Answers to the most frequently asked questions about PROJECT PEGASUS are provided here. These questions will be updated periodically on the web site and in The Freeway Flyer project newsletters.

  1. Why is TxDOT studying the IH 30/IH 35E downtown freeways again? Didn't the Trinity Parkway Corridor MTIS address the same problems and needs? Why is the Trinity Parkway project needed if the downtown freeways will be reconstructed?
    The Trinity Parkway Corridor Major Transportation Investment Study (MTIS), conducted from 1996 to 1998, included studies of the Canyon, Mixmaster and Lower Stemmons Freeways. The purpose of the MTIS was to develop a solution to the congestion on IH 30, IH 35E, and the IH 30/IH 35E Mixmaster interchange near downtown Dallas. The MTIS evaluated different travel modes, over 40 improvement alternatives, and included conceptual engineering, traffic analysis, preliminary environmental studies and an extensive public and agency involvement program. The MTIS plan-of-action recommended over $1 billion in multi-modal transportation improvements, including the improvements to the IH 30 and IH 35E freeways that are the focus of this study.

    The Trinity Parkway was one of several interdependent elements needed to solve the downtown gridlock for the year 2025. PROJECT PEGASUS is the next step toward implementation of the recommended freeway improvements. The study will prepare preliminary plans and an environmental document for freeway improvements to the Mixmaster, Canyon, and Lower Stemmons. In addition to the freeway improvements, the project includes the associated High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), and bicycle and pedestrian improvements for streets crossing the freeways.

  2. How long is the design and/or construction process going to take? When will construction begin and when will it be completed?
    The work now underway will produce schematic plans and an environmental document, which are to be completed in July of 2004. Subsequent phases will include design development, preparation of detailed plans, bidding, and construction. When funding is secured, the construction plans are completed, and right-of-way acquired, construction can begin. The next phase of design, detailed plans and right-of-way acquisition is usually a three year process. If appropriate funding is then in place, construction is anticipated to begin in approximately 2010. The construction will likely occur in several stages, possibly over a period of seven years. Based on those assumptions, the construction will be completed in 2017. There is currently no funding in place for construction of the project, so the necessary funding will need to be in place before construction can begin. Construction agreements will need to be developed between the City of Dallas, TxDOT, DART, and the NTTA to specify project participation and to coordinate construction schedules for related projects.

  3. How will traffic be handled during construction?
    During construction, traffic management will be an essential part of the project to ensure safe and efficient traffic flow. Reliever routes within the Right-of-way will be built to alleviate traffic congestion during construction. This study will determine where they will be built. Plans for maintaining traffic flow during construction will be developed as part of the detailed construction plans for the proposed improvements. The traffic management plan will include a wide range of options such as:
    1. Preparation of traffic management staging plans to provide safe traffic flow during construction;
    2. Traffic detours along alternate routes to include lane marking, signing and traffic barrier modifications;
    3. Design of traffic diversions for temporary traffic during construction and interconnections;
    4. Temporary use of frontage roads to allow upgrading of existing main lanes;
    5. Lane closures during off-peak traffic hours and at night. Closures will be short-term and related to a specific construction activity.

    Construction of the planned Trinity Parkway is important to the IH 30/IH 35E project because the Parkway will increase corridor traffic capacity and provide a major reliever route during construction of the improvements to the Canyon, Mixmaster and Lower Stemmons freeways.

  4. How many vehicles travel the corridor today? How much traffic will the improved freeways be able to accommodate?
    Traffic on IH 30 and IH 35E has been increasing at a rate of 1 to 5 percent a year. In 1999, over 155,000 vehicles a day traveled the Canyon portion of IH 30, and 286,000 vehicles per day traveled the Lower Stemmons portion of IH 35E just south of the Dallas North Tollway. The Mixmaster has received national notoriety, and the dubious distinction, by being named one of the top ten "Worst Commuting Bottlenecks" in the nation by the American Automobile Association for five consecutive years. The Canyon, Mixmaster, and Lower Stemmons are critically congested and operate in stop-and-go traffic every business day. The congestion also slows travel for many miles along the other freeways feeding into the downtown area, including IH 35E (Stemmons and South R.L. Thornton freeways), US 75 (North Central Expressway), and IH 30 (Tom Landry Highway and East R.L. Thornton Freeway). If this downtown congestion is not solved, the bumper-to-bumper conditions are forecast to worsen to nearly 9 hours of congestion each weekday, resulting in an actual overlap of the morning and evening peak-hour flows. In other words, continuous congestion throughout each workday, regardless of travel direction. However, this problem is not isolated nor independent. Without a transportation solution to the downtown freeway congestion, proposals and/or designs for improving the outlying segments of IH 30 and IH 35E (feeding into the same downtown bottleneck) will not be effective.

    Future traffic capacity on IH 35E and IH 30 is limited by existing physical constraints that limit the expansion of the right-of-way and roadway improvements. Traffic forecasts for the planned freeway system are currently being developed by the Texas Transportation Institute.

  5. What will the project look like when it is done? Can you make it look like Central Expressway? Will the planned improvements include amenities like landscaping, lighting, and other aesthetic features?
    The project will include landscaping and aesthetic features along the reconstructed freeways. An Urban Design Study is being performed as part of PROJECT PEGASUS to develop plans for integrating the freeway design with the adjacent community areas, including possible use of "cut and cover" or "lid" treatments for the Canyon. The reconstructed IH 30/IH 35E freeways should reflect the unique character of the areas along the corridor. TxDOT is seeking the help from the City of Dallas and local neighborhoods and organizations in this effort, including local cost-sharing participation in funding the aesthetic improvements. The Dallas North Central Expressway is an example where this was done with great success.

  6. What is meant by "cut and cover" or "lid" treatments for the Canyon portion of the freeway?
    These design treatments refer to the potential construction of wide structures bridging over portions of the freeway where the main lanes are depressed below the grade level of adjacent areas. The surface area of these structures covering the freeway could be used for parks, open space, parking or other public uses.

  7. How much is the IH 30/IH 35E reconstruction going to cost? How will this project be paid for?
    The current estimated cost is over $500 million. This includes improvements to the existing interchanges and IH 30 and IH 35E freeways, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, intelligent transportation systems, and employer trip reduction programs. The IH 30/IH 35E improvements will be an expensive project because it includes replacing the existing freeways, bridges, and interchanges. A more definitive estimate of the project cost will be determined as part of this study.

  8. Currently, the existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes appear to be underutilized. Why include them in the design in place of additional general purpose lanes?
    With ever-increasing urban population and subsequent traffic congestion, it is physically and economically impossible to provide enough highway lanes to satisfy peak-period travel demands. By increasing per-vehicle occupancy, HOV lanes decrease the number of vehicles on the road and increase the peak-time capacity of highways. The HOV lanes provide improved travel time for commuters, enhanced bus operations, better air quality, and a reduction in fuel consumption. Research by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) identified that HOV lanes in Houston and Dallas have proven to be successful with 72 to 180 percent more people per lane moving on HOV lanes than general-purpose lanes. Also, the average number of people per vehicle increased by more than 15 percent. Depending on conditions and length of the HOV lanes, travel time reductions ranged from five to 18 minutes. In addition, the HOV lanes generated more transit use. Bus operating speeds nearly doubled, from 26 mph to 49 mph, resulting in a transit operation that serves more people quicker and more efficiently. (Source: TTI Research Report 1353-1, An Evaluation of High-occupancy Vehicle Lanes in Texas, Dennis L. Christiansen, Russell H. Henk, and Daniel E. Morris. October 1994.)

  9. Who is involved in the study? How is the project being coordinated and managed?
    It would be difficult for one agency to design and built all of the recommended improvements. Besides the Texas Department of Transportation, the governmental jurisdictions and agencies involved in the project include the City of Dallas, Dallas County, DART, North Texas Tollway Authority, North Texas Council of Governments, Federal Highway Administration, and coordination with other resource agencies such as the Texas Historical Commission, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

    The Community Work Group is intended to provide broad-based representation of the community at-large for PROJECT PEGASUS. The primary role of this work group is to exchange information, concerns and ideas between interest groups and the study team relative to the project's design. Additionally, the work group will monitor the study process from the community perspective and review study materials as they are developed. All Community Work Group meetings will open to the public, with times and locations posted on the website.

  10. What other related transportation improvements are being planned for Downtown Dallas?
    Numerous transportation improvement projects that will benefit mobility in Downtown Dallas are in various stages of planning, design and construction. Brief summaries of selected projects follow.
    1. Trinity Parkway - The Trinity Parkway Corridor MTIS recommendations included the Trinity Parkway as a planned 6-8 lane tollway reliever route extending south from US 175 and connecting with SH 183 in the area of IH35E. The locally preferred alternative, identified in the MTIS, proposed that the Parkway be constructed as a split couplet within the Dallas Floodway levee system. The NTTA is currently conducting an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate this alternative and other additional options to determine the environmental impacts of each alternative. If an alignment within the levees is chosen as the preferred alternative from the EIS, construction of the Parkway will utilize material excavated from the proposed lakes and wetlands identified as part of the City of Dallas' master plan for the existing Dallas Floodway. The City of Dallas 1998 Capital Bond Program for the Trinity River Corridor included partial funds for the Trinity Parkway, which could also include two new bridges overpassing the Dallas Floodway if a split couplet/riverside alignment is chosen.
    2. Woodall Rogers Freeway Extension - In November 1999, the Regional Transportation Council/Texas Transportation Commission Partnership approved $30 million in funding for the Woodall Rodgers Extension across the Trinity River to Singleton/Beckley Avenue. The City of Dallas 1998 Capital Bond Program for the Trinity River Corridor included partial funds for the Woodall Rodgers Extension. Schematic plans for the freeway extension were prepared by TxDOT and have been approved by the FHWA. An Environmental Assessment is under review by TxDOT Environmental Division in Austin. A subsequent Public Hearing is anticipated for Summer 2002.
    3. Houston Street Viaduct Restoration - The Houston Street Viaduct crossing the Trinity Parkway and Lower Stemmons Freeway is an historic structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The viaduct restoration and enhancement project is scheduled to begin construction in Spring 2002.
    4. IH 30 Bridges over Trinity River - TxDOT identified the need to replace the IH-30 bridges over 15 years ago through the Bridge Inventory Inspection and Appraisal Program. The bridges are being designed in two segments. The portion of IH 30 west of Sylvan Ave. will include increased capacity from 4-lanes existing to 5-lanes with reversible HOV proposed each direction and will begin construction in Mid 2002. The portion of IH 30 east of Sylvan is scheduled to begin construction in possibly 2003. Collector/distributor roadways will be included as part of a later design project.
    5. IH 35E Bridges over Trinity Parkway - TxDOT identified the need to replace the IH 35E bridges approximately four years ago, through the Bridge Inventory Inspection and Appraisal Program. TxDOT is preparing plans for the IH 35E bridges funded as part of the Bridge Replacement Program. Collector/distributor roadways will be included as part of a later project.
    6. The Southern Gateway... IH35/US67 Transportation Study - Preparation of schematic plans for reconstructing the portions of IH 35E/US67 south of PROJECT PEGASUS will begin in Spring 2002. This MIS project has a three year schedule.
    7. The East Gateway... IH30/US80 Major Investment Study - Preparation of schematic plans for reconstruction of the IH30/US80 freeways east of PROJECTPEGASUS has been initiated by DART. This MIS project has a three year schedule.
    8. Hampton/Inwood Road Bridge Replacement (from Harry Hines west) - Design is underway for replacing the existing 4-lane bridge over the Trinity River with a 6-lane bridge structure. Enhancement funding is being sought for this improvement project.
    9. IH 35E and Loop 12 Interchange - Preliminary design plans for reconstructing the IH 35E interchange with Northwest Highway are nearing completion.
    10. Oaklawn Avenue (east of Stemmons Freeway) - The NTTA is planning to rebuild and widen the ramps connecting to Downtown via the North Dallas Tollway.

  11. How will the funding be obtained for constructing Project Pegasus?
    State and Federal funding sources will primarily be used to fund the project. Construction funding has not been allocated at this time. Local cost sharing will also be required to pay any added cost of aesthetic urban design elements included in the planned transportation facility improvements.

  12. Will additional property be acquired as right-of-way for highway improvements? If so, when will property owners know if their property will be impacted?
    TxDOT's goal is to minimize the need for property acquisition. In fact, some of the alternatives could require less right-of-way than the existing facilities. However, some additional property will be required in the corridor, ranging from limited areas in specific locations to more extensive impacts along other sections of the corridor. The analysis of each potential alternative will include an evaluation of right-of-way requirements and potential disruption. This information will be presented at Public Meetings/Hearings for input and feedback. Acquisition of needed right-of-way would take place before construction begins, which is next expected to begin before 2010.