Texas Transpo Commission Gives OK to Move Ahead With $700-Mil Redo Of IH-30, IH-35E

Categories: Transportation
horseshoemap.jpg
Moments ago, Ed Pensock, the interim director of the Texas Turnpike Authority, explained to the Texas Transportation Commission down in Austin why Dallas so desperately needs the so-called Horseshoe Project -- otherwise known as the redo of IH-30 and IH-35E over the Trinity River, once part of Project Pegasus. Long story short, Pensock said, that stretch of road carries 350,000 vehicles per day, and it's among the "top 20 most-congested roadways in the state." Even worse, he said, "The structures out there are aging, they're old, there's a lot of rapid deterioration going on," and the cost of maintaining those bridges is piling up.

But he didn't need to make much of a case; as Michael Morris, the head of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and TxDOT and city officials explained earlier this week, the Horseshoe Project is a slam-dunk. The $700 million is there, courtesy the state Legislature and myriad other funding sources that will pay for the bridges -- the other two Calatravas the city so desperately wants running over the Trinity River, for which there's $92 million in federal funds. (Pensock did say, at one point, that the project will more than likely cost closer to $800 million when it's wrapped in five years, fingers crossed.)

Pensock's presentation didn't take long -- 10, 15 minutes tops, all of which you peek at in this PowerPoint, which provides the time line for construction scheduled to begin in January 2013 and end at the end of 2016, all things go according to plan. There are, of course, a few issues to deal with before the traffic jam, including finishing a design and getting a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, since, as Pensock said, the bridges go over the levees, which presents "a particularly sticky issue due to flooding."

So, that's that. Now, I leave you with these words from Pensock, taken not entirely out of context: "I don't know if we'll ever be able to truly solve congestion in Dallas."
My Voice Nation Help
17 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
bbetzen
bbetzen

The "I don't know if we'll ever be able to truly solve congestion in Dallas" question points to a truth.  Congestion downtown will never be solved if Dallas is never going to address the fact that we must divert through-traffic away from the center of our city.  It can be done if we want to face the issue.   Different studies show between 65% and 80% of downtown mix-master traffic is through traffic, traffic neither starting nor stopping in Dallas.  It comes from outside Dallas traveling to destinations outside Dallas.  Why does Dallas not focus on developing a way to divert this large majority of traffic away from the downtown mix-master?  It would be much less expensive and easier to expand the capacity of the Loop 12/635 alternatives than it is to expand our central mix-master capacity.

Using toll tag technology, not widely available in 1998, a ring of toll tag booths could circle Dallas at Loop 12/635.  (A similar system started in Stockholm in 2006 has had tremendously positive benefits! See http://www.ibm.com/podcasts/ho... ) Traffic could be diverted by charging a toll ($20 - $35?) to traffic crossing this loop twice at opposite ends of Dallas, and going though the Mixmaster  without stopping. There would be no toll charge for cars and trucks going around the Loop 12/635 Loop, or if they stopped for business or lunch as they went through Dallas, or if they started or stopped somewhere inside Dallas.  Tolls could be timed to go down as you spend more time in Dallas.  For example, the toll could go to zero after three hours spent inside Dallas. Such timing would increase the number of people who stop to enjoy our city, our quiet, world famous Trinity River Park, or who drive around the loop, totally avoiding downtown.   

Such a diversion of traffic would certainly lessen noise, pollution, and congestion near downtown Dallas, making downtown an ever more attractive place to live.

Why do we want traffic coming from outside Dallas, and going to destinations outside Dallas, to go through the heart of our city?

RTGolden
RTGolden

"Different studies show between 65% and 80% of downtown mix-master traffic is through traffic, traffic neither starting nor stopping in Dallas.  It comes from outside Dallas traveling to destinations outside Dallas"What are the chances that the 80% of traffic passing through Dallas are going to have NTTA Toll Tags?  Are you going to sell temporary toll tags for people coming into Dallas from East TX, Louisiana, Oklahoma, AR, etc for business?  Or just nip all of our driving distance business and recreational visitors for $35 when they come to Dallas? That ought to really ramp up our downtown revitalization.Toll roads are not the answer in Dallas for three reasons: 1) The money generated will go to a private business as profit, instead of into a locked fund for road improvements  2) If it does go into a locked fund, TX leg will unlock it and put it into the general fund 3) Our existing Toll roads have done absolutely nothing to alleviate traffic congestion, and, frequently, are the most congested roads we have.

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

Remember that any traffic staying in Dallas over a few hours has no fee.  The fee is only for those who are in one side and out the other side with no stopping.  They can simply drive around on 635 if they want to avoid a fee.  That is the way other conjested cities are addressing their downtown traffic conjestion and pollution issues.   We need to worry about it before it is too late. 

Do we want our downtown to develop?  Through traffic does nothing to help Dallas unless they stop to buy gas.  If they stop to eat, or for a meeting, the toll quickly goes down and disappears.  Computers are wonderful things for timing!

Regarding toll tags, it is my understanding from NTTA that they deal with this every day and it is not an insurmountable issue.  See https://help.ntta.org/QA/FAQs/ about ZipCash.

Future
Future

I wish Calatrava use not archs but two "NEEDLES" directed in different directions like in his other works but with one "needle"(see links after my comment) for the I-30 Margaret McDermott Bridge. Or if simpler version bridge, I don't mind like new bridge in Minneapolis without any designer feature on top of the bridge but nice and lit under the bridge...  http://briefcase.pathfinder.gr...

NewsDog
NewsDog

Who do I need to talk to at Wai-Wize about setting my brother-in-law, a fourth generation Chinese-American, up as a sham minority owned sub-contractor so we can feed at this trough? Maybe we should also set my 14 year old niece, who is half Chinese half White, up as a female owned sub as well.  Man I can taste the fat now.  

RTGolden
RTGolden

Let me see if reading Unfair Park has been a beneficial education for me.  If I understand the way these things go in Dallas, we're going to pay $700mil for roadway improvements designed to relieve the congestion levels from 25 years ago.  As a bonus we get some completely superficial arches for planes and helicopters to run into.  5 years from now, when we're about 1/2 way through the first phase of the program, someone will realize the new bridges are going to wash away in the spring flooding and the arches make it harder to recognize our signature downtown ferris wheel (the new one) and we'll tear everything down and start over.  Is that about right?

scottindallas
scottindallas

Now, why don't they just use some of that Trinity Tollway money to make this thing big enough to not need the Trinity Tollway?

mantikos
mantikos

Cause that would be too logical, come on now try and keep up!

williamedia
williamedia

I am confused so will this 700million funding cover the original IH-30 Calatrava bridge design that was supposed to cost somewhere over 200million with all the huge arches? Or does this this mean we will still get the smaller scaled back design the city had budgeted for earlier in the year?

Also Wilonsky you said "this PowerPoint" and instead liked to an old observer blog post about the design change earlier in the year. I am still looking for Pensock's PowerPoint Presentation with the updated timeline, is it hidden in the old blog post?

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

Page 7 of the document says the budget is $80M for the "Calatrava II" or signature element. Sounds like they have finalized a scaled-down version of the original, but nobody has seen it. Robert, can you find out?p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Arial; color: #464ba9}

Stan
Stan

They should be funding more mass transit options while rebuilding the Mixmaster since congestion will not improve no matter how much is spent on new roads per NTCOG.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

"TxDOT has flat out said it will not proceed with the state and federally funded Project Pegasus, the Mixmaster fix, if a reliever route - the Trinity Parkway - isn't in place." - Tom Leppert

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

"Pensock did say, at one point, that the project will more than likely cost closer to $800 million when it's wrapped in five years"

Heh.  Heh heh.  Ha! Ha ha ha! AAAAAAAAAA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAA!!

Whew.  Sorry.  Lost control for a second there.  The idea of a highway project coming in that close to budget in this state is wildly amusing.

mantikos
mantikos

Thank goodness, now I hope we build those designer bridges we already paid the designer to design and then modify the design

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...