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Texas Transportation Thread (Roads, Rails & Skies)

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Texas Highways and Interstates

Texas Highways and Interstates


concrete at dusk by TimSchmidt (Digammo), on Flickr


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El Paso Liberty Expressway To Be Widened



Yet another East El Paso freeway will see major construction in the coming years. That’s according to a Public Meeting Notice released by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).

Spur 601, also known as Liberty Expressway, will get an additional lane in each direction as a result of the project which stretches from Airport Road to Loop 375 in East Fort Bliss. This will increase the number of lanes to three in each direction. The Spur already has three lanes in each direction west of the planned project.

Frontage roads will also be added along the five-mile stretch, though it’s unclear if the gateways will span the entire distance.

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El Paso

East Montana Ave. To Become Freeway



The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) revealed its latest plans for Montana Avenue at a public meeting last week, and its newest vision for the thoroughfare has grown considerably in less than a year. The thoroughfare, also known as US 62/180, may now become a freeway for over seven miles on El Paso’s East Side.

The project’s limits stretch from half a mile west of Yarbrough/Global Reach Drive to a half mile east of North Zaragoza Road. TXDOT schematics show a controlled-access freeway with three lanes in each direction that will create overpasses and underpasses at major intersections.

Frontage roads will also be added in each direction and be used as gateways for the freeway lanes. These gateways will also allow access to commercial land along US 62/180. And at least two interchanges may include direct-connector ramps.

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Segment of Grand Parkway about to get a running start



Before the next segment of the Grand Parkway north of Interstate 10 opens to traffic sometime before Dec. 21, those interested will get a chance to hit the pavement. They’ll just have to be on foot.





A public celebration is planned Saturday for the parkway opening, including a 1K walk and 5K run benefiting H.E.A.R.T., which provides job training for adults with developmental disabilities. The party includes other activities and a concert between 8 a.m. and noon.

Segment E of the Grand Parkway, between I-10 and U.S. 290, is the first new stretch of the planned 180-mile outer loop to open in five years. The 15-mile extension faced environmental and archaeological challenges and cost $320.3 million, spread across four distinct construction projects. Some direct connections between I-10 and the Grand Parkway will not open until April.
Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes? Plans for 205-MPH bullet train speed up



The proposed high-speed train project between Houston and Dallas is about to cross into new territory. The much-discussed transportation option is finally headed for a major review, federal officials announced Wednesday.

The Federal Railroad Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement examining the effects of construction and operation of a high-speed rail system. The statement will include an evaluation of the presumed method (a sealed high-speed rail corridor) as well as alternatives.

Texas Central High Speed Railway, a private company, has been developing plans for the train system since 2009. Using the same Japanese bullet train model as the one that connects Tokyo and Osaka, Texas Central says the train would reach speeds of 205 miles per hour and complete the Dallas-Houston route in just 90 minutes. The company plans to raise $10 billion in private capital to fund the line.

Although Texas Central appears to be planning a route along existing north-south freight lines, others are exploring options along the state's highway system.

A UTA study released in 2013 recommends further detailed investigation into four corridors — I-45 from Houston to Dallas, I-20 between Dallas and Fort Worth, I-35 from DFW to Laredo (though San Antonio and Austin), and Route 6 from Houston to Waco (through College Station).

The Dallas-Houston rail, with its visions of being completed by 2021, is part of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association's proposed 14,000-mile, high-speed rail system that would connect dozens of the nation's major cities.
Texas Transportation Commisssion Greenlights $97 Million For El Paso Streetcar

Transportation Commission Approves $97M for Streetcars

The Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) approved a minute order last week that green-lights funding for two large transportation projects in El Paso, including the long-awaited streetcar project slated for the Downtown/University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) areas.

The TTC approved $97 million for the streetcar project as a “regional multimodal” development, serving the I-10 “congested corridor.” The funding will support construction of 4.8 miles of track that will transport riders from Downtown El Paso, including areas near the ports of entry, to UTEP and the nearby Cincinnati entertainment district.

According to the TTC’s Unified Transportation Program update, the streetcar line will include 27 stops. The route, as chosen by City Council, will travel north on Oregon Street, turn east on Glory Road, and then back south on Stanton Street. A circulator will also travel in a loop around Downtown El Paso’s core. New funding is also intended to cover vehicle maintenance and storage facilities.

The City of El Paso performed an engineering and environmental study and chose a route for the streetcar line in 2012 after the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) signaled that $90 million could be available for the project with the City’s cooperation.

However, once the study was completed, there was little to no further information on funding the project from TXDOT and TTC officials. Now, more than two years after the City approved funding the study, the project could break ground as early as the second half of 2014.
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TTC Approves $35 Million For Final Americas Ramps



The TTC also reprogrammed $35 million from one project to another as part of its minute order. The final two direct connector ramps that are part of the Americas Interchange in Far East El Paso can now be built, completing the project that began with construction of three direct connectors in 2010. The fourth, fifth, and sixth ramps are currently under construction.
Loop 610 & U.S. 290 Interchange - Houston Construction - Aug 7, 2014

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El Paso Loop 375 Extension Now Called 'Border West Expressway'

Ground broken this week on the $500 million elevated freeway project.

It actually completes Loop 375 by linking I-10 with the Border Highway. the elevated section will take traffic south of I-10 and downtown and move traffic east to the bridges. (route in blue below)





I-10 through El Paso is very congested due to the growth of the city as well as the immense cross-country truck traffic.
Dumb question, what purpose does the downtown-sunland park segment of the planned Border West expressway serve when it is almost directly adjacent to I-10?

Does I-10 actually have significant traffic for enough of the day that a reasonable person would pay a toll?
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The long-awaited Montana Freeway in far east El Paso is becoming a reality:

Montana Expressway? Images Show View of Future US 62/180 Freeway



A local design firm has unveiled renderings of what an eventual new East El Paso freeway may look like once completed. Plans were revealed by the Texas Department of Transportation in 2013 that show a miles-long stretch of Montana Avenue becoming an expressway east of Yarbrough Drive.

Neomedia Design Group of El Paso posted several images online depicting multiple major intersections along the freeway, including at George Dieter Drive, Saul Kleinfeld Drive, and Rich Beem Boulevard.

Major interchanges will include direct connector ramps at Loop 375/Joe Battle Boulevard and Yarbrough Drive/Global Reach Drive.





Initially the freeway was to begin taking up traffic just east of the airport but will instead begin further east on Montana Ave. Presumably it could eventually go as far east as Hudspeth County if current development trends in that area continue.
That as well as the fact that for decades El Paso saw little new freeway infrastructure investment. That became one rallying point for those that promote El Paso seceding from Texas. The state legislature finally came around 10 years ago and now it's raining freeways in El Paso.

I-10 is a serious bottleneck because it not only serves a growing El Paso but the global supply chain. It connects the ports in LA to the factories and warehouses in the Borderland and to major cities in Texas and the Southeast. A similar bottleneck existed for the Union Pacific rail lines going through El Paso until a huge new intermodal yard was built in nearby Santa Teresa NM.
What is the main reason for the construction of all the freeways in El Paso? Is it to relieve traffic off of I-10 or to serve other fast growing areas of the city?
I-635 meets the Central Expressway in Dallas


635/75 by Erik Marroquin, on Flickr
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