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IH35/US290 (SH71) Ben White Interchange, 2008 OCEA
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IH35 is an important and well-traveled north-south route that connects Mexico directly to trade centers in the Midwestern states and accommodates some of the largest traffic counts in Texas through Austin (~100,000). US290 is part of the National Highway System – a principal east-west arterial through the south side of Austin. The Interchange provides much needed traffic congestion relief through what was formerly an intersection controlled by traffic lights. The interchange is a fully-directional 5-level stack which, at its initial completion, included four direct connectors (four additional ramps added in 2011).Design of the elevated direct connections included bi-furcated steel units for the steel trapezoidal beams at the diverging core. This element was a first for TxDOT and the State of Texas. The design facilitated all specifications while not altering alignment of traffic lanes underneath the connectors. The bi-furcated units also allowed for less straddle bents and reduced associated structural steel costs.

 

Phased sequencing methods used during construction were remarkable for innovation, cost-efficiency, and schedule reduction. For example, the main alignment was offset to allow the entire northbound main lane bridge to be constructed in one phase; the northbound bridge was constructed at a slightly wider than required width to allow all six lanes of main lane traffic to be shifted to the new bridge during construction of the southbound main lane structure. Traffic flow was maintained during construction and these methods significantly reduced the construction timeline and number of phases. Additional features include aesthetic treatments in a “Capital of Texas” theme with Lone Star castings on bridge columns, tiered retaining walls, brick paver treatments, terracing, and landscaping throughout.


Owner: 
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)
Engineer: 
HNTB Corporation
Contractor: 
J.D. Abrams LP

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