Thursday, August 1, 2013

Airway Interchange Design Changes

Project Removes Fins, Adds Turbines

El Paso’s City Council received an update from the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) at its July 23, 2013 meeting regarding the design of the upcoming Airway Interchange beautification project. It is the first part of the I-10 Aesthetic Improvement Project, a highway improvement project that stretches from Transmountain Road to the Americas Interchange.
Wind turbines will be lit at night, creating light sculptures. (Renderings: CRRMA)

The newest design concept presented by the CRRMA has completely removed the bridge “fins” that were a large part of the previous design. Vicki Scuri, the artist chosen by the City to design the I-10 aesthetics project, had chosen fins due to the shape; the fins were inspired by flight, as seen in the shape of a bird’s feathers and the cross section of an airplane’s wing.

After the initial unveiling of the design, the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) alerted the artist that such a fin system would require a truss system that could be no less than four feet from the overpass. Scuri decided to scrap the fin idea citing that the truss system would overpower the fin design.
The median that divides Airway Boulevard is part of the aesthetics project but requires City funds to be completed. 

Now, wind turbines will take the place of the fins and line each side of the interstate. The turbines, which have a sculptural design in the concept images, retain the inspiration of flight; the fins of the turbine are propeller-like.

Sixteen turbines in total will be erected for the project and will be joined by smaller, matching sculptures on either side of I-10. All other aspects of the initial design remain, including elements such as landscaping, painting, and lighting.
There will be eight turbines on each side of the interstate, according to the renderings.

Columns below the bridge will receive a stencil treatment. Pathways below the freeway will include lighting built into the sidewalk to provide a feeling of safety and destination to pedestrians. Planter walls along the Gateways may also include built in lighting, and a planter box in the Airway Boulevard median will "glow like a lantern."

City Council will consider an item at its next meeting which would pay for the median improvements on Airway. This is because TXDOT’s project funds on State of Texas right of way, and Airway is a City street, not a state highway. The median work would cost approximately $210,000.

Work on the $10 million aesthetics project could begin as early as January of 2014 with completion the following July. Bids will be accepted until August 28, 2013.

Previously: Airway Aesthetics Project Inspired by Flight