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Author Topic: US-287 between Fort Worth (and Ennis) and Wichita Falls if not Amarillo thread  (Read 8608 times)

TheBox

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Last year I made a thread about US-290 between Austin and Houston which I should’ve done years ago, so I thought it only makes sense to do the same with US-287 between Fort Worth and Wichita Falls if not Amarillo (even if most of it is already expressway standards/limited access by now)
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Wake me up when they upgrade US-290 between the state’s largest city and growing capital into expressway standards if it interstate standards.

Giddings bypass, Elgin bypass, and Elgin-Manor freeway/tollway when?

Scott5114

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Okay. What about it?
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Bobby5280

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US-287 between Amarillo and Fort Worth has been discussed from time to time in various other discussion threads. It sometimes comes up in discussions about the Ports to Plains Corridor. I would very much like to see this corridor upgraded to Interstate standards, partly because I drive on it on a somewhat frequent basis. There is a great deal of commercial truck traffic on this highway. To me the traffic levels feel pretty similar to driving on any other rural Interstate highway.

Only some portions of US-287 between Wichita Falls and Fort Worth are limited access. Most of the highway is 4-lane divided with at-grade intersections.

On the bright side some segments would be very easy to upgrade to limited access. From Wichita Falls to Bowie US-287 has a median big enough to add new freeway main lanes and use the existing road as frontage roads. The town of Bellevue is one exception. It would take some pretty creative design work to squeeze a freeway through there without erasing half the town. As easy as the Wichita Falls to Bowie segment would be to upgrade to Interstate quality nothing is being done about it.

The only segment of US-287 that is getting any attention at all is the one between the I-35W split and the split with TX-114 in Rhome. Progress on that is very frustratingly slow. I don't know what the hell the problem is with TX DOT and their sheer lack of attention on this corridor. It's just stupid. Barely a mile West of the I-35W split US-287 dumps down to NOT Interstate quality. Immediately past the Harmon Road exit various driveways and streets make contact with the US-287 main lanes. That even includes new streets like Heritage Trace Parkway. Commercial and residential development is EXPLODING in this area North of Fort Worth. Supposedly TX DOT is supposed to build new frontage roads to cut off a lot of this crap from the main lanes. Still, as of Summer 2023 zero is happening. But new housing subdivisions, new logistical warehouses and retail developments keep plopping down month after month, year after year. TX DOT has to stop farting around already and get US-287 upgraded into Interstate quality at least up to the TX-114 interchange. They're going to get motorists killed in otherwise preventable accidents if they keep screwing around. You can't have people making at-grade right and left turns out into a busy near-freeway where people are speeding like hell. As the population level continues to boom in that locale the chances of high speed T-bone collisions are only going to increase dramatically.

US-287 from Rhome up to the Southern edge of Decatur would be an easy upgrade. Some small segments are getting new freeway exits. US-287 within Decatur is a freaking mess. That really needs to be converted to limited access. But that's not going to be easy to do since too much property is hugging too close to the main lanes. This is another one where TX DOT needs to deal with the problem sooner rather than later.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2023, 03:00:24 PM by Bobby5280 »
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MaxConcrete

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I've said it before and I'll say it again: money flows to rural highways which have strong political advocacy for improvements.

US 290 between Houston and Austin has a separate thread. The reason the highway has seen few improvements is because it has no political advocacy.

Interstate 69 has had strong political advocacy for a long time. It gets between $500 million and $1 billion per year in contracts for interstate upgrades.

Port to Plains corridor has strong political advocacy. Even though interstate status makes no sense in sparsely populated west Texas, TxDOT is proceeding with preliminary planning.

TxDOT has just solicited for a consultant to do comprehensive corridor analysis. See the map on page 9, and notice that US 287 is not included, but many routes in sparsely populated west Texas are included.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/ppd/meetings/083123/presentation.pdf

Which brings me to the topic of US 287. It has no advocacy (that I'm aware of). It is not a priority corridor for TxDOT. There are minimal improvements planned in the 10-year UTP. In the Amarillo, Childress and Wichita Falls district, the only listed projects are maintenance.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/tpp/utp/081823-2024utp.pdf

In my view, in 2050 US 287 north of Decatur will look mostly the same as it is today. Realistically, the only improvements we can hope for is maybe a bypass or two, but I'm not aware of any in the planning phase.

splashflash

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Okay. What about it?
Yah, it's already a thread, here: https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=18789.0



Which brings me to the topic of US 287. It has no advocacy (that I'm aware of). It is not a priority corridor for TxDOT. There are minimal improvements planned in the 10-year UTP. In the Amarillo, Childress and Wichita Falls district, the only listed projects are maintenance.
https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot/get-involved/tpp/utp/081823-2024utp.pdf

In my view, in 2050 US 287 north of Decatur will look mostly the same as it is today. Realistically, the only improvements we can hope for is maybe a bypass or two, but I'm not aware of any in the planning phase.



The section around Harmon Road (south of Rhome) and Haslet Road should get some love as it is in the Fort Worth district and studies are ongoing.  Those studies have all been referenced in the threads, https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=18789.0, https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=26379.0, and others.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2023, 01:00:38 AM by splashflash »
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Road Hog

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TxDOT is holding a public meeting in Midlothian Sept. 14 on a project to add frontage roads on US 287 in Ellis County. Here's the link to the public notice:

https://www.midlothian.tx.us/DocumentCenter/View/15871/TxDOT-Sept-Public-Meeting-about-US-287-Service-Roads-
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splashflash

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Regarding the US 81/287 concurrency from I-35W to Bowie, TxDOT uses US 81, not US 287 in their annual UTP reports. I find their use of US 81 distinguishes the segment well as further southeast, there is quite a bit of work occurring on US 287 as shown in the reply above, near or within the Fort Worth district.

 There was ongoing thread discussion about this segment last year.
 https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=31785.msg2755267#msg2755267
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Bobby5280

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Quote from: MaxConcrete
I've said it before and I'll say it again: money flows to rural highways which have strong political advocacy for improvements.

Political advocacy can help push through highway improvements or even block a highway project from happening. But this is a situation that goes beyond political advocacy. It's a matter of people at agencies like TX DOT opening their freaking eyes.

It's as if these people think nothing has changed in the DFW region over the past 20 years.

Development is exploding along US-287 and TX-114 from Rhome to the East and Southeast. Both of those highways need to be brought up to Interstate standards from the Rhome split to their interchanges with I-35W. US-287 as least has a chance to get upgraded into a freeway from I-35W to the South side of Decatur since it has enough ROW in place to make it happen. Building out continuous frontage roads would be a good start. TX-114 between US-287 and I-35W is a tighter squeeze. That road is facing just as urgent a situation as US-287. While US-287 North of Fort Worth is getting utterly surrounded by new residential subdivisions TX-114 is seeing a boom in new logistical warehouses. In either case it means a lot more new traffic turning onto these highways from at-grade intersections.

TX-DOT has an expensive mess on its hands having to deal with US-380 between Denton and McKinney. In the past TX DOT was pretty good at planning ahead with corridor development. That's visible from how US-287 was built going Southeast out of Wichita Falls; there's a wide median big enough to hold new freeway main lanes at a future time. They could have easily done something similar with that section of US-380 back in the early 1990's when it was already obvious new development in DFW was rapidly spreading in that direction. Instead, they sat on their hands, doing nothing. TX DOT is going to be facing similar messes with US-287 and TX-114 if they don't start getting proactive.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2023, 09:05:23 AM by Bobby5280 »
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BJ59

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Will the NTE Texpress lanes be expanded to create US-287 Texpress Lanes or will only the free lanes be expanded?
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Bobby5280

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I don't expect any express lanes to be built on US-287 going Northwest of the I-35W split. As that area North of Fort Worth continues to blow up with residential and commercial development US-287 will have to be expanded to at least a 3x3 lanes configuration, if not 4x4. There is enough room to do that. I think it would be really stupid if they pulled an I-820 stunt and built a 2x2x2x2 facility. It would be a tight squeeze and gain nothing over a 4x4 configuration.

Right now TX DOT just has to focus on getting the minimal basic things accomplished. The damned frontage roads need to be completed up to Avondale already. That is 20+ years overdue. Then they need to finish the frontage roads up to the TX-114 interchange in Rhome. That's also badly overdue. And they also have to get cracking on the incomplete frontage roads between Rhome and Decatur. Bare minimum, US-287 needs to be Interstate quality between the I-35W split and South edge of Decatur.
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rte66man

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I don't expect any express lanes to be built on US-287 going Northwest of the I-35W split. As that area North of Fort Worth continues to blow up with residential and commercial development US-287 will have to be expanded to at least a 3x3 lanes configuration, if not 4x4. There is enough room to do that. I think it would be really stupid if they pulled an I-820 stunt and built a 2x2x2x2 facility. It would be a tight squeeze and gain nothing over a 4x4 configuration.

Right now TX DOT just has to focus on getting the minimal basic things accomplished. The damned frontage roads need to be completed up to Avondale already. That is 20+ years overdue. Then they need to finish the frontage roads up to the TX-114 interchange in Rhome. That's also badly overdue. And they also have to get cracking on the incomplete frontage roads between Rhome and Decatur. Bare minimum, US-287 needs to be Interstate quality between the I-35W split and South edge of Decatur.

And that stretch is easy pickings yet, as Max mentioned upthread, they do not appear to have a champion or other political stoke to get things started at anytime before 2030 at the earliest.
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Bobby5280

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Yeah, I suppose they'll just fart around, dragging their feet until enough fatal accidents happen along that stretch. It's stupidly dangerous having a bunch of driveways and side streets making direct contact with the US-287 main lanes.
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splashflash

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I don't expect any express lanes to be built on US-287 going Northwest of the I-35W split. As that area North of Fort Worth continues to blow up with residential and commercial development US-287 will have to be expanded to at least a 3x3 lanes configuration, if not 4x4. There is enough room to do that. I think it would be really stupid if they pulled an I-820 stunt and built a 2x2x2x2 facility. It would be a tight squeeze and gain nothing over a 4x4 configuration.

Right now TX DOT just has to focus on getting the minimal basic things accomplished. The damned frontage roads need to be completed up to Avondale already. That is 20+ years overdue. Then they need to finish the frontage roads up to the TX-114 interchange in Rhome. That's also badly overdue. And they also have to get cracking on the incomplete frontage roads between Rhome and Decatur. Bare minimum, US-287 needs to be Interstate quality between the I-35W split and South edge of Decatur.

And that stretch is easy pickings yet, as Max mentioned upthread, they do not appear to have a champion or other political stoke to get things started at anytime before 2030 at the earliest.

It does seem there are some political juices moving, according to this article:
https://fortworthreport.org/2023/09/11/u-s-81-287-reconstruction-to-tackle-northwest-tarrant-county-population-boom/

"The impact of the project is so significant that it’s considered the second highest priority project in TxDOT’s Fort Worth district behind the billion-dollar Southeast Connector project.

"Construction along U.S. 81/U.S. 287 is set to start in 2026 and be completed in 2030.

"In order to do that, the agency has applied to receive a Mega Grant to close the gap on the missing $115 million to fully fund the project.

"The project is about to be fully environmentally cleared, and it recently received a major boost in state funding as part of TxDOT’s 2024 Unified Transportation Plan. Funding adjustment opened up an additional $74.6 million. However, $115 million in funding still needs to be acquired.

The total price tag for the corridor reconstruction is $344 million.
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TXtoNJ

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The problem is that between Wichita Falls and Amarillo, there's no local constituency for improving the route. The majority of traffic is headed to Amarillo or Denver, and improvements would just kill the towns faster than they're dying already. Politicians in Texas are extremely hesitant to use Austin's power to run roughshod over rural local interests (just look at the last decade of Texas Central Railway), so this is enough to put the brakes on any corridor concepts.
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The Ghostbuster

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I’m surprised that the US 81/287 freeway from Interstate 35W northwestward is still just a four lane freeway. I would have thought the freeway would have been expanded to six or eight lanes well before now.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2023, 10:52:46 PM by The Ghostbuster »
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longhorn

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The elevated 287 in Wichita Falls is interesting, why so wide between north and southbound lanes?

Surprised I-44 ( east west, I know) does not just run back to FTW. At least the stretch between Wichita Falls and FTW will be an interstate planned freeway and get more funding.
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Bobby5280

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Quote from: splashflash
The total price tag for the corridor reconstruction is $344 million.

According to the article this is only covering the US-287 segment from I-35W to Avondale-Haslet Road. That's only a little more than halfway to the US-287/TX-114 split. With that price tag I'm guessing it involves re-building the US-287 main lanes (and hopefully expanding it from 2x2 to at least 3x3). The existing US-287 highway from I-35W going Northwest is in freaking lousy shape. It's all badly patched together.

Quote from: TXtoNJ
The problem is that between Wichita Falls and Amarillo, there's no local constituency for improving the route.

Such a thing shouldn't be necessary. US-287 being Interstate quality from DFW to Amarillo is beneficial to long distance traffic moving between major metro areas. People and businesses in the Metroplex would gain a lot of benefit from that highway segment being improved to limited access.

As for the towns in between, most will be fine (relatively speaking). Bowie still exists despite US-287 bypassing it to the South. Same goes for Henrietta. Really, between Wichita Falls and Decatur most of the towns were already bypassed by freeway segments a long time ago. Bellevue is an exception.

West of Wichita Falls other towns like Iowa Park, Electra, Harold, Oklaunion and Vernon have limited access bypasses. They would not be adversely affected by a full Interstate quality upgrade of US-287. If anything, those towns might attract more highway travel oriented businesses. Those towns need any kind of boost they can get.

Farther West the short freeway bypasses disappear. Some of the towns along the way are tiny enough that hardly any kind of bypass would be needed. Childress and Memphis would need substantial new terrain bypasses. Bypasses wouldn't have to go all that far around Claude, Clarendon and Quanah.

A lot of the road side businesses are chain restaurants and convenience stores. Those can relocate to a new bypass route fairly easily.

Quote from: The Ghostbuster
I’m surprised the the US 81/287 freeway from Interstate 35W northwestward is still just a four lane freeway.

Yeah, that's why I've been complaining about TX DOT being asleep at the wheel when it comes to this region of the metroplex. They're getting totally caught off guard, just like what happened with US-380 between Denton and McKinney. Derpy, derpy, derp!!!

Quote from: Longhorn
The elevated 287 in Wichita Falls is interesting, why so wide between north and southbound lanes?

Because the elevated highway had to be built over existing downtown city streets. The ends of the old Central Freeway split two blocks apart in a old Texas-style downtown configuration. There are similar splits at the end of I-27 in Amarillo and the end of I-35 in Laredo. The split in Wichita Falls was short enough that building an elevated freeway was feasible.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2023, 10:41:37 PM by Bobby5280 »
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TXtoNJ

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Texas politics just doesn't work that way
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Bobby5280

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Texas politics certainly doesn't give two shits about infrastructure lately. Now it's just a constant culture war bitch-fest.
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abqtraveler

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Texas politics certainly doesn't give two shits about infrastructure lately. Now it's just a constant culture war bitch-fest.
That's just about everywhere in America nowadays.
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2-d Interstates traveled:  4, 5, 8, 10, 15, 20, 24, 25, 27, 29, 35, 39, 40, 41, 43, 45, 49, 55, 57, 64, 65, 66, 69, 70, 71, 72, 74, 75, 76(E), 77, 78, 81, 83, 84(W), 85, 87(N), 89, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95

2-d Interstates Clinched:  12, 22, 30, 37, 44, 59, 80, 84(E), 86(E), 238, H1, H2, H3, H201

splashflash

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Bellevue concrete wall extension

https://www.txdot.gov/projects/hearings-meetings/wichita-falls/us287-clay-county-111623.html

TXDOT has an upcoming public hearing for road resurfacing and concrete barrier extension in Bellevue.   It's a pity a bypass isn't being investigated.
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Bobby5280

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Woo hoo. More concrete Jersey barrier segments. Yeah, that'll make me want to hang a hard turn off US-287 to gas-up at prices 30¢ per gallon higher than stores in Wichita Falls.

I'm kind of surprised Bellevue hasn't dried up in the years since the porno video store on the West side of town closed. Not that the video store was a major employer. The town doesn't look like it's adding any new residents and the people still living there are getting older and older.

I could understand TX DOT playing a waiting game with Bellevue (wait until enough residents die off so an Interstate upgrade can more cheaply plow straight thru). But it looks more like TX DOT isn't even looking at that corridor at all.
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splashflash

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According to the census numbers of Wikipedia, you are correct.

Historical population
Census   Pop.   Note   %±
1910   699      —
1920   782      11.9%
1930   546      −30.2%
1940   503      −7.9%
1950   418      −16.9%
1960   309      −26.1%
1970   323      4.5%
1980   352      9.0%
1990   333      −5.4%
2000   386      15.9%
2010   362      −6.2%
2019 (est.)   347   [2]   −4.1%
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Bobby5280

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I don't know how Bellevue manages to still have a public school. Not only that, the school has been undergoing a major renovation lately. As small as Bellevue is I would have figured any school age kids would be forced to attend schools in either Bowie or Henrietta. That may eventually happen.

Either way, I think an expansion of US-287 to Interstate standards thru Bellevue on the existing alignment is definitely do-able. There isn't a lot of available space between the highway and the BNSF freight rail tracks. Property by the Southbound lanes would have to be acquired.

The properties next to the faux frontage road look like they could be bought and cleared pretty easily. The few homes next to the highway look like they're ready for the wrecking ball. The owners might welcome being bought out. The commercial businesses could likely re-build with the money they're given. An Interstate quality upgrade and visual facelift along the new frontage roads could potentially help reverse the town's steady decline.

It would probably be less expensive for TX DOT to upgrade US-287 straight through Bellevue on the existing alignment rather than build a new terrain bypass around town.
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