Skip to comments.Editorial: Interstate relief
Posted on 06/16/2008 5:54:26 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Drivers who get safely off Interstate 35E after arriving in Dallas from Austin or San Antonio have a certain look of relief like they just outran a buffalo stampede. Only on I-35, the stampede is trucks.
The white-knuckle experience helps make the case for some kind of reliever road, even a tolled one.
Making that same case has been a harder sell for U.S. highways along the Gulf Coast and East Texas. Drivers there can judge their own level of congestion, and they have insisted that their mostly rural corridor doesn't warrant the major undertaking of a parallel turnpike.
Thus, the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor I-69 segment from the Rio Grande Valley to Houston, and north to Texarkana has been pared back and confined generally to expanding within the current right of way. State transportation officials are opting for a more moderate approach, and who can blame their responsiveness to public and political outcry?
The overrun I-35 is a different animal. You not only can feel it, you can study the data. About 45 percent of Texas' population lives within 50 miles. Most of the roadway from San Antonio to Dallas is pounded by well over 10,000 trucks a day far more than double most of the I-69 corridor's truck count. Near Hillsboro, there are more than 16,000 daily trucks and, toward southern Dallas County, nearly 20,000.
It will only get worse, with traffic forecast to almost double in spots by 2025 an intolerable load given the road's capacity. Projections argue strenuously for relief, especially around the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The one I-35 reliever plan on the drawing board another leg of Gov. Rick Perry's futuristic Trans-Texas Corridor has become political TNT, with anti-tollers, rural interests and political opponents locking arms in opposition.
(Excerpt) Read more at dallasnews.com ...
Trans-Texas Corridor PING!
To the writer, that means he wants a bigger road/load in that same saturated area.
But obviously the road came before, and enabled, the growth.
So a long term planner would recognize the value of putting the new road more than 50 miles away from the current saturation. to offload future growth.
Now that diesel is so high why aren’t they talking more about rail? Houston tore up most of our rail for more roads but it seems like it would be cheaper and quicker to build than highways.
All the trucks going up I 35 to Dallas to reach I 20 east and I 30 northeast will use the shorter/more direct I 69.
The TTC concept includes rail in part of the corridor. The big advantage of having rail in the corridor is that the whole right of way is grade separated. Unlike the rail that was taken out in Houston, the rail in the corridor will allow trains to travel nonstop at 85 mph from one end of the state to the other. They will als be double tracked to allow much more traffic volume and more frequently schedueled trains. The TTC corridors will allow abandonment of old track that was laid out between cities and towns and replace it with new double track that bypasses them. This will result in much better safety.
Rail transportation may be more efficient and lower cost but it requires volume. Where are all of these trucks going from and too? Commodities handled? Certainly much of it could be shifted to the Union Pacific, but is there adequate car supply to handle the increase?
I suspect a lot of those trucks are moving between the Dallas/Fort Worth area and Mexican points not served by a railroad (Kansas City Southern of Mexico - KCSM) and vice-versa. A lot of those trucks are also running short hauls between Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin, San Antonio and Laredo. Unless they’re hauling some heavy bulk commodity (aggregates, grain, etc.), I doubt the parallel railroad (Union Pacific) would be interested in such a short-haul.
Not a good idea to abandon existing rail lines that run through cities as the railroads serve customers there. Also, you would need to keep those lines for existing or future rail passenger service.
If they use I-59 through Houston they will have to abandon the rail. I meant why don’t they increase rail INSTEAD of this massive highway? As I watch the construction of I-10 about 3 blocks from my house, I think building a rail line would be a much more simple project. Remember I am speaking as a granny not as an engineer.
Because the Texas population is growing fast. We grew by 2 million in the last decade. By 2050 there will be about 50 million people in Texas. Rail isn't very useful for getting people and freight from many origination points to many destinations. Rail is great for moving large quantities of freight long distances at low cost.
I don't think it will be following US59 through Houston. It will be following US59 in east Texas. The whole point of the TTC is to allow long distance traffic to bypass large cities rather than go through them.
Railroads are still the most efficient way to move freight overland. We would need a lot fewer trucks on the road had the unions not screwed up the railroads.
In an ideal world, you are correct. But this is a political world, and Houston wanted this road close by, just like DFW wanted(and got) the TTC 35 connected to the DFW Donut.
The road brings money(taxable) that the travelers spend and it brings development.
But I seriously doubt they'll be routed through downtown Houston. The TTC35 still doesn't go to either downtown Ft. Worth or Dallas.
Rail is a component that needs to be dealt with in the Houston area, imo. I”m not familiar with the rail complexes serving the Houston area but with my lack of knowledge it would appear to me the east side of Houston along the Port facilites is were major rail is needed.
Houston is expanding rapidly in the container import business. Walmart moved aabut a quarterir of the far east imports to Houston using the Panama Canal. Home Depot has a larger facility at the port. Currently Houston and New Orleans are the only two Gulf ports capable of handling the large container vessels. Corpus and south Texas is working on changing that equation.
If you go to Dallas along I-45 take a look to the West somewhere in the Hutchins area just below I-20 and you’ll see a huge Union Pacific rail container operation. Somehow I suspect that is tied into the Houston port if nothing more than by truck at the present time.
Once the Panama Canal is widened then Houston and other the Gulf ports will boom as they then can get the larger container ships through.
If you have nothing to do some day and want to see congestion take a site seeing trip over to LaPort and drive down to the Barbours Cut terminal [located at the 225 - 146 merge area] and then go south on 146 maybe five miles to the Bayport Terminal which opened in 2007. Amazing the containers you’ll see stack several tall.
If they use the current US 59 route for the future I-69 project as they have indicated where do you think they’ll put the US 59 section that goes through downtown now?.... That is the reason they wanted the west and north loop going out to Waller/Hempstead area and then over to 59. Some of the articles of late indicate that is gone now or that’s how I read them.
The proposal to use the current US59 route was for east Texas. It would make sense for I-69 to go around Houston to the west and connect with the current US59 southwest of Houston. That way US59 would connect with I-69 twice. Perhaps US59 going through Houston could be redesignated "I-69 Business".
I believe you. We sold our house on Tiki Island in ‘01 and the traffic on I-45 has gotten so much worse since then we don’t even want to go back for a visit.
“traffic forecast to almost double in spots by 2025”
I suspect this is a gross misrepresentation of fact.
Look at today’s economy and the steep price increases across the board.
There’s no telling what things will be like in 15 or more years.
Could just be a fear tactic to get our money and property NOW before it’s all gone.
“After a dozen town hall meetings, nearly 50 public hearings, and countless one-on-one conversations, it is clear to us that Texans want us to use existing roadways to start building the Texas portion of Interstate 69,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Ted Houghton. “TxDOT’s recommendation would effectively shrink our environmental study down to roads such as U.S. Highways 77 and 281 in South Texas, State Highway 44 and U.S. Highway 59 along the Coastal Bend and U.S. Highways 84 and 59 in East Texas. We are dropping consideration of new corridors that would run west of Houston in addition to other proposals for new highway footprint in other parts of the state.”
Amen and Amen!
The ONLY reason for the TTC abomination is for the Mexican trucks to run north thru Texas on their way thru the middle of America. The Chinese are behind the widening of the Panama Canal as well as financing the construction of a deep water port on Mexico’s northeastern coast.
The super tankers will offload at that port using cheap dock workers and then proceed via rail and truck straight north all the way to Canada.
I may be wrong but I don’t think the Houston port can handle the super tankers. Either way, the union stevedors on the west coast will be not control the freight anymore. In addition, Oklahoma may have thrown a monkey wrench in the works by saying “hell no” to any new toll/super highways leading to speculation the TTC will now go the 59 route northeast and then cut thru Arkansas.
Not sure they can either at this stage since essentially they don't come into the Gulf. I know Walmart moved one of their centers to Houston even though it required using smaller vessels and longer sea time. Even with that Walmart has claimed to beat the ontime delivery to their stores by several days as opposed to the West Coast ports. I don't know how accurate their claim is.
I really don't care what OK does if we can get the damn trucks thru central/southeast Texas and alleviate some of the congestion we currently have as it is only going to get worse. They can stack up at the Red River and congest OK roads and then they may find a way to move them on thru.
I-69 was designed to go up into AK and up into Port Huron MI.
The following is a map showing some 80 proposed Congressional Priority Corridors. #18 is the I-69 Corridor.