Monday, June 11, 2012

I-10 Project Plans Show Major West Side Changes

Additional lanes, reconfigured ramps, a new gateway, and collector-distributor lanes are all part of project plans for I-10 on the west side of El Paso presented by the Texas Department of Transportation at a June 5, 2012 community meeting. Meanwhile, "managed" toll lanes previously planned for the interstate are nowhere to be found.

New Gateways west of Executive Boulevard.
A new gateway would run along both sides of Interstate 10 from Executive Boulevard to the proposed interchange at Mesa Park, a new boulevard which will take commuters through the new Aldea El Paso smart code development and connect with Mesa Street to the east. The current westbound on-ramp and eastbound off-ramp at Executive would be eliminated and moved to Mesa Park.

Ramps at Resler do not interact directly with the main lanes.
The bulk of construction will occur further west, as east and westbound travelers wanting to exit on Sunland Park Drive or Resler will all exit onto new collector-distributor lanes which will run parallel to the interstate, allowing through traffic to remain unaffected by on- and off-ramps. Collector-distributor (C-D) lanes will "collect" traffic entering I-10 and only allow the traffic to enter towards the extremities of the C-D lanes. The biggest issues currently facing west side drivers are tremendous slowdowns caused by traffic entering I-10 at Resler and Sunland Park, and these new lanes will help to eliminate bottleneck congestion on the main lanes.

An important focus of the project is to improve the I-10/US-82 (Paisano) interchange, most likely due to its connection to the future Loop 375 extension from Downtown to the west side. This interchange will most likely be a terminus of the future tollway, important in helping relieve the interstate of some traffic. Additional main lanes are also added from Executive Boulevard to the Sunland Park westbound exit and eastbound entrance ramps.
Newly configured interchange at I-10/Sunland Park/US-82 (Paisano)
The project was first mentioned in 2008 as part of the City's Comprehensive Mobility Plan, and "managed" toll lanes were originally part of the plan. The toll lanes would have been located on the inside lanes of I-10 from Mesa east to Paisano where they would continue onto US-82 (future Loop 375). The project plans released this year show no signs of the toll lanes and instead show a true focus on leaving all of the main lanes free.

The 5.75 mile project would stretch from Executive Boulevard to Mesa Street (west side) and cost an estimated $150 million to complete. In comparison, the Border Highway West extension could cost upwards of $750 million. No timeline has been given for construction, but recent comments by Texas Transportation Commission chairman Ted Houghton suggest this project may become a reality sooner rather than later.

TxDOT Project Page:

TxDOT May Fast Track I-10, L-375 Projects