The Texas Department of Transportation is conducting testing on Dallas’ most controversial freeway, I-345, beginning Tuesday, January 27. To do so, the agency will impose what they call “rolling closures” (i.e., periodic) between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm.
Lane closures are scheduled to take place between Commerce and Elm streets, on both sides of the freeway. Two out of three lanes will be shut down at a time, and the northbound and southbound closures will be conducted separately.
Police will supervise, and no ramps will be affected.
TxDOT spokeswoman Michelle Releford says this session replaces one that was bumped due to weather.
“We first sent out a notice a couple weeks ago that it would take place on January 13, but the rain came so we had to push it back,” she says.
They’re load-testing the bridge in order to determine what repairs need to be made. “They’re testing how much weight the bridge can safely carry,” she says.
“They make traffic move slowly and use instruments to gauge the impact. This is part of an ongoing process to determine what kind of repairs need to be made to the aging bridge.”
The controversy surrounding 345 hinges on a debate about whether it should be repaired or torn down. The maximum cost of the repairs has been estimated at $240 million. Releford says that, despite any debate, these repairs will take place.
“We’re going to make a determination what repairs need to be made this year,” she says. “These repairs have been in the works for a while. We’ve been studying this for over a year, on what needs to be done to keep it stable and operational.
“Whatever happens in the bigger picture is a separate conversation.”
She describes the rolling closures as periodic and says so far it is only scheduled for today. “It’s not solid, between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, they do these rolling closures that last from 15-20 minutes,” she says.