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Regional Boards => Mid-South => Topic started by: CoreySamson on June 14, 2021, 10:58:42 PM

Title: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: CoreySamson on June 14, 2021, 10:58:42 PM
Figured that since Austin and DFW already have general threads for their freeways, Houston should probably have one.

Post here gossip, photos, project news, and really anything relating to Houston's roads.

I'll start off the discussion with a question; how is the reconstruction of the bridges on US 290 going (or has it already finished)? I remember going through that part of town late 2017 and there was construction all over the place on 290.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: thisdj78 on June 14, 2021, 11:23:18 PM
290 is pretty much finished now.

The next proposed projects (outside of what has its own major discussion threads already) would be:

Fort Bend Tollway extension to 610
SH35 Freeway from Houston to Alvin
Southeast Grand Parkway segments

In progress:

Northeast Grand Parkway segments
Tomball/Aggie Expressway extension
Westpark Tollway extension

Hereís a good read on proposed Houston projects:

https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/aede9fcd-17a0-480d-b0fd-a36c0065dbd7/2040-RTP-exec-summary-april-2016.pdf
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: Chris on June 15, 2021, 04:31:48 AM
290 is pretty much finished now.

Is the Hempstead Tollway still on the radar, or has that project faded away after the ban on new toll roads?

I believe it was originally planned to be built simultaneously with US 290, to be a system of express lanes on a parallel alignment instead of in the median.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: thisdj78 on June 15, 2021, 09:47:53 AM
290 is pretty much finished now.

Is the Hempstead Tollway still on the radar, or has that project faded away after the ban on new toll roads?

I believe it was originally planned to be built simultaneously with US 290, to be a system of express lanes on a parallel alignment instead of in the median.

I believe itís dead now. They rebuilt 290 with a separated reversible HOV/Bus lane in the middle and a high occupancy lane going each direction as part of the main lanes.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 15, 2021, 01:20:38 PM
290 is pretty much finished now.

Is the Hempstead Tollway still on the radar, or has that project faded away after the ban on new toll roads?

I believe it was originally planned to be built simultaneously with US 290, to be a system of express lanes on a parallel alignment instead of in the median.

I believe itís dead now. They rebuilt 290 with a separated reversible HOV/Bus lane in the middle and a high occupancy lane going each direction as part of the main lanes.

The Hempstead Tollway is most likely dead, and TxDOT is trying to replace it with 2x2 toll-free managed lanes along the same alignment. The managed lanes are proposed to be elevated inside BW8 to reduce right-of-way requirements. TxDOT is asking H-GAC to modify the long-term plan to include the elevated managed lanes, but as of tomorrow's meeting H-GAC is not including the change. H-GAC is also rejecting TxDOT's request for managed lanes on the West Loop and on the inner Katy Freeway.
https://www.h-gac.com/media/hgac/transportation-advisory-committee/meeting-agendas/documents/2021/june/ITEM-07.pdf (https://www.h-gac.com/media/hgac/transportation-advisory-committee/meeting-agendas/documents/2021/june/ITEM-07.pdf)
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: TXtoNJ on June 15, 2021, 01:32:51 PM
290 is pretty much finished now.

Is the Hempstead Tollway still on the radar, or has that project faded away after the ban on new toll roads?

I believe it was originally planned to be built simultaneously with US 290, to be a system of express lanes on a parallel alignment instead of in the median.

I believe itís dead now. They rebuilt 290 with a separated reversible HOV/Bus lane in the middle and a high occupancy lane going each direction as part of the main lanes.

The Hempstead Tollway is most likely dead, and TxDOT is trying to replace it with 2x2 toll-free managed lanes along the same alignment. The managed lanes are proposed to be elevated inside BW8 to reduce right-of-way requirements. TxDOT is asking H-GAC to modify the long-term plan to include the elevated managed lanes, but as of tomorrow's meeting H-GAC is not including the change. H-GAC is also rejecting TxDOT's request for managed lanes on the West Loop and on the inner Katy Freeway.
https://www.h-gac.com/media/hgac/transportation-advisory-committee/meeting-agendas/documents/2021/june/ITEM-07.pdf (https://www.h-gac.com/media/hgac/transportation-advisory-committee/meeting-agendas/documents/2021/june/ITEM-07.pdf)

The freeway expansion era is largely over in Houston, it seems. We'll probably see a few projects get finished (if in a reduced state, I don't expect I-45 north of DT to get expanded), but anything on a new ROW (except for SH 35 and everything other than Segment A of the Grand Parkway) is done, and reconstructions will almost certainly be no capacity added.

I think 25 years of PAINFUL reconstructions, along with apparently-limited benefits (even if the actual benefits were fairly good), has shifted the political climate away from expansion anywhere inside Beltway 8.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: Thegeet on June 15, 2021, 02:39:16 PM
290 is pretty much finished now.

The next proposed projects (outside of what has its own major discussion threads already) would be:

Fort Bend Tollway extension to 610
SH35 Freeway from Houston to Alvin
Southeast Grand Parkway segments

In progress:

Northeast Grand Parkway segments
Tomball/Aggie Expressway extension
Westpark Tollway extension

Hereís a good read on proposed Houston projects:

https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/aede9fcd-17a0-480d-b0fd-a36c0065dbd7/2040-RTP-exec-summary-april-2016.pdf
I saw somewhere that SH 35 will be used up in Alvin by SH 99 Grand Parkway.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: thisdj78 on June 15, 2021, 03:20:41 PM
290 is pretty much finished now.

The next proposed projects (outside of what has its own major discussion threads already) would be:

Fort Bend Tollway extension to 610
SH35 Freeway from Houston to Alvin
Southeast Grand Parkway segments

In progress:

Northeast Grand Parkway segments
Tomball/Aggie Expressway extension
Westpark Tollway extension

Hereís a good read on proposed Houston projects:

https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/aede9fcd-17a0-480d-b0fd-a36c0065dbd7/2040-RTP-exec-summary-april-2016.pdf
I saw somewhere that SH 35 will be used up in Alvin by SH 99 Grand Parkway.

Yes, the two routes will share alignment around Alvin.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: Thegeet on June 15, 2021, 03:49:23 PM
290 is pretty much finished now.

The next proposed projects (outside of what has its own major discussion threads already) would be:

Fort Bend Tollway extension to 610
SH35 Freeway from Houston to Alvin
Southeast Grand Parkway segments

In progress:

Northeast Grand Parkway segments
Tomball/Aggie Expressway extension
Westpark Tollway extension

Hereís a good read on proposed Houston projects:

https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/aede9fcd-17a0-480d-b0fd-a36c0065dbd7/2040-RTP-exec-summary-april-2016.pdf
I saw somewhere that SH 35 will be used up in Alvin by SH 99 Grand Parkway.

Yes, the two routes will share alignment around Alvin.
Nice. The median is wide enough already to accommodate a freeway, so Alvin would be an easy task, except when diverging from SH 35, which they would need to buy ROW.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: thisdj78 on June 15, 2021, 04:58:40 PM
290 is pretty much finished now.

The next proposed projects (outside of what has its own major discussion threads already) would be:

Fort Bend Tollway extension to 610
SH35 Freeway from Houston to Alvin
Southeast Grand Parkway segments

In progress:

Northeast Grand Parkway segments
Tomball/Aggie Expressway extension
Westpark Tollway extension

Hereís a good read on proposed Houston projects:

https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/aede9fcd-17a0-480d-b0fd-a36c0065dbd7/2040-RTP-exec-summary-april-2016.pdf
I saw somewhere that SH 35 will be used up in Alvin by SH 99 Grand Parkway.

Yes, the two routes will share alignment around Alvin.
Nice. The median is wide enough already to accommodate a freeway, so Alvin would be an easy task, except when diverging from SH 35, which they would need to buy ROW.

Thereís a basic map of the alignments in the link I posted above, Page 2.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: CoreySamson on June 15, 2021, 05:13:35 PM

https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/aede9fcd-17a0-480d-b0fd-a36c0065dbd7/2040-RTP-exec-summary-april-2016.pdf
Interesting that it seems HGAC has already given up on building the southeastern Grand Parkway segments until at least 2040, as per the map. Building the Mykawa and Alvin sections of the SH 35 freeway seems feasible, but how is TxDOT going to fit a freeway through downtown Pearland? The ROW isn't exactly there.

The mass transit map is even more exciting. I didn't know Houston actually had two commuter rail lines planned. Nevertheless, I see some glaring holes in that light rail map. Hobby Airport needs to be connected, and I think that there should be a line going all the way out to League City (or even Kemah or Galveston, but that's probably unfeasible). Plus I would extend the southern line all the way to Pearland given all the people who live there who work at the Medical Center.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: bwana39 on June 15, 2021, 05:23:05 PM

https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/aede9fcd-17a0-480d-b0fd-a36c0065dbd7/2040-RTP-exec-summary-april-2016.pdf
Interesting that it seems HGAC has already given up on building the southeastern Grand Parkway segments until at least 2040, as per the map. Building the Mykawa and Alvin sections of the SH 35 freeway seems feasible, but how is TxDOT going to fit a freeway through downtown Pearland? The ROW isn't exactly there.

The mass transit map is even more exciting. I didn't know Houston actually had two commuter rail lines planned. Nevertheless, I see some glaring holes in that light rail map. Hobby Airport needs to be connected, and I think that there should be a line going all the way out to League City (or even Kemah or Galveston, but that's probably unfeasible). Plus I would extend the southern line all the way to Pearland given all the people who live there who work at the Medical Center.

You know, light rail used to go to Galveston before the days of cars.

The commuter rail lines are planned subject to funding. Funding for rail is hard to come by. The matching has to come 100% from local sources. The state really doesn't do much with that.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: thisdj78 on June 15, 2021, 06:41:37 PM

https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/aede9fcd-17a0-480d-b0fd-a36c0065dbd7/2040-RTP-exec-summary-april-2016.pdf
Interesting that it seems HGAC has already given up on building the southeastern Grand Parkway segments until at least 2040, as per the map. Building the Mykawa and Alvin sections of the SH 35 freeway seems feasible, but how is TxDOT going to fit a freeway through downtown Pearland? The ROW isn't exactly there.

The route would follow the railroad ROW vs the SH35 route. Therefore, thereís some room to work with. Not much, but itís there. There will still be some property acquisition required but not as much is if they rebuilt SH35 into a freeway through Pearland:

https://goo.gl/maps/YRBLgQJMcDicH8c36
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: Thegeet on June 16, 2021, 01:14:12 AM

https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/aede9fcd-17a0-480d-b0fd-a36c0065dbd7/2040-RTP-exec-summary-april-2016.pdf
Interesting that it seems HGAC has already given up on building the southeastern Grand Parkway segments until at least 2040, as per the map. Building the Mykawa and Alvin sections of the SH 35 freeway seems feasible, but how is TxDOT going to fit a freeway through downtown Pearland? The ROW isn't exactly there.

The mass transit map is even more exciting. I didn't know Houston actually had two commuter rail lines planned. Nevertheless, I see some glaring holes in that light rail map. Hobby Airport needs to be connected, and I think that there should be a line going all the way out to League City (or even Kemah or Galveston, but that's probably unfeasible). Plus I would extend the southern line all the way to Pearland given all the people who live there who work at the Medical Center.
I agree. Itís too bad they donít want to make SH 99 a full continuous loop.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: In_Correct on June 16, 2021, 02:51:55 AM
Are they removing the rail line?
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: thisdj78 on June 16, 2021, 07:25:15 AM
Are they removing the rail line?

Sounds like they will keep the rail lines and perhaps run the mainlanes on both sides (similar to Mopac in Austin):

The proposed SH 35 tollway would be constructed as a controlled-access tolled facility with auxiliary lanes between on ramps and off ramps, consisting of varying numbers of main lanes in each direction within a typical 300-foot-wide right-of-way (ROW). Within the ROW, an approximately 50-foot-wide future transit preserve would be reserved.

https://www.pearland.com/msg/sh-35-tollway-project-info.php?p=994055

Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: CoreySamson on June 16, 2021, 02:24:49 PM

https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/aede9fcd-17a0-480d-b0fd-a36c0065dbd7/2040-RTP-exec-summary-april-2016.pdf
Interesting that it seems HGAC has already given up on building the southeastern Grand Parkway segments until at least 2040, as per the map. Building the Mykawa and Alvin sections of the SH 35 freeway seems feasible, but how is TxDOT going to fit a freeway through downtown Pearland? The ROW isn't exactly there.

The mass transit map is even more exciting. I didn't know Houston actually had two commuter rail lines planned. Nevertheless, I see some glaring holes in that light rail map. Hobby Airport needs to be connected, and I think that there should be a line going all the way out to League City (or even Kemah or Galveston, but that's probably unfeasible). Plus I would extend the southern line all the way to Pearland given all the people who live there who work at the Medical Center.
I agree. Itís too bad they donít want to make SH 99 a full continuous loop.
Yeah it is, but I get it. Fitting it through League City, Kemah, and Laporte would be extremely difficult. If money was no object, I would bypass it altogether by building a bridge from near Bayview to where 99 makes that 90 degree turn near Beach City. It would be similar in size and scope to the Sunshine Skyway bridge in Tampa Bay.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: OCGuy81 on June 17, 2021, 07:10:36 PM
What are the plans for the segment of the Grand Parkway from Sugar Land to I-45?  Is that pretty much on hold?
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 17, 2021, 07:53:54 PM
What are the plans for the segment of the Grand Parkway from Sugar Land to I-45?  Is that pretty much on hold?

The Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority is in the process of defining the alignment and purchasing right of way for the section from IH-69 (US 59) in Sugar Land to the future Fort Bend Parkway. They are also very slowly doing planning work for the Fort Bend Parkway extension which connects to the Grand Parkway.
See items 10 and 11: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Wf_eclrTX2nGJ7pcG8cMqs332d0XYb7T/view (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Wf_eclrTX2nGJ7pcG8cMqs332d0XYb7T/view)

South and east of the Grand Parkway/Fort Bend Parkway intersection, I'm not aware of any activity on Segment C, which extends to SH 288.

Section B is from SH 288 to IH-45. It has strong local support and is probably the next section to have main lane construction activity. (Some feeder road construction is possible in Sugar Land.) However, I don't know what level of activity is in progress at this time.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: armadillo speedbump on June 18, 2021, 01:38:07 AM
Galveston and Brazoria counties are in a big hurry to develop areas vulnerable to major hurricane storm surges.  While at the same time arguing that they (and Harris, Chambers counties) couldn't possibly pay for the Ike Dike without mostly Fed/state funding, and a tax on flood zone developments would be hugely unfair.

(https://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/07182000/noaa-storm-surge.png)

(If you look closely, that image is only for a Cat 4.)
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: armadillo speedbump on June 18, 2021, 02:43:01 AM
290 is pretty much finished now.

Is the Hempstead Tollway still on the radar, or has that project faded away after the ban on new toll roads?

I believe it was originally planned to be built simultaneously with US 290, to be a system of express lanes on a parallel alignment instead of in the median.

I believe itís dead now. They rebuilt 290 with a separated reversible HOV/Bus lane in the middle and a high occupancy lane going each direction as part of the main lanes.

The Hempstead Tollway is most likely dead, and TxDOT is trying to replace it with 2x2 toll-free managed lanes along the same alignment. The managed lanes are proposed to be elevated inside BW8 to reduce right-of-way requirements. TxDOT is asking H-GAC to modify the long-term plan to include the elevated managed lanes, but as of tomorrow's meeting H-GAC is not including the change. H-GAC is also rejecting TxDOT's request for managed lanes on the West Loop and on the inner Katy Freeway.
https://www.h-gac.com/media/hgac/transportation-advisory-committee/meeting-agendas/documents/2021/june/ITEM-07.pdf (https://www.h-gac.com/media/hgac/transportation-advisory-committee/meeting-agendas/documents/2021/june/ITEM-07.pdf)

The freeway expansion era is largely over in Houston, it seems. We'll probably see a few projects get finished (if in a reduced state, I don't expect I-45 north of DT to get expanded), but anything on a new ROW (except for SH 35 and everything other than Segment A of the Grand Parkway) is done, and reconstructions will almost certainly be no capacity added.

I think 25 years of PAINFUL reconstructions, along with apparently-limited benefits (even if the actual benefits were fairly good), has shifted the political climate away from expansion anywhere inside Beltway 8.

Disagree, far more than 'limited' benefits.  In the last 21 years only the DFW Combined Statistical Area has had a larger total number of population increase (not percentage) in the US (not even the LA CSA grew as much in raw numbers.)  Harris County would be choking from congestion now if those improvements hadn't been made.  That's like arguing buying new clothes for a kid from age 6 to 18 is of 'limited benefit'.

The mass transit map is even more exciting. I didn't know Houston actually had two commuter rail lines planned. Nevertheless, I see some glaring holes in that light rail map. Hobby Airport needs to be connected, and I think that there should be a line going all the way out to League City (or even Kemah or Galveston, but that's probably unfeasible). Plus I would extend the southern line all the way to Pearland given all the people who live there who work at the Medical Center.

Perhaps the best thing the Houston transit agency has done was use HOT/HOV lanes to build out a bus network for longer distance commuters.  More cost effective and extensive in the short term.

However, their commuter rail planning has been pretty much a joke.  It seems pretty clear that for much of the last couple of decades they internally viewed a commuter rail network as a threat to their precious light-rail plans.  There's only so much money to go around, and nowhere near enough to build their, and the city council's provincial LRT wish lists, before even a penny could be committed to commuter rail.  Cost, control, and politics results in just a few planned commuter rail lines (there's potential for a pretty extensive network) and ending them at outer LRT/busway transit hubs instead of providing a 1-seat ride all the way to downtown.

Don't get me wrong, LRT is important and a good way to increase and properly serve denser development inside the loop.  But a huge problem is that to stretch lines into so many councilmembers pet districts, they had to somewhat design and build on the cheap.  Thus a lot of very slow running that makes it take too long once you try and use it from very far outside the loop.  It takes 30 minutes to ride less than 7 miles from the 610 south parking lots to downtown.  Hence the wisdom of feeding the central core of LRT with suburban commuter bus lines, even though it requires a transfer (though an extensive LRT network would still require lots of transfers, that's unavoidable in a multi-hub network.)

Complicating matters is that after the South Main line they've focused more on putting LRT in councilmembers pet districts over serving major job hubs beyond downtown and the Med Ctr, like the Galleria area.  The ridership numbers would be higher, if accurately estimated (transit agencies are great about manipulating the estimates to show what they and their political masters want.  To the point of flat out lying, dig down and look at the assumptions they make in creating their estimates.)  But of course the race card is always ready to be played, so we got certain favored mostly residential (and to be fair, some dense redevelopment potential) neighborhoods served instead.

I went to a Metro meeting about their mid and long range transit plan they were pushing at the time (right after they told TXDOT that they wanted their portion of the Katy Fwy rebuild to be bus HOT only, no LRT or commuter rail.
 So yeah, long ago.)  They flat out lied to the audience, telling them what they wanted to hear.  That the proposed LRT line from downtown to Intercontinental Airport using surface streets would be super fast because it would be elevated the entire way and would be one of the first in line and funding shouldn't be a hindrance.  Ha!  They knew they could never afford elevated along the entire route, they knew the cost/rider wouldn't meet the fed requirements at the time for project eligibility, and they knew that any airport line, if routed up surface streets, would be a phased buildout because of distance.  And they knew their time estimates were just bait and switch unachievable for such a routing.

But on the flip side, when asked why they weren't proposing in early or mid  phases commuter rail to downtown on the existing rail corridor towards Galveston, it was one reason after another why it just wasn't feasible.  Too expensive because it required 3 grade separations over major freight lines.  True, yet a starter single track, off the shelf, diesel commuter rail line built in that freight RR ROW to Clear Lake City would still be much cheaper than dual electrified LRT tracks built into street ROW, and the more complex grade separations that parallel LRT line just to Harrisburg would require.

Again, I think their ultimate choice of suburban HOT bus feeding central LRT was mostly the right choice.  I was just disgusted at the pandering and widespread dishonesty I've seen for years out of Metro, and their jealous provincialism.  They should have preserved corridor in the planned I-45 reroute and reroute of the downtown freight line, so as to serve a future commuter rail hub station at either the Post Office site or the bus barns on the east side of the UH-Downtown LRT station.  Either site could be connected to the downtown tunnel system with enclosed walkways and perhaps moving sidewalks, which would allow many commuters to walk the last segment to their jobs no matter how hot or rainy it gets.  That would encourage some conversion from car commutes, and reduce overloading of the Main Street LRT line.  But instead they've always gone with the further away future Burnett hub station, which every plan I've seen is would not have the footprint to handle enough tracks for a full CR network and possible intercity/HSR network.  Short-sighted. 

Commuter rail is complex, and probably not yet ripe for development in Houston.  You have to work out agreements with the freight railroad owners, and that is not guaranteed.  Union Pacific RR killed off the proposed SA-Austin commuter rail line that wanted to share its ROW.  Though perhaps the time is right for Congress to finally take on the freight RR monopoly/duopoly and reduce some of their leverage.  But that would require Congress to go some big donors to their campaigns.

So bottom line, unless Harris County and Houston have a big change in preferences, a CR network will be a missed future opportunity that will likely never happen.  DFW, Miami-Ft.L-Palm Beach, Austin-SA, Denver, Salt Lake City, DC, and Seattle have all figured out how to properly plan for an integrated network of bus, LRT, and CR where appropriate.  Houston?  Doesn't seem like they'll ever learn.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: Chris on June 18, 2021, 06:48:39 AM
Houston is not nearly as badly congested as many people think it is. It ranked #224 in the world in the 2019 TomTom Congestion Index, which is a very low position for a metropolitan area of this size and with a huge population growth.

https://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/traffic-index/ranking/
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: TXtoNJ on June 18, 2021, 11:30:01 AM
290 is pretty much finished now.

Is the Hempstead Tollway still on the radar, or has that project faded away after the ban on new toll roads?

I believe it was originally planned to be built simultaneously with US 290, to be a system of express lanes on a parallel alignment instead of in the median.

I believe itís dead now. They rebuilt 290 with a separated reversible HOV/Bus lane in the middle and a high occupancy lane going each direction as part of the main lanes.

The Hempstead Tollway is most likely dead, and TxDOT is trying to replace it with 2x2 toll-free managed lanes along the same alignment. The managed lanes are proposed to be elevated inside BW8 to reduce right-of-way requirements. TxDOT is asking H-GAC to modify the long-term plan to include the elevated managed lanes, but as of tomorrow's meeting H-GAC is not including the change. H-GAC is also rejecting TxDOT's request for managed lanes on the West Loop and on the inner Katy Freeway.
https://www.h-gac.com/media/hgac/transportation-advisory-committee/meeting-agendas/documents/2021/june/ITEM-07.pdf (https://www.h-gac.com/media/hgac/transportation-advisory-committee/meeting-agendas/documents/2021/june/ITEM-07.pdf)

The freeway expansion era is largely over in Houston, it seems. We'll probably see a few projects get finished (if in a reduced state, I don't expect I-45 north of DT to get expanded), but anything on a new ROW (except for SH 35 and everything other than Segment A of the Grand Parkway) is done, and reconstructions will almost certainly be no capacity added.

I think 25 years of PAINFUL reconstructions, along with apparently-limited benefits (even if the actual benefits were fairly good), has shifted the political climate away from expansion anywhere inside Beltway 8.

Disagree, far more than 'limited' benefits.  In the last 21 years only the DFW Combined Statistical Area has had a larger total number of population increase (not percentage) in the US (not even the LA CSA grew as much in raw numbers.)  Harris County would be choking from congestion now if those improvements hadn't been made.  That's like arguing buying new clothes for a kid from age 6 to 18 is of 'limited benefit'.

Did you miss both the "apparently" and the "(even if the actual benefits were pretty good)" parts?

The problem isn't what came out of the construction, it's that the construction was as bad as it was (partially due to TxDOT practices in the Houston area that they show absolutely no signs of willingness to reconsider), and there are still traffic jams. You can shout until you're blue in the face that it's because of growth, but people don't necessarily want to hear it.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 18, 2021, 01:29:08 PM
The metro Houston area has grown a great deal. That is a primary source of traffic congestion.

But another source of traffic snarls is due to the outdated design of Houston's surface street grid. There are virtually no filtering mechanisms designed in the surface street systems within the I-610 loop. It's a free for all of intersections and driveways emptying out directly into every major surface arterial. And then there's lots and lots and lots of traffic lights. In Houston it's possible for surface street traffic grid-lock to end up overflowing onto the freeway exit ramps and then the freeways themselves.

Going far enough out from the city core, near Loop 8 and beyond, there are newer neighborhoods and developments where more thought was put into street design. Look at a wealthy area, like The Woodlands, and you'll see surface arterials done right. There are very few intersections and a very limited number of driveways. The neighborhood and retail developments have their own self-contained street grids with only a limited number of outlets onto the main roads. That can help control the amount of traffic flow going to something nearby like a freeway. This kind of approach with surface street design combined with ample freeway capacity can make traffic less of a headache. The design philosophy isn't perfect though. Major retail developments are traffic magnets unto themselves. And when they're right next to a freeway problems can happen anyway.

At any rate, one thing that needs to happen in Houston within the I-610 loop is a big overhaul of surface streets.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: longhorn on June 18, 2021, 09:47:46 PM
290 is pretty much finished now.

Is the Hempstead Tollway still on the radar, or has that project faded away after the ban on new toll roads?

I believe it was originally planned to be built simultaneously with US 290, to be a system of express lanes on a parallel alignment instead of in the median.

I believe itís dead now. They rebuilt 290 with a separated reversible HOV/Bus lane in the middle and a high occupancy lane going each direction as part of the main lanes.

The Hempstead Tollway is most likely dead, and TxDOT is trying to replace it with 2x2 toll-free managed lanes along the same alignment. The managed lanes are proposed to be elevated inside BW8 to reduce right-of-way requirements. TxDOT is asking H-GAC to modify the long-term plan to include the elevated managed lanes, but as of tomorrow's meeting H-GAC is not including the change. H-GAC is also rejecting TxDOT's request for managed lanes on the West Loop and on the inner Katy Freeway.
https://www.h-gac.com/media/hgac/transportation-advisory-committee/meeting-agendas/documents/2021/june/ITEM-07.pdf (https://www.h-gac.com/media/hgac/transportation-advisory-committee/meeting-agendas/documents/2021/june/ITEM-07.pdf)

The freeway expansion era is largely over in Houston, it seems. We'll probably see a few projects get finished (if in a reduced state, I don't expect I-45 north of DT to get expanded), but anything on a new ROW (except for SH 35 and everything other than Segment A of the Grand Parkway) is done, and reconstructions will almost certainly be no capacity added.

I think 25 years of PAINFUL reconstructions, along with apparently-limited benefits (even if the actual benefits were fairly good), has shifted the political climate away from expansion anywhere inside Beltway 8.

Disagree, far more than 'limited' benefits.  In the last 21 years only the DFW Combined Statistical Area has had a larger total number of population increase (not percentage) in the US (not even the LA CSA grew as much in raw numbers.)  Harris County would be choking from congestion now if those improvements hadn't been made.  That's like arguing buying new clothes for a kid from age 6 to 18 is of 'limited benefit'.

The mass transit map is even more exciting. I didn't know Houston actually had two commuter rail lines planned. Nevertheless, I see some glaring holes in that light rail map. Hobby Airport needs to be connected, and I think that there should be a line going all the way out to League City (or even Kemah or Galveston, but that's probably unfeasible). Plus I would extend the southern line all the way to Pearland given all the people who live there who work at the Medical Center.

Perhaps the best thing the Houston transit agency has done was use HOT/HOV lanes to build out a bus network for longer distance commuters.  More cost effective and extensive in the short term.

However, their commuter rail planning has been pretty much a joke.  It seems pretty clear that for much of the last couple of decades they internally viewed a commuter rail network as a threat to their precious light-rail plans.  There's only so much money to go around, and nowhere near enough to build their, and the city council's provincial LRT wish lists, before even a penny could be committed to commuter rail.  Cost, control, and politics results in just a few planned commuter rail lines (there's potential for a pretty extensive network) and ending them at outer LRT/busway transit hubs instead of providing a 1-seat ride all the way to downtown.

Don't get me wrong, LRT is important and a good way to increase and properly serve denser development inside the loop.  But a huge problem is that to stretch lines into so many councilmembers pet districts, they had to somewhat design and build on the cheap.  Thus a lot of very slow running that makes it take too long once you try and use it from very far outside the loop.  It takes 30 minutes to ride less than 7 miles from the 610 south parking lots to downtown.  Hence the wisdom of feeding the central core of LRT with suburban commuter bus lines, even though it requires a transfer (though an extensive LRT network would still require lots of transfers, that's unavoidable in a multi-hub network.)

Complicating matters is that after the South Main line they've focused more on putting LRT in councilmembers pet districts over serving major job hubs beyond downtown and the Med Ctr, like the Galleria area.  The ridership numbers would be higher, if accurately estimated (transit agencies are great about manipulating the estimates to show what they and their political masters want.  To the point of flat out lying, dig down and look at the assumptions they make in creating their estimates.)  But of course the race card is always ready to be played, so we got certain favored mostly residential (and to be fair, some dense redevelopment potential) neighborhoods served instead.

I went to a Metro meeting about their mid and long range transit plan they were pushing at the time (right after they told TXDOT that they wanted their portion of the Katy Fwy rebuild to be bus HOT only, no LRT or commuter rail.
 So yeah, long ago.)  They flat out lied to the audience, telling them what they wanted to hear.  That the proposed LRT line from downtown to Intercontinental Airport using surface streets would be super fast because it would be elevated the entire way and would be one of the first in line and funding shouldn't be a hindrance.  Ha!  They knew they could never afford elevated along the entire route, they knew the cost/rider wouldn't meet the fed requirements at the time for project eligibility, and they knew that any airport line, if routed up surface streets, would be a phased buildout because of distance.  And they knew their time estimates were just bait and switch unachievable for such a routing.

But on the flip side, when asked why they weren't proposing in early or mid  phases commuter rail to downtown on the existing rail corridor towards Galveston, it was one reason after another why it just wasn't feasible.  Too expensive because it required 3 grade separations over major freight lines.  True, yet a starter single track, off the shelf, diesel commuter rail line built in that freight RR ROW to Clear Lake City would still be much cheaper than dual electrified LRT tracks built into street ROW, and the more complex grade separations that parallel LRT line just to Harrisburg would require.

Again, I think their ultimate choice of suburban HOT bus feeding central LRT was mostly the right choice.  I was just disgusted at the pandering and widespread dishonesty I've seen for years out of Metro, and their jealous provincialism.  They should have preserved corridor in the planned I-45 reroute and reroute of the downtown freight line, so as to serve a future commuter rail hub station at either the Post Office site or the bus barns on the east side of the UH-Downtown LRT station.  Either site could be connected to the downtown tunnel system with enclosed walkways and perhaps moving sidewalks, which would allow many commuters to walk the last segment to their jobs no matter how hot or rainy it gets.  That would encourage some conversion from car commutes, and reduce overloading of the Main Street LRT line.  But instead they've always gone with the further away future Burnett hub station, which every plan I've seen is would not have the footprint to handle enough tracks for a full CR network and possible intercity/HSR network.  Short-sighted. 

Commuter rail is complex, and probably not yet ripe for development in Houston.  You have to work out agreements with the freight railroad owners, and that is not guaranteed.  Union Pacific RR killed off the proposed SA-Austin commuter rail line that wanted to share its ROW.  Though perhaps the time is right for Congress to finally take on the freight RR monopoly/duopoly and reduce some of their leverage.  But that would require Congress to go some big donors to their campaigns.

So bottom line, unless Harris County and Houston have a big change in preferences, a CR network will be a missed future opportunity that will likely never happen.  DFW, Miami-Ft.L-Palm Beach, Austin-SA, Denver, Salt Lake City, DC, and Seattle have all figured out how to properly plan for an integrated network of bus, LRT, and CR where appropriate.  Houston?  Doesn't seem like they'll ever learn.

What Houston needs mass transit wise is a Metro like Washington DC's limited spokes, everyone connecting in the center, like their HOT bus system. It would move more people and real estate developers will make money building near the stations, just as they do now in DC. If you want a Metro system go big but simple, not a single LRT line and think its progress.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: CoreySamson on June 25, 2021, 07:16:11 PM
Was recently looking at TxDOT's excellent  Project Tracker (https://apps3.txdot.gov/apps-cq/project_tracker/), and I noticed several corridors are being studied for widening:

- Katy Freeway between I-45 and I-610 (presumably as part of the Katy rebuild)
- SH 35 between Alvin and Angleton from 2 lanes to 4 lanes
- SH 288 between the future Grand Parkway and SH 332 from 4 lanes to 6 lanes
- SH 332 between 288 and Brazoria from 2 lanes to 4 lanes
- SH 249 from I-45 to Beltway 8
- Several other FM roads from 2 lanes to 4 lanes

I knew about the Katy Freeway rebuild, but I was pleasantly surprised to see 288 on the widening list. That section is pretty busy and (at the risk of sounding like FritzOwl) is sorely needed. The roadway will also be redone at about the same time.

The website also lists Grand Parkway segment C-2 as beginning construction in a few years.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: TheBox on July 02, 2021, 12:58:52 PM
Was recently looking at TxDOT's excellent  Project Tracker (https://apps3.txdot.gov/apps-cq/project_tracker/), and I noticed several corridors are being studied for widening:

- Katy Freeway between I-45 and I-610 (presumably as part of the Katy rebuild)
- SH 35 between Alvin and Angleton from 2 lanes to 4 lanes
- SH 288 between the future Grand Parkway and SH 332 from 4 lanes to 6 lanes
- SH 332 between 288 and Brazoria from 2 lanes to 4 lanes
- SH 249 from I-45 to Beltway 8
- Several other FM roads from 2 lanes to 4 lanes

I knew about the Katy Freeway rebuild, but I was pleasantly surprised to see 288 on the widening list. That section is pretty busy and (at the risk of sounding like FritzOwl) is sorely needed. The roadway will also be redone at about the same time.

The website also lists Grand Parkway segment C-2 as beginning construction in a few years.

With SH 249, are they just gonna pull a S. Main/US-90 Alt (between I-610 to S Gessener Rd) or are they gonna pull a Westpark Tollway (where the build the frontage roads on the two sides before building the freeway or tollway itself)?

Also, will the extension be a freeway or a tollway?
And will there be direct connector @ I-45? (unlike with S. Main/US-90 Alt @ I-610)
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: MaxConcrete on July 02, 2021, 10:07:03 PM

With SH 249, are they just gonna pull a S. Main/US-90 Alt (between I-610 to S Gessener Rd) or are they gonna pull a Westpark Tollway (where the build the frontage roads on the two sides before building the freeway or tollway itself)?

Also, will the extension be a freeway or a tollway?
And will there be direct connector @ I-45? (unlike with S. Main/US-90 Alt @ I-610)

It is going to be a regular street with 8 lanes. I just looked at the schematic and it has 19 traffic signals between IH-45 and BW8.

I would have liked to see a design like South Main, but that won't happen.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: Anthony_JK on July 04, 2021, 02:06:55 AM
Probably no need for a freeway here, since the Sam Houston Tollway offers the needed access from 249 to I-45.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: thisdj78 on July 04, 2021, 03:24:51 AM
Probably no need for a freeway here, since the Sam Houston Tollway offers the needed access from 249 to I-45.

I travel on the road often when visiting family, itís a high traffic corridor and it could definitely use a limited access upgrade IMO. Especially the stretch between BW8 and Montgomery Rd.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: achilles765 on July 18, 2021, 10:47:23 AM
Probably no need for a freeway here, since the Sam Houston Tollway offers the needed access from 249 to I-45.

I travel on the road often when visiting family, itís a high traffic corridor and it could definitely use a limited access upgrade IMO. Especially the stretch between BW8 and Montgomery Rd.

When I lived in magnolia and commutes downtown with my grandmother everyday, traffic was always heavy enough to warrant a freeway or some kind of limited access. Frankly that stretch has more traffic than south main, hardy, Westpark, or the new tollway section through tomball.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: CoreySamson on July 19, 2021, 11:28:59 AM
The new Elysian Viaduct bridge connecting downtown and the north side has opened:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/Traffic-returns-to-Elysian-Viaduct-Houston-s-16320152.php
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: achilles765 on July 20, 2021, 07:13:54 PM
The new Elysian Viaduct bridge connecting downtown and the north side has opened:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/Traffic-returns-to-Elysian-Viaduct-Houston-s-16320152.php

this is good news.  I live in the east end and this could be a good alternate route when the train is stopped on Hirsch
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: TheBox on July 22, 2021, 10:11:54 PM
Whenever they start working on this "Alvin Freeway (or Tollway)", which will be over Mywaka Rd for a good portion of it.
Are they just gonna pull a US-90 Alt/S. Main (between I-610 and S Gessner), or are they gonna pull a I-610/West Loop over the Post Oak Roads (between S. Post Oak and the Galleria area)?

i'm leaning more towards the former, cause it looks like there's not much space on Mykawa Rd, at least to me
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: thisdj78 on July 23, 2021, 12:49:28 AM
Whenever they start working on this "Alvin Freeway (or Tollway)", which will be over Mywaka Rd for a good portion of it.
Are they just gonna pull a US-90 Alt/S. Main (between I-610 and S Gessner), or are they gonna pull a I-610/West Loop over the Post Oak Roads (between S. Post Oak and the Galleria area)?

i'm leaning more towards the former, cause it looks like there's not much space on Mykawa Rd, at least to me

Thereís enough space, they probably will run the train tracks down the median like MOPAC freeway in Austin, which isnít a very wide freeway but yet they still managed to add two new toll lanes 6+ years ago.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: TXtoNJ on July 26, 2021, 10:32:34 AM
Whenever they start working on this "Alvin Freeway (or Tollway)", which will be over Mywaka Rd for a good portion of it.
Are they just gonna pull a US-90 Alt/S. Main (between I-610 and S Gessner), or are they gonna pull a I-610/West Loop over the Post Oak Roads (between S. Post Oak and the Galleria area)?

i'm leaning more towards the former, cause it looks like there's not much space on Mykawa Rd, at least to me

Thereís enough space, they probably will run the train tracks down the median like MOPAC freeway in Austin, which isnít a very wide freeway but yet they still managed to add two new toll lanes 6+ years ago.

Yes. There are 200 ft available on the corridor. With Mykawa as the feeders (44 ft) and the rail corridor subtracted (36 ft), that leaves 120 ft available for mainlanes. Three 12 ft lanes per side (72 ft) gives you 48 ft to work with for everything else.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: CoreySamson on March 15, 2022, 04:37:40 PM
A little update on two projects in the Houston metro I've had the pleasure of visiting in the past month (sorry, no pictures):

TX 146 Kemah/Clear Lake Bridge & Freeway Project
Didn't get a great look at this, as I was in a bus and didn't go across the bridge, but the southern approach to the bridge is coming along nicely. The metal beams forming the bridge deck all are in place. No work appears to be done on the SB feeder (assuming there will be one). This will all be completed by early 2023.

TX 36 Widening, Western Brazoria County & Fort Bend County
I was almost completely unaware that this project was so far along. The project to expand TX 36 from 2 to 4 lanes extends from Pleak to West Columbia (for those unfamiliar, this is south-southwest of the Houston metro). I drove the section south of Damon this weekend. TxDOT is twinning the current two lane road, making a divided highway with quite a nice, large median. For the section I drove, concrete was almost completely poured and ready except for the bridge over Varner Creek, which looks way behind schedule at first glance (only piers atm, but lots of work vehicles were in the area, so perhaps TxDOT saved it for last). There will be no bypasses of any towns along the route, and it is supposed to be complete by October of this year, but I would be surprised if it opens any earlier than 2023.

That being said, this is a valuable project that will increase safety and evacuation capacity, as I have argued for a while.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: kernals12 on June 21, 2022, 07:44:30 AM
Is it just me or does Houston have a less ambitious highway improvement plan than Texas' other metros? Is it just because NHHIP is diverting all the money and attention?
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: Bobby5280 on June 21, 2022, 11:03:06 AM
There's actually quite a lot of highway improvement activity happening in the Houston metro outside of the downtown area. It's the downtown zone that is the problem. The I-45/I-69/I-10 project has been getting hit with all sorts of road blocks.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: CoreySamson on June 21, 2022, 01:41:01 PM
Is it just me or does Houston have a less ambitious highway improvement plan than Texas' other metros? Is it just because NHHIP is diverting all the money and attention?
There's actually quite a lot of highway improvement activity happening in the Houston metro outside of the downtown area. It's the downtown zone that is the problem. The I-45/I-69/I-10 project has been getting hit with all sorts of road blocks.
The second post in this thread has a lot of great information about new projects in the Houston area that are coming up soon.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: The Ghostbuster on June 21, 2022, 05:41:27 PM
Are there any plans to fill in the Crosby Freeway "main lane" gaps over Greens Bayou, and near Purple Sage Rd.? Also, will the Hardy Toll Road be extended, and are they still planning to tear down the Pierce Elvated?
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: bwana39 on June 21, 2022, 06:40:56 PM
Are there any plans to fill in the Crosby Freeway "main lane" gaps over Greens Bayou, and near Purple Sage Rd.? Also, will the Hardy Toll Road be extended, and are they still planning to tear down the Pierce Elvated?

The County (HCTRA is a sub-unit of Harris County)has recently made some property purchases that seem to indicate the HTR will be extended past I-610. That said, the commissioners court's actions tends to change after each election. 

The official plan is still to tear down the Pierce Elevated WHEN the revised downtown loop putting I-45 and I-69 together around the southeast side of downtown and I-45 and I-10 on the north side of Downtown.  This is PROBABLY 15 years off if they start the process back tomorrow.

Don't know anything about the Crosby freeway (US-90).  You have to remember, though, SH-288 was that way for DECADES. SH -114 in north Texas likewise.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 21, 2022, 07:49:54 PM
Are there any plans to fill in the Crosby Freeway "main lane" gaps over Greens Bayou, and near Purple Sage Rd.? Also, will the Hardy Toll Road be extended, and are they still planning to tear down the Pierce Elvated?

The County (HCTRA is a sub-unit of Harris County)has recently made some property purchases that seem to indicate the HTR will be extended past I-610. That said, the commissioners court's actions tends to change after each election. 

The official plan is still to tear down the Pierce Elevated WHEN the revised downtown loop putting I-45 and I-69 together around the southeast side of downtown and I-45 and I-10 on the north side of Downtown.  This is PROBABLY 15 years off if they start the process back tomorrow.

Don't know anything about the Crosby freeway (US-90).  You have to remember, though, SH-288 was that way for DECADES. SH -114 in north Texas likewise.

There is no "official" plan for the Pierce Elevated. I'm not even aware of any informal plans. If NHHIP moves forward to construction, there are folks who want to remove the Pierce Elevated, folks who are advocating to turn it into a park (like the NYC High Line), and conceptual animation for a Houston managed lanes network (the REAL network) shows it as a transportation link in that system. If NHHIP proceeds to construction, work to relocate I-45 off the Pierce Elevated would start in 2028 at the earliest and more likely 2030 or after. So it would be the mid-2030s before I-45 is actually relocated.

As for the Hardy Toll Road, there is a separate thread about it. Currently it is on hold in an uncertain state, with the current majority of Harris County Commissioner's court against it. But there are longstanding agreements for the county to build it.

As for the Crosby Freeway, the missing links of main lanes are not scheduled in the 10-year plan.
https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/bca078be-2e62-4d11-9df8-3f384c439af2/fy-2021-draft-ten-year-plan.pdf (https://www.h-gac.com/getmedia/bca078be-2e62-4d11-9df8-3f384c439af2/fy-2021-draft-ten-year-plan.pdf)

Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: Stephane Dumas on June 21, 2022, 08:05:59 PM
Speaking of uncertain state, Wikipedia still mention the Hempstead tollway who's might be now put on the ice. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_290#Future
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: jgb191 on June 22, 2022, 12:03:18 AM
Is it just me or does Houston have a less ambitious highway improvement plan than Texas' other metros? Is it just because NHHIP is diverting all the money and attention?


There is still a shopping list of upgrades all over the Greater metro area; so far in this 2020's decade alone:

1.  The I-45/SH-35 (the Alvin exit) interchange is being built.
2.  The length of I-45 from NASA to Texas City is being expanded.
3.  The I-69/I-610 (near the Galleria) interchange is being revised.
4.  The length of I-69 from Sugar Land to Rosenburg is being expanded.
5.  The length of I-10 West freeway expansion might be soon beginning from Katy to Brookshire.
6.  The length of US-290 is being expanded from I-610 to FM-1960.
7.  The SH-288/Beltway 8 interchange....might even be opened by now.
8.  SH-288/I-610 South interchange is being built.
9.  The SH-288 South Freeway is being expanded from Downtown to Pearland (and then to be upgraded to interstate standards all the way to Freeport in the future so I was informed on here)

Those are just off the top of my mind.  Anything else have I not mentioned yet?
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: Stephane Dumas on June 22, 2022, 07:30:22 AM
7.  The SH-288/Beltway 8 interchange....might even be opened by now.

It's now open and fully functionnal from what I saw on Google Streetview. https://goo.gl/maps/jnJ1RBP5jKUc5Zps7
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: kernals12 on June 22, 2022, 08:23:23 AM
Is it just me or does Houston have a less ambitious highway improvement plan than Texas' other metros? Is it just because NHHIP is diverting all the money and attention?


There is still a shopping list of upgrades all over the Greater metro area; so far in this 2020's decade alone:

1.  The I-45/SH-35 (the Alvin exit) interchange is being built.
2.  The length of I-45 from NASA to Texas City is being expanded.
3.  The I-69/I-610 (near the Galleria) interchange is being revised.
4.  The length of I-69 from Sugar Land to Rosenburg is being expanded.
5.  The length of I-10 West freeway expansion might be soon beginning from Katy to Brookshire.
6.  The length of US-290 is being expanded from I-610 to FM-1960.
7.  The SH-288/Beltway 8 interchange....might even be opened by now.
8.  SH-288/I-610 South interchange is being built.
9.  The SH-288 South Freeway is being expanded from Downtown to Pearland (and then to be upgraded to interstate standards all the way to Freeport in the future so I was informed on here)

Those are just off the top of my mind.  Anything else have I not mentioned yet?

(https://i.imgur.com/oxJjLAD.png)

Here's what's in Dallas-Fort Worth's 2045 plan, at least before the update which added several new projects, most notably a freeway along US 380.

I'm seeing lots of interchange projects. And if we look at
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: bwana39 on June 22, 2022, 08:29:27 AM
Are there any plans to fill in the Crosby Freeway "main lane" gaps over Greens Bayou, and near Purple Sage Rd.? Also, will the Hardy Toll Road be extended, and are they still planning to tear down the Pierce Elevated?

 

The official plan is still to tear down the Pierce Elevated WHEN the revised downtown loop putting I-45 and I-69 together around the southeast side of downtown and I-45 and I-10 on the north side of Downtown.  This is PROBABLY 15 years off if they start the process back tomorrow.


There is no "official" plan for the Pierce Elevated. I'm not even aware of any informal plans. If NHHIP moves forward to construction, there are folks who want to remove the Pierce Elevated, folks who are advocating to turn it into a park (like the NYC High Line), and conceptual animation for a Houston managed lanes network (the REAL network) shows it as a transportation link in that system. If NHHIP proceeds to construction, work to relocate I-45 off the Pierce Elevated would start in 2028 at the earliest and more likely 2030 or after. So it would be the mid-2030s before I-45 is actually relocated.


Max you are technically correct.What are the only thing seemingly set in stone for the Pierce Elevated is the fact that once (if?) I-45 is relocated that that the Pierce Elevated would be "Surplus R.O.W. "   https://www.txdot.gov/nhhip.html

Each of the options you have mentioned has been proposed. One option imagines it as a HOV or other express lane configuration. A different option sees it reimagined as a deck park. The other seeming option is removal and repurposing the R.O.W. The first two seemingly negate the purpose of relocating the freeway. Even a park (25' above the ground) doesn't "reconnect" the neighborhood(s).

For the urbanists to be happy, it has to be removed. For it to add commercial property value, it has to come out. For it to remove the "barrier" between Downtown and mid-town, it has to come out. While expansion of capacity in its current footprint is nearly impossible, expanded capacity was never a part of this discussion except for TxDOT. The sole reason for moving I-45 was the urbanists (and covertly; the developers) desire to remove the Pierce Elevated.

If I-610 had been the inner freeway loop as opposed to I-10, US-59, and I-45 back in the 1960's we wouldn't be having this discussion. Would downtown be a better place if The  Southwest freeway had just ended in the current Spur-527, the Gulf Freeway had ended in Pease and Jefferson Streets, the North Freeway had ended in Lamar and Dallas Streets, and the Eastex Freeway had ended in Jackson and Chenevert Streets? Maybe. The problem is we have close to 6 decades of traffic patterns that now would dictate needing freeway access across downtown.  Removing the Pierce elevated changes that minimally.

For me, removing it is a boondoggle. Expanding the capacity around the east and north sides of downtown might be a need. For me, it would make more sense to renumber the western side (Pierce elevated and the southern reaches of the North Freeway) as SH-288 once the new expansion is complete. This  would be an option especially with the main direction of I-45 rerouted by prevailing intersections.

This all said. Nothing short of removing it down to the dirt will make the urbanists happy!
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: CoreySamson on June 22, 2022, 09:31:27 AM
Is it just me or does Houston have a less ambitious highway improvement plan than Texas' other metros? Is it just because NHHIP is diverting all the money and attention?


There is still a shopping list of upgrades all over the Greater metro area; so far in this 2020's decade alone:

1.  The I-45/SH-35 (the Alvin exit) interchange is being built.
2.  The length of I-45 from NASA to Texas City is being expanded.
3.  The I-69/I-610 (near the Galleria) interchange is being revised.
4.  The length of I-69 from Sugar Land to Rosenburg is being expanded.
5.  The length of I-10 West freeway expansion might be soon beginning from Katy to Brookshire.
6.  The length of US-290 is being expanded from I-610 to FM-1960.
7.  The SH-288/Beltway 8 interchange....might even be opened by now. Now Open
8.  SH-288/I-610 South interchange is being built. Now Open
9.  The SH-288 South Freeway is being expanded from Downtown to Pearland (and then to be upgraded to interstate standards all the way to Freeport in the future so I was informed on here) The recent work on the toll lanes is all finished to Manvel. I'm aware of long-term plans to 3x3 288 to Lake Jackson and potentially 4x2x2x4ing it in the Houston metro, but I don't know when that gets done. The end goal is for it to be a freeway all the way to Freeport. Speaking of Freeport, the TX 288/TX 332/TX 288 B interchange in that area was just recently refurbished with new pavement and more lanes.

Those are just off the top of my mind.  Anything else have I not mentioned yet?
10. The Fort Bend Tollway is getting extended.
11. The Beltway 8 Ship Channel bridge is being built right now.
12. SH 146 is getting some freeway upgrades in and around the Kemah area.
13. The I-610 Ship Channel bridge will be rebuilt sometime in the next 10-20 years.
14. Lots of the Grand Parkway still needs to be built.
15. A new freeway paralleling TX-35 will be built all the way to Alvin (as you hinted at)
16. The I-69/TX 288 interchange is going to be rebuilt at some point, regardless of whether NHHIP goes through, I believe.
17. Speaking of that, that's not even including the NHHIP if it does fall through. That would rebuild I-45 on the north side and radically shift downtown freeways.
18. The Westpark Tollway will be extended.
19. Kind of a stretch, but I believe the Aggieland Expressway will be extended to near Navasota.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: bwana39 on June 22, 2022, 12:24:46 PM
Is it just me or does Houston have a less ambitious highway improvement plan than Texas' other metros? Is it just because NHHIP is diverting all the money and attention?

Yes, I think the plan(s) in Houston is more modest. The North Texas plans have always been more ambitious. The outcomes in reality have tended to be similar. North Texas plans and never builds or significantly delays many things on the plans. The stuff in Houston tends to be more likely to be built and in a smaller timeline.

The planning in North Texas today tends to be more coordinated and the planning in the Houston area tends to be more driven by the individual counties and to a lesser degree the individual cities.

Add to this, Houston (proper) and Harris County is more progressive. North Texas seems to be significantly more conservative. Dallas county and the city of Dallas are not firmly under the control of those who support the urbanist ideals.  Harris County and to a lesser extent the city of Houston are firmly controlled by people who seem to support the urbanist dogma.
Title: Re: General Houston-area projects thread
Post by: Plutonic Panda on July 03, 2022, 11:15:03 AM
Is it just me or does Houston have a less ambitious highway improvement plan than Texas' other metros? Is it just because NHHIP is diverting all the money and attention?


There is still a shopping list of upgrades all over the Greater metro area; so far in this 2020's decade alone:

1.  The I-45/SH-35 (the Alvin exit) interchange is being built.
2.  The length of I-45 from NASA to Texas City is being expanded.
3.  The I-69/I-610 (near the Galleria) interchange is being revised.
4.  The length of I-69 from Sugar Land to Rosenburg is being expanded.
5.  The length of I-10 West freeway expansion might be soon beginning from Katy to Brookshire.
6.  The length of US-290 is being expanded from I-610 to FM-1960.
7.  The SH-288/Beltway 8 interchange....might even be opened by now. Now Open
8.  SH-288/I-610 South interchange is being built. Now Open
9.  The SH-288 South Freeway is being expanded from Downtown to Pearland (and then to be upgraded to interstate standards all the way to Freeport in the future so I was informed on here) The recent work on the toll lanes is all finished to Manvel. I'm aware of long-term plans to 3x3 288 to Lake Jackson and potentially 4x2x2x4ing it in the Houston metro, but I don't know when that gets done. The end goal is for it to be a freeway all the way to Freeport. Speaking of Freeport, the TX 288/TX 332/TX 288 B interchange in that area was just recently refurbished with new pavement and more lanes.

Those are just off the top of my mind.  Anything else have I not mentioned yet?
10. The Fort Bend Tollway is getting extended.
11. The Beltway 8 Ship Channel bridge is being built right now.
12. SH 146 is getting some freeway upgrades in and around the Kemah area.
13. The I-610 Ship Channel bridge will be rebuilt sometime in the next 10-20 years.
14. Lots of the Grand Parkway still needs to be built.
15. A new freeway paralleling TX-35 will be built all the way to Alvin (as you hinted at)
16. The I-69/TX 288 interchange is going to be rebuilt at some point, regardless of whether NHHIP goes through, I believe.
17. Speaking of that, that's not even including the NHHIP if it does fall through. That would rebuild I-45 on the north side and radically shift downtown freeways.
18. The Westpark Tollway will be extended.
19. Kind of a stretch, but I believe the Aggieland Expressway will be extended to near Navasota.
20. Katy freeway modernization from downtown to the ďrecentlyĒ reconstructed and widened portion.