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The "High Five" Interchange

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Has everyone here been through the new "High Five" interchange at LBJ and Central Expressway?

I tend to avoid the LBJ/North Dallas (and driving east of 360, for that matter!) as much as I can. I heard on the radio that the project had just been completed - a full year and a half ahead of schedule. A few evenings after it opened, I had an errand I needed to run in Richardson so I got to drive on it. Unfortunately, at that hour it was dark so I could not see very much of it. And since I avoid that area, I only saw the very early stages of construction on a small handful of occasions.

I have no idea whether or not the interchange is considered innovative in any structural sense. But it terms of how the project was financed and managed - well, this is how all (necessary) government projects should be done. Basically, the entire project was set up in such a way as to provide the contractor responsible for building it as many marketplace inspired incentives as possible.

For example, unlike most road construction projects, the High Five project operated on the premise that the time belonging to the people who drive through that interchange is extremely valuable. The project was planned in such a way as to minimize the disruption of the traffic flow as much as possible - and the contractor was incentivized accordingly. During the construction, certain lane closures were going to be necessary - and the contractor was given windows for such closures on days and at hours of normally lower traffic volume. If lanes remained closed beyond those windows, the contractor had to pay a hefty per-hour penalty. For completing the project early, the contractor was also given a substantial bonus.

Obviously, if a private business needed to make upgrades and modifications to one of its factories, it would attempt to do so as quickly and with as minimal a disruption to production as possible - and whatever government official came up with the idea to attempt to do something similar with regard to a roads project certainly deserves lots of praise. When one considers that a great many people - from truck drivers to sales representatives to executives on their way from the airport to an important meeting - spend part of their workday on the road, if one were to calculate the cost of a traffic jam based on the per hour earnings of those impacted, the costs of such a slow down are VERY expensive indeed.

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