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(Texas Monthly)   The taller the overpass, the closer to God   (texasmonthly.com) divider line
    More: Obvious, Freeway, stack interchange, Bill Hale, Texas, recent road trip, native Texan, separate levels of roads, Interstate Highway System  
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4769 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Jan 2021 at 6:05 PM (19 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-01-02 4:16:13 PM  
The reason overpasses are so tall is that we tend to design roads REALLY lazily.
 
2021-01-02 4:32:17 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-01-02 4:35:13 PM  
It's Texas. You need to go high to get over the bullsh*t
 
2021-01-02 5:44:15 PM  
That's so they can keep their cowboy hats on while driving their Cadillac convertibles with the big steer horns on the front..
 
2021-01-02 6:13:30 PM  
I mean, if we're going to spend a century designing everything around automobile travel, we might as well make sure the semis have more than enough clearance.
 
2021-01-02 6:13:52 PM  
WTF Texas?
texasfreeway.comView Full Size
 
2021-01-02 6:15:23 PM  
Well I read the whole article and that really doesn't explain it. If they're allowing 25 feet of clearance, why does Mr. Iowa notice overpasses more than 100 feet tall? He didn't talk about "stacks," but simple overpasses.
Of course, my reading comprehension does suck, so maybe that's the answer.
 
2021-01-02 6:16:44 PM  
Some places can use terrain to "hide" the height of a stack.  Texas is not one of those.
 
2021-01-02 6:18:24 PM  

allears: Well I read the whole article and that really doesn't explain it. If they're allowing 25 feet of clearance, why does Mr. Iowa notice overpasses more than 100 feet tall? He didn't talk about "stacks," but simple overpasses.
Of course, my reading comprehension does suck, so maybe that's the answer.


He was talking about stacks and how frontage roads can require more levels.
 
2021-01-02 6:19:27 PM  

iheartscotch: The reason overpasses are so tall is that we tend to design roads REALLY lazily.


Fun fact: Montana had an 'Ameribahn' concept for a 100mph loop in 1951. It was implemented into the U.S. HWY system without a single change. The Feds are responsible for I-15. So; here in Montana, we have an AMAZINGLY well-designed road system!

...Then we chip-seal the farkers every other year because the gas tax goes to profoundly stupid things, like deer tunnels, because dumbasses can't pay attention.
 
2021-01-02 6:21:13 PM  

allears: Well I read the whole article and that really doesn't explain it. If they're allowing 25 feet of clearance, why does Mr. Iowa notice overpasses more than 100 feet tall? He didn't talk about "stacks," but simple overpasses.
Of course, my reading comprehension does suck, so maybe that's the answer.


"there are just too many Texans (and occasional Iowans) driving in Texas for us to do without overpasses that helpfully lift us up and out of the way of one another."

that plus 'feeder' roads for each bypass makes them more complicated than other states that sometimes don't have those lower feeder roads to deal with.

TFA was not written well but the gist of it is population + lots of driving = lots of big overpasses

but I think they failed to mention everything is bigger in Texas
 
2021-01-02 6:21:33 PM  
Most new cars in south Texas are equipped with parachutes and air bags for the high overpass/cloverleaf systems.    There is a snow or ice event once every 5-7 years of so.  People don't drive that day.   Liquor stores appreciate the pre-snow business.

Don't move here if you know how to either 1) drive on snow or 2) are vegan.  It's not your skills aren't admired, it's just we don't need to hear about them.


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-01-02 6:26:24 PM  
Honestly people complain about the road in CA and the density there but TX has CA beat.  Not to mention some of the worst drivers in the country.  I have lived and driven from one end to the other and hands down Texans don't have a farking clue how to drive.
 
2021-01-02 6:30:07 PM  
Because the people who design them aren't psychic, but they do know that the expected lifespan of one is 100 years?  And who knows what's going to need to be shipped underneath some day?  Or other road infrastructure that might be necessary in the future?  And the cost variable between just high enough and really high isn't that very much?
 
2021-01-02 6:36:13 PM  

allears: Well I read the whole article and that really doesn't explain it. If they're allowing 25 feet of clearance, why does Mr. Iowa notice overpasses more than 100 feet tall? He didn't talk about "stacks," but simple overpasses.
Of course, my reading comprehension does suck, so maybe that's the answer.


Without specific examples, we are guessing.
Mr. Iowa might have not noticed a waterway which requires space for ships to pass under the roadway, or rising to top hills with a tall roadway in order to keep the rise gentle enough for trucks.
 
2021-01-02 6:38:16 PM  
I prefer driving where there's less traffic, down in the basement of I-35W.
 
2021-01-02 6:39:19 PM  

BitwiseShift: Most new cars in south Texas are equipped with parachutes and air bags for the high overpass/cloverleaf systems.    There is a snow or ice event once every 5-7 years of so.  People don't drive that day.   Liquor stores appreciate the pre-snow business.

Don't move here if you know how to either 1) drive on snow or 2) are vegan.  It's not your skills aren't admired, it's just we don't need to hear about them.


[Fark user image 850x478]


It's been almost 20 years since I've done any driving and the picture gave me an anxiety attack

/The world is a safer place without me behind the wheel
 
2021-01-02 6:42:06 PM  
Plus all those overpasses, loops, and stacks are very easy to maintain and augment as populations increase. This is why for example Dallas is such a pleasure to drive around
 
2021-01-02 6:43:33 PM  

Moniker o' Shame: WTF Texas?
[texasfreeway.com image 640x281]


Looks like it goes over the Intracoastal Waterway, so a required clearance for ships.  The surrounding land is very flat, so there's pretty much no slope down to the waterway.  There are bridges like this all along the Gulf Coast.
 
2021-01-02 6:44:44 PM  
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The Iowan driver apparently needs interchanges that allow him to leave or not leave Des Moines...

/Schroedenger's Iowan?
 
2021-01-02 6:44:58 PM  

Moniker o' Shame: WTF Texas?
[texasfreeway.com image 640x281]


That bridge goes over the Intracoastal Waterway.  Of all the choices you could've made, that's probably the worst.
 
2021-01-02 6:51:15 PM  

Moniker o' Shame: WTF Texas?
[texasfreeway.com image 640x281]



Reminds me of some of the overpasses I've built in SimCity.
 
2021-01-02 6:52:42 PM  

allears: Well I read the whole article and that really doesn't explain it. If they're allowing 25 feet of clearance, why does Mr. Iowa notice overpasses more than 100 feet tall? He didn't talk about "stacks," but simple overpasses.
Of course, my reading comprehension does suck, so maybe that's the answer.


The main reason is for entertainment during the winter when everything ices over and local news set up cameras at the bottom to watch all of the cars slide back down the ramps.
 
2021-01-02 6:53:04 PM  
A picture would have been nice, so I did some homework.
Fark user imageView Full Size

That does seem higher than your would normally see. But I have a 3 way overpass similar to this in Oshkosh in WI (41 north going to HWY 45. And another in Winchester 10 miles away going to HWY 10) but they have decided to use earth instead of pylons to be 100 feet in the air.

I assume it's a physics thing, not wanting trucks to fall over going at speed while turning. Maybe it was cheaper to make concrete roads than to haul earth equipment. WI is very hilly in places and has many places to get fill.
 
2021-01-02 6:53:52 PM  
Levels

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2021-01-02 6:56:23 PM  

AppleOptionEsc: A picture would have been nice, so I did some homework.
[Fark user image 425x284]
That does seem higher than your would normally see. But I have a 3 way overpass similar to this in Oshkosh in WI (41 north going to HWY 45. And another in Winchester 10 miles away going to HWY 10) but they have decided to use earth instead of pylons to be 100 feet in the air.

I assume it's a physics thing, not wanting trucks to fall over going at speed while turning. Maybe it was cheaper to make concrete roads than to haul earth equipment. WI is very hilly in places and has many places to get fill.


That interchange isn't complete in every direction.  They're going to build some lower passes in the coming years, when traffic entering Austin needs to merge onto the toll road as badly as traffic leaving Austin does.
 
2021-01-02 7:07:03 PM  

xtalman: Not to mention some of the worst drivers in the country.  I have lived and driven from one end to the other and hands down Texans don't have a farking clue how to drive.


Try Long Island, NY

I lived in Long Island for about 6 years and never before or since have seen such insane driving.
 
2021-01-02 7:12:11 PM  

AppleOptionEsc: A picture would have been nice, so I did some homework.
[Fark user image image 425x284]
That does seem higher than your would normally see. But I have a 3 way overpass similar to this in Oshkosh in WI (41 north going to HWY 45. And another in Winchester 10 miles away going to HWY 10) but they have decided to use earth instead of pylons to be 100 feet in the air.

I assume it's a physics thing, not wanting trucks to fall over going at speed while turning. Maybe it was cheaper to make concrete roads than to haul earth equipment. WI is very hilly in places and has many places to get fill.


It's the weather. An overpass with air under it will be frozen much of the time in Wisconsin. Not so in Texas. During the occasional freezing rain event they salt the overpass and people tend to stay off the roads anyway because it usually only lasts a day or two at most.
 
2021-01-02 7:22:16 PM  
Texan eats a cracker, reactions from Michiganders at 6.
 
2021-01-02 7:42:51 PM  
The High Five referred to in TFA.

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2021-01-02 7:54:55 PM  
Because otherwise, they'd get their own version of the Can Opener Bridge.
 
2021-01-02 8:01:20 PM  

47 is the new 42: Because otherwise, they'd get their own version of the Can Opener Bridge.


Do they think they will 'adjust' it?
 
2021-01-02 8:10:09 PM  
During the 2000s, my job found me in Houston quite a bit. I remember telling my wife about the interchanges there where you would go from I-whatever east to I-whatever north, and at the top of the turn, looking over and seeing the 14th floor of a hotel even with you. It was silly.
 
2021-01-02 8:12:47 PM  

Moniker o' Shame: WTF Texas?
[texasfreeway.com image 640x281]


Topography deprivation?
 
2021-01-02 8:17:24 PM  
I can't find good pictures but one of the higher overpasses in the El Paso Spaghetti Bowl passes over the Cordoba Cemetery.
 
2021-01-02 8:20:57 PM  

Moose out front: xtalman: Not to mention some of the worst drivers in the country.  I have lived and driven from one end to the other and hands down Texans don't have a farking clue how to drive.

Try Long Island, NY

I lived in Long Island for about 6 years and never before or since have seen such insane driving.


I grew up on the east coast so Boston, NYC area, DC.  I knew what they would do, TX drivers just don't seem to have a clue.  We have enough driving through OK to reinforce that conclusion.
 
2021-01-02 8:38:04 PM  

Moniker o' Shame: WTF Texas?
[texasfreeway.com image 640x281]



It's just a bridge over a narrow ship channel. Tall ships + close islands = steep bridges
 
2021-01-02 9:43:30 PM  
Way back before some of these were complete they would build the ramp but leave the exists with only traffic barrels to keep you from entering and going off the edge. Like 60-100ft in the air. I was told that there was a player for the Houston Oilers who went over one and his friend died in the accident so he shot and killed himself.
 
2021-01-02 9:53:43 PM  

BitwiseShift: Most new cars in south Texas are equipped with parachutes and air bags for the high overpass/cloverleaf systems.    There is a snow or ice event once every 5-7 years of so.  People don't drive that day.   Liquor stores appreciate the pre-snow business.

Don't move here if you know how to either 1) drive on snow or 2) are vegan.  It's not your skills aren't admired, it's just we don't need to hear about them.


[Fark user image image 850x478]


I drive through the 1604 construction everyday, but it's further west than 10.

When I moved to Austin umpteen years ago, one of the first pieces of advice I got was don't drive when it's icy.
 
2021-01-02 10:25:08 PM  

allears: Well I read the whole article and that really doesn't explain it.


You got that right. The history is long and involved.

First, notice that all Texas highways have "frontage roads, a.k.a. access roads, service roads, etc." That was done by regulation nearly 100 years ago so the company that made and installed traffic lights would have steady contracts with the Texas Highway Department, now called the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).

There are no, I repeat NO, cloverleaf highway intersections in Texas. I have driven all over the state, personally and as part of my job, and I've never seen one. If you want to turn onto another highway or reverse your course, you have to stop and wait for the light to change.

The standards for overpasses, flyovers, what-you-call-em came later, but they are also to inflate the contracts of construction companies.

The entire scheme is a "collusion" between people who work for TXDOT and contractors, mediated by the fact that they are all graduates of Texas A&M. (This is now less true than it was 40 or 50 years ago.) But I don't even have to ask. I know that this Bill Hale interviewed in the article must be an Aggie.

Welcome to Texas.
 
2021-01-02 11:09:04 PM  

WastrelWay: allears: Well I read the whole article and that really doesn't explain it.

You got that right. The history is long and involved.

First, notice that all Texas highways have "frontage roads, a.k.a. access roads, service roads, etc." That was done by regulation nearly 100 years ago so the company that made and installed traffic lights would have steady contracts with the Texas Highway Department, now called the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).

There are no, I repeat NO, cloverleaf highway intersections in Texas. I have driven all over the state, personally and as part of my job, and I've never seen one. If you want to turn onto another highway or reverse your course, you have to stop and wait for the light to change.

The standards for overpasses, flyovers, what-you-call-em came later, but they are also to inflate the contracts of construction companies.

The entire scheme is a "collusion" between people who work for TXDOT and contractors, mediated by the fact that they are all graduates of Texas A&M. (This is now less true than it was 40 or 50 years ago.) But I don't even have to ask. I know that this Bill Hale interviewed in the article must be an Aggie.

Welcome to Texas.


Mr Hale went to UTA.

I don't know what you have against stacks. TxDOT's directive since its creation in 1991 is that loop ramps will be replaced with stacks. They have a much lower traffic impedance. Cloverleafs are tip over hazards and are rarely maintained (see Hwy 69/I-40  in OK for example of unmaintains cloverleaf).

As for no U-Turns, behold! The Texas U-Turn.  There's tons of them in Dallas, where I live.
 
2021-01-02 11:27:05 PM  
The flyovers on I-35E near Lewisville are insane. As someone afraid of heights, I get tight sphincter driving over the top one.
Fark user imageView Full Size

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-01-02 11:30:56 PM  

WastrelWay: allears: Well I read the whole article and that really doesn't explain it.

You got that right. The history is long and involved.

First, notice that all Texas highways have "frontage roads, a.k.a. access roads, service roads, etc." That was done by regulation nearly 100 years ago so the company that made and installed traffic lights would have steady contracts with the Texas Highway Department, now called the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).

There are no, I repeat NO, cloverleaf highway intersections in Texas. I have driven all over the state, personally and as part of my job, and I've never seen one. If you want to turn onto another highway or reverse your course, you have to stop and wait for the light to change.

The standards for overpasses, flyovers, what-you-call-em came later, but they are also to inflate the contracts of construction companies.

The entire scheme is a "collusion" between people who work for TXDOT and contractors, mediated by the fact that they are all graduates of Texas A&M. (This is now less true than it was 40 or 50 years ago.) But I don't even have to ask. I know that this Bill Hale interviewed in the article must be an Aggie.

Welcome to Texas.


US77 and SH6 intersect in a cloverleaf in Waco, and it sucks.  Slows traffic down by 15-20 MPH on both roads.
 
2021-01-03 12:13:44 AM  
Rouge River Bridge always made me nervous.
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2021-01-03 12:30:28 AM  
Meh. I've been on the High 5 quite a few times. It's not that bad. It's actually reasonably well-designed, unlike other highway interchanges. That shiat down by Woodall Rodgers and I-35 is a farking nightmare at all times, in any weather.
 
2021-01-03 12:48:23 AM  
The freeways there
Are big and wide
(clap three tips)
Deep in the heart of Texas!
 
2021-01-03 1:25:44 AM  
Overcompensation. Like all the guns and comically over-large hats
 
2021-01-03 6:16:22 AM  
& motorcyclist are frequently thrown off from hitting the outside barrier at the top resulting in a splat
 
2021-01-03 10:02:12 AM  

WTFDYW: 47 is the new 42: Because otherwise, they'd get their own version of the Can Opener Bridge.

Do they think they will 'adjust' it?


They already did.
 
2021-01-03 10:10:52 AM  
895 in Richmond VA is pretty high up there.
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