Before LBJ Express Begins Real Construction, Already a Proposed Change Is Needed

Categories: Transportation
LBJExpressatTollway.JPG
Sinking those managed toll lanes beneath the toll road clearly ain't gonna work.
Speaking of the LBJ Express ...

Andy Rittler, spokesman for LBJ Infrastructure Group LLC, the developer of the LBJ do-over that will involve sinking managed toll lanes beneath 635, sends word of a public meeting tomorrow at the Sheraton Dallas North during which reps will present "a proposed change for the intersection of IH 635 at the Dallas North Tollway." Say what now?

Rittler tells Unfair Park you can forget all about that video we likes to look at. Because, you see, LBJ Infrastructure Group's realized: By sinking lanes beneath the toll road, that would more or less involve "cutting the tollway in half." And that won't work. Not at all.

"That wouldn't be a real fun ordeal," he says. "There would be much love in Dallas for us over that one." Hence, the new proposal, as he explains: "a concept that would take these manages lanes around the tollway area and move them to the same elevation as the regular lanes, which is where they are now."

Says Rittler, the proposal's been submitted to the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation, which are expected to sign off on it. Because, as he explains, not only will it keep from messing with the tollway, but "it helps with drainage, which is the difference between building a river and a road."

Also on tap tomorrow: a look at "any potential takings needed for the redesign," Rittler says. "Right now we aren't taking any land, but if we do have to, most likely the impact will be on the Lincoln Center property, that median they have between the frontage road and the parking lot."

Better still, a new video will be debuted tomorrow; we'll post Wednesday.

And, hey, speaking of the Joe Ratliff Pedestrian Walkway, which is getting adiosed Sunday: Yesterday I ran into an old friend who has fond memories of that chain-link-covered sidewalk over LBJ ... and by fond memories, I mean foggy, hazy memories. Anyway. For those who've never been on it, LBJ Express sends this photo of the entrance to the thing. In case you're wanting to make one last trek from Dallas to Farmers Branch the fun way.
JoeRatliffWalkway1.JPG

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47 comments
LeighMetz
LeighMetz

I like BrownleighDallas comments and agree. Better to do it right and make the project design change now. How many times has a transportation project been changed AFTER the fact. Do it right now. At least we have open communication with the company. That's refreshing.

forestlanedweller
forestlanedweller

ScottinDallas mentioned active drains with the current design configuration and this kinda stumped me as well, since the upper Bachman creek watershed has drainage ditches that pass underneath the tollway/635 interchange, and as far as I can tell, just about everything else north of there as well seeing as how it's all concreted over with malls and such. In the dead of summer, long term drought conditions, and there's still plenty of flow on the creek, my thought is that they decided to revisit the elevation for flood control reasons since we don't have one of those fancy water containment facilities like what stands over Cole Park for 75 (and digging another is out of the cost question). Coupled with the PITA and lack of revenue that would result from disrupting the tollway flow (even more) and I'm wondering who the hairbrained civil engineer was who proposed a valley in that spot to begin with?

RTGolden
RTGolden

 "it helps with drainage, which is the difference between building a river and a road."...and Dallas knows so very much about building a river.

As for the literary critics, it's a blog.  If proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling is what you want, try the DMN.... no, wait not them, ... the NYT... no, ... a-Ha!, the Tribune.. no, that's not it.  Hmmmm, just go read a book.

@Landon HarrisWas this a quote? If so, why no quotes? It should read ' If so, why no quotation marks?'

why is cutting the tollway in half the only quote you could pull? And why wouldn't it work?  'Why' should be capitalized.  The second half here is a fragment, it is improper to start a sentence with 'and'.

I could go on.  You left out punctuation, created your own grammatical rules, and generally made a mockery of yourself.  As the old saying goes, 'People who live in glass houses...'

Stacy
Stacy

say what?!?..we have a 12 lane freeway and directly below that a 6lane freeway and now we want to have those 6 lanes coming up and "MERGE" w/ the freeway expanding that 12 lane monstrosity to an 18 LANE WIDE FREEWAY!?!?!.....I'd rather have the tollway cut in half than drive across a 20 lane freeway "frontage roads" everyday, I hated those monstrous excuses for freeways in Houston and I WILL hate them here in Dallas!

Montemalone
Montemalone

I still don't understand why the free lanes are up top. Seems to me, the basement is where to stick the freeloaders, and put the paying customers up in the fresh air and sunshine

Andy Riiler
Andy Riiler

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me chime in and clarify.  The change is a proposal and we are submitting, to the public for written comment,  the results of the re-evaluation of our environmental impact studies.   

We could certainly build the project with the managed lanes going underneath the DNT Tollway.    That is, in fact, the existing scenario. However, this is a superior design, as Robert correctly stated, that this offers a better drainage configuration and a significantly reduced impact to the traveling public along the Tollway.  If you have any questions, please drop me a line at info AT lbjexpress.com.

Regards,

Andy RittlerCorporate Affairs DirectorLBJ Infrastructure Group LLC

scottindallas
scottindallas

Wouldn't the same problem screw up Central as well? 

Also, the neighborhood on the SW corner of the Tollway and LBJ would seem to be affected.  I know pops got some gank on that condemnation case.  They built the wall to insulate the neighborhood from the noise, which cut into his cut somewhat.  But, any expansion to the South will no doubt affect those homes, as they were counting inches over there.  Could wipe out a whole street of homes $$$$.  I'm sure pops will be excited to hear about all these condemnation cases. 

The economy is hurting my business, at least the fam's getting some love. 

Landon J. Harris
Landon J. Harris

"Say what now?" - Inappropriate for an article, save this for your friends."Rittler tells Unfair Park you can forget all about that video we likes to look at." - the last 5 words are not correct grammer. Was this a quote? If so, why no quotes?""cutting the tollway in half." And that won't work. Not at all." why is cutting the tollway in half the only quote you could pull? And why wouldn't it work?""There would be much love in Dallas for us over that one." " - Maybe it should be wouldn't instead of would" from effin' with the tollway"- Keep this for your friendsAnd the last paragraph... wow

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

How in the world did this thing get this far without this change

I predict this thing will be FUBAR

phe_75034
phe_75034

Um, shouldn't some genius engineer have noticed this sooner? For God's sake, didn't somebody, somehwere along the process, say something like, "Don't we have to really eff up the Tollway to do this?". Or, "How are we going to make the Tollway lanes levitate while we dig the hole for our new sunken roadway?"

Wait wait. I know. Big helicopters. And a giant rubber sling holding the Tollway up. For like six months.

What? It could work.

Holy crap. I mean, just holy crap.

Rcl
Rcl

Find an intelligent third grader to write for you. His grammar and spelling will be correct.

Stalled in Traffic
Stalled in Traffic

Just thinking about this whole clusterf*ck and what it's going to do to my commute, and what a nuisance this redesign it will be to the people who live, work, or own businesses near 635, gives me a headache. I sure as hell hope it's worth it someday.

Brownleighdallas
Brownleighdallas

Let me see if I understand this correctly. The road planners came up with an initial plan and design for this expansion (which, by the way, at one time was proposed to be some 30 lanes across, I learned at a public meeting a while back), and then the environmental studies suggested that initial plan wasn't ideal. Would you rather they have pressed forward with the original scenario just to save face, or listen to the scientists and engineers who suggested they take another look...knowing all the while they will have to take it back to the public and admit they didn't have it quite right at first?  I vote for doing it right. I mean correctly.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

I think the word you're looking for is "steerage".(Period intentionally left out side the quotation marks to piss off the grammar twit.

Brownleighdallas
Brownleighdallas

You know how we human types are about change.  Thanks, at least, for telling us about it.  I, for one, will use this project as an opportunity to explore new routes to get across Dallas.

Paul
Paul

We had a joke at the university ... A students go to graduate school and become professors; B students go to work for industry; C students go to work for the government; and, C- students go to work for the highway department ... We termed it "The Revenge of the C- Student."

If this proposed change is a superior design, then why did you present to us an inferior design in the planning stages?

Not including the frontage roads and other appurtenances to the roadway, this portion will be a ribbon of concrete some 200'+ wide.

Granted this highway needs expansion from when it was designed and built in the 60's, but at what point do we decide that enough is enough is when roadway capacity is considered?

I've been on the Katy Freeway (otherwise known as the Cement Industry's Monument to Itself) in Houston since it was widened.  There is a basic problem with a highway design when there is, at times, a 40+ mph difference in speed between lanes.

And this comes from a group of people who post 65 mph signs on the DNT and then come back and go whoopsie "50 mph Limited Sight Distance"

Good luck with it.  By the way when will you tell people that the design capacity of the new roadway is less than the current traffic levels?

scottindallas
scottindallas

I don't know how you can re-align without affecting the posh homes to the SW of that intersection.  That will cost a substantial sum considering you will likely be taking out an entire neighborhood street of homes valued over $500K.  But, as I say, that config. would add to my inheritance so no sweat off my back.

Also, wouldn't this affect the intersection with US 75 the same way?  There is a creek near there, so going under 75 would seem to present the same drainage issues.  The design seems silly in that it will need active drainage systems that will require maintenance, and be subject to failure.  It would probably be cheaper in the long run to elevate these lanes, though I certain you have no concern for the long term cost projections. 

These commercial projects are hard to improve.  A minor up front expenditure will never be considered, even if the long term costs would be far cheaper.  That is one MAJOR drawback of the gov't using outside contractors.  It's a problem with fully private contracting as well. 

I tried to suggest buffalo grass and native plants on a private project, which would have added a small % to the up-front costs; and that firm was responsible for 5 years of management, which the reduced water demands would have totally off-set.  But, with this level of contracting, there was no interest in making this minor improvement.  Similarly, I suppose you're not responsible for the condemnation claims, or it comes out of a different account, so it doesn't get factored in.  That's the problem with the obsequious sycophants that move up the ladder, they fuck everything up.

Brint Crockett
Brint Crockett

Landon, ol' buddy!   Let me put this in a way you can easily digest.  Imagine you just dissed Steve Jobs because he wasn't wearing a suit for his keynote.

Bob
Bob

Lookee here. Nick Burns, company computer guy, is suddenly a media expert. What a mar-oon.

El Rey
El Rey

It is a blog, not the New York Times. Normal rules do not apply. Try decaf...

Marvin
Marvin

"it helps with drainage, which is the difference between building a river and a road."

Really, they're just thinking of this stuff?

On the plus side, it could give us another shot at the Standing Wave, with cleaner water.

G_David
G_David

Jeez, some people (like those with the improbable name of Landon J. Harris - pretentious much?) seem to think Robert is working on his doctoral thesis here, and should research and proofread accordingly.  It's a f'ing BLOG you pedantic waste of brain cells.  Look it up if you don't know what that means, but by its very definition, it's an informal stream of consciousness.  Nobody here's gunning for a Pulitzer. If you can't get the basic idea he's trying to get across the way it's written, then the anus is on you to go back, sound it out, and try again.  You're just making yourself look like a complete asshole, so I suggest you go back to just "reading" Unfair Park for the next couple of years.

phe_75034
phe_75034

It IS just you. Totally.

Sorry...

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Sadly, the only intelligent third grader I know is out of town. If only I knew to what you refer. "Likes"? Intentional. Anything else? Otherwise, you're just not being very helpful.

G_David
G_David

Actually, period outside the quotation marks is correct.  I think.  Should have spelled it grammer to really get him torqued.

Paul
Paul

One other item ... you said that the proposed change is a "superior" design.  What do you mean by "superior"?  Is that it is cheaper to build, faster to build, less disruptive to DNT traffic, easier to manage existing traffic on LBJ?  "Superior" is a qualitative adjective that can mean almost anything while misdirecting people to assume that it means "better" which in itself is a qualitative modifier.

Please explain precisely why you believe that this is "superior".

To me this proposed change is "inferior" to the original proposal as this proposal will require a wider ROW, promote a potentially hazardous design with differential speeds between the adjacent tolled and nontolled lanes approaching 60+ mph during peak volume periods, furtherance of the "heat island effect" by the wide expanse of concrete, increased runoff volumes from the roadway, etc.

Thank you for your time and effort.

Brad
Brad

Central is a non-issue.  The managed lanes are already completed thru there as part of the high five project.  

phe_75034
phe_75034

We may be burying the lead here, y'all...

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

You guys need to add a "Dick" button next to the "Like" button.  I'm mindful I might be digging myself my own hole.

scottindallas
scottindallas

not that you'd be biased or anything.  (wink)

scottindallas
scottindallas

There would be much love in Dallas for us over that one."  Is one that jumped out at me, did he misspeak or did you leave a negator out?

E.T.
E.T.

Well, grammar twit mispelled "grammar" in his own post, so I'm not sure he'd notice.

scottindallas
scottindallas

That's not the way I learned it, but I won't lecture anyone on grammar.

phe_75034
phe_75034

I think it's either one. But I had to look up "lede". Which probably only proves that I'm not very worldly. Like that's a surprise.

scottindallas
scottindallas

since we're being persnickety as hell on this thread, is it lead, or lede?

scottindallas
scottindallas

I like that idea too, knowing full well I'd likely run up my own quick tally. 

Steve
Steve

I'd rather this blog contain a little more informal communication like Wilonsky pulls off so well. Lighten up dude, what does Robert average? 10 posts a day? He works harder than everyone on here combined.

Evlgrl13
Evlgrl13

Log don't mistake Wilonsky for a journalist.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

He was being sarcastic. Sorry -- that font's broken at the moment. I will try to fix.

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