The History of IH 30 and US 80
Interstate Highway (IH) 30 was designed and constructed in the late 1950s through early 1960s as part of the original interstate highway system developed for the entire United States. IH 30 spans a broad portion of North Texas and beyond and therefore remains a vital corridor for intrastate and interstate movement of people and provider of goods and services. Prior to IH 30, US 80 was the prime east-west facility for local travelers and continues to be so with continued growth in eastern Dallas and Kaufman Counties.
Traffic increases both locally and regionally continue to mount on the outdated IH 30 and US 80 facilities. In fact, the Dallas area population has doubled the last 20 years and is forecasted to double again over the next 20 years. Added traffic demand is realized when one considers that the (pre-1960) IH 30 and US 80 facilities were designed for the much lower traffic volumes associated with the one-car-garage, one-vehicle-per-household era as opposed to current day double-income households, younger student drivers and delayed retirements meaning that three generations of drivers now utilize the two facilities. Finally, as local cities and towns explore new development, residential expansions, and increased tax-base objectives, it is inevitable that transportation improvements must follow.
Commuter congestion headaches have hampered IH 30 and US 80 for a number of years. Despite recent upgrades to selected portions of both facilities, daily bumper-to-bumper traffic strings now extend beyond 10-miles making it evident that an overhaul of each facility is needed. In the meantime, commuter relief has been supplied by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) with the insertion of an IH 30 interim High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane from downtown Dallas eastward to US 80. Plans are currently underway to extend this HOV further east to IH 635. Nevertheless, this single HOV lane is only a temporary answer until a modern, integrated transportation solution is developed.
The DART office recently completed a 3 year Major Transportation Investment Study for IH 30/US 80 corridor, thereby laying the groundwork for a modern, integrated transportation solution. TxDOT is now initiating the study’s recommended corridor (re-design) improvements with The East Corridor – An IH 30 / US 80 Design!