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A Look Into the Future? TxDOT's Plan for I-635, I-35

Dallas skyline viewed from the highway at twilight

Dallas Drivers Can Expect More Lanes.

Traffic jams have made some Texas highways frustrating, difficult, and dangerous to navigate for years. Change may be coming, but will it be effective? In North Dallas, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is developing a $380 million renovation plan for sections of I-35 and I-635. The state's goal is to "improve connectivity, reduce traffic congestion, and increase mobility" within the region.

The plan calls for additional lanes, shoulders on both sides of the highway, and accompanying uninterrupted frontage roads, among other things. Two left exits would be relocated, as well.

Traffic jams and fatal crashes

Everything is bigger in Texas, but we may want to consider reigning it in on our highways. Some studies show that adding lanes can make highways less safe and more congested. But others say road "diets" increase accidents. The Dallas car accident lawyers at The Marye Law firm know drivers want relief from traffic backups. However, it turns out, we hope the final plan prioritizes the safety of the 231,600 drivers these highways see daily.

The situation is dire. More than 40 people were killed in crashes on these two highways in Dallas in 2021. According to state data, there were 24 fatal accidents on I-35 and 14 on I-635. Around 5 of the deadly incidents involved enter/exit ramps.

An early proposal for change

The TxDOT plan would significantly restructure Dallas highways. Improvements would be made from Luna Road to Loop 354/Denton Drive and from Royal Lane to Valley View Lane. TxDOT is still developing plans. Officials expect to submit a proposal in 2026.

Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway, I-635

Currently, a typical stretch of I-635 consists of 7 lanes - 4 Westbound and 3 Eastbound - with 10-foot shoulders, discontinuous frontage roads, and barriers separating managed lanes

The state wants to:

  • Add 3 lanes, for a total of 10 lanes - 5 in each direction.
  • Install 4 managed lanes - 2 in each direction.
  • Add 10-foot shoulders to both sides of the highway.
  • Construct 4-6 lanes of continuous frontage roads.

South RL, Thornton/Stemmens Freeway, North/South Freeway, I-35

For I-35, the state wants to increase the number of main lanes to 8-10 (from 6-8) and add 4-6 lanes of uninterrupted frontage roads.

Will more lanes mean less traffic?

A growing pool of research suggests that when drivers have more room to roam, they roam more. As roadway supply increases, vehicle miles traveled generally do too. It's called the "induced travel" effect and, ultimately, adding lanes erodes any initial increases in travel speeds, according to researchers. A roadway expansion of 10 percent, for example, is likely to increase vehicle miles traveled by 3-8 percent in the short term and around 8-10 percent in the long run.

But Texas isn't your average state. Circumstances can be different here. Officials from the Texas Department of Transportation refute the studies. In a recent New York Times article, Texas officials pointed to the 26-lane Katy expansion in Houston, noting it boosted capacity to keep up with population growth.

Additional lanes increase capacity, which draws vehicles away from nearby congested roads and improves the flow of the surrounding network. Expanded highways can encourage new growth and redevelopment, as well.

"Expanding roads does not create more congestion," transportation officials said in a statement. Rather, it "helps to manage new travel demand."

Injured in a car wreck? You can count on our Dallas car accident lawyers

Collisions caused by other drivers on highways in the Dallas area often occur due to mistakes made when behind the wheel. In general, such drivers often behave recklessly or negligently, whether they are speeding, texting, driving aggressively, or impaired. When their actions result in injuries to others, our experienced Dallas car accident lawyers hold them accountable.

For more than two decades, The Marye Law Firm has built strong legal cases supporting Dallas car accident victims and their families. If you were injured or a loved one died in a Dallas car wreck, contact us today for a free case evaluation. We offer straightforward legal advice. That way, you can make informed decisions about your future. The Marye Law Firm – we're serious about winning your case.

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