I-345, the stretch of highway dividing Deep Ellum from downtown and connecting interstates 75 and 45, is at the center of debate on how to develop the city's urban core. Photo by Alex Macon.

Urbanism

Conservative Think Tank Calls for I-345 Teardown

A good idea, demolishing the elevated highway downtown, continues to pick up steam.

Add the conservative think tank the Manhattan Institute to the list of influential organizations that believe Dallas needs to tear down I-345. In a newly published report, the Manhattan Institute names 10 infrastructure projects across the country that “deserve a green light,” including the removal of the elevated freeway splitting downtown and Deep Ellum. From the report:

What: Demolition of 1.3 miles of urban freeway in central Dallas, to be replaced with a surface boulevard

Why: Downtown Dallas, about 1.5 square miles, is circumscribed by a five-mile freeway loop that consumes large amounts of valuable real estate and makes pedestrian access to downtown unpleasant. Though primarily a commercial area, the downtown has seen substantial residential growth. Areas immediately beyond I-345, the northeast section of the freeway loop, have also experienced substantial resi- dential growth and revitalization. The demolition of I-345 would connect these two growing neighborhoods and also free up 245 acres of downtown land for high-density, taxpaying development. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimated an increased land value of $2.5 billion from removal, a minimum of $1 billion greater than any other studied scenario.

Price: TxDOT estimates the price as ranging between $100 million and $500 million.

Status: The Dallas city council and TxDOT are both studying the impact of removing the freeway.

Justification: The existing infrastructure is obsolete.

There you have it. Out with the obsolete.

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