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Author Topic: I-69 in TX  (Read 528774 times)

Echostatic

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1500 on: August 12, 2019, 07:37:49 PM »

When the state doesn't already own the ROW, it's almost always much cheaper and more efficient to build a single carriageway with a concrete or cable barrier. This is especially true for highways without frontage roads. Sometimes rebuilds are done the same way for less disruptive construction. Most of I-35 from Austin to DFW was rebuilt without any median, even though the ROW was already there. Same with the new-built Texas 45 SW and Loop 49.

Maybe it's just a Texas thing, like convenient U-turns and frontage roads.

Bobby5280

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1501 on: August 13, 2019, 01:56:01 PM »

I like the completed, re-built portions of I-35 between Austin and Dallas. Even though the road is technically one big carriageway it doesn't seem narrow and cramped at all (unlike a lot of older turnpikes in places like Pennsylvania and here in Oklahoma). The re-built segments of I-35 are typically at least 3 lanes in each direction, plus ample left and right shoulders. It feels kind of like driving on a big city freeway, but out in the country.

Part of the Turner Turnpike (I-44) between Oklahoma City and Tulsa was recently improved. Specifically the expansion starts at about mile marker 203 and goes to about mile marker 216. The road goes from two lanes in each direction to three. But the difference you see at MM 203 is pretty huge. It's feels like an entirely different highway. Just like those parts of I-35 in Texas, this portion of I-44 seems like driving on a much more modern big city freeway. I hope the OTA can upgrade all of the Turner Turnpike in this manner. The 3-3 arrangement ends at the split with the Creek Turnpike unfortunately. I-44 goes back to the old 2-2 configuration until the merge with OK-66 at the East end of the Turner Turnpike.

Modern (wider) left and right shoulders can also make a difference. About 6 miles of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike (I-44 again) just South of OKC had its road bed completely re-built. The beefed up shoulders seem to give the main lanes on the road a little more visual breathing room.
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sprjus4

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1502 on: August 13, 2019, 02:04:11 PM »

I like the completed, re-built portions of I-35 between Austin and Dallas. Even though the road is technically one big carriageway it doesn't seem narrow and cramped at all (unlike a lot of older turnpikes in places like Pennsylvania and here in Oklahoma). The re-built segments of I-35 are typically at least 3 lanes in each direction, plus ample left and right shoulders. It feels kind of like driving on a big city freeway, but out in the country.

Part of the Turner Turnpike (I-44) between Oklahoma City and Tulsa was recently improved. Specifically the expansion starts at about mile marker 203 and goes to about mile marker 216. The road goes from two lanes in each direction to three. But the difference you see at MM 203 is pretty huge. It's feels like an entirely different highway. Just like those parts of I-35 in Texas, this portion of I-44 seems like driving on a much more modern big city freeway. I hope the OTA can upgrade all of the Turner Turnpike in this manner. The 3-3 arrangement ends at the split with the Creek Turnpike unfortunately. I-44 goes back to the old 2-2 configuration until the merge with OK-66 at the East end of the Turner Turnpike.

Modern (wider) left and right shoulders can also make a difference. About 6 miles of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike (I-44 again) just South of OKC had its road bed completely re-built. The beefed up shoulders seem to give the main lanes on the road a little more visual breathing room.
I don't mind median barrier as long as there's at least 3 lanes each way (which there is on I-35). As of my recent drive down I-35, it is at least 3-lanes each way between SH-130 and the I-35W / I-35E split, and a good majority has median barrier. I'm not a big fan of median barrier when only 2 lanes each way exist, though I will agree having a full 12 foot left shoulder is better than a narrow shoulder that is acceptable when a grassy median is present. At least TxDOT is doing that properly.

I had read somewhere the design with the narrow median on I-69 projects is being done to eventually accommodate outside widening to 3 lanes each way, an ultimate design similar to I-35's 6-lane sections. I like the concept, but IMO the highway should be built with 2 lanes each way and a 46 foot grassy median from the start, and then the future widening should occur in the median as opposed to the outside. Less impacts on the ramps too. In the end, both my proposed concept and TxDOT's currently in use concept result in the same ultimate typical section - 3 lanes each way with median barrier & full left / right shoulders.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1503 on: August 13, 2019, 02:15:14 PM »

Hopefully TX DOT is building up the berm for the I-69 roadway so it will have room to add a third, outboard lane in the future.

The recently completed expansion of I-44 along the Turner Turnpike looks like the roadway berm is wide enough to actually add a fourth lane in both directions. Many of the new bridges along that specific stretch have foot prints to allow 4 lanes in both directions. These new bridges over I-44 seem very heavy and massive compared to the older existing bridges elsewhere along the turnpike. One example is the S 209th W Ave bridge over I-44. It's just a little 2 lane road going over the highway, but the bridge piers and concrete girders supporting the roadway are much fatter looking than the old bridges.
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thisdj78

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1504 on: August 13, 2019, 02:31:15 PM »

I like the completed, re-built portions of I-35 between Austin and Dallas. Even though the road is technically one big carriageway it doesn't seem narrow and cramped at all (unlike a lot of older turnpikes in places like Pennsylvania and here in Oklahoma). The re-built segments of I-35 are typically at least 3 lanes in each direction, plus ample left and right shoulders. It feels kind of like driving on a big city freeway, but out in the country.

Part of the Turner Turnpike (I-44) between Oklahoma City and Tulsa was recently improved. Specifically the expansion starts at about mile marker 203 and goes to about mile marker 216. The road goes from two lanes in each direction to three. But the difference you see at MM 203 is pretty huge. It's feels like an entirely different highway. Just like those parts of I-35 in Texas, this portion of I-44 seems like driving on a much more modern big city freeway. I hope the OTA can upgrade all of the Turner Turnpike in this manner. The 3-3 arrangement ends at the split with the Creek Turnpike unfortunately. I-44 goes back to the old 2-2 configuration until the merge with OK-66 at the East end of the Turner Turnpike.

Modern (wider) left and right shoulders can also make a difference. About 6 miles of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike (I-44 again) just South of OKC had its road bed completely re-built. The beefed up shoulders seem to give the main lanes on the road a little more visual breathing room.
I don't mind median barrier as long as there's at least 3 lanes each way (which there is on I-35). As of my recent drive down I-35, it is at least 3-lanes each way between SH-130 and the I-35W / I-35E split, and a good majority has median barrier. I'm not a big fan of median barrier when only 2 lanes each way exist, though I will agree having a full 12 foot left shoulder is better than a narrow shoulder that is acceptable when a grassy median is present. At least TxDOT is doing that properly.

I had read somewhere the design with the narrow median on I-69 projects is being done to eventually accommodate outside widening to 3 lanes each way, an ultimate design similar to I-35's 6-lane sections. I like the concept, but IMO the highway should be built with 2 lanes each way and a 46 foot grassy median from the start, and then the future widening should occur in the median as opposed to the outside. Less impacts on the ramps too. In the end, both my proposed concept and TxDOT's currently in use concept result in the same ultimate typical section - 3 lanes each way with median barrier & full left / right shoulders.

Itís probably safer, less of a traffic disruption and more cost effective to add lanes on the outside vs in the median. They are learning that lesson with the SH130 expansion east of Austin. Itís a pain for traffic because there are constantly construction vehicles entering and exiting from the left lane.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1505 on: August 13, 2019, 03:50:56 PM »

As I said earlier, it's cheaper to build the road without a median. A grassy median in the middle needs all kind of extra features to handle drainage. The highway has to be built up on two berms rather than just one. Adding new lanes on the in-board, left side to eat into that median creates more expense. The road foundation has to be built up over zones previously used for water drainage. That whole drainage system might have to be reconfigured in order to be covered up.

Compare that to the concept of building one big berm to hold both directions of traffic, yet building the berm wide enough to add an additional lane or two off to the right of the existing lanes. Seems a lot easier. The construction process to add an additional lane or two wouldn't be as disruptive.
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sparker

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1506 on: August 13, 2019, 03:52:40 PM »

^^^^^^^^^
One of the main salient points regarding adding lanes in the median (where possible) vs. on the outside is the fact that the latter requires realigning the ramps in most instances.  Of course much of TX' freeway mileage features frontage roads onto which the ramps empty; if there's sufficient space remaining, that would be a mitigating factor for outside lane addition -- the ramp configuration would be a relatively simple fix as compared to standard diamond/parclo/etc. interchanges on most freeway facilities.  Of course all this is presuming that the design of the overcrossings and bridges was done with the accommodation of additional lanes in mind regardless of exterior or interior placement. 
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jbnv

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1507 on: August 13, 2019, 04:37:34 PM »

(I-4 should replace I-69W, I-x04 should replace the SH-44 spur, and I-39 or something similar for I-69C), it doesn't make sense why "I-69E" signage is not being used assuming the current three I-69's plan is being implemented.

Why not this arrangement: US 59 becomes I-69, US 77 becomes an extension of I-37 (with existing I-37 into Corpus Christi becoming a x37), TX 44 becomes I-x37 and US 281 becomes I-33 or something similar?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 04:47:38 PM by jbnv »
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1508 on: August 13, 2019, 04:43:16 PM »

A common TxDOT theme is to build bridges over freeways that barely span the freeway, so adding one lane on the outside means building a new bridge at every intersection.  Adding a lane in the median means you can keep the bridges and ramp length.  It's not TxDOT's style to, ya know, plan for the future. 
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1509 on: August 13, 2019, 04:47:27 PM »

A common TxDOT theme is to build bridges over freeways that barely span the freeway, so adding one lane on the outside means building a new bridge at every intersection.  Adding a lane in the median means you can keep the bridges and ramp length.  It's not TxDOT's style to, ya know, plan for the future.
TxDOT sure seems to plan for the future much better than OK does LOL
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jbnv

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1510 on: August 13, 2019, 04:51:32 PM »

A common TxDOT theme is to build bridges over freeways that barely span the freeway, so adding one lane on the outside means building a new bridge at every intersection.  Adding a lane in the median means you can keep the bridges and ramp length.  It's not TxDOT's style to, ya know, plan for the future.
TxDOT sure seems to plan for the future much better than OK does LOL
And Louisiana for that matter.
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1511 on: August 13, 2019, 06:31:58 PM »

Quote from: sparker
One of the main salient points regarding adding lanes in the median (where possible) vs. on the outside is the fact that the latter requires realigning the ramps in most instances.

Rebuilding on/off ramps tends to happen anyway with any of these widening projects. Same for re-building bridges or entire interchanges. Ramp geometry requirements and bridge building standards from 20 or 30 years ago don't tend to match well to current 2010's era standards. There's all sorts of stuff that has to be brought up to current code.

Nevertheless, it's not so easy to fill in the V-shaped terrain of an existing grassy median, re-do the earth work, grading and drainage features to add an additional lane or two inside to the left.

In the past week I've seen both widening approaches (widening the Interstate inward into the median and widening outward to the right) driving on I-40 and I-44. On I-40 Near OKC from the I-240 split to the new turnpike interchange the in-progress expansion is eating up much or all of the median. On I-44 near Tulsa the road grew outward. In both cases those short stretches of Interstate are effectively being entirely re-built (new road beds, bridges, re-configured interchanges, grading, drainage, landscaping, signs, etc).
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thisdj78

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1512 on: August 13, 2019, 09:23:37 PM »

^^^^^^^^^
One of the main salient points regarding adding lanes in the median (where possible) vs. on the outside is the fact that the latter requires realigning the ramps in most instances.  Of course much of TX' freeway mileage features frontage roads onto which the ramps empty; if there's sufficient space remaining, that would be a mitigating factor for outside lane addition -- the ramp configuration would be a relatively simple fix as compared to standard diamond/parclo/etc. interchanges on most freeway facilities.  Of course all this is presuming that the design of the overcrossings and bridges was done with the accommodation of additional lanes in mind regardless of exterior or interior placement.

The Sam Houston Tollway South widening is a good example of widening from the outside vs median. They didnít have to reconfigure the ramps much.
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dfwmapper

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1513 on: August 16, 2019, 03:15:03 AM »

Expanding to the outside is easy if the road is designed for it. Take I-35E between the US 77 interchange south of Waxahachie and the Ellis/Hill county line. It was rebuilt about a decade ago to the 4 lanes with a center barrier configuration (with all bridges built to handle future expansion), then was widened in the last few years to 6 lanes. Construction was dead simple; all they had to do was put temporary barriers about halfway into the shoulders, grade 10 feet out on each side, lay down new concrete, then remove the barrier and redo the striping. It barely even impacted the flow of traffic. The original outside shoulders were 12' to begin with, so they just became the new outside lanes with no modification other than striping. The ramps were unchanged besides striping, just ending up about 150' shorter than they were previously.
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GreenLanternCorps

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1514 on: August 16, 2019, 07:11:10 AM »

The Google Van was driving up US 59 on the future I-69 frontage road near Rosenberg and has construction photos from March of this year.

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.531704,-95.8608244,3a,75y,26.53h,93.6t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sbrqxiEMh-1JAhClS-7eK7w!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!5m1!1e1
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Bobby5280

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1515 on: August 16, 2019, 04:14:24 PM »

Google Earth imagery in the same spot is dated April 2019.
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sparker

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1516 on: August 16, 2019, 04:26:00 PM »

Expanding to the outside is easy if the road is designed for it. Take I-35E between the US 77 interchange south of Waxahachie and the Ellis/Hill county line. It was rebuilt about a decade ago to the 4 lanes with a center barrier configuration (with all bridges built to handle future expansion), then was widened in the last few years to 6 lanes. Construction was dead simple; all they had to do was put temporary barriers about halfway into the shoulders, grade 10 feet out on each side, lay down new concrete, then remove the barrier and redo the striping. It barely even impacted the flow of traffic. The original outside shoulders were 12' to begin with, so they just became the new outside lanes with no modification other than striping. The ramps were unchanged besides striping, just ending up about 150' shorter than they were previously.

Clearly TXDOT has over the years elected to go either way when it comes to "expandable" freeway construction; either leaving room in the median or making it easy -- via frontage road configuration -- to add to the outside.  The choice of either methodology is probably linked to the physical environment in which the freeway is situated -- more dense adjoining development, or the determined potential for such, would likely result, when the initial 4 lanes (2 + 2) were built, in a wider median intended for expansion there so as to minimize issues with egress to and from the freeway itself; a more rural environment may prompt outside expansion when deemed necessary -- or, like Ranger Hill on I-20, a complete new alignment adjacent to the original 4-lane section.

 
The Google Van was driving up US 59 on the future I-69 frontage road near Rosenberg and has construction photos from March of this year.

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.531704,-95.8608244,3a,75y,26.53h,93.6t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sbrqxiEMh-1JAhClS-7eK7w!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!5m1!1e1

And this illustrates the validity of the TX-type developmental format whereby the frontage roads are initially constructed with the freeway "tacked on" within the median when appropriate.  Except for the occasional construction equipment merging or crossing the frontage lanes, traffic moves along largely unimpeded; TXDOT probably fields fewer complaints about that particular issue than other agencies that have to disrupt traffic flow to a greater degree in order to effect roadway expansion. 
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sprjus4

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1517 on: August 16, 2019, 05:23:03 PM »

Expanding to the outside is easy if the road is designed for it. Take I-35E between the US 77 interchange south of Waxahachie and the Ellis/Hill county line. It was rebuilt about a decade ago to the 4 lanes with a center barrier configuration (with all bridges built to handle future expansion), then was widened in the last few years to 6 lanes. Construction was dead simple; all they had to do was put temporary barriers about halfway into the shoulders, grade 10 feet out on each side, lay down new concrete, then remove the barrier and redo the striping. It barely even impacted the flow of traffic. The original outside shoulders were 12' to begin with, so they just became the new outside lanes with no modification other than striping. The ramps were unchanged besides striping, just ending up about 150' shorter than they were previously.

Clearly TXDOT has over the years elected to go either way when it comes to "expandable" freeway construction; either leaving room in the median or making it easy -- via frontage road configuration -- to add to the outside.  The choice of either methodology is probably linked to the physical environment in which the freeway is situated -- more dense adjoining development, or the determined potential for such, would likely result, when the initial 4 lanes (2 + 2) were built, in a wider median intended for expansion there so as to minimize issues with egress to and from the freeway itself; a more rural environment may prompt outside expansion when deemed necessary -- or, like Ranger Hill on I-20, a complete new alignment adjacent to the original 4-lane section.
It almost creates a situation opposite to the norm in most other states... median barrier in rural areas and large grassy median in urban areas.

I noticed this when driving down the recently completed section of Loop 1604 near US-90 in San Antonio... a wide 70 foot median is used. I wish they did it that way with I-69!

Usually itís the other way around.
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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1518 on: August 22, 2019, 12:52:01 PM »

GMSV of I-69 signage at CR 36 and south... This one looks like it was supposed to be one of these, installed at the wrong angle. Signed as far south as FM 2826.
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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1519 on: August 23, 2019, 07:51:08 AM »

GMSV of I-69 signage at CR 36 and south... This one looks like it was supposed to be one of these, installed at the wrong angle. Signed as far south as FM 2826.

You would think they would start putting up the correct signs given how long ago the highway was re-designated I-69E...
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sparker

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1520 on: August 23, 2019, 09:58:36 AM »

GMSV of I-69 signage at CR 36 and south... This one looks like it was supposed to be one of these, installed at the wrong angle. Signed as far south as FM 2826.

You would think they would start putting up the correct signs given how long ago the highway was re-designated I-69E...

It was always designated I-69E, whether merely on paper or with field signage -- but the southernmost section (Raymondville to the southern terminus) is the only one with consistently correct signage.  The suffix-less signs in the Corpus area are inexplicable save either (a) basic ignorance within that TXDOT district or (b) that same district never had suffixed signs printed, so they're posting what's in the corporate yard as a stopgap measure.  Either way, it all seems a bit odd and decidedly unprofessional.   
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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1521 on: August 25, 2019, 09:14:42 AM »

GMSV of I-69 signage at CR 36 and south... This one looks like it was supposed to be one of these, installed at the wrong angle. Signed as far south as FM 2826.

You would think they would start putting up the correct signs given how long ago the highway was re-designated I-69E...

It was always designated I-69E, whether merely on paper or with field signage -- but the southernmost section (Raymondville to the southern terminus) is the only one with consistently correct signage.  The suffix-less signs in the Corpus area are inexplicable save either (a) basic ignorance within that TXDOT district or (b) that same district never had suffixed signs printed, so they're posting what's in the corporate yard as a stopgap measure.  Either way, it all seems a bit odd and decidedly unprofessional.   

A little bit of history on the Corpus Christi section of I-69E.

When AASHTO designated that section in 2012, it originally approved it to be signed as I-69, under the premise that AASHTO does not normally approve suffixed interstate routes. In 2015, when more sections of I-69E, C and W were approved, AASHTO changed the designation of the Corpus-Robstown section from I-69 to I-69E (after first rejecting TxDOT"s application for suffixed route numbers on all three branches of I-69 in South Texas, then reversing its original denial) to be consistent with the I-69 branch designations specified in federal legislation. TxDOT apparently hasn't caught up with updating signs along the Corpus-Robstown section to reflect the I-69E designation that was approved in 2015.
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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1522 on: August 25, 2019, 09:16:21 AM »

GMSV of I-69 signage at CR 36 and south... This one looks like it was supposed to be one of these, installed at the wrong angle. Signed as far south as FM 2826.

You would think they would start putting up the correct signs given how long ago the highway was re-designated I-69E...

It was always designated I-69E, whether merely on paper or with field signage -- but the southernmost section (Raymondville to the southern terminus) is the only one with consistently correct signage.  The suffix-less signs in the Corpus area are inexplicable save either (a) basic ignorance within that TXDOT district or (b) that same district never had suffixed signs printed, so they're posting what's in the corporate yard as a stopgap measure.  Either way, it all seems a bit odd and decidedly unprofessional.   

A little bit of history on the Corpus Christi section of I-69E.

When AASHTO designated that section in 2012, it originally approved it to be signed as I-69, under the premise that AASHTO does not normally approve suffixed interstate routes, and made an assumption that the other two branches of I-69 would be given different interstate route numbers. In 2015, when more sections of I-69E, C and W were approved, AASHTO changed the designation of the Corpus-Robstown section from I-69 to I-69E (after first rejecting TxDOT"s application for suffixed route numbers on all three branches of I-69 in South Texas, then reversing its original denial) to be consistent with the I-69 branch designations specified in federal legislation. TxDOT apparently hasn't caught up with updating signs along the Corpus-Robstown section to reflect the I-69E designation that was approved in 2015.
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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1523 on: August 25, 2019, 10:56:07 AM »

The Google Van was driving up US 59 on the future I-69 frontage road near Rosenberg and has construction photos from March of this year.

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.531704,-95.8608244,3a,75y,26.53h,93.6t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sbrqxiEMh-1JAhClS-7eK7w!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!5m1!1e1

Rode on that stretch earlier this month. Won't be too long before US 59 is fully limited access south to the Wharton County line.

sprjus4

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Re: I-69 in TX
« Reply #1524 on: August 25, 2019, 06:05:55 PM »

GMSV of I-69 signage at CR 36 and south... This one looks like it was supposed to be one of these, installed at the wrong angle. Signed as far south as FM 2826.

You would think they would start putting up the correct signs given how long ago the highway was re-designated I-69E...

It was always designated I-69E, whether merely on paper or with field signage -- but the southernmost section (Raymondville to the southern terminus) is the only one with consistently correct signage.  The suffix-less signs in the Corpus area are inexplicable save either (a) basic ignorance within that TXDOT district or (b) that same district never had suffixed signs printed, so they're posting what's in the corporate yard as a stopgap measure.  Either way, it all seems a bit odd and decidedly unprofessional.   

A little bit of history on the Corpus Christi section of I-69E.

When AASHTO designated that section in 2012, it originally approved it to be signed as I-69, under the premise that AASHTO does not normally approve suffixed interstate routes. In 2015, when more sections of I-69E, C and W were approved, AASHTO changed the designation of the Corpus-Robstown section from I-69 to I-69E (after first rejecting TxDOT"s application for suffixed route numbers on all three branches of I-69 in South Texas, then reversing its original denial) to be consistent with the I-69 branch designations specified in federal legislation. TxDOT apparently hasn't caught up with updating signs along the Corpus-Robstown section to reflect the I-69E designation that was approved in 2015.
The new section completed in 2017 near Driscoll also used ďI-69Ē signage, not ďI-69EĒ signage.

Iíve said it before though, they should keep that as I-69 and designate I-69C and W with different numbers.
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