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TXDOT proposes additional NON-tolled lanes to IH35

July 6, 2018

It seems Cibolo Turnpike/Texas Turnpike and the City of Cibolo are stuck in denial. Perhaps they are moving through the stages of grief, having flown past the “shocked” phase in record time and contently straddling the Denial and Anger phases now. It’s hard to let a project die, especially one where the studies you pay for don’t support the project, even when you change it to less than half of what was originally proposed.  

 

Stantec, the third party company Texas Turnpike/Cibolo Turnpike hired to conduct a Traffic & Revenue Study, presented updated information during a City Council Workshop on June 11, 2018. During their presentation they showed how different transportation projects would impact the Cibolo Parkway and its financial feasibility. According to their extensive research (including traffic studies), the project would be negatively impacted by IH35 and 1604 projects, Loop 1604 widening, FM1103 widening, Haeckerville Rd. widening, and Santa Clara Rd. widening. [See their chart below. Full presentation and meeting links are at the end of this post.]

 

 

 

On June 25, 2018, TXDOT presented proposed additions to their FY2019 Unified Transportation Program. This is a 5-10 year transportation project plan (like the city’s CIP). TXDOT proposed adding 6 extra lanes to IH-35 between AT&T Parkway and FM1103. These lanes were originally slated to be tolled; however, TXDOT and the state identified extra funds that can be used on certain types of projects. The lanes on IH35 fall into these categories and are eligible for the funding. TXDOT states that this project is likely to get funded for a few reasons. 1) This stretch has been identified on the top 50 most congested roadways in Texas. 2) This project would be in “competition” with roadways in other cities that would cost more than double what this project will cost. 3) This segment of IH35 is one of the most congested on ALL of IH35, from Mexico to Canada. 4) Although this project was originally planned to be built as toll lanes in the future, the financial models (traffic and revenue studies) show that the bond market does not support it. [See sections of TXDOT's presentation below. Full presentation link is at end of this post.]

 

 

 

The MPO voted to support adding this project to the TXDOT UTP. It will be voted on in August. If approved (very likely), construction will start in 2020. By TTC’s own studies, the addition of these lanes to IH35 affects the profitability of the road by -44%.  

In addition to these lanes being added, Loop 1604 is still planned to be widened, Haeckerville Rd. will be widened within the next 10 years, FM1518 (“immediate local competitor”) is being widened to 4 lanes by TXDOT (construction will begin by the end of the year), and FM 1103 is being widened right now.

 

Conveniently enough, TTC was scheduled to have a Subcommittee meeting on June 25th before the City Council meeting. However, following the MPO meeting Mr. Crew said that there was a “conflicting appointment” and cancelled the meeting.

 

The facts don’t lie. It’s not feasible. Let’s call the time of death and move on to more important things that will actually make the City of Cibolo live up to its motto of “City of Choice.”

 

 

 

References: 

 

Cibolo City Council Meeting | June 11, 2018 | http://cibolotx.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=261

 

Cibolo City Council Meeting Presentation | June 11, 2018 | http://www.cibolotx.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1856

 

Alamo Area MPO Meeting | June 25, 2018 | Item 8: Discussion and Appropriate Action on the FY2019 Unified Transportation Program – TXDOT (Bean) | http://alamoareampo.swagit.com/play/06252018-1641

 

Alamo Area MPO Meeting Packet | June 25, 2018 | | Related information begins on page 45 | http://www.alamoareampo.org/Committees/TPB/docs/TPB_Package.pdf

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