In a 14-0 vote, the Dallas City Council has approved a TxDOT-recommended $1 billion “hybrid trench” plan to reconfigure I-345, the sprawling elevated highway that separates downtown Dallas from the Deep Ellum neighborhood to its east.
According to The Dallas Morning News, the plan involves tearing down the 1.4-mile elevated highway that begins where Highway 75 ends, and rebuilding it below grade with new street overpasses above.
The hybrid plan is a disappointment to many who supported a more ambitious plan to replace I-345 completely with surface-level boulevards, enabling a more walkable and bike-able neighborhood experience. But the Texas Department of Transportation has rejected that option, the DMN notes, because it would increase commute times significantly and may lead to civil rights violations for impacting a key route between southern and northern Dallas.
“It’s not perfect,” Council Member Omar Narvaez said, according to the DMN. “But this motion takes us into that next phase, that next level that we need to do in order to get this design accurate and make sure that it’s right.”
The city council set conditions for lending its unanimous support, the DMN reported. TxDOT must brief a council committee on the project’s progress once every six months during the design stage. TxDOT must incorporate the city’s racial equity plan and economic development policy into the project. And TxDOT will be required to study ways to reroute truck traffic off I-345.
An environmental analysis will now be conducted. That could take two years, with construction not slated to begin until 2028 or 2029.
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