May 22, 2023 - Transit

Dallas City Council to decide fate of Interstate 345

A photo of a highway

Interstate 345 looms, connecting U.S. 75 to the south. Photo: Cooper Neill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dallas City Council could finally make a decision on whether to approve a Texas Department of Transportation recommendation to demolish and then trench Interstate 345 — or it could choose to delay its final decision until an independent study is completed.

State of play: For years, city leaders and state transportation officials have been debating what to do about the aging stretch of highway that connects U.S. Highway 75 to Interstate 45. The elevated thoroughfare will eventually become too costly to maintain as is.

Why it matters: The 1.4-mile highway separates Deep Ellum from downtown but also provides a critical passageway for people in southern Dallas to travel north. The final decision on its fate could reshape the city and traffic patterns in several areas.

Catch up fast: TxDOT completed a four-year, $7 million feasibility study on the future of the highway last year and briefed the City Council in October.

  • TxDOT is asking the council to approve a resolution to tear down the elevated highway and rebuild it in a trench — like Woodall Rodgers Freeway before Klyde Warren Park was built.
  • A vote was pushed back earlier this year to give city staff more time to analyze the options and get public input.
  • Last month, five council members signed a memo requesting that the city manager commission an independent study on the removal of I-345.

By the numbers: About 180,000 vehicles a day travel on I-345, per TxDOT.

  • Traffic is expected to increase to 206,000 vehicles a day by 2045.
  • Of the more than 2,000 people surveyed by TxDOT, 66% said they want some form of highway to remain.

Yes, but: If council approves TxDOT's recommendation, the city will be on the hook for any capping projects to rejoin both sides of the highway.

Reality check: For years, advocates have pushed for the highway to be torn down and turned into a boulevard with connecting cross streets. Decommissioning I-345 would require state and federal approval.

What's next: Council will vote Wednesday on whether to adopt the TxDOT recommendation. They will also vote on whether to support a resolution to conduct an independent study looking at removing the highway to build a boulevard instead.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to state that U.S. Highway 75, not Interstate 75, is connected to Interstate 45 via Interstate 345.

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