“State DOTs are overwhelmingly focused on innovative solutions to address the transportation issues of today and tomorrow, meeting challenges involving climate change, equity, resiliency, and safety,” said Jim Tymon, Executive Director of AASHTO. “The America’s Transportation Awards program shows just how they’re doing that. Whether on foot, in a vehicle, on two wheels, or by rail or transit, state DOTs are continuing to advance a safe, multimodal transportation system.”
In the Western region, 12 states nominated 22 projects for this year’s competition. The following two projects in the Texas Contractor area were winners of the regional America’s Transportation Awards.
“Through years of planning and regional partnerships, the US 281 North Expansion project brings $228 million of transportation improvements that will provide congestion relief to the over 91,000 drivers who travel the corridor each day,” said TxDOT Public Information Officer Jennifer Serold.
The project spans four miles along the corridor from Loop 1604 to Stone Oak Parkway and included the construction of new highway lanes; a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction; a direct ramp to park and ride facilities; flyover ramps at the Loop 1604 interchange; and bike and pedestrian accommodations.
VIA Metropolitan Transit manages the HOV lanes and utilizes the connecting ramp for direct Express bus service from Stone Oak to Downtown and to the VIA Transit Center at Brooks.
“The rapid growth happening along the US 281 North corridor is driving the growth in our region and the need for more and better transportation options, which this partnership project provides,” said Jeffrey C. Arndt, VIA Metropolitan Transit President/CEO. “HOV lanes offer an alternative to idling in traffic, support transit-oriented communities and economic development, and help keep SA moving. That’s always the goal.”
“This corridor was identified as one of the most congested in the state and has about a quarter million vehicles moving through it daily with an average speed of about 12 miles per hour,” Dallas District Engineer Mo Bur, P.E. said. “We found a solution to construct these dedicated connectors without needing to acquire a square inch of right of way. With traffic routed more efficiently, we expect those average corridor speeds will rise to around 50 miles per hour, making this a win for drivers and for safety.”
The $83-million improvement project took place on I-35E between I-30 and Oak Lawn Avenue. Without acquiring right of way, the project constructed new collector-distributor lanes that provide a safer and easier path to and from Woodall Rodgers Freeway and the Dallas North Tollway. The lanes keep traffic flowing and improve safety on the main lanes and on the new connector ramps by reducing the merging and weaving movements that were previously affecting the interstate.