I-30 in the project corridor was designed and constructed in the late 1950s through early 1960s as part of the nationwide interstate construction. I-30 serves long distance traffic passing through the Dallas area. However, local traffic appears more critical to congestion issues, because of the dramatic growth of population and commerce in the Dallas metro area.
I-30 Contraflow HOV
Since the original I-30 construction, TxDOT and other partner agencies have taken steps to address congestion in East Dallas County by making incremental improvements to the roadways. A notable past improvement is the addition of an interim contraflow HOV lane installed along I-30 between Dallas and Mesquite to help commuter traffic. This facility uses a moveable barrier system (the I-30 “Zipper”) to provide a contraflow lane for High Occupancy Vehicles during weekday peak hours. The contraflow HOV lane runs westbound in the morning (using the eastbound inside lane) and eastbound in the evening (using the westbound inside lane). The I-30 contraflow HOV lane was originally opened in September 1991 and intended at the time to be an interim facility It has actually been in continuous operation for over 25 years serving Dallas commuters. The contraflow lane is expensive to operate and maintain since the zipper barriers are moved a total of four times each weekday, involving labor and equipment costs, as well as wear and tear on the barriers.
2000 Major Investment Study
Starting around Year 2000, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) conducted a three year Major Investment Study (MIS) for the I-30/US 80 corridor to respond to traffic and congestion concerns. The MIS Study recommended a range of actions in the corridor:
- Congestion Management Strategies
- Bicycle And Pedestrian System Improvements
- Improved Facilities Management (ITS)
- Transit Improvements
- Arterial, Signal & Intersection Improvements
- IH 30 Capacity Improvements
- US 80 Capacity Improvements
2006 Alternatives Analysis and Environmental Assessment
Between 2004 and 2006, TxDOT analyzed alternatives and developed a draft schematic design and environmental assessment for I-30 and US 80 under the project name “The East Corridor”. Schematic plans for the highways were shown in draft form at a TxDOT public meeting in the corridor in September 2005. A draft Environmental Assessment was also prepared in 2006, but not finalized.
The TxDOT study was not finalized due to agency priorities at the time, and the project was not environmentally cleared. The current (2016) study will build from materials developed for the 2006 study to some extent, but will not be bound by the 2006 draft recommendations. The 2016 study is also planned to bring the roadway designs up to current standards (which have changed since 2006), as well as account for changes in population and development in the region.