By Jack Fink

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – For the first time, TxDOT unveiled five different proposals for Interstate-345, a highway that many people use but may know nothing about.

At 1.4 miles, it may be one of the shortest highways in Texas and the U.S.

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The elevated roadway along the east side of downtown Dallas connects Central Expressway and Interstate-45 between Woodall Rogers Freeway to the north and I-30 to the south.

In presenting the five options, TxDOT wants to hear from the 180,000 drivers who take I-345 each day on what they think of the options.

The concepts are based on feedback TxDOT received since December 2019.

Emily McCann, an agency spokeswoman said, “In the December 2019 public meetings, we received over 1,500 survey responses and public comments. In 2020, we met with nearly 100 stakeholder groups and ultimately that’s what helped us decide what the concepts should look like.”

The first option is to keep I-345 as is and not to make any changes.

Another option is to depress or bury the highway which is similar to Central Expressway and build continuous frontage roads.

Some city streets would be built at grade on top of the highway.

A third option is to remove the elevated highway altogether and replace it with a grid of city streets.

A fourth option is to raise the highway to today’s clearance standards and enhance the city streets below with sidewalks and areas for pedestrians and bicyclists.

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A final proposal is a hybrid, which would bury the highway and have a more traditional grid of streets on top of it at grade.

TxDOT said about 100 registered to review the plans Tuesday afternoon, June 22 at the Dallas Farmer’s Market.

They include Democratic State Senator Royce West, who has been a vocal opponent to tearing down the highway.

He said, “We’re trying to reduce congestion, not increase congestion. So the best way to do that is to depress it and if we can do it and make certain we can get some economic development out of it, that’s what we need to do.”

A TxDOT analysis shows by 2045, keeping I-345 as is would be the best option to prevent additional congestion.

Raising the highway would add 2,000 hours of congestion per weekday, while the options to depress the road and they hybrid plan would increase congestion by 4,000 thousand hours per weekday.

That’s far lower than the plan to eliminate the highway altogether, which TxDOT estimates would raise congestion by 19,000 hours per weekday.

McCann said TxDOT will consider a number of factors before consulting with the city of Dallas to make its final decision. “That study incorporates environmental constraints, stakeholder feedback, current and future development opportunities among other factors.”

There are no detailed cost estimates and no money set aside for the project yet.

TxDOT says it will continue accepting feedback from the public until the end of 2022.

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Click here to read the feasibility study.