Texas Transpo Commission Gives OK to Move Ahead With $700-Mil Redo Of IH-30, IH-35E

Moments ago, Ed Pensock, the interim director of the Texas Turnpike Authority, explained to the Texas Transportation Commission down in Austin why Dallas so desperately needs the so-called Horseshoe Project -- otherwise known as the redo of IH-30 and IH-35E over the Trinity River, once part of Project Pegasus. Long story short, Pensock said, that stretch of road carries 350,000 vehicles per day, and it's among the "top 20 most-congested roadways in the state." Even worse, he said, "The structures out there are aging, they're old, there's a lot of rapid deterioration going on," and the cost of maintaining those bridges is piling up.

But he didn't need to make much of a case; as Michael Morris, the head of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and TxDOT and city officials explained earlier this week, the Horseshoe Project is a slam-dunk. The $700 million is there, courtesy the state Legislature and myriad other funding sources that will pay for the bridges -- the other two Calatravas the city so desperately wants running over the Trinity River, for which there's $92 million in federal funds. (Pensock did say, at one point, that the project will more than likely cost closer to $800 million when it's wrapped in five years, fingers crossed.)

Pensock's presentation didn't take long -- 10, 15 minutes tops, all of which you peek at in this PowerPoint, which provides the time line for construction scheduled to begin in January 2013 and end at the end of 2016, all things go according to plan. There are, of course, a few issues to deal with before the traffic jam, including finishing a design and getting a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, since, as Pensock said, the bridges go over the levees, which presents "a particularly sticky issue due to flooding."

So, that's that. Now, I leave you with these words from Pensock, taken not entirely out of context: "I don't know if we'll ever be able to truly solve congestion in Dallas."

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