Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
TxDOT Wants to Build the I-35 Capital Expressway to 20 Lanes
James Rambin reports that the Texas Department of Transportation has released new details of a plan to widen the I-35 Capital Express project to add capacity along eight miles of the freeway between US 290 East and SH 71/Ben White Boulevard. The "public scoping" presentation is available on YouTube, and linked above.
Rambin, who is explicitly critical of the TxDOT's proclivity for widening already massive public highways, notes that the first two design options shown in the video would bring the total number of lanes on I-35 to 20—up from the current 12 lanes. The article includes numerous cross sections to show what that many lanes would look like in reality.
Other than the massive size of the proposed expansion, Rambin says the plan currently has revealed very few details. With the possibility for bus rapid transit, light rail (via Project Connect), or toll lanes to be included in the project, TxDOT is clearly looking a different direction, however. Rambin explains:
The single major adaptation shown in these presentations are each design’s potentially grade-separated or tunneled HOV lanes, which might relieve gridlock slightly — but don’t overlook that the most effective high-occupancy lanes integrate congestion pricing in what’s known as an express HOT lane, and the state government under Gov. Greg Abbott has made it very clear in recent years that tolls are not an option here.
Among the criticisms expressed by Rambin: that the I-35 project would represent a generational failure if built as proposed in this presentation.