I-345 is an aging, 1.4-mile-long elevated highway that separates downtown Dallas from Deep Ellum, a popular arts and entertainment district. It has also become a target for urbanists looking to remove downtown freeways. This month a group of civic leaders announced the formation of a political action committee that seeks to elect local officials who will push to demolish the freeway and replace it with surface streets as well as new housing, commercial buildings, and parks.
Although TxDOT had previously considered only rehabilitation or another high-capacity road for the I-345 corridor, earlier this month the agency agreed to work with the City of Dallas to conduct a fast-tracked feasibility study looking at the possibility of removal. This makes TxDOT one of a growing number of agencies considering the option of converting urban freeways into surface-level boulevards.
The Dallas News writes that the Texas Department of Transportation is upset with a national recent report regarding the amount of its funding spent on roadway expansion versus preservation and maintenance. The disagreement is rooted in the way highway statistics are collected and presented. As noted in a previous SSTI article, Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs are often obscure about how funding for a given project is allocated. This makes it extremely difficult to evaluate states’ performance or compare states to one another.