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Mayor Mike Rawlings Says I -345 Must Be Repaired Before It Can Be Removed

The mayor released this statement last evening regarding the proposed removal of I-345:

I have participated in several discussions over the last few weeks with local business leaders, concerned citizens and the Texas Department of Transportation about the status of I-345.

While I remain undecided about the proposal to tear down the highway, I am convinced that repairing it is necessary before any decision is made about the future of I-345.

I learned that canceling or postponing renovations will increase safety concerns for travelers on the highway, and I refuse to compromise the safety of our citizens for any idea, regardless of its merit.

It is also important to understand that tearing down I-345 would be very expensive, with TxDOT estimating a cost of approximately $1.9 billion to fund demolition and associated street and bridge improvements. And it’s a time-consuming process as well. Similar projects have taken up to 10 years to complete.

Even if safety, cost and time weren’t factors, the City of Dallas does not have the authority to affect the decision to repair I-345, which has already been endorsed by TxDOT, the Federal Highway Administration and the state Legislature.

The conversation about how highways interact with our city is worthwhile, and I’m pleased that TxDOT has expressed its willingness to engage other transportation partners to fund such an effort, including a long-term study of the area surrounding I-345. I will be working with TxDOT and those partners moving forward to ensure that process takes place in a timely manner.

Removal would take 10 years, cost $1.9 billion? What’s Patrick Kennedy have to say about that?