If You Want to Sit In On Sneak Peek at IH35E Expansion in Dallas, Feel Free Next Week

Categories: Transportation
35and121in1959.jpg
Via Texas Freeway
In 1959, looking south on IH35E from just below 121
Came across this on the city's website: an invite to an open house at R.L. Turner on Tuesday, during which Texas Department of Transportation officials will discuss a project that, as Jim noted only yesterday, the North Texas Tollway Authority wants no part of -- the expansion of IH35 from Dallas to Denton, a project that's been in the works for 13 years and is guesstimated to run $3.2 billion over its 28 miles. Though, actually, the topic on the table Tuesday is merely the southern tip of the three-phase project -- 35 from LBJ to the Bush, which will include those so-called managed toll lanes.

Tuesday night's wingding is one in a series of mandatory public hearings concerning the project's environmental assessment, during which folks will be told how much right of way the project will gobble up (84 acres, give or take ... or take some more) and how many displacements will occur (138) and what the reconstructed 35 will look as it morphs into a hybrid toll road from Dallas up to Denton.

There's some money for the project, but only pieces of it: TxDOT spokesperson Cynthia Northrop White tells Unfair Park this morning that Denton has regional toll revenue worth $500 to $600 million to cover some of the northern end of the redo, and Carrollton has another little bit to deal with Belt Line, which seems very specific. She also notes this morning that the NTTA actually didn't take a pass on the project Wednesday -- it just took another pass on the project, after having begged off two years ago.

"This is a managed lane project, meaning, like LBJ, you'll have free portions of the freeway and also managed lanes for those who want a higher level of service," she says. "NTTA took a pass on it a couple of years ago. It was their policy that they would review these managed lane project, but the conventional wisdom was they were going to pass on this, and since this was dormant for so long we went back through the process to see if this was a project they wanted to be involved in, and they said no. That means it will go to the private sector. RFIs have already gone out, and the private sector will have an opportunity to bid."

As for a time line: A TxDOT project manager told me this morning 2014 is the projected start date, but, of course, without anyone to build the thing, it's anyone's guess.

But, says Northrop White, "There's already been interest from the private sector, and we have to go through that process. When you get the private sector involved in a public project, we're looking for the innovation they bring, and what they propose determines when it gets built."
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Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

The Beltline/35 portion is a proposed underpass not unlike the one that goes under Spring Valley/75 

http://carrolltontxdevelopment...

My impression after talking to some City of Carrollton folks is that it's a nice idea, but not real high on their priority list, until Cotton Belt Passenger trains are running through the area at grade.

The current traffic situation is really not THAT bad, unless a train gets stuck and blocks the whole intersection

Cheap Old Geezer
Cheap Old Geezer

What is a Cotton Belt passenger train?

Gabe
Gabe

He's referring to the planned Cotton Belt line that would run East-West from Plano/Richardson to DFW and then into Fort Worth. It's in the "oh shit we don't have any money where we gonna get the money" stage right now, but it could be up and running as early as 2030. The good thing about it is that it would use a lot of existing freight lines so ROW and new construction wouldn't be horrible. Just buy the trains, build the stations, lease the tracks and ROW from the freight companies, improve a couple dozen crossings, and hop on. Couple of $10^9, no sweat. 

elbueno
elbueno

does this really even concern Dallas proper? have fun with all that construction traffic folks. I predict more traffic on the trains during that time. Then, marginal improvement on the highways once (IF ever) completed. Then give it some time, and traffic levels will be right back where they were...

TxDOT should change their name to TxDOHW (Highways), since thats really the only form of transportation they're concerned with.

Paul
Paul

It used to be called the Texas Department of Highways and then the name was changed to Texas Department of Highways & Public Transportation over the objections of the Highway lobby as they thought that some of the gas tax would actually go to busses.

Now we have TxDoT ....

Slippy
Slippy

Good thing you're not a traffic engineer....

Paul
Paul

I'm glad I'm not ....

Actually...
Actually...

It'd be better if we had less "build more roads at any cost" traffic engineers and more people who understand the folly of endless road widenings.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

It's folly to keep building roads that are at capacity the minute they open, instead of designing cities for the undeniable fact that car based societies are socioeconomically unsustanable

Reality Check
Reality Check

is that anything like the folly of not addressing infrastructure requirements to accommodate undeniable population influx?

Anonymous
Anonymous

The "innovation" the private sector brings to a public project is a new way of telling you that they are screwing you out of money.

Paul
Paul

"Innovation" is a code word for "financing" which is a code word for "managed HOV lanes" which is a code word for "toll road".

Remember at least 1/3 of the gas tax money does not go to roads.  1/3 goes to the state education system.  A significant amount of the gas tax goes to fund DPS as it is "transportation related."

It is because Guvn'r Goodhair put the gas tax into the general fund and TxDot operations (outside of construction) are funded from the general fund.  In order to build roads, TxDoT has to get an appropriation from the legislature.

Guvn'r Goodhair did this a number of years ago in order to keep his pledge of no new taxes.

Essentially, he scrapped all future road building in order to fund education.

The money raised from selling the tolling operations for GWBush and 121 goes into the general fund ... and guess what?

Is everyone happy now?

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