Horseshoes are in TxDOT's plan to un-mix the mixmaster



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Posted on January 25, 2013 at 12:04 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 25 at 12:14 AM

DALLAS -- The mixmaster, where Interstate-35 and Interstate-30 come together, is an engineering feat of genius -- if you're a fan of the 1950's.

It comes from a time when mixing freeways together, like a bowl a spaghetti, seemed like a great idea.

In certain directions, drivers going between the freeways actually need to exit onto a city street to do so. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) believes Dallas is the only city in America where that happens.

Duane Milligan is TxDOT's project engineer.

"I can't name another one," Milligan said. "It's very, very rare."

And that's where the $800 million "Horseshoe" project comes in. It basically takes that bowl of mixed up spaghetti - where drivers from all directions get dumped together - sorts it, and straightens it. When its done, there's no mixing, and no merging.

"The point of the horseshoe is to take those movements [from one freeway to another], [and] move the decision points back further, so that you can make your decision on where you're going before you get to the interchange," Milligan said.

It will work a lot like the High 5, but look different. In fact, it will look like a horseshoe.

Construction begins this summer, but TxDOT said it won't be as disruptive as the Interstate-635 construction.

"We're working on an outside-in construction, where we build a lot of the new facility before we tear down any of the existing," Milligan said.

And they hope when it's done, around 2017, drivers will be so delighted they'll call the area the horseshoe, and forget all about the mixmaster.

"We're gonna try to take the mix out of the mixmaster," Milligan said.