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Author Topic: Austin, TX  (Read 9411 times)

sparker

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #100 on: June 04, 2020, 02:45:20 AM »

The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

Step 1:  Get a shitload of Austin/Round Rock/etc. folks together and make your case to your local congressman for a high-priority corridor connecting the two cities.

Yeah, about that:


Ooh!  The dictionary definition of gerrymandering -- involving at least 3 districts!  I guess buttonholing your local congressperson has limited effectiveness when one goes a few blocks and has to deal with someone else!  But holding on to power/influence once one has it in hand has been the name of the game (regardless of party) since I can remember -- and this is just another tactic.  All in all, a recipe for inaction.
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texaskdog

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #101 on: June 04, 2020, 10:27:42 AM »

35 goes to San Antonio.  MJ Hegar is not elected she was a candidate, she lost last time

It's even more deceptive.  Austin goes well into 31, so all 6 are indeed Austin!

Part of the reason Houston to Austin is fine without an interstate is having two expressways  Plenty of lanes without backup.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 10:30:30 AM by texaskdog »
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #102 on: June 04, 2020, 11:33:24 AM »

The lack of Houston-Austin direct interstate connection is embarrassing at least.  It's a short 163 mile corridor that, if you use the SH-71 alignment would be even shorter via Interstate 10.  Something has to be done!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the only place I've ever heard the idea of an interstate between Austin and Houston being promoted is on this forum.

Over the last 30+ years, I've never heard or seen (in the press) the idea promoted by an elected official, government entity, business organization, TxDOT, transportation council (i.e. HGAC or CAMPO), transportation advocacy group. or small city between Houston and Austin.

Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

As Sparker has pointed out (multiple times), it takes strong political advocacy from influential entities (i.e. elected officials, business groups) to get major upgrades, and there is a total lack of advocacy. Other corridors, like IH 69, IH 22 and port-to-plains have very strong advocacy. And TxDOT has a high priority on corridors including IH 45 (Houston-Dallas) and IH 10 (Houston-San Antonio).

On the plus side, there is an ongoing program of upgrades. This week bids are being received for $47 million in work to eliminate two intersections on SH 71 east of Austin.
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2020/travis.htm#026502036

I doubt Phoenix and Las Vegas look at each other as equals and don't look down their nose at each other, yet I-11 is being built between them.  Just because two metropolitan areas don't think of themselves as the same doesn't mean there shouldn't be an interstate.  Houston and Dallas have for years thought of themselves as completely different, Houston thinking Dallas was too stuck up.  I-45 connects the two. 
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #103 on: June 04, 2020, 11:45:32 AM »

Wear: Work underway to speed up the sometimes slow road to Houston

Quote
The nagging question always pops up for anyone who sets out for Houston on Texas 71 or U.S. 290 and, not far down the road, runs into a red light: Why in the world is there not an interstate highway between the state capital and Texas’ largest metro area?

Why did highway builders choose to route Interstate 10 not through Austin but instead to San Antonio? Looking at the map, I-10 dips south out of the way and adds at least a few miles to the trip westward to El Paso and California beyond.

The answer, which I’ll get into in a second, is embedded in history and population. But it’s worth knowing that the Texas Department of Transportation is in the final stages of a decadeslong effort to at least make that 170-mile trip from Austin to Houston free of traffic lights.

Right now, there are just five traffic signals left on Texas 71 between Interstate 35 in South Austin and I-10 in Columbus, all of them between Austin and Bastrop. And TxDOT has engineering plans and money set aside to eliminate four of those lights by adding overpasses over the next four years. The fifth one — at FM 1209 just west of Bastrop — is in the cross hairs as well, but the timing of its removal is less certain, TxDOT Austin district engineer Terry McCoy told me.

Now back to why there’s no interstate heading southeast to Houston from here.

Plans for a national grid of superhighways had been kicking around for at least 20 years before Congress in 1956 managed to pass a landmark bill, signed by President Dwight Eisenhower, that funded the final engineering and construction of such a system. President Franklin Roosevelt, according to “The Big Roads,” a history of the interstate system published a few years ago, in the late 1930s sketched out his version of an interstate system from his Oval Office desk.

And the plain fact is that when this routing work was going on, Austin didn’t have the people or the prominence it does now. San Antonio in 1955 had almost 500,000 people, while Austin had 160,000 and virtually no industry to produce the sort of truck traffic that was to be a major user of this cross-country highway system.

San Antonio did.

“That’s where the traffic wanted to go,” said Richard Ridings, a senior vice president with the venerable engineering firm HNTB Corp. The company was deeply involved in the original design of the interstates, said Ridings, who has been working in civil engineering for 55 years. And anyone looking at the big picture back then would have started with the port of Houston and its cargo headed inland.

“They wanted to get that stuff north, and they wanted to get it west and east,” Ridings said. “At the time, Austin was almost an afterthought.”

Since then, of course, the population and commerce disparities between Austin and San Antonio have narrowed. The greater San Antonio area now has about 2.5 million people, Austin about 2.1 million. So San Antonio has gone from three times the size of Austin to being about 20 percent larger.

The U.S. interstate system was essentially built out by 1990, although there have been some additions in the years sincel. But turning Texas 71 into an interstate between Austin and Columbus, a distance of about 90 miles, would be tremendously expensive and disruptive.

Interstates have certain standards of curvature and slope that could require some rerouting, but, most of all, interstates are what is known as controlled-access highways. Meaning, no driveways. If you want to get on or off an interstate, you have to take a ramp.

That means that either no businesses, homes, farms or ranches can connect directly to the highway for miles at a time or, as is the case on Interstate 35 through the heart of the state, there are frontage roads.

Texas 71, other than in Austin and through Bastrop’s commercial district, has no frontage roads. And it has scads of roads and private drives entering it throughout the other, more rural sections. So to turn it into interstate now would require TxDOT not only to acquire a lot of right of way for what would be a wider highway in many places, but also to pay some property owners for lost access to the road.

Or, more likely, to build many, many miles of frontage roads. Either way, the cost would be enormous. This isn’t a project that’s going to happen in the foreseeable future.

What TxDOT is doing instead — trying to eliminate traffic lights little by little — is the next best thing.

During my youth in Austin, through the mid-1970s, a trip to Houston included going through Bastrop, Smithville, La Grange and Columbus, including a few lights in each town and the odd right or left turn. The towns broke up the trip and were interesting to look at out the window, but going through them added a lot of time to the trip. By the early 1990s, TxDOT had completed loops around all those towns and few traffic lights remained east of FM 973 in Del Valle.

But little by little, as development stretched southeast of Austin, traffic lights were added first to that Bastrop bypass and then to several other spots along the way. About 15 years ago, TxDOT began to take those on, building overpasses and associated frontage lanes at several spots in Bastrop and major roads along the way like Texas 21. More recently, TxDOT installed a deep underpass on Texas 71 at Riverside Drive and a short tollway to bypass traffic signals at Texas 130′s frontage roads.

But lights remain at Ross Road and Kellam Road in Del Valle, at Tucker Hill Lane and Pope Bend Road about halfway to Bastrop, and at FM 1209.

TxDOT has set aside $48 million to build overpasses at Ross and Kellam — work set to begin as soon as fall 2019 and be done by summer 2021 — and $52.6 million for overpasses at Tucker Hill and Pope Bend. That second set of projects, TxDOT hopes, will start in fall 2020 and be done by summer 2022. All of this, TxDOT officials caution, could be delayed somewhat by environmental clearance work and acquisition of right of way.

The FM 1209 overpass, TxDOT estimates, would cost an additional $35 million. That money has not been nailed down.

McCoy, by the way, said he would like to make similar progress on U.S. 290, the northern route to Houston, but it has far more traffic signals standing in the way.

So, something like five years from now, a driver might be able to get to and from Houston on Texas 71 without hitting a red light.

That’s assuming, of course, that yet another traffic signal or three aren’t added in the meantime.
Arguments about high cost and having to build frontage roads that are preventing such a project don't seem to stop planning efforts along I-14 and I-69.

I have always understood why Austin was bypassed in the original interstate proposal.  That has never been argued.  San Antonio was way bigger, plus a base city and Austin was like Waco is today.  I grew up here and even in my short lifetime it was at one point still a sleepy little town.  I have never argued why a Houston-Austin interstate wasn't built in the 1956 plan.  I have said, now that its not 1956, why are we still operating like Austin is still at 200,000?

Also, when the system was laid out, Albuquerque was about the size of Austin, yet got I-25 and I-40, so sometimes lack of population is a week argument. 

Now I read that, and I think every interstate ever built faced those same things.  Either cutting off access or the building of frontage roads.  There are over 3,000 miles of interstates in Texas built with long frontage roads.  What makes this project so special that you can't build frontage roads in this particular situation?  If that was such a hurdle, none of the interstates would have been built.  I personally don't like the expressway model because it's so unsafe.  Who wants to drive 75 miles per hour with driveways entering the main lanes?  Stuff like that is what kills people.  Make it an interstate for the interest of safety.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 11:49:51 AM by ethanhopkin14 »
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #104 on: June 04, 2020, 12:01:58 PM »

I have always understood why Austin was bypassed in the original interstate proposal.  That has never been argued.  San Antonio was way bigger, plus a base city and Austin was like Waco is today.  I grew up here and even in my short lifetime it was at one point still a sleepy little town.  I have never argued why a Houston-Austin interstate wasn't built in the 1956 plan.  I have said, now that its not 1956, why are we still operating like Austin is still at 200,000?

Also, when the system was laid out, Albuquerque was about the size of Austin, yet got I-25 and I-40, so sometimes lack of population is a week argument.
In that instance, that just has to do with the previous routes both interstates were following. They just happen to junction there.

I-27 between Amarillo and Lubbock was authorized in the 1968 additions and constructed until the 1990s. The entire route was already a four-lane divided highway, the project required frontage roads, overpasses, and ramps constructed along most of its length, and a few new terrain segments.

What warranted an interstate to connect two cities of 200,000 and 250,000 (today's population, likely lower in 1968), but the state capital and Houston, both of which have a population of over 1 million each, still lack a connection today?

To give you an idea, I-27 has lower traffic volumes in many locations than US-290 or SH-71 do between Austin and Houston.

I'm not against having I-27, but I think that a connection between Austin and Houston, or along the US-59 corridor north or south of Houston, would've been a higher priority. But it's likely that there was political motive in getting I-27 authorized and funded.

Now I read that, and I think every interstate ever built faced those same things.  Either cutting off access or the building of frontage roads.  There are over 3,000 miles of interstates in Texas built with long frontage roads.  What makes this project so special that you can't build frontage roads in this particular situation?  If that was such a hurdle, none of the interstates would have been built.
That argument does seem surprising in my mind, especially considering TxDOT has over 80 miles of frontage road projects planned to complete I-69E and I-69C in southern Texas over the next decade, plus the I-69 upgrades leaving north and south of Houston along US-59 which are constructing miles of frontage roads. 

I personally don't like the expressway model because it's so unsafe.  Who wants to drive 75 miles per hour with driveways entering the main lanes?  Stuff like that is what kills people.  Make it an interstate for the interest of safety.
I've usually never had any issues with drivers impeding traffic flow by entering. The volumes are low enough that there's gaps in traffic from time to time that allows a safe entry. The risk does still exist though, and an interstate highway would reduce this significantly.

75 mph is an appropriate speed limit for the expressway model and represents the speed most people drive.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 12:04:40 PM by sprjus4 »
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #105 on: June 04, 2020, 01:00:18 PM »

I've usually never had any issues with drivers impeding traffic flow by entering. The volumes are low enough that there's gaps in traffic from time to time that allows a safe entry. The risk does still exist though, and an interstate highway would reduce this significantly.

75 mph is an appropriate speed limit for the expressway model and represents the speed most people drive.

Personally I do.  I always get pulled out in front of by that person on the driveway when I am doing 75.  It's happened more than I want it to.  It drives me insane, and it makes me so mad I don't know why everyone is okay with "we took out the traffic lights, but we left all the driveways.  Close enough, right?"  It's not.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 01:04:51 PM by ethanhopkin14 »
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kphoger

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #106 on: June 04, 2020, 01:46:34 PM »

I always get pulled out in front of by that person on the driveway when I am doing 75.  It's happened more than I want it to.  It drives me insane, and it makes me so mad I don't know why everyone is okay with "we took out the traffic lights, but we left all the driveways.  Close enough, right?"  It's not.

Maybe you should go 65 instead.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #107 on: June 04, 2020, 05:44:58 PM »

I don't think TX-71 would be as difficult to upgrade between Austin and Columbus as that quoted article stated. A lot of the hardest work is already done. There are already bypasses built to freeway standards or partial limited access at Columbus, La Grange, Smithville and Bastrop. A few other intersections along the way have been converted to freeway style exits.

The rest of the road is divided 4-lane highway for the most part except for a few instances of undivided 4-lane road. There is still a lot of driveways and at-grade intersections. Some zones would require a fair amount of property acquisition and removal. But it's also possible in plenty of other areas to squeeze in a 4-lane Interstate closely flanked by frontage roads.

Between Bastrop and the TX-130 toll road there are still 5 intersections with traffic signals: FM-1209, Pope Bend Road, Tucker Hill Lane, Buck Lane and Ross Road. The one at Ross Road is due to be replaced with a freeway exit, followed by the others.

Quote from: MaxConcrete
Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

Towns in between, like Brenham, Giddings and Elgin get to deal with the traffic moving between the two metros along with the dangers associated with the traffic. Brenham has a somewhat adequate freeway bypass for US-290. But US-290 doesn't have a good outlet going West toward Austin.

Quote from: sprjus4
75 mph is an appropriate speed limit for the expressway model and represents the speed most people drive.

That depends on the road geometry. Driveways and at-grade intersections on 4-lane divided highways can be really dangerous if the driveway or intersection is just past the crest of a hill.
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #108 on: June 04, 2020, 09:02:25 PM »

But US-290 doesn't have a good outlet going West toward Austin.
Out of Houston?

US-290 is built to interstate standards for nearly 50 miles from I-10 to SH-6. East of the Brazos River, it's 65 mph due to Houston's speed limit cap, though it becomes 75 mph divided highway west of there. This same condition applies for the SH-71 / I-10 routing along I-10.

US-290 is adequate on its rural portions, especially with the current dualization projects to create a grassy median where parts are currently undivided 4 lane, though needs bypasses constructed at Elgin, McDade, and Giddings, along with an extended Brenham bypass to the west.

The US-290 Manor Expwy extends from I-35 north of Downtown Austin to west of SH-130 as a six lane toll road.

I imagine ultimately SH-71 will the preferred corridor for an upgrade over US-290, but I believe both should still be studied in depth. SH-71 is less construction and has bypasses already in place, though this important fact needs to be considered in any study -

A SH-71 corridor utilizes 70 miles of I-10 on the eastern portion. Constructing a SH-71 interstate would draw more traffic onto I-10, which would require eventual 8 lane widening out to Columbus. A US-290 interstate on the other hand might draw people -away- from I-10 that currently use SH-71 helping to ease traffic on there, a good 8,000 - 10,000 AADT.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #109 on: June 05, 2020, 01:23:19 PM »

Quote from: sprjus4
Out of Houston?

No, out of the bypass around Brenham. Currently US-290 leaves the bypass in a partial cloverleaf at West Main Street. Then US-290 proceeds West along an undivided 5-lane street for a couple miles before it turns into a 4-lane divided highway. A new terrain route would be required if a freeway was going to be built in that location.

The outlet for US-290 leaving Houston is all Interstate quality (and pretty much all new) out to the TX-6 exit in Hempstead. TX DOT just needs to extend that work farther West.
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texaskdog

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #110 on: June 06, 2020, 09:22:07 PM »

We just went to Brazos Bend, both ways on 71.  the 4 lane expressway is fairly empty, no freeway needed.
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sprjus4

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #111 on: June 06, 2020, 11:26:38 PM »

We just went to Brazos Bend, both ways on 71.  the 4 lane expressway is fairly empty, no freeway needed.
I've driven on I-10, I-37, and I-35 at times where there's been fairly light traffic... I suppose those freeways could just suffice as divided highways.

SH-71 and US-290 both carry about 12,000 - 15,000 AADT each. If there was one freeway route constructed, it would likely attract some from the other route, producing one interstate route with 20,000 - 25,000 AADT and one arterial route with 5,000 - 10,000 AADT. For comparison, parts of I-10 between San Antonio and Houston carry 30,000 AADT.
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Echostatic

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #112 on: June 25, 2020, 11:39:55 PM »



Construction completed at I-35/Oltorf and I-35/Woodland

TXtoNJ

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #113 on: July 19, 2020, 11:35:13 AM »

Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

More than that, Houston has a conflicted sense of being "Texan". It's a Gulf Coast city first and foremost. That's why I-69 was such a priority - there's much more cultural and economic affinity toward the Gulf Coastal Plain and South Texas/Mexico than there is Central Texas. This was partially why UH was able to block the UT expansion south of DT Houston - UT is seen as foreign in a strange way, even though many in the city have ties with the university.

Houston doesn't do general tech, and only needs Austin for its government and educational functions (and frankly, finds those to be a complete pain most of the time, and would rather build education endogenously). Austin doesn't do O&G, biomedical, or logistics. There just isn't a need for a full interstate connection beyond the sense that a state's largest city and capital should be connected by a full interstate.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #114 on: July 19, 2020, 08:41:57 PM »

Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

More than that, Houston has a conflicted sense of being "Texan". It's a Gulf Coast city first and foremost. That's why I-69 was such a priority - there's much more cultural and economic affinity toward the Gulf Coastal Plain and South Texas/Mexico than there is Central Texas. This was partially why UH was able to block the UT expansion south of DT Houston - UT is seen as foreign in a strange way, even though many in the city have ties with the university.

Houston doesn't do general tech, and only needs Austin for its government and educational functions (and frankly, finds those to be a complete pain most of the time, and would rather build education endogenously). Austin doesn't do O&G, biomedical, or logistics. There just isn't a need for a full interstate connection beyond the sense that a state's largest city and capital should be connected by a full interstate.

Agreed with all that about Austin and Houston being different. They are, but the last line is why.  The largest city and capital need connecting. Just because towns are different in thinking doesn’t mean you deny them an interstate. I would venture to say New Orleans is nothing like the rest of Louisiana, politically and culturally, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be an infrastructure running toward it.
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TXtoNJ

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #115 on: July 20, 2020, 11:24:05 PM »

Keep in mind that Austin and Houston don't feel any kinship. Austin sees Houston as a huge toxic waste pit, and Houston sees Austin as an overrated place populated by a bunch of freaks and weirdos.

More than that, Houston has a conflicted sense of being "Texan". It's a Gulf Coast city first and foremost. That's why I-69 was such a priority - there's much more cultural and economic affinity toward the Gulf Coastal Plain and South Texas/Mexico than there is Central Texas. This was partially why UH was able to block the UT expansion south of DT Houston - UT is seen as foreign in a strange way, even though many in the city have ties with the university.

Houston doesn't do general tech, and only needs Austin for its government and educational functions (and frankly, finds those to be a complete pain most of the time, and would rather build education endogenously). Austin doesn't do O&G, biomedical, or logistics. There just isn't a need for a full interstate connection beyond the sense that a state's largest city and capital should be connected by a full interstate.

Agreed with all that about Austin and Houston being different. They are, but the last line is why.  The largest city and capital need connecting. Just because towns are different in thinking doesn’t mean you deny them an interstate. I would venture to say New Orleans is nothing like the rest of Louisiana, politically and culturally, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be an infrastructure running toward it.

I don't think that's a good enough reason, to be honest.
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Echostatic

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #116 on: July 20, 2020, 11:56:08 PM »

If it's busy enough make it a freeway. If it's convenient, sign it as an Interstate. Why does there need to be any reason beyond that? If there's significant traffic on TX 71 or US 290, and that traffic would be improved by a conversion to Interstate standards, then improve it. If the traffic doesn't demand improvements, then don't. Why does the culture or the type of city or the "thinking of a place" matter? If there's trucks and cars, and they're impacted, then it warrants a freeway. If there's not, it doesn't.

Personally, I think TX 71 should have all the remaining stoplights removed between Austin and Columbus, along with a minor bypass of Ellinger. If traffic grows, which it almost surely will knowing Texan cities recently, then start working on the minor crossings and the driveways. Same goes for US 290.

ethanhopkin14

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #117 on: July 21, 2020, 09:32:22 AM »

If it's busy enough make it a freeway. If it's convenient, sign it as an Interstate. Why does there need to be any reason beyond that? If there's significant traffic on TX 71 or US 290, and that traffic would be improved by a conversion to Interstate standards, then improve it. If the traffic doesn't demand improvements, then don't. Why does the culture or the type of city or the "thinking of a place" matter? If there's trucks and cars, and they're impacted, then it warrants a freeway. If there's not, it doesn't.

Personally, I think TX 71 should have all the remaining stoplights removed between Austin and Columbus, along with a minor bypass of Ellinger. If traffic grows, which it almost surely will knowing Texan cities recently, then start working on the minor crossings and the driveways. Same goes for US 290.

You hit the nail on the head.  We are talking about numbers here, not politics.  No matter what people think amount each other, a lot of people drive from Houston and Austin and vis versa, no matter if one town thinks you should stand on your head and the other thinks fish should have the right to vote, and they don't agree with each other.  Just because they don't agree doesn't make the traffic disappear.  That never played a part in the original system.  Do you tell the truck driver who is driving his shipment from Houston to Austin that he doesn't get a freeway because the two towns don't see the world the same?

The whole entire reason for putting an interstate corridor from Austin to Houston, whether it be SH-71 (which I prefer) or US 290 is two fold, and this goes back to why the system was created in the first place:

1. Honestly, I can't stand driving 75 miles per hour on SH-71 to a large city knowing at any given moment a farmer could pull out of his driveway in front of me and kill me because the highway lacks grade separation.  I can't stand seeing road intersections, and people crossing the median because it is legal to do so.  It's about safety.  If you want a high speed corridor between the cities, you should go all out and make it a high speed freeway.  Don't get halfway there and call it good, that's lazy and very poor work.  It is all about safe driving.  Freeways are safer, period.  Interstate freeways are safer than other freeways because there are standards that must be met that are designed for 75 mile an hour driving.  A state or US highway freeway can be built below those standards, which sometimes work out, but not really.  I can't tell you how many Texas freeways I have seen with sharp turns and blind hills.

2. The average motorist is smarter than the people on this forum give them credit for.  Yes, they don't know the ends and outs of every road like you all know, but they do know a few things.  The family going to Disney World and the two blondes driving to Spring Break with he radio on and GPS because they can't read a map all know the interstate shield means a faster route and it's a freeway.  Some are scared of it or that reason, but most know its a guaranteed freeway.  They also know a US or state shield promises nothing.  It could mean a freeway or an unpaved road.  Even me coming from a state that paves all of it's state maintained highways and has a good highway system, gets a little weary when planning a route to a destination and the route evolves state highways.  I start to look for the nearest interstate and try to see if I can stay on it as long as possible.  They are easier to drive and yes most people don't understand they are also safer, but the average person knows they are a whole lot faster. 

So in conclusion it comes down to safety and brand recognition.  The people who have always driven from Houston to Austin will drive the route whether it has a shield or not, but the unfamiliar ones will follow the shield, I guarantee it.  Which ever corridor gets the shield, the trucks will move on that corridor and free up the traffic on the less safe corridor. 
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motorola870

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #118 on: November 24, 2020, 01:53:23 AM »

Are these people actually understanding that this interchange needs an overhaul and not some beautification project due to traffic volumes?

https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2020/11/txdot-to-hear-case-for-livable-oak-hill-design/

All they are doing is trying to delay the eventual of having to build a interchange. I don't think they will win what they want if they do TXDOT should just veer the routes around them and turn it into a 4 lane boulevard split and turn it over to local jurisdictions and not give them a fantasy green scape. It is one thing to be environmentally friendly it is another to demand a street level boulevard that goes against the traffic volume and studies that prove an need for an upgrade.
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Echostatic

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #119 on: November 24, 2020, 11:31:28 AM »

The contract has already been approved for the Oak Hill Parkway and the first phases of construction have already started, so this should be a non-story.

Bobby5280

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #120 on: November 24, 2020, 03:28:55 PM »

Doesn't the Oak Hill Parkway project to upgrade US-290 to a freeway go as far West as the Y split with Circle Drive?

With the way the Austin region is growing, it's really should be a foregone conclusion that US-290 will need additional freeway upgrades going farther and farther West out of the area. I think US-290 could be upgraded into a freeway at least as far as the US-281 corridor, if not all the way out to I-10.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #121 on: November 24, 2020, 04:16:58 PM »

The contract has already been approved for the Oak Hill Parkway and the first phases of construction have already started, so this should be a non-story.
Has the contract been awarded?
The award was scheduled for summer, but I never saw any items in the TxDOT commission proceedings.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0430/6a-presentation.pdf

Echostatic:  can you confirm that Colorado River Constructors is already set up on site and at work?

If the contract is awarded and work is underway, that mediation attempt seems pointless, but is probably necessary if the courts are mandating it.

motorola870

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #122 on: November 24, 2020, 07:46:12 PM »

The contract has already been approved for the Oak Hill Parkway and the first phases of construction have already started, so this should be a non-story.
Has the contract been awarded?
The award was scheduled for summer, but I never saw any items in the TxDOT commission proceedings.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0430/6a-presentation.pdf

Echostatic:  can you confirm that Colorado River Constructors is already set up on site and at work?

If the contract is awarded and work is underway, that mediation attempt seems pointless, but is probably necessary if the courts are mandating it.
If anything they should do what they did on the new 45 toll give some greenspace trails and try to preserve the creek area but the fact they are depicting a ground level boulevard with more greenscape than currently there... I don't understand it tbh they don't want to accept reality Texas is growing and the only projects getting downverted to ground level boulevards are projects that bypassed aging freeways the Lancaster Elevated and the US175 reroute are two examples in DFW. Replacing aging and outdated highway routes that needed to happen.
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Echostatic

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #123 on: November 24, 2020, 10:57:57 PM »

Has the contract been awarded?
The award was scheduled for summer, but I never saw any items in the TxDOT commission proceedings.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/commission/2020/0430/6a-presentation.pdf

Echostatic:  can you confirm that Colorado River Constructors is already set up on site and at work?

If the contract is awarded and work is underway, that mediation attempt seems pointless, but is probably necessary if the courts are mandating it.

I live in Southwest Austin and can confirm that while ground has not officially been broken yet, some preliminary markings and other work has started and I've seen demolition permits in the city's system for the already acquired buildings in the ROW.

The most recent source other than me is this newsletter from Oak Hill Parkway: https://mailchi.mp/3b5496698c4f/oak-hill-parkway-update-10-2020
Quote
In August 2020, TxDOT authorized the selected Design-Build contractor, Colorado River Constructors (CRC), to begin their efforts to prepare final design plans and to construct Oak Hill Parkway.

Echostatic

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Re: Austin, TX
« Reply #124 on: November 27, 2020, 10:39:33 AM »

CRC will be taking soil samples along the eastbound frontage road of 290 next week, which marks the first lane closures of the Oak Hill Parkway project. Yay.

 


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