Loop 375 Border Highway East Study
The Border Highway East (BHE) Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study has been finalized and approved by TxDOT’s Environmental Affairs Division. The study included community discussion and a visioning process for transportation improvements along the U.S.-Mexico border in southeast El Paso County. The study began in May 2013, and a draft PEL Report was completed in October 2014.
On Aug. 21, 2015, the study was presented to the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Transportation Policy Board (TPB), which serves as the regional planning and programming agency. The MPO adopted the BHE PEL Study, and its results and recommendations are to be included in the El Paso MPO’s long-term planning process.
The study area included Loop 375 near the Zaragoza International Port of Entry (POE) and extended south to the Fabens International POE. I-10 and the Rio Grande served as east and west boundaries.
A feasibility study was conducted and published in 1997 for portions of the BHE PEL Study area that identified the following challenges:
- Increasing traffic demands on east-west mobility
- Lack of connectivity to I-10
- Congestion and the need for an alternative/parallel route to existing roadways
- Social and economic demands from population growth
- Increasing strain on local roadways and railroads associated with international trade
- Interregional trade and freight rail movements
Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) Study
The PEL study expanded on the area previously studied in 1997 and identified and documented transportation needs based on collaboration with the public as well as local, state and federal agencies. The issues identified included:
- Lack of direct access/connectivity to I-10 and Loop 375
- Congestion along east-west arterials
- High volumes of truck traffic along the existing east-west arterials
- At-grade train crossings that cause delay and impede traffic movement
- Increasing demand on area transportation infrastructure (roadways, railroads and ports of entry) associated with the increasing international and interregional trade and freight rail movements
Transportation improvement alternatives were identified through a collaborative process. The alternatives were analyzed through three levels of evaluation. The alternatives that satisfied all criteria were presented within the PEL as recommended improvements. The improvements consisted of widening existing roadways, new alignment roadways and multimodal improvements.