Welcome to Texas – land of freeways and feeders

This week I’m visiting my family in the parallel frontage road state.

Called “feeders” in metro Houston where my family lives, these roads parallel freeways seemingly everywhere in Texas. We do have them in North Carolina (e.g., sections of I-85 and I-95 come to mind) but they are the exception rather than ubiquitous.

I have had mixed feelings on these before I arrived, and I still do.

They certainly seem to simplify the design of “service interchanges,” since you just use slip ramps to slide between the main freeway lanes and the feeder lanes, and then either connect with the intersecting roadway at a signal or directly access businesses which front the feeder.

The footprint can be large, but I suppose that would vary in large part by the number of lanes along the freeway and the feeder.

While traveling segments of the Gulf Freeway (I-45) south of Houston, I could not help but wonder if this sort of design — or something that incorporates elements like slip ramps between through and local land access lanes — could be the way to go for making Capital Blvd. work better north of 440 in Raleigh.

Aesthetically they are not always the greatest, but neither are brake lights from a miles-long daily traffic jam, and particularly in a retrofit situation they could be a rather attractive solution.

It is always good to travel to other places and bring an eye of curiosity with you, whether traveling for business or pleasure — or on an RTA Leadership Tour.

If you see ideas from other areas that may have applicability here or inspire other thoughts, I’d love to hear about them.

Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation

post reference: th3.2019.30

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