Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Toll Lanes to be Extended on Loop 375

CRRMA to Steer Americas Managed Lanes Project

Frontage Road Bridges to be Built Over Railroad Tracks 

The Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) has entered into an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) that will allow the CRRMA to help the Americas Managed Lanes project move forward. The nearly six mile project will add an inside toll lane in each direction on Loop 375 from the Zaragoza Port of Entry to Pellicano Drive.
Managed toll lanes will extend from the Zaragoza POE north to Pellicano Drive. Toll gantries are in yellow.
The scope of work in the agreement includes three tasks. The first is the development of a preliminary engineering/schematic design, which includes typical sections of the improved highway, current and projected traffic volumes, toll infrastructure layout, and cost estimates.

The second provision in the agreement requires the CRRMA to hold community meetings and collect input from residents in the area. Two public meetings are required as well as a public hearing.

The final task involves the development of an “environmental document and the associated technical reports” that would lead to environmental clearance for the project. 

Last year, the CRRMA posted a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Environmental and Preliminary Engineering services for the project at its website.

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.

A major improvement mentioned in the RFQ’s 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.

No timeframe for the project is mentioned in either the new Project Development Agreement or last year’s RFQ.