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Author Topic: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension  (Read 11352 times)

Bobby5280

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2019, 12:24:11 PM »

If I was going to bet on the order that any specific corridors within the Texas Triangle would be upgraded I would bet on TX-6 between Waco and College Station getting those upgrades after the TX-249 toll road is completed.

TX-6 is the favored alternate route to I-45 between the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and Houston. The Fort Worth area is growing rapidly; Fort Worth itself has a city limits population over 800,000. A lot of people take TX-6 between DFW and Houston to avoid traffic snarls on I-45. Once TX-249 is finished that route will get a whole lot more busy. The increased traffic burden will make new freeway (or toll road) upgrades along TX-6 necessary. Currently TX-6 between Waco and College Station is a mix of divided and undivided 4 lane roads (with a few stop lights and speed zones in Hearne and Calvert).

The situation with TX-6 will get piled in with other corridors where TX DOT is trying to keep up. US-287 and TX-199 on the North and Northwest sides of Fort Worth need very serious improvement (some of which is being planned, such as a freeway to freeway interchange between TX-199 and I-820). Those are just two examples.

I think this all adds up to bad news for efforts to build out the proposed I-14 corridor. Compound that with the current anti-toll stance in the government. That leaves so many corridors in need of improvement fighting for a limited amount of gasoline tax dollars. The only outside chance I see of I-14 getting fast-tracked at all is if planners propose a credible DIRECT path between the Temple area and College Station. Not the W-shaped zig zag route currently in the works. The route at least has to go straight from Cameron to Bryan, cutting off these angled side trips to Milano and Hearne.

Even if a straight path can be proposed, a whole lot of traffic coming down from West half of the metroplex is going to keep turning off I-35 at Waco and on down TX-6 for their trips to Houston.
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sparker

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #51 on: October 21, 2019, 03:49:21 PM »

^^^^^^^^^^^
In general agreement about the need to avoid the "zig-zag" path taken by US 190 across the Triangle; but I still think the corridor will cross the Brazos floodplain near Hearne in any case simply because the river has been channelized at that point and the bridge/approach structure would be considerably shortened (and costs lessened).  There's a reason why highways and RR's have elected to make the crossing there. 

I also agree about the Fort Worth-Houston usage of TX 6 north to Waco; but the rationale for I-14 wasn't to expedite N-S traffic but to head west (via Temple, as it turned out) to West Texas -- attempting to do so via Waco would be quite a bit out of the way.  For better or worse, the corridor planners are still considering the portion west of I-35 out toward San Angelo as a goal to be accomplished.  I could see TX 6 between Hearne and Waco being considered for a 3di at some point.  But I'll also wager that TxDOT will attempt to use as much of the TX 6 alignment as possible for that part of the I-14 corridor in the Bryan/College Station area just because the ROW is already in their hands and it would be cheaper to effect an upgrade of the current facility than strike out with additional new-terrain mileage. 
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Bobby5280

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2019, 04:50:58 PM »

Quote from: sparker
In general agreement about the need to avoid the "zig-zag" path taken by US 190 across the Triangle; but I still think the corridor will cross the Brazos floodplain near Hearne in any case simply because the river has been channelized at that point and the bridge/approach structure would be considerably shortened (and costs lessened).

If I-14 was built on a new terrain path doing direct from Cameron to Bryan the road would cross the Brazos River near Mumford. The characteristics of the river aren't much different at all there compared to where US-190 crosses on its way to Hearne. Just to the South the 4-laned TX-21 highway and a railroad cross the Brazos.

Parts of I-14 would have to be built-up on an earth berm to get out of the flood plain in some places. But that's going to be common situation anywhere in that region.

Quote from: sparker
I also agree about the Fort Worth-Houston usage of TX 6 north to Waco; but the rationale for I-14 wasn't to expedite N-S traffic but to head west (via Temple, as it turned out) to West Texas -- attempting to do so via Waco would be quite a bit out of the way.

I'm not suggesting I-14 be routed up to Waco or serve the traffic needs people traveling between DFW and Houston. Nevertheless, TX DOT will have to prioritize road projects where demand is greatest. And the Fort Worth to Houston corridor is a much higher demand corridor than Killeen to Huntsville. Various planners, politicians and dreamers may be wanting to build I-14 out to San Angelo and East to Louisiana. But that desire is going to get outweighed by more pressing realities along TX-6 and other higher demand corridors within the triangle.

If it is built, I would expect I-14 to have a somewhat brief concurrency with TX-6 in the Bryan-College Station area. The length of that concurrency also depends on whether I-14 would leave the area, going directly East toward Huntsville, or going wrongly out of the way up to Madisonville.
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sparker

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #53 on: October 22, 2019, 07:30:37 AM »

^^^^^^^^^^
According to my cousin the Caltrans bridge engineer, the one thing that is avoided -- due to a higher probability of flooding -- in the process of selecting a location to cross a river/floodplain is an oxbow, or U-shaped lateral curve in a river -- and there's one along the Brazos a couple of miles south of the US 79/190 crossing, itself closely paralleled by a UP main line.  The chances are any I-14 crossing will occur at or less than about 1.5 miles south of that existing bridge. in which case it'll skirt Mumford a bit to the north.  That would put the intersection point with TX 6 a bit north of the OSR junction.  Regarding where it'll depart eastward from TX 6 toward Huntsville, my money's on somewhere near the Texas World Speedway, where the distance to I-45 is less than farther north due to the angle taken by TX 6.

I-14 development within the Triangle -- likely the solo segment that will see letting in my own lifetime -- will likely take place regardless of traffic flow on TX 6 north to Waco.  Unless there's a concerted effort emanating from Waco itself or within TxDOT that takes hold, redirecting any funds marked for I-14 to a Waco-Bryan server won't happen -- particularly after $$ are sunk into an alignment study.  But I'll reiterate that there's always the possibility that TX 6 could be considered for a 3di, particularly if Waco experiences growth & expansion. 
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