Saturday, July 14, 2012

$37.6M Americas Managed Lanes Project Takes Shape

Another construction project on Loop 375 is taking shape on the heels of the current Border Highway expansion in the Lower Valley. The Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) is moving forward with plans to add an inside managed toll lane in each direction on Loop 375 from the Zaragoza Port of Entry to Pellicano Drive on the East Side. A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Environmental and Preliminary Engineering services has been published at the CRRMA website and provides some details as to the project's scope and goals.
Americas Managed Lanes Project Limits
The Americas Managed Lanes project would add a third lane in each direction in what is currently the median of the freeway; the additional lane would be a toll lane. This would require the filling-in of median gaps in current overpass structures, such as those at Socorro Road, Alameda Avenue, and North Loop. The toll lane would continue the lanes currently under construction along the Border Highway between US-54 and Zaragoza Road and could run as far north as Pellicano Drive. Much of Loop 375 north of Interstate 10 and up to Montana Avenue has an unused inside lane and would be easy to convert to managed lanes in the future. The northern limit of the toll lanes is still under consideration, according to the RFQ.
Unused lanes on Loop 375 north of I-10
A major improvement mentioned in the scope of work is the addition of frontage road bridges for Americas Avenue between Alameda Avenue and North Loop Drive. Currently, the frontage roads end in turnarounds when approaching Union Pacific railroad tracks. Commuters traveling from North Loop to Alameda, and vice versa, are forced to enter the freeway, causing major backups at the current Alameda exit on Loop 375 south. In the new plan, the frontage roads would continue on new bridge structures built over the railroad tracks.
Americas Avenue stops abruptly at railroad tracks between Alameda and North Loop.
Part of the RFQ provides details on adjacent projects under construction, and indicates that three ramps are currently being designed for the Americas Interchange in addition to the three under construction today, "including (iv) westbound I-10 to northbound Loop 375; (v) westbound I-10 to southbound Loop 375; and (vi) eastbound I-10 to southbound Loop 375."

No official time frame has been provided for the new managed lanes or interchange ramps projects.

CRRMA webiste:

Progress Continues at Americas Interchange