TxDOT Wondering What to Do With Bridge Between I-30 and Woodall Rodgers. (Hint: They're Not Going to Tear It Down)

Categories: Transportation

DeepEllumBridge.jpg
Joyce Weaver via worldwidephotowalk.com
It's officially called the IH 345 overhead freeway bridge, but you probably know it better as the clusterfuck between Woodall Rodgers and Interstate 30 which, even when there's relatively little traffic, is a nightmare to navigate. It's also structurally deficient, which is a civil engineer's way of saying it's not about to collapse per se, but it could stand to be replaced.

The bridge was built in 1971 and is reaching the end of its usable life, Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Mark Pettit said.

"Once you build it, it starts to decay and deteriorate," he said. "This one, we've had to make repairs on it since 2000." The question becomes "is it going to cost us more to keep putting the Band-Aid repairs on it, or do we want to replace it?"

That's part of what TxDOT will be asking at a public meeting scheduled for December 11. A consultant is finishing up a feasibility study. Ten possible options for IH 345 will be presented at the hearing (and posted here in the coming days), where the people who drive on -- and travel under -- the bridge will have the opportunity to chime in. "Hopefully, [the contractors] get some gold nuggets out of it they might not have considered," Pettit said.

One idea already is being floated: tear the mo-fo down. That's because IH 345 is part of the iron ring of freeways that have turned downtown into an island and helped choke off the central city. The dog park and highway-pillar murals are a nice touch, but they do little to ameliorate the vast under-the-bridge seediness that separates Deep Ellum from downtown.

And the chances that TxDOT will decide to tear down part of a major freeway to promote a more vibrant, liveable downtown Dallas? Pettit chuckled. "Anything is possible," he said in the same tone parents use when gently deflating a child's dream of waking up to a new pony Christmas morning, "but unless a lot of money and a lot of permits and buy-off by all the stakeholders, and (all the parties) involved are aligned," it's not going to happen.

In that case, maybe something along the lines of the Klyde Warren Deck Park would be preferable. Then again, that cost $100-something million, and that freeway was already below-grade. So that probably won't happen, either.

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12 comments
wilme2
wilme2

At least take the idea of tearing it down seriously.  Let's actually show up to the meeting that they expect NO ONE to attend.

yalc
yalc

tear it down

WylieH
WylieH

Oklahoma City (consistently ranked as one of the best-governed municipalities in the U.S.) recently tore down the elevated interstate highway running close to downtown and is in the process of replacing it with an urban boulevard.

One of the world's top traffic engineering firms was tasked with preparing several design alternatives (including roundabouts, etc.) which are to be presented for public comment in the next couple of weeks.

I can't imagine Mary Suhm ever contemplating anything even remotely similar to that.

elbuenonobueno
elbuenonobueno

<Sigh> There'll never be enough highway in this town. - TxDOT

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

So whereas numerous elevated urban highway tearouts have been done with amazingly positive results in cities all over the world (Seoul, Madrid, San Francisco, New York, Milwaukee, etc., etc.), in Dallas the idea of such a smart thing gets a chuckle.

World class city and all that, y'all.

notmadeomoney
notmadeomoney

@WylieH 

I don't like the idea of these urban boulevards.  If I want to drive leisurely through downtown, I'll get off the freeway and take the surface streets.  If I want to get through/past downtown, I'd like to do it on the freeway and do it quickly.

MikeDunlap
MikeDunlap

@anon

The High Line is a totally different type of setting. It was an abandoned rail line that was already immersed in a vibrant urban area; it wasn't splitting sections of the city apart.

I would certainly take IH-345's conversion into an elevated park (if only due to that meaning the removal of this northern sprawl lifeline), but it would be better to just tear it down and build parks on the ground that help knit Deep Ellum back into downtown as it was originally designed.

notmadeomoney
notmadeomoney

@MikeDunlap 

Any outcome is fine as long as it eliminates that highway, lol.  You keep on living the liberal trust fund kid dream while the other six million of us living and working in your metropolitan area go fuck ourselves.

Fuck off, troll.

I restrained from responding to your over-the-top bullshit on the "More people are moving to Dallas than ever" story and then I see more of you here.  Just shut the fuck up, you're a terrible person and a worse troll.

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