Texas DOT considers major highway removal in new plan for Dallas

By Chris McCahill

Earlier this month, the Texas DOT released CityMAP, a document outlining how the agency might handle Dallas’ aging highways over the next 24 years. Most notably, it could lead to the removal of two major freeways from the downtown entirely.

In one scenario, Interstate 30, which runs along the southern edge of downtown, could be rerouted 2-3 miles south of its current alignment. This effort would cost $2 billion and take the full 24 years to complete.

Another scenario includes removing a two-mile section of I-345 and I-45, which currently intersects with I-30 and separates the downtown from Deep Ellum and other neighborhoods to its east. That project would cost $100 to $500 million, but it would add an estimated 50,000 jobs and residents, generating $2.5 billion in value. A local coalition called A New Dallas has proposed similar changes that could generate up to $4 billion in new investments, according to estimates.

Dallas figure

Figure 1. Proposed removal of I-345/I-45. Source: Texas DOT.

According to CityMAP: “The removal opportunity provides the occasion for reconnecting the street grid, encouraging infill redevelopment and reviving neighborhoods that have struggled to remain vibrant. This scenario, with the associated mobility, safety improvements, enhanced pedestrian and vehicular connections, parks and open spaces, could further the advancement of this area of Dallas as a desirable place to live and work.”

Other options for the highways include high-capacity, below-grade expressways, ramp removals, and other changes in alignment, all of which would help improve cross-street connections, but not necessarily open up as much developable land.

The agency plans to consider options for I-30 first, but in close coordination with other possible projects, including I-345/I-45, transit, and other major investments in the area.

Chris McCahill is a Senior Associate at SSTI.