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Old 06-25-2016, 03:13 PM
bu2 bu2 started this thread
 
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Latest on the rebuild of I-45 downtown.
Houston's $7 billion highway project would widen I-45 and revamp city freeway network - Houston Chronicle

Picture of the project:

http://ww1.hdnux.com/photos/47/65/56...4/460x1240.jpg


From the article:

"....
Radical freeway redesign

The project, if built as tentatively planned, would widen I-45 from the Sam Houston Tollway north of downtown through the city's central business district where the freeway crosses U.S. 59. Split into three phases, the project's downtown segment is expected to cost $4 billion alone, much of that related to an unprecedented relocation, burial and redesign of most of the urban core's freeway system.

Though less complex, the segments north of the central business district also would benefit. Most of the relief, however, would come from adding managed lanes so HOV users and public transit could speed past in both directions, as opposed to the current single reversible lane.

A draft of the final plan for the entire corridor was expected to be released for public review later this year, but that likely will not happen until early 2017, said Pat Henry, director of advanced project development for the Texas Department of Transportation in Houston.

"We have got some contract issues that are slowing us up a little bit," Henry said.

Transportation officials think they can host what will be the fifth round of public meetings on the pivotal freeway project early next year, secure federal approval by 2018 and start construction on the downtown segments in 2020. The portions from downtown to Loop 610 and Loop 610 to Sam Houston Tollway would come later.

"Even if there is a hitch in the funding for the other parts we're going to start (downtown)," Allen said.

The central business district segment likely would be split into numerous projects, as the U.S. 290 widening has been, officials said.

Core changes involving downtown streets

The ambitious proposal is a total rethinking of how I-45, U.S. 59 and I-10 connect to downtown streets, and what effects the freeways have on the area. The alteration that's received the most attention is the plan to re-route I-45 to run parallel to U.S. 59 on the east side of downtown and eliminate the elevated portion along Pierce Street. The segment south of I-10 to Dallas Street would remain, but would act essentially as a local access route similar to Spur 527 in Midtown.



What to do with the eliminated freeway portion remains a source of controversy. TxDOT has said the freeway would be declared surplus property, and the city would have first crack at acquiring it if it wanted to use it. Adjacent landowners would have the next option to acquire the land. Though a source of discussion, the freeway project is expected to proceed before any decision on tearing down the Pierce Street overhead portion or creating an elevated park, as some have proposed.

"The Pierce Elevated will be the last piece of the puzzle to be removed," Henry said, noting the new freeway lanes would have to be open for TxDOT to abandon it.

Additional funding also would be needed beyond what TxDOT will spend to cap the freeway where it is buried near North Main, east of the convention center and in a small area of Midtown.

The confluence of I-45, I-10 and U.S. 59 is one of the most challenging bottlenecks in the region. Each carries more than 200,000 vehicles on a normal work day where they meet near Buffalo Bayou. Connections between the freeways are common, as they are the main modes of entry into and out of the city center.

"All of the segments are within the top 35 for most congested segments in the state and some are within the top ten," Henry said.

Redesigning where and how the freeways connect makes those transitions smoother, Henry told Houston City Council members last week.

"The big benefit from this is we are eliminating the weaving," he said, noting how some exits from the left side of the freeway slow down lanes meant for vehicles passing through.

The same benefit occurs by redesigning how I-45, U.S. 59 and Texas 288 connect in Midtown, transportation officials said.

Based on a traffic analysis by HNTB, the engineering firm working on the plans for TxDOT, traffic speeds along the downtown freeway system would increase by 24 mph with the proposed changes, meaning the entire network moves more people faster.

"In our business that is a huge number," Henry said of the anticipated traffic speed increase.

Since the proposal to revamp the city's freeways was unveiled in April 2015, transportation officials have made some minor changes, some based on comments they received during public meetings last year about better entrance and exit ramps. Redevelopment of the Cheek-Neal Coffee building east of U.S. 59 also required a rethinking of how much property the wider parallel freeway could use south of I-10.

Stakeholders, many of whom have faulted TxDOT in the past for strong-arming communities and not heeding public sentiment, praised the planning process so far.

"They are listening to a degree I've never seen," said Tory Gattis, a local blogger who has been critical of downtown public transit and freeway plans in the past, following a March 24 meeting with TxDOT and HNTB to discuss various right-of-way and design changes since mid-2015. "This is the center of the city and it is going to direct the city for the next 50 years, and I think everyone knows that and is taking some care."

Shifting priorities to expand public transit

The proposal for widening I-45, one of Houston's core freeways, comes at a time when city officials - notably Mayor Sylvester Turner - are arguing for more public transit and fewer freeway lanes.

"It just seems like we are headed down the same road," District I Councilman Robert Gallegos said.

Gallegos and others urged TxDOT to consider how the managed lanes planned along the freeway could one day be converted to some form of mass transit, particularly rail.

Metropolitan Transit Authority officials meet with TxDOT about twice monthly on the I-45 project, Allen said. Transit officials thus far have cheered the project as greatly improving park-and-ride bus service because it would allow buses to travel both directions in HOV lanes, making roundtrips faster.

In a city choking on traffic congestion, however, council members worry building for buses might not be enough.

"This is going to be your toughest audience because they are very concerned about what the city will look like in ten years," At-Large City Councilman Jack Christie told Henry during a presentation to the council's Transportation, Technology and Infrastructure committee."
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Old 06-26-2016, 02:54 AM
 
Location: The Bayou City
3,222 posts, read 4,104,134 times
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Interesting that the downtown portion remains the same $4 billion, but the cost of the sections outside of downtown increased by $1 billion..
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Old 06-26-2016, 08:00 AM
 
693 posts, read 990,200 times
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Lots of money to be made from more highway construction...
- Lucrative contracts
- Managed lane toll money
- Valuable real estate the city is salivating over

Suck it up, Houstonians, and bow before your government masters! This was never going to be about moving people efficiently. It always has been, and is, about money.

Thankfully I don't live inside the CoH and will avoid the city core like the plague for 10 years while this boondoggle plays out. I'll miss going to Astros games for a decade.
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Old 06-26-2016, 11:06 AM
 
5,463 posts, read 2,400,097 times
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instead of spending 7 bn, i would add an exit into I45-N from the pierce elevated.. Along with exits for joseph and pease, add one left exit back into I 45 N. This should be open only in the evenings which would ease some traffic coming..

Or atleast it should be extended upto 768B which cuts into I10...
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
8,778 posts, read 18,274,449 times
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Well this Would be a long, drawn-out traffic pain in the rear for commuters.
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:19 PM
bu2 bu2 started this thread
 
18,893 posts, read 9,824,056 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texas7 View Post
Well this Would be a long, drawn-out traffic pain in the rear for commuters.
They actually managed the rebuild of the Pierce ST. elevated in early 80s pretty well. It was shut down for an extended period.
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Old 06-26-2016, 05:13 PM
 
387 posts, read 433,419 times
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Screw freeways! Houston needs to expand the light rail system and possibly build an underground heavy rapid transit line to The Galleria from Downtown.
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Old 06-26-2016, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
8,778 posts, read 18,274,449 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bu2 View Post
They actually managed the rebuild of the Pierce ST. elevated in early 80s pretty well. It was shut down for an extended period.
We have a much larger population now.
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Old 06-26-2016, 09:58 PM
 
7,166 posts, read 10,457,500 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I Love Buildings View Post
Screw freeways! Houston needs to expand the light rail system and possibly build an underground heavy rapid transit line to The Galleria from Downtown.
Yes we need to expand light rail ASAP. A underground system would never happen Houston floods way to easily for that to happen
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Old 06-26-2016, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C. By way of Texas
19,781 posts, read 29,891,913 times
Reputation: 11065
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJboutit View Post
Yes we need to expand light rail ASAP. A underground system would never happen Houston floods way to easily for that to happen
Elevate it. I think though that if it's for long trips, it should be heavy rail. Something like the London Tube but above ground.

Something like this which holds more capacity:
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