway could depart existing US-290 and take a more direct path toward Johnson City. It would also bypass Barton Creek to the North. One added advantage of a new terrain path: the super highway could be build with up to date curve geometry. A superhighway built along (or elevated above) the existing US-290 path would not be able to have curves as mild and graceful.

Quote from: texasdog
My apologies....I meant I don't see a need for a freeway on either side of FREDERICKSBURG, that paragraph was about Fred.

I think Austin needs an Interstate class freeway going West out of town to meet I-10 past Fredericksburg. The town of Fredericksburg would be connected to that corridor simply by being along the path.

I love interestates almost as much as Fritzowl but we drive out there frequently and generally even a two lane road suffices just fine west of Fred.  There's just not much traffic on it.  It would help funnel through traffic out of SA but then bringing them into south Austin is not a good answer either.
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Echostatic

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2020, 09:06:39 AM »

I love interestates almost as much as Fritzowl but we drive out there frequently and generally even a two lane road suffices just fine west of Fred.  There's just not much traffic on it.  It would help funnel through traffic out of SA but then bringing them into south Austin is not a good answer either.

This is definitely true West of Fredericksburg, but I think South Austin can handle the additional through traffic. Ben White is rarely congested between where the freeway ends before William Cannon Dr. in the West and US 183 in the East, the section with the highest volume of traffic. The chokepoints are where the freeway ends, and offramps onto Mopac and I-35. Through traffic would be less significant. The Oak Hill Parkway westward extension of the freeway should also help with this.

ethanhopkin14

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2020, 11:20:54 AM »

I love interestates almost as much as Fritzowl but we drive out there frequently and generally even a two lane road suffices just fine west of Fred.  There's just not much traffic on it.  It would help funnel through traffic out of SA but then bringing them into south Austin is not a good answer either.

This is definitely true West of Fredericksburg, but I think South Austin can handle the additional through traffic. Ben White is rarely congested between where the freeway ends before William Cannon Dr. in the West and US 183 in the East, the section with the highest volume of traffic. The chokepoints are where the freeway ends, and offramps onto Mopac and I-35. Through traffic would be less significant. The Oak Hill Parkway westward extension of the freeway should also help with this.

Yes, it's what I have been saying to push for this interstate.  I agree completely that between Harper and the I 10 US 290 intersection (the two lane section) there are very few cars:

That said, the point to this whole thing is giving a mainline connection to points west on the corridor.  Like all roads, once upgraded it will see more use.  Remember, it would pull about half the traffic that stays on I-10 through San Antonio pushing further east (trucks, people on looooog road trips).  I look at this the same as I-35W and I-35 E.  They basically take half the mainline traffic on each leg.  Right now, US 290 from I 10 to Harper only handles local traffic, not much long haul traffic.  No one on a long road trip or truckers want to take the two/four laned, non separated, non controlled US 290 even though its 20 miles shorter for through traffic because it hard on long drives to deal with that crap.  They would all opt to stay on the freeway through San Antonio.  Austin can handle the added traffic it would bring for those bypassing San Antonio.  Yes Ben White has a lot of cars, but it keeps flowing, and adding truck traffic to it won't add so much traffic that it will be completely gridlocked, not with a continuous freeway, instead of one that ends east and west like it currently does.  Again, I am looking bigger at this thing.  I am thinking connect Austin to El Paso, Phoenix and Los Angeles, not Austin to Harper.  I am also thinking about connecting Austin to Houston, New Orleans and Jacksonville, not just to Houston or Columbus.  I honestly can't say that every interstate corridor that was built during the original plan was in need of a full freeway.  You could argue that the section of I 10 from Fort Stockton to Kent, or that the section from Kerrville to Mountain Home (because it was a new alignment) was really in need of a full freeway at the time it was built.  The point wasn't that isolated corridor, the point was El Paso to San Antonio, or even bigger, there needed to be a southern freeway in the system and that's where it landed.

You can't look at this thing in isolated snapshots.  You have to look big picture.  That's why upgrading SH 71 east of Austin makes more sense than upgrading US 290.  290 would be very isolated, and would only serve the two points (Houston and Austin).  SH 71 puts Austin on the main grid and has a convenient outlet westward.  Basically, by building about 200 miles of Interstate (between I 10 and US 290 to Columbus) where roughly 50 miles are already freeway (adding the Austin section and all the bypasses) you have essentially built a 2,500 mile interstate, utilizing I 10.  Upgrading US 290 alone from Austin to Houston gets you an interstate between Austin and Houston. 

The existing highway vs what it would be as a freeway argument has it's limitations.  Its a good first step yes, but it's not completely applicable.  Take SH 130 for example.  It was built on a completely new alignment and a completely new road, not upgrading an existing road.  If you look at the traffic that predated it's existence, then you would say before it was a vacant field and there was 0.00 cars driving on it daily.  That doesn't warrant a freeway.  A one lane unpaved county road would do just fine, but here it is now congested and already going through the process of adding lanes. 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 11:31:12 AM by ethanhopkin14 »
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Bobby5280

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2020, 04:44:29 PM »

Quote from: texasdog
I love interestates almost as much as Fritzowl but we drive out there frequently and generally even a two lane road suffices just fine west of Fred.  There's just not much traffic on it.  It would help funnel through traffic out of SA but then bringing them into south Austin is not a good answer either.

This is not a frivolous Interstate concept. The Austin metro has 2 million residents and nearly 1 million within the city limits itself. I think that's more than enough to warrant Interstate-class East-West service in the highway network. A bunch of cities far smaller than Austin are far better connected to the Interstate system.

Traffic is very light on US-290 to the West of Fredericksburg because it is a puny 2 lane road. If US-290 from Houston thru Austin and out West to I-10 was an Interstate class freeway it would carry a lot more traffic. Lots of motorists, including truckers, will drive considerably out of their way just to stay on an Interstate. An added factor: there's no businesses or services where US-290 merges with I-10. It's possible a decent amount of traffic going West out of Austin to I-10 ends up taking TX-16 SW from Fredericksburg to meet I-10 in Kerrville.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 03:13:34 PM by Bobby5280 »
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texaskdog

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2020, 04:58:49 PM »

I love interestates almost as much as Fritzowl but we drive out there frequently and generally even a two lane road suffices just fine west of Fred.  There's just not much traffic on it.  It would help funnel through traffic out of SA but then bringing them into south Austin is not a good answer either.

This is definitely true West of Fredericksburg, but I think South Austin can handle the additional through traffic. Ben White is rarely congested between where the freeway ends before William Cannon Dr. in the West and US 183 in the East, the section with the highest volume of traffic. The chokepoints are where the freeway ends, and offramps onto Mopac and I-35. Through traffic would be less significant. The Oak Hill Parkway westward extension of the freeway should also help with this.

I used to think that until I moved to South Austin and commuted.   With Uber I often drop passengers off around 5 pm and 71 is a bottleneck all the way past I-35 to 1st, and EB 290/71 to SB 35 is a nightmare.    Usually I take McKinney Falls Pkwy to Slaughter to avoid 71.
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kphoger

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2020, 04:59:58 PM »

Traffic is very light on US-290 to the West of Fredericksburg because it is a puny 2 lane road.

No it's not.  It's four lanes all the way to RM-385, except for a very short section of TWLTL.  West of that point, not a single data point breaks AADT 2000, despite the fact that it's a 75mph highway with wide paved shoulders.  At its junction with I-10, fewer than 1000 drivers use US-290.
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sprjus4

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2020, 05:12:15 PM »

I-10 between Houston and Junction is 308 miles.
US-290 between Houston and Junction is 299 miles.
Taking I-10 adds a mere 9 miles and is not an out of the way routing.

I-10 is gradually being expanded to 6 lanes between Houston and San Antonio, with current working stretching from Houston out to US-77 at Schulenburg, and from San Antonio to Loop 1604.
I-10 is also gradually being expanded to 6/8 lanes between San Antonio and Boerne, including HOV facilities.
Loop 1604 is set to undergo a massive project to expand the northern loop from 4 lanes to 10 lanes, including HOV facilities.

With ongoing expansion projects throughout the whole corridor, I-10 will continue to reliably carry through traffic with Loop 1604 acting as an effective 70 mph routing around San Antonio.

I'm not against a western or eastern outlet from Austin, but I don't think it would do much in the way of diverting traffic off of I-10.


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sparker

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2020, 01:43:08 AM »

When it comes to commercial traffic, the sections of US 290 (and TX 71 as regards the eastern portion) west and east of Austin and the I-35 corridor are best addressed as having separate value.  Most commercial traffic to and from a specific point -- in this case, Austin -- originates at regional distribution centers.  In central/east TX, those are effectively the three points of the "Triangle": DFW, San Antonio, and Houston.  I-35 handles the first two; the longstanding argument regarding the lack of an Interstate-grade connection directly from Austin to Houston is predicated upon the latter's role as a major distribution point.  Arguably those concerns are valid -- but much less so for the portion of US 290 through Fredericksburg to I-10.  Of course, there will be long-distance trucks bringing cargo from the West Coast or even AZ points -- but those would be the exception.  The first place west of Austin likely to host any significant warehousing or distribution would be greater El Paso -- but that location is almost 600 miles away from Austin -- not the most efficient use of fuel and man-hours.   Goods will come in from Triangle points; not much outside that perimeter, at least presently, has the wherewithal to function as a major goods supplier to Austin.  Perhaps down the line if and when the I-14 and I-27 corridors are in service M/O and San Angelo may "join the party", but for now, lines of commercial activity regarding Austin will likely remain in and around the "Triangle".  Of course, there will be exceptions to that observation; Austin as a "tech mecca" will always draw very specific shipments of items from all places, including the West Coast.  For the time being, those will continue to slog down US 290 -- but it's not like there will be several such shipments per day; massive convoys of goods and equipment won't be clogging Fredericksburg streets day and night. 
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texaskdog

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2020, 08:29:14 AM »

Any new developments?  I have been through Fredericksburg a lot lately and there are a lot of signs saying STOP THE BYPASS.  Seems local opposition is high.  For the life of me, I don't understand why people who live there want 18 wheelers squeezing through that quaint downtown area. 

Simple small-town microeconomics.  Since the existing US 290 is right on the route of trucks to & from Austin and El Paso (as well as points beyond that), there's likely quite a bit of streetside business geared toward provisions for that traffic (restaurants, fuel, drug stores, convenience stores, etc.) that doesn't want (a) to see it go away or (b) have to move to the bypass -- if financially possible.  And with COVID19 invariably cutting into what business there is, there's probably at this point an air of desperation attached to that situation.  Stopping -- or at least delaying -- the bypass is probably seen as a step toward restoring some sense of normality.  And putting up with semis rolling down a street has likely already been internalized within the town.  Down the line, the chances are that some sort of US 290 bypass will be constructed -- but the most affected parties in town would prefer to see that particular can "kicked down the road" for as long as possible.

I agree with everything you said.  I agree with that being the mentality of the minions.  That being said, what boggles my mind is the notion of bypassing a town killing a town.  I have always been a skeptic on the subject that a town bypass kills a town.  Pixar even made a movie about it!!  When the interstates were built and towns got bypasses or just had a freeway instead of a surface main street, yes, some towns became a shell of what they once were.  Some towns I think flourished.  I immediately think of Lordsburg, New Mexico and Van Horn, Texas.  It helps that they seem to be a navigational beacon for long-haul traffic, plus their remoteness plays a factor, but tell me another town of 2,500 in their respective states not on an interstate that has as many hotels and restaurants as they do.  It doesn't kill the town, it just shifts the industry a bit.  Sure those are now corporations now instead of local business, but locals get those jobs, so it averages out.  People that were going to stop when it was a 4 lane Main Street are still going to stop for a bite to eat or a hotel now that it's a freeway.  They still get tired or hungry at the same rate they always did. 

The only thing I disagreed with is in downtown Fredericksburg, there aren't any truck stops or anything catering to long distance drivers.  It's a bunch of trinket shops, antique stores and specialty scrapbook stores that I honestly don't know how they produce the revenue to pay their rent as it is.  I am also not a good judge of art.  There are local restaurants that will be bypassed, but the locals will still flock to them.   No one flocks to Fredericksburg from Austin to eat.   We have our own overpriced food here!

It's a destination.  If they got some of the traffic out of downtown that is not stopping anyway it'll make the streets safer.
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sprjus4

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2020, 08:34:04 AM »

It's a destination.  If they got some of the traffic out of downtown that is not stopping anyway it'll make the streets safer.
Agreed, I'd say the biggest concern is the amount of truck traffic barreling down Main St. It'd be nice to route that traffic plus through car traffic away from the core and open it up some.

While I question the need to build US-290 out to full interstate standards, particularly west of Johnson City, a freeway-grade bypass of the city is warranted.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2020, 04:06:09 PM »

Main Street in Johnson City is a 2-lane bottle neck for several blocks West of the US-281 intersection. It's not a fit path for heavy trucks. And that semi traffic does more than just pound those local streets. It can be pretty good at pulverizing water lines and other utilities over time.

If the town fathers of Johnson City know how to market their town and its attractions correctly it won't be killed by one or more freeway quality bypasses. The US-290 bypass is definitely necessary. I think an Eastern bypass for US-281 is going to be in the cards as well.

Quote from: sprjus4
I'm not against a western or eastern outlet from Austin, but I don't think it would do much in the way of diverting traffic off of I-10.

An upgraded US-290 corridor from Houston through Austin probably wouldn't pull many trucks coming from Louisiana and headed to El Paso off of I-10. But it would grab up a lot of traffic originating from the Northern reaches of Houston headed out West that way. Going through Austin would be easier for that traffic. Austin is a major destination in its own right. While heavy trucks might stick to I-10 a fair amount of passenger cars, SUVs, etc might choose to go through Austin instead for attractions there. With metro Austin being heavily populated and featuring a number of major businesses that makes it a serious originator of traffic.
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sparker

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2020, 04:20:43 PM »

Main Street in Johnson City is a 2-lane bottle neck for several blocks West of the US-281 intersection. It's not a fit path for heavy trucks. And that semi traffic does more than just pound those local streets. It can be pretty good at pulverizing water lines and other utilities over time.

If the town fathers of Johnson City know how to market their town and its attractions correctly it won't be killed by one or more freeway quality bypasses. The US-290 bypass is definitely necessary. I think an Eastern bypass for US-281 is going to be in the cards as well.

Quote from: sprjus4
I'm not against a western or eastern outlet from Austin, but I don't think it would do much in the way of diverting traffic off of I-10.

An upgraded US-290 corridor from Houston through Austin probably wouldn't pull many trucks coming from Louisiana and headed to El Paso off of I-10. But it would grab up a lot of traffic originating from the Northern reaches of Houston headed out West that way. Going through Austin would be easier for that traffic. Austin is a major destination in its own right. While heavy trucks might stick to I-10 a fair amount of passenger cars, SUVs, etc might choose to go through Austin instead for attractions there. With metro Austin being heavily populated and featuring a number of major businesses that makes it a serious originator of traffic.

Which is why the Houston-Austin portion of any E-W corridor through metro Austin could be justified.  Saving a few miles on a cross-country trip is probably not sufficient cause to justify an Interstate upgrade of US 290 west of Austin.  But new corridors have been commissioned on thinner grounds than that -- particularly within this particular state -- so it's just as likely than if a corridor is seriously/officially considered along US 290 and/or TX 71, it'll address both east and west egress to Austin.  Now -- whether any ensuing study concludes that the western portion is warranted (I'd think Austin-Houston would be the closest thing to a "slam dunk" within TX since Houston-Texarkana on I-69/369, provided a decent effort to get it designated were to occur) remains to be seen. 
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #38 on: June 30, 2020, 07:05:08 PM »

Main Street in Johnson City is a 2-lane bottle neck for several blocks West of the US-281 intersection. It's not a fit path for heavy trucks. And that semi traffic does more than just pound those local streets. It can be pretty good at pulverizing water lines and other utilities over time.

If the town fathers of Johnson City know how to market their town and its attractions correctly it won't be killed by one or more freeway quality bypasses. The US-290 bypass is definitely necessary. I think an Eastern bypass for US-281 is going to be in the cards as well.

Quote from: sprjus4
I'm not against a western or eastern outlet from Austin, but I don't think it would do much in the way of diverting traffic off of I-10.

An upgraded US-290 corridor from Houston through Austin probably wouldn't pull many trucks coming from Louisiana and headed to El Paso off of I-10. But it would grab up a lot of traffic originating from the Northern reaches of Houston headed out West that way. Going through Austin would be easier for that traffic. Austin is a major destination in its own right. While heavy trucks might stick to I-10 a fair amount of passenger cars, SUVs, etc might choose to go through Austin instead for attractions there. With metro Austin being heavily populated and featuring a number of major businesses that makes it a serious originator of traffic.

Which is why the Houston-Austin portion of any E-W corridor through metro Austin could be justified.  Saving a few miles on a cross-country trip is probably not sufficient cause to justify an Interstate upgrade of US 290 west of Austin.  But new corridors have been commissioned on thinner grounds than that -- particularly within this particular state -- so it's just as likely than if a corridor is seriously/officially considered along US 290 and/or TX 71, it'll address both east and west egress to Austin.  Now -- whether any ensuing study concludes that the western portion is warranted (I'd think Austin-Houston would be the closest thing to a "slam dunk" within TX since Houston-Texarkana on I-69/369, provided a decent effort to get it designated were to occur) remains to be seen.

The main reason I keep pushing for the US 290 extension west of Austin and the use of SH 71 east of Austin to make one interstate that's a bypass of I-10 a la I-12 is simply because how does anything get passed in this country?  Simply is has to be attached to a bigger and more favorable plan.  That's how unfavorable bills get passed, they are attached to ones no one can vote no on.  want to build a nuclear power plant?  Attach it to the "definitely don't shoot the starving children" bill and it will definitely pass.

Yes, the main thing I want is a interstate between Houston and Austin, but that alone is not a complete sell.  You got to "glam it up" by adding the angel of it being a relief route to I-10 and will be a connection to the overall routing of I-10 for Austin.  Upgrading US 290 between Houston and Austin doesn't help the selling point that there are more things to this plan than simply I want an interstate between point A and point B.  Upgrading that corridor kinda blocks it in.

Lastly the quote that I-10 from Houston to Junction is only 9 miles longer, that's not taking in the fact that US 290 is not a direct route over the same distance.  It has north-south concurrencies that eat up a lot of mileage and a lot of meandering.  A more direct routing will be far shorter, not to mention a freeway.   They won't build the new freeway through downtown Giddings, Johnson City and Fredericksburg. 

I-12 is a mere 22 miles shorter than I-10 from Baton Rouge to Slidell, yet the interstate was built and heavily traveled.   
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texaskdog

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #39 on: June 30, 2020, 10:29:22 PM »

It's a destination.  If they got some of the traffic out of downtown that is not stopping anyway it'll make the streets safer.
Agreed, I'd say the biggest concern is the amount of truck traffic barreling down Main St. It'd be nice to route that traffic plus through car traffic away from the core and open it up some.

While I question the need to build US-290 out to full interstate standards, particularly west of Johnson City, a freeway-grade bypass of the city is warranted.

you could cut a lane each direction and have some nice grass and benches
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texaskdog

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #40 on: June 30, 2020, 10:31:13 PM »

Main Street in Johnson City is a 2-lane bottle neck for several blocks West of the US-281 intersection. It's not a fit path for heavy trucks. And that semi traffic does more than just pound those local streets. It can be pretty good at pulverizing water lines and other utilities over time.

If the town fathers of Johnson City know how to market their town and its attractions correctly it won't be killed by one or more freeway quality bypasses. The US-290 bypass is definitely necessary. I think an Eastern bypass for US-281 is going to be in the cards as well.

Quote from: sprjus4
I'm not against a western or eastern outlet from Austin, but I don't think it would do much in the way of diverting traffic off of I-10.

An upgraded US-290 corridor from Houston through Austin probably wouldn't pull many trucks coming from Louisiana and headed to El Paso off of I-10. But it would grab up a lot of traffic originating from the Northern reaches of Houston headed out West that way. Going through Austin would be easier for that traffic. Austin is a major destination in its own right. While heavy trucks might stick to I-10 a fair amount of passenger cars, SUVs, etc might choose to go through Austin instead for attractions there. With metro Austin being heavily populated and featuring a number of major businesses that makes it a serious originator of traffic.

Which is why the Houston-Austin portion of any E-W corridor through metro Austin could be justified.  Saving a few miles on a cross-country trip is probably not sufficient cause to justify an Interstate upgrade of US 290 west of Austin.  But new corridors have been commissioned on thinner grounds than that -- particularly within this particular state -- so it's just as likely than if a corridor is seriously/officially considered along US 290 and/or TX 71, it'll address both east and west egress to Austin.  Now -- whether any ensuing study concludes that the western portion is warranted (I'd think Austin-Houston would be the closest thing to a "slam dunk" within TX since Houston-Texarkana on I-69/369, provided a decent effort to get it designated were to occur) remains to be seen.

The main reason I keep pushing for the US 290 extension west of Austin and the use of SH 71 east of Austin to make one interstate that's a bypass of I-10 a la I-12 is simply because how does anything get passed in this country?  Simply is has to be attached to a bigger and more favorable plan.  That's how unfavorable bills get passed, they are attached to ones no one can vote no on.  want to build a nuclear power plant?  Attach it to the "definitely don't shoot the starving children" bill and it will definitely pass.

Yes, the main thing I want is a interstate between Houston and Austin, but that alone is not a complete sell.  You got to "glam it up" by adding the angel of it being a relief route to I-10 and will be a connection to the overall routing of I-10 for Austin.  Upgrading US 290 between Houston and Austin doesn't help the selling point that there are more things to this plan than simply I want an interstate between point A and point B.  Upgrading that corridor kinda blocks it in.

Lastly the quote that I-10 from Houston to Junction is only 9 miles longer, that's not taking in the fact that US 290 is not a direct route over the same distance.  It has north-south concurrencies that eat up a lot of mileage and a lot of meandering.  A more direct routing will be far shorter, not to mention a freeway.   They won't build the new freeway through downtown Giddings, Johnson City and Fredericksburg. 

I-12 is a mere 22 miles shorter than I-10 from Baton Rouge to Slidell, yet the interstate was built and heavily traveled.   

even before a buyin, a dripping spring bypass, Fredericksburg bypass, and shorten 290 by bypassing Johnson city to the south and build it across toward dripping springs
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2020, 04:38:57 PM »

I have been trying to explain the reasoning I don't like the US 290 corridor from Houston to Austin to be upgraded to interstate status over the SH-71 route, but I think this is my best example:

Take all the interstate bypasses in the county:

I-275 going through Tampa and St. Petersburg while I-75 skirts Tampa
I-376 and I-279 going into Pittsburgh while their parents avoid the city
I-12 skipping New Orleans while I-10 goes through New Orleans
I-215 going through San Bernardino while I-15 goes further east
Both sets of I-35E and I-35Ws
Sr-85 to I-8 (Phoenix Bypass Future I-11)

What do they all have in common?

The split from the mainline in both directions happen in rural areas, smaller towns and areas that were rural at the time of the construction of the interstate.  they happen in rural areas for a reason.  It keeps confusion and information overload very low when approaching a set of dual freeways that eventually go to the same long-range destination but you have to make a choice because one is shorter than the other.  I'll even throw in I-405 as honorable mention in Los Angeles due to the south terminus being more rural when the highway was constructed.   

Splitting I-10 for a relief rout going through Austin for San Antonio by using US 290 between Houston and Austin is a horrible idea.  Traveling westbound you would exit I-10 to get on to northbound I-610 (that section being one of the busiest freeways in Texas) to then get to the Interstate that is to usurp US 290.  That's a lot of weaving and lane changing to get to the shorter route, not to mention the sign overload of explanation how this is a San Antonio relief route.  There is a reason such splits occur in rural areas.  They give the driver ample warning and lots of wide open space to make a choice on which route to take to get to the same destination (ie I am in Houston and I am going to El Paso...I have a choice, stay on I-10 or take I-AUS (the Austin version).  The I-AUS way is shorter and quicker and I don't have to go through San Antonio to make it to El Paso, because both routes take me there)  I would much rather make that choice when I have miles of no intersections and time to watch the signs telling me so, not when I just went through exit after exit in downtown Houston and now I have to make two exists off busy urban interstates to get to my relief route.  That doesn't sound like much relief to me.  Sounds more like a nightmare.  Rememerb to cater to the drivers out there that aren't road geeks.  The drivers that know the interstate shield means a faster road, yes, but need some help to get them the even faster route.  We don't need these people making split second decisions just outside of the downtown area of the 4th largest city in the United States.

I will say again, I am all aboard making both SH-71 and US-290 between Houston and Austin interstates, but I think the SH-71 should take mush higher precedent because of it's greater east to east-west traffic. Again, look at the whole picture, not just Houston to Austin corridor.  The greater picture shows how important the SH-71 version can be. 
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sprjus4

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2020, 05:18:09 PM »

I have been trying to explain the reasoning I don't like the US 290 corridor from Houston to Austin to be upgraded to interstate status over the SH-71 route, but I think this is my best example:

Take all the interstate bypasses in the county:

I-275 going through Tampa and St. Petersburg while I-75 skirts Tampa
I-376 and I-279 going into Pittsburgh while their parents avoid the city
I-12 skipping New Orleans while I-10 goes through New Orleans
I-215 going through San Bernardino while I-15 goes further east
Both sets of I-35E and I-35Ws
Sr-85 to I-8 (Phoenix Bypass Future I-11)

What do they all have in common?

The split from the mainline in both directions happen in rural areas, smaller towns and areas that were rural at the time of the construction of the interstate.  they happen in rural areas for a reason.  It keeps confusion and information overload very low when approaching a set of dual freeways that eventually go to the same long-range destination but you have to make a choice because one is shorter than the other.  I'll even throw in I-405 as honorable mention in Los Angeles due to the south terminus being more rural when the highway was constructed.

I-57 bypasses St. Louis while I-55 goes through St. Louis. I-55 runs to Downtown Chicago, meanwhile to reach I-57 you have to travel south on I-94 / I-90 to reach it, still well within the urban Chicago area.

Splitting I-10 for a relief rout going through Austin for San Antonio by using US 290 between Houston and Austin is a horrible idea.  Traveling westbound you would exit I-10 to get on to northbound I-610 (that section being one of the busiest freeways in Texas) to then get to the Interstate that is to usurp US 290.  That's a lot of weaving and lane changing to get to the shorter route, not to mention the sign overload of explanation how this is a San Antonio relief route.
That interchange was recently reconstructed, and there are dedicated ramps from I-10 directly to US-290 and vice versa that do not touch I-610 or have any major weaving. Separated ramps for I-610 and roadways for I-610 thru traffic also exist separate from the I-10 to US-290 ramps.

There is a reason such splits occur in rural areas.  They give the driver ample warning and lots of wide open space to make a choice on which route to take to get to the same destination (ie I am in Houston and I am going to El Paso...I have a choice, stay on I-10 or take I-AUS (the Austin version).  The I-AUS way is shorter and quicker and I don't have to go through San Antonio to make it to El Paso, because both routes take me there)
Major differences between the commonly referenced I-12 and I-10 example.

I-12 is almost 25 miles shorter than I-10 through New Orleans over an 85 mile distance.
I-12 does not pass through any urban areas meanwhile I-10 does.

A US-290 / SH-71 relief route would only be 10 miles shorter over a 300 mile distance.
A US-290 / SH-71 relief route would pass through urban Austin, which makes the "relief" aspect moot.

Both routes would be competitive for thru traffic, it's only a matter of would you rather go through Austin or San Antonio. The Austin routing goes relatively directly through the urban area with little bypass options, whereas San Antonio has an adequate outer loop once expanded to 10 lanes (4 GP + 1 HOV lane each way) before 2030, and is posted at 70 mph throughout, along with I-10 directly through as different options.

I'm not against upgrading either US-290 or SH-71 east of Austin, and US-290 west of Austin, but it's important to realize ultimately the route would mostly benefit Austin traffic heading east or west rather than thru traffic. Thru traffic would not see much if any relief via a northern corridor, would not save significant mileage or time, and would not have a rural route throughout. It would however provide redundancy which is good to have in the event of any major incidents that may shut down either route.

First, I'd like to see I-10 expanded to 6 lanes between Houston and San Antonio, which is largely underway in many areas. Second, relief routes around towns along the US-290 corridor west of Austin, with 4-lane divided highway widening where necessary. Third, upgrade either US-290 to SH-71 to interstate standards east of Austin. Lastly, upgrade the remaining portions of US-290 west of Austin to interstate standards.
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sparker

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #43 on: July 01, 2020, 05:30:47 PM »

^^^^^^^^^
In LA, I-12 is, plain and simple, a bypass route for I-10 traffic to bypass New Orleans.  And I'll reiterate something I mentioned in another thread:  given the proclivity for split/suffixed routings in the original Interstate scheme, I'm surprised, given its purpose, that the I-10 alignment wasn't just split into I-10S through New Orleans and I-10N as the bypass along US 190 and the north Lake Ponchartrain shore.  Of course, that would have become I-12 or another number in the teens by 1980 when they 86'ed (no pun intended re old I-15W) most of the suffixes.   
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2020, 03:08:06 PM »

I have been trying to explain the reasoning I don't like the US 290 corridor from Houston to Austin to be upgraded to interstate status over the SH-71 route, but I think this is my best example:

Take all the interstate bypasses in the county:

I-275 going through Tampa and St. Petersburg while I-75 skirts Tampa
I-376 and I-279 going into Pittsburgh while their parents avoid the city
I-12 skipping New Orleans while I-10 goes through New Orleans
I-215 going through San Bernardino while I-15 goes further east
Both sets of I-35E and I-35Ws
Sr-85 to I-8 (Phoenix Bypass Future I-11)

What do they all have in common?

The split from the mainline in both directions happen in rural areas, smaller towns and areas that were rural at the time of the construction of the interstate.  they happen in rural areas for a reason.  It keeps confusion and information overload very low when approaching a set of dual freeways that eventually go to the same long-range destination but you have to make a choice because one is shorter than the other.  I'll even throw in I-405 as honorable mention in Los Angeles due to the south terminus being more rural when the highway was constructed.

I-57 bypasses St. Louis while I-55 goes through St. Louis. I-55 runs to Downtown Chicago, meanwhile to reach I-57 you have to travel south on I-94 / I-90 to reach it, still well within the urban Chicago area.

Splitting I-10 for a relief rout going through Austin for San Antonio by using US 290 between Houston and Austin is a horrible idea.  Traveling westbound you would exit I-10 to get on to northbound I-610 (that section being one of the busiest freeways in Texas) to then get to the Interstate that is to usurp US 290.  That's a lot of weaving and lane changing to get to the shorter route, not to mention the sign overload of explanation how this is a San Antonio relief route.
That interchange was recently reconstructed, and there are dedicated ramps from I-10 directly to US-290 and vice versa that do not touch I-610 or have any major weaving. Separated ramps for I-610 and roadways for I-610 thru traffic also exist separate from the I-10 to US-290 ramps.

There is a reason such splits occur in rural areas.  They give the driver ample warning and lots of wide open space to make a choice on which route to take to get to the same destination (ie I am in Houston and I am going to El Paso...I have a choice, stay on I-10 or take I-AUS (the Austin version).  The I-AUS way is shorter and quicker and I don't have to go through San Antonio to make it to El Paso, because both routes take me there)
Major differences between the commonly referenced I-12 and I-10 example.

I-12 is almost 25 miles shorter than I-10 through New Orleans over an 85 mile distance.
I-12 does not pass through any urban areas meanwhile I-10 does.

A US-290 / SH-71 relief route would only be 10 miles shorter over a 300 mile distance.
A US-290 / SH-71 relief route would pass through urban Austin, which makes the "relief" aspect moot.

Both routes would be competitive for thru traffic, it's only a matter of would you rather go through Austin or San Antonio. The Austin routing goes relatively directly through the urban area with little bypass options, whereas San Antonio has an adequate outer loop once expanded to 10 lanes (4 GP + 1 HOV lane each way) before 2030, and is posted at 70 mph throughout, along with I-10 directly through as different options.

I'm not against upgrading either US-290 or SH-71 east of Austin, and US-290 west of Austin, but it's important to realize ultimately the route would mostly benefit Austin traffic heading east or west rather than thru traffic. Thru traffic would not see much if any relief via a northern corridor, would not save significant mileage or time, and would not have a rural route throughout. It would however provide redundancy which is good to have in the event of any major incidents that may shut down either route.

First, I'd like to see I-10 expanded to 6 lanes between Houston and San Antonio, which is largely underway in many areas. Second, relief routes around towns along the US-290 corridor west of Austin, with 4-lane divided highway widening where necessary. Third, upgrade either US-290 to SH-71 to interstate standards east of Austin. Lastly, upgrade the remaining portions of US-290 west of Austin to interstate standards.

I am very aware of the newly constructed intersection and direct I-10 to US 290 ramps having driven I multiple times.  It is still very stressful driving a motorhome through it. 

I am not saying it will be 100% a San Antonio relief route.  Look at it like this:

75%- it would work as the two 35s in the Dallas Ft Worth area.  Both go through heavy urbanized areas, but one is shorter than the other.  They both ultimately reach the same goal for long haul traffic.  You better believe if I am going to Oklahoma City from Austin, I am taking I35W every time.  I think that warrants enough. By the way, I-35W is a mere 12 miles shorter than I-35E.  By the logic I have been reading here we should bulldoze I-35W immediately.  Not enough distance is cut off.
10%- an interstate connection from Houston-Austin and El Paso
10%- to get Austin indirectly on the I-10 mainline
5%- a San Antonio relief route.

Yes, I understand there are exceptions to the whole splits occurring in rural areas rule.  Like anything, there are situations where the rule is broken.  As always, just because you can, doesn't mean you should. 
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 03:17:19 PM by ethanhopkin14 »
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sprjus4

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2020, 03:35:50 PM »

By the way, I-35W is a mere 12 miles shorter than I-35E.  By the logic I have been reading here we should bulldoze I-35W immediately.  Not enough distance is cut off.
12 miles shorter over an 88 mile distance. About a 12% savings.

Over a 220 mile distance, only a 4% savings.

Moot point.

I've already said I'm not against the construction of a northern route. I think though that's it's effectiveness as a "shortcut" will be minimal, rather it would serve as an outlet from Austin. I-10 would largely continue serving as the main east-west corridor.

I'd rather see US-290 west of Austin get improved to expressway / divided highway standards with minimal traffic signals and freeway segments where needed before US-290 or SH-71 east of Austin is improved to interstate standards. Get a full 4-lane divided highway / expressway in place, then piecemeal interstate upgrades as needed.

Perhaps another concept could be to upgrade US-183 between Leander and Lampass to interstate standards in order to connect with the Future I-14 to the west which could eventually head towards Midland-Odessa at I-20. Could become an I-x14.
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sparker

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #46 on: July 03, 2020, 03:13:17 AM »

Perhaps another concept could be to upgrade US-183 between Leander and Lampass to interstate standards in order to connect with the Future I-14 to the west which could eventually head towards Midland-Odessa at I-20. Could become an I-x14.

Or a numerical extension of the Houston-Austin corridor -- particularly if that becomes a 2nd I-12.  Since it's likely that anything up US 183 will be tolled at least for a few miles past the north end of the present 183A facility, it would be the first TX Interstate  to be deployed over a toll road. 
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Bobby5280

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #47 on: July 03, 2020, 03:36:07 PM »

Given TX DOT habits, TX-183 is probably just going to stay as TX-183, even if a new "I-12" corridor is built thru Austin. I'm skeptical much more will be done to improve TX-183 past the intersection with TX-29 in Liberty Hill. That's where the large, turnpike-ready divided roadway ends. In that area the problem is the competing interest with improving TX-195 between Georgetown and Killeen.

Quote
Splitting I-10 for a relief rout going through Austin for San Antonio by using US 290 between Houston and Austin is a horrible idea.  Traveling westbound you would exit I-10 to get on to northbound I-610 (that section being one of the busiest freeways in Texas) to then get to the Interstate that is to usurp US 290.  That's a lot of weaving and lane changing to get to the shorter route, not to mention the sign overload of explanation how this is a San Antonio relief route.

First of all, I rarely ever see any "relief route" descriptions included on freeway signs. Route numbers and control cities usually suffice. The I-10/I-610/US-290 interchange complex in Houston is jaw-dropping massive. But it has to be for the amount of traffic moving through that zone. The only details that would have to be changed on those signs at all is swapping US-290 shields for Interstate markers if the route is ever upgraded in that manner.

Next, there are multiple ways to get through Houston and Austin. Before too much longer the Northern part of the Houston metro will be served by three beltways, which gives drivers who want to avoid the downtown area and busiest parts of Katy Freeway some alternative choices.

If the people in Austin can ever get it together and properly complete the South leg of the TX-45 turnpike that would also give traffic moving through the Austin area a way to avoid the horribly outdated section of I-35 downtown. TX-45 needs to be extended out West to the US-290 corridor. And that new, narrow segment of TX-45 needs to be extended East to I-35.

The TX-71 corridor is a lousy route choice for anyone North of I-10 in the Houston metro heading toward Austin. They have to drive out of their way down to I-10 and likely through some very busy areas to get to the TX-71 split in Columbus. It's easier taking US-290, even if TX-71 was turned into a full fledged Interstate. TX-71 works better for people driving to Austin from the Southern half of the Houston metro. It's probably no accident that both TX-71 and US-290 have been treated in a fairly equal manner by TX DOT in regard to improvements being sprinkled out in piece meal fashion.
« Last Edit: Today at 03:44:20 PM by Bobby5280 »
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sprjus4

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #48 on: July 03, 2020, 03:55:28 PM »

The TX-71 corridor is a lousy route choice for anyone North of I-10 in the Houston metro heading toward Austin. They have to drive out of their way down to I-10 and likely through some very busy areas to get to the TX-71 split in Columbus. It's easier taking US-290, even if TX-71 was turned into a full fledged Interstate. TX-71 works better for people driving to Austin from the Southern half of the Houston metro. It's probably no accident that both TX-71 and US-290 have been treated in a fairly equal manner by TX DOT in regard to improvements being sprinkled out in piece meal fashion.
US-290 is strategically located and has connections from both beltways that make it a viable option for pretty much anyone in the metro, whereas SH-71 is only viable for those in the southern half, as you mention.
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mrsman

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Re: Fredericksburg (TX): preferred alignment of US 290 bypass announced
« Reply #49 on: July 05, 2020, 09:50:49 AM »

Given TX DOT habits, TX-183 is probably just going to stay as TX-183, even if a new "I-12" corridor is built thru Austin. I'm skeptical much more will be done to improve TX-183 past the intersection with TX-29 in Liberty Hill. That's where the large, turnpike-ready divided roadway ends. In that area the problem is the competing interest with improving TX-195 between Georgetown and Killeen.

Quote from: Splitting I-10 for a relief rout going through Austin for San Antonio by using US 290 between Houston and Austin is a horrible idea.  Traveling westbound you would exit I-10 to get on to northbound I-610 (that section being one of the busiest freeways in Texas) to then get to the Interstate that is to usurp US 290.  That's a lot of weaving and lane changing to get to the shorter route, not to mention the sign overload of explanation how this is a San Antonio relief route.[/quote

First of all, I rarely ever see any "relief route" descriptions included on freeway signs. Route numbers and control cities usually suffice. The I-10/I-610/US-290 interchange complex in Houston is jaw-dropping massive. But it has to be for the amount of traffic moving through that zone. The only details that would have to be changed on those signs at all is swapping US-290 shields for Interstate markers if the route is ever upgraded in that manner.

Next, there are multiple ways to get through Houston and Austin. Before too much longer the Northern part of the Houston metro will be served by three beltways, which gives drivers who want to avoid the downtown area and busiest parts of Katy Freeway some alternative choices.

If the people in Austin can ever get it together and properly complete the South leg of the TX-45 turnpike that would also give traffic moving through the Austin area a way to avoid the horribly outdated section of I-35 downtown. TX-45 needs to be extended out West to the US-290 corridor. And that new, narrow segment of TX-45 needs to be extended East to I-35.

The TX-71 corridor is a lousy route choice for anyone North of I-10 in the Houston metro heading toward Austin. They have to drive out of their way down to I-10 and likely through some very busy areas to get to the TX-71 split in Columbus. It's easier taking US-290, even if TX-71 was turned into a full fledged Interstate. TX-71 works better for people driving to Austin from the Southern half of the Houston metro. It's probably no accident that both TX-71 and US-290 have been treated in a fairly equal manner by TX DOT in regard to improvements being sprinkled out in piece meal fashion.

Houston is a huge city.  There is definitely demand to have both corridors improved.

There are two separate freeway corridors connecting NYC to New Haven, CT (Merritt Pkwy, I-95), so doing something similar here would not be wasteful.
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