On Feb. 26, 2009, in Minute Order 111703, the Texas Transportation Commission determined that the proposal submitted by LBJ Infrastructure Group (formerly LBJ Development Partners) provides the apparent best value to TxDOT.
Original Environmental Approvals
As part of the original planning process, four public hearings were held for the LBJ Express Project - one for the West Section, two for the Loop 12/I-35E Section and one for the I-635/US 75 Interchange (the High Five).
In early 2006, TxDOT initiated modifications to the originally approved designs in the originally approved documents. The changes involve modifying the construction limits of the subsurface Managed High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes. As presented in the original EA, the subsurface Managed HOV Lanes would have been constructed with a combination of open cut, cut and cover, and mined tunnel construction methods. The design modifications involve shifting the limits of each construction method and implementing a Managed HOV Lane System that is compatible with the RTC's, regional policy concerning Managed Lanes.
For the I-635/I-35E interchange portion of the project, there are only minor design modifications to the location of the proposed design from Loop 12/Northwest Highway to the I-635/I-35E interchange to incorporate existing interchanges. Instead, the modifications include operating the proposed direct connection ramps as interim Managed HOV Lanes until the I-35E/I-635 interchange is fully constructed.
Modifications to the I-635/US 75 interchange are provided to improve operational efficiency by providing entrance and exit ramps for the managed HOV lanes west of US 75 and the Interim HOV lanes east of US 75.
The revised managed HOV lanes configuration does not alter the amount of required right-of-way, displacements, or relocations stated in the original 2002 and 2004 EAs.
TxDOT has received notice from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that they have reviewed the Environmental Assessments (EA) Re-evaluations for the design and operational modifications that have occurred since the original issuance of the FONSI for the I-635 West Section and the Loop 12/I-35E Section and that the original findings remain valid. In addition, a Categorical Exclusion was obtained for operational improvements that have occurred since Federal Highway Administration issued a FONSI for the I-635/US 75 interchange in October 1993. The public meeting for these changes was held on November 16, 2006.
The notices from FHWA were received by TxDOT on June 19, 2008, June 20, 2008 and June 24, 2008 for the I-635/US 75 Interchange, I-635 West Section and the Loop 12/I-35E Section, respectively.