El Paso, TX - The Texas Department of Transportation is conducting a study for the future of Interstate 10. Two meetings were held to get the communities input and answer any questions or concerns.
The construction plan stretches 55 miles along I-10 and could cost nearly 6 billion dollars. That's what TxDOT is proposing in their Re-imagine I-10 project.
According to Robert Bielek, District Engineer TxDOT El Paso, if change doesn't happen, El Paso could be in big trouble. Bielek said, "Eventually, what's going to happen is traffic in the downtown area will come to a standstill"
Bielek said that in 20 years, the amount of traffic on I-10 will triple. He also told ABC that I-10 is more than 50 years old in some segments, "We have segments that have reached their useful life and are exceeding their useful life," Bielek said.
The I-10 Reimagine Corridor study aims to solve the problems facing I-10, such as the number of ramps. Beilek said,"We have so many ramps so close together that we have a lot of friction, there's a lot of weaving with people trying to get off and other people trying to get on, " He said the friction causes major slowdowns.
Also, the standards for bridge height are changing. As of now, El Paso bridges have a 16 feet clearance, that needs to increase to 18 feet, to comply with changing standards.
Beilek said, "We have to replace every one of the downtown bridges simply to meet that 18-foot clearance requirement."
The proposed plan is separated into four segments, West, Downtown, East and Far East.
"For all four segments," Beilek said, "everything that we need to do, it's about $5.8 billion dollars"
Segment two, which is the downtown segment, is the area in which TxDOT will need partnerships to pay for. Their plan is to build a deck over I-10 that will connect uptown and downtown. It will also double as a park. Depending on the option this can cost anywhere from $150 - $300 million dollars.