TxDOT Accelerates Metro Gridlock Relief Efforts

 

February 25, 2016

 

The Texas Transportation Commission has approved $1.3 billion in funding for 14 initial congestion reduction projects -- all located in the state's five largest cities. 

 

This is part of a specific congestion relief initiative that comes on the heels of a call by Gov. Gregg Abbott for the commission to develop a plan to address traffic congestion, citing the potential for business growth and job creation if roadways were less crowded. 

 

The 14 projects have a total projected cost of $2.4 billion with $1.1 billion coming from other funding sources.  TxDOT estimates that by advancing the projects to construction earlier than would otherwise be possible there will be an inflationary cost savings of approximately $457 million overall.

 

The following is a breakdown by metro area and the specific projects being funded.  All of the projects show up on TxDOT's annual list of the 100 most congested roadways in the state. 

 

HOUSTON AREA - $443.3 million
1. I-45 Gulf Freeway widening to 10 mainlanes from NASA to FM 518 - $106.4 million ($112.3 million project total); possible contract letting Spring 2017.


2. I-69/West Loop 610 interchange reconstruction - $131.8 million ($287 million project total); possible letting Summer 2017.  This impacts two of the top four "most congested" road segments in Texas.


3. I-10 Katy Freeway add two lanes in Waller County from FM 359 to Brazos River - $209.2 million ($242.2 million project total); possible letting Summer 2017.  This is part of a long-term effort to add two lanes to I-10 from Houston to San Antonio.

 

DALLAS - $364.0 million
1. I-35 East Stemmons Freeway from I-30 to Oak Lawn, add lanes and improve frontage road capacity - $100 million ($121 million project total); possible letting Spring 2017. This project will increase average speeds during peak hours.


2. I-35 East Thornton Freeway (Southern Gateway Project) complete reconstruction with new capacity  and make capacity improvements on US 67 mainlanes - $264 million ($665.5 million project total); possible lettering Spring 2017.


FORT WORTH AREA - $163.8 million
1. SH 199 west of Lake Worth, complete freeway section with construction of mainlanes, an overpass and ramps - $56.5 million (total project cost); possible letting mid-2016.


2. SH 121 on the west side of DFW Airport and improve airport access - $61 million (total project cost); possible letting Spring 2017.


3. East Loop 820 from SH 121 to Randol Mill Road, adding one mainlane in each direction and replacing bridges over the Trinity River - $46.3 million ($147.8 million project total); possible letting Summer 2017. This will remove a significant bottleneck.

 

AUSTIN - $158.6 million
1. I-35 at 51st Street, operational and intersection improvements between US 290 and Airport Blvd - $11.4 million ($23.7 million project total); possible letting Spring 2016.  This is part of the No. 1 most congested segment in the "Top 100."


2. I-35 at Oltorf Street, mainlane and frontage road improvements - $54.5 million ($66.9 million project total); possible letting mid-2016.  This is also part of the No. 1 most congested segment in Texas.


3. I-35 from US 290 north to Rundberg Lane, mainlane and frontage road improvements including ramps and direct connectors - $82.7 million ($248 million project total); possible letting Summer 2017. This will improve flow on I-35 and on US 183 while providing a critical bypass route.


4. $10 million as part of a $49 million traffic management system upgrade.

 

SAN ANTONIO AREA - $170.3 million
1. Loop 410 West from US 90 to SH 151, ramp revisions and interchange reconstruction - $90.1 million ($98.9 million project total); possible letting mid-2016.  This project will improve congestion bottlenecks near Lackland Air Force Base and Joint Base San Antonio.


2. US 281 from Stone Oak to the Comal County Line, construct six-lane freeway with frontage roads - $81.3 million ($304 million total not fully funded); earliest possible let date Summer 2018.


Additional project details including maps of each are outlined in a presentation made to the Transportation Commission during a January 27th workshop session.  You can DOWNLOAD the PDF file HERE.

 

In the same action the commission approved $400 million in connectivity and safety projects, $240 million for projects to repair roadways damaged by heavy energy section traffic and $60 million for five border infrastructure projects near the Rio Grande.

 

TxDOT CONGESTION INITIATIVE
 

On average, Texas drivers in the five largest metropolitan areas each are losing about 52 hours and $1,200 annually due to traffic congestion.

 

“The major metro areas of Texas – Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio – represent more than two-thirds of the state’s population and 97 percent of the state’s most congested roads,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., who was appointed by the commission to lead the statewide effort focused on delivering projects at an accelerated pace that addresses gridlock.


The 14 projects, which add up to more than 42 miles, include interchanges, flyovers and congestion relief efforts at some of the state’s worst choke points. They will be funded using $1.3 billion made available by the Legislature through ending the use of diversions of highway money by other agencies.


Gov. Abbott said, “Texans are tired of sitting in traffic and have voted to make a historic investment in our state’s transportation infrastructure. I want to thank the Texas Transportation Commission for rapidly responding with a thoughtful approach that identifies and addresses some of the state’s most congested choke points.”


 Commissioner Bugg expressed his appreciation to Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Joe Straus and the Texas Legislature for making the diversion funds available for highway projects.


“For years we’ve been committed to addressing congestion, and this year we’re getting a jump start on that part of our core mission,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “As the severity of congestion in the Lone Star State continues to grow, we are committed to delivering projects many Texans need and deserve to reduce the amount of time they spend in traffic.”


The vote to allocate the congestion funding is the result of a several month effort led by Commissioner Bugg to gain valuable insights from transportation leaders and elected officials in the metropolitan areas. That listening tour and collaborative efforts with Metropolitan Planning Organizations and TxDOT districts shaped this initiative and projects selected.