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Regional Boards => Mid-South => Topic started by: MaxConcrete on April 22, 2015, 09:19:38 PM

Title: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on April 22, 2015, 09:19:38 PM
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/scoping_documents4.aspx (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/scoping_documents4.aspx)

In particular see these schematics
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/16_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_02_Eastern_Half.pdf (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/16_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_02_Eastern_Half.pdf)
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/17_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_03_Western_Half.pdf (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/17_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_03_Western_Half.pdf)
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/15_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_01_Overall.pdf (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/15_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_01_Overall.pdf)

Earlier "leaks" of info hinted at a major rebuild, but this is more than I expected.

* Complete rebuild of the *entire* downtown Houston freeway complex. Everything.
* Removal of the Pierce Elevated and realigning I-45 along US 59 on the east side of downtown
* A super-wide new trench on the east side of downtown with 18 freeway lanes plus frontage roads.
* Abandoning a wide section of US 59 in northeast downtown and realigning it to eliminate curves, sending it directly through the Clayton Homes housing project. The abandoned section is relatively new, rebuilt and widened in 2003.
* Demolishing and rebuilding the US 59/I-10 interchange, most of which was built in 2003.
* Interstate 10 on the north side of downtown widened to 18 freeway lanes to accommodate I-10, I-45 and the I-10 express lanes. Since the term "express lanes" is used rather than "managed lanes", it suggests the I-10 express lanes will not be tolled.
* Realignment of I-10/I-45 west of Elysian, and abandonment of the existing I-10 corridor.
* Freeways on the west side of downtown no longer serve through-traffic and are downsized to provide connections into downtown. Freeway will still exist northward from the current western end of the Pierce Elevated.
* On the south side of downtown, the elevated US 59 is sunk into a trench and widened, with five northbound lanes and four southbound lanes.
* The US 59/SH 288 interchange is completely rebuilt.
* The US 59/SH 288 trench gets more lanes, generally around 20 lanes.
* On the northwest side of downtown, complete rebuild of the I-45/I-10 multiplex. It looks like the elevated HOV structure is also a goner, replaced by the four elevated I-10 express lanes.

The I-45 corridor north of downtown is also slated to be widened from downtown to Beltway 8.
* From I-10 to I-610, the corridor is kept narrow to appease the neighborhood, 4-2M-2M-4 plus frontage roads (M=managed). At North Main, the frontage road is on top of the main lanes.
* Complete rebuild of the I-45/I-610 interchange to be five-level.
* 4-2M-2M-4 configuration from I-10 to BW8. I think this is underdesigned. It needs to be 5-2M-2M-5, especially since a very wide corridor is being cleared and space is available.
* From I-610 to BW8, the corridor is widened to be 480 feet wide. This will be a huge right-of-way clearance event. But as anyone who has driven the corridor knows, the corridor is a dump and leaves a bad impression of Houston, so this clearance should be beneficial.

There's no mention of the cost. I'm thinking this is between $5 and $7 billion. I think there is political will to get the downtown rebuild done. But it is anyone's guess how long the entire project will require.
 
 
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: bjrush on April 22, 2015, 09:41:45 PM
Who is coming up with this stuff? TxDOT or a consultant for TxDOT
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on April 22, 2015, 09:50:40 PM
Who is coming up with this stuff? TxDOT or a consultant for TxDOT

TxDOT led this study, and they always have consultants on the team.

This study has been ongoing for a very long time (early 2000s) and the delays appear to be caused by the need to get more input and approval from stakeholders, mainly the City of Houston and the downtown Houston business establishment. So I think downtown Houston interests are on board with this. In fact, they probably demanded these costly features which added immensely to the cost.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: ARMOURERERIC on April 22, 2015, 10:17:20 PM
You know, with the short linear distance of the loop in downtown Houston, has anyone ever thought of making an 8-10 lane one way loop, like a massive freeway rotary around the core.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: nexus73 on April 22, 2015, 10:42:29 PM
Lordy, if ODOT could only Think Big when it comes to the PDX freeway mess! 

Rick
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: nolia_boi504 on April 22, 2015, 10:56:07 PM
You know, with the short linear distance of the loop in downtown Houston, has anyone ever thought of making an 8-10 lane one way loop, like a massive freeway rotary around the core.
That actually was one of the options considered.

http://abc13.com/traffic/future-plans-for-big-changes-for-i-45/240341/
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on April 23, 2015, 08:38:12 AM
Wow...

(http://i.imgur.com/yzoond1.png)
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: pctech on April 23, 2015, 09:02:37 AM
Where are they going to come up with "mind boggling" money for a project like this? TX. is a fairly wealthy state, but doesn't have this much road building money floating around.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on April 23, 2015, 09:27:42 AM
Houston Chronicle report

Short Version
http://www.chron.com/news/transportation/article/I-45-moving-sinking-and-shifting-from-Pierce-6216991.php (http://www.chron.com/news/transportation/article/I-45-moving-sinking-and-shifting-from-Pierce-6216991.php)

Long Version
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Massive-I-45-project-would-remove-Pierce-6217572.php?t=040dea6378fda33e64&cmpid=email-premium (http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Massive-I-45-project-would-remove-Pierce-6217572.php?t=040dea6378fda33e64&cmpid=email-premium)


Excerpts:

A massive plan to add managed lanes along Interstate 45 and potentially to reconfigure downtown freeway access will debut publicly Thursday, years after state officials started discussions of what could be the largest freeway rebuilding project ever undertaken in the Houston area.

In documents posted Tuesday, planners outlined broadly the proposal to add two managed lanes to I-45 from the Sam Houston Tollway in northern Houston to U.S. 59 south of the city’s central business district. A public meeting to detail the proposal is scheduled Thursday.

Though the project stretches for roughly 16 miles, it’s the southernmost four miles that have received the most attention. In the plans posted, TxDOT proposes to depress the freeway – much like U.S. 59 west of Spur 527 – between Cavalcade and Quitman streets.

In downtown, sweeping changes are planned, including realigning the freeway to run parallel to U.S. 59. Moving the freeway would mean eliminating the Pierce Elevated, which carries I-45 across the central business district.

Remaking I-45 will take years, with public meetings and more detailed analysis remaining. Officials said it is too early to pinpoint an exact cost, but transportation officials predict all of the work will cost "north of $6 billion," said Quincy Allen, district engineer for TxDOT's Houston office.

 
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on April 23, 2015, 10:08:44 AM
The biggest hurdle I see (other than funding, of course) is the five-level stack at 610. It's close to gentrifying neighborhoods, and they will not be happy about the added visual impact that the added flyover height will have.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: longhorn on April 23, 2015, 12:33:49 PM
Makes sense to me ,I think the present I-10/I-45 interchange is an engineering marvel, having two right angle freeways parallel each other as traffic interchanges and then depart.

This would tear down the hwy 59/I-10 interchange only a few years after being rebuilt.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Henry on April 23, 2015, 01:16:02 PM
I am not the least bit surprised by this. It proves once again that when it comes to highway planning, ambition doesn't get any bigger than in TX!
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 23, 2015, 03:35:27 PM
I have a question: how are they going to connect the Hardy Toll Road extension to this monstrosity??

My usual concerns about tearing down perfectly fine freeways aside, though, I can live with this proposal.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on April 23, 2015, 03:42:28 PM
The design includes ramps to and from the future Hardy Toll Road

See: http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/15_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_01_Overall.pdf
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on April 23, 2015, 04:04:14 PM
I'm having a little bit of trouble reading the schematics. North of 610, where the red bridge graphics are shown on 45, are those to indicate where 45 is going over the cross street (red being the freeway bridge), or passing under the cross street (red being the overpass bridge)? If it's the latter, this is even more monumental a change.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: mrsman on April 26, 2015, 03:02:29 PM
You know, with the short linear distance of the loop in downtown Houston, has anyone ever thought of making an 8-10 lane one way loop, like a massive freeway rotary around the core.
That actually was one of the options considered.

http://abc13.com/traffic/future-plans-for-big-changes-for-i-45/240341/

A better place for a one-way freeway loop is Kansas City.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 26, 2015, 08:45:33 PM
The design includes ramps to and from the future Hardy Toll Road

See: http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/15_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_01_Overall.pdf

Ahhh....just noticed that.  Thanks.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: codyg1985 on April 28, 2015, 08:42:49 AM
I can only imagine how much of a pain the construction would be for this.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: longhorn on April 28, 2015, 09:30:36 AM
I can only imagine how much of a pain the construction would be for this.

Right now TXDot has done the impossible, they have rebuilt two/thirds of I-35 while keeping it open. It will be a little painful, but at the end well worth it.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on April 29, 2015, 04:45:37 PM
Some renders in this video:

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: pctech on April 30, 2015, 09:46:32 AM
This one project will probably cost more than La. DODT's entire annual budget.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: The Ghostbuster on April 30, 2015, 05:09:51 PM
Only in Texas. Some of the things (highway projects) that happen there, you couldn't get away with anywhere else.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Buffaboy on May 01, 2015, 12:40:03 AM
I'd shyt my pants if NYSDOT could come up with anything CLOSE to anything in these schematics, EVEN in NYC/downstate.

It's sad too, because the Tappan Zee Br. cost $3B AND people cried foul thinking it sucked up all the money.

And in most Upstate cities they wouldn't allow the eminent domain to make it happen.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Henry on May 01, 2015, 12:51:32 PM
This one project will probably cost more than La. DODT's entire annual budget.
Only in Texas. Some of the things (highway projects) that happen there, you couldn't get away with anywhere else.
Agreed on both counts.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 01, 2015, 03:36:22 PM
The Houston Business Journal is reporting strong support for the new downtown design from the downtown business community. This support is crucial because those interests have political influence. Strong support could also move it to construction sooner, especially with the likelihood of a substantial increase in TxDOT's budget.

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/04/houston-real-estate-heavyweights-all-for-downtown.html (http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/04/houston-real-estate-heavyweights-all-for-downtown.html)

Houston real estate heavyweights all for downtown highway transformation
Apr 30, 2015, 11:41am CDT


A plan to decommission a portion of I-45 running through downtown Houston could increase development and connectivity downtown, real estate experts say.

A Texas Department of Transportation proposal to realign Interstate 45 downtown with Highway 59 would render the Pierce Elevated, a portion of I-45 that runs along Pierce Street through the central business district, unused. At a recent Urban Land Institute panel on downtown Houston, real estate experts were united in support of the plan to demolish or transform the Pierce Elevated.

The group of panelists, representing various sectors of the real estate industry including office, multifamily and retail, all agreed that the plan would lessen or remove a barrier between areas of downtown that could result in improved connectivity and more development.

"I couldn't be more enthusiastic about it," said Sanford Criner, vice chairman at CBRE with more than 40 years' experience with office leasing and development. "Mobility is always important, but our problem isn't getting people downtown, it's what can we do with them when they're here?

....
 
 
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: NE2 on May 01, 2015, 04:14:20 PM
(http://www.texasfreeway.com/Houston/historic/road_maps/images/1965_houston_humble_highres.jpg)
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 01, 2015, 09:16:39 PM
(http://www.texasfreeway.com/Houston/historic/road_maps/images/1965_houston_humble_highres.jpg)

Or better yet, just force all through traffic to use the Grand Parkway and demolish EVERY FREEWAY inside..or make them 4-lane boulevards. /sarcasm

Who pays your salary, NE2? Grover Norquist?? #YaMadSon
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: NE2 on May 01, 2015, 10:03:40 PM
I've run out of original ideas to post.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 02, 2015, 10:30:09 AM
OOPS....wrong Norquist; meant JOHN "Dump all freeways" Norquist, not Grover.


Although, Grover sucks, too.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Atomica on May 03, 2015, 12:47:54 AM
I question the need to demolishing such recent additions to the system myself...However, Texas are sitting on top of a $15bn surplus and they are attracting more business and more residents sooooo....
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: codyg1985 on May 03, 2015, 10:12:17 AM
I question the need to demolishing such recent additions to the system myself...However, Texas are sitting on top of a $15bn surplus and they are attracting more business and more residents sooooo....

It certainly makes you wonder how far ahead they planned when the I-10/US 59 interchange was revamped.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: mrsman on May 03, 2015, 11:19:20 AM
The Houston Business Journal is reporting strong support for the new downtown design from the downtown business community. This support is crucial because those interests have political influence. Strong support could also move it to construction sooner, especially with the likelihood of a substantial increase in TxDOT's budget.

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/04/houston-real-estate-heavyweights-all-for-downtown.html (http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2015/04/houston-real-estate-heavyweights-all-for-downtown.html)

Houston real estate heavyweights all for downtown highway transformation
Apr 30, 2015, 11:41am CDT


A plan to decommission a portion of I-45 running through downtown Houston could increase development and connectivity downtown, real estate experts say.

A Texas Department of Transportation proposal to realign Interstate 45 downtown with Highway 59 would render the Pierce Elevated, a portion of I-45 that runs along Pierce Street through the central business district, unused. At a recent Urban Land Institute panel on downtown Houston, real estate experts were united in support of the plan to demolish or transform the Pierce Elevated.

The group of panelists, representing various sectors of the real estate industry including office, multifamily and retail, all agreed that the plan would lessen or remove a barrier between areas of downtown that could result in improved connectivity and more development.

"I couldn't be more enthusiastic about it," said Sanford Criner, vice chairman at CBRE with more than 40 years' experience with office leasing and development. "Mobility is always important, but our problem isn't getting people downtown, it's what can we do with them when they're here?

....
 
 

Would TX DOT be able to leverage the increased value of the real estate to help pay for the highway improvements?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 03, 2015, 12:53:02 PM
I question the need to demolishing such recent additions to the system myself...However, Texas are sitting on top of a $15bn surplus and they are attracting more business and more residents sooooo....

I asked a representative at the public meeting about the realignment of US 59 on the northeast side of downtown. As you mention, that section of freeway is a distribution system into downtown, entirely elevated, with some impressive structures, completed around 2003.

He told me that it is desirable to remove the curve in the existing alignment, and more significantly the realignment will make constructability much easier. He also said they already have approval to basically wipe out the Clayton Homes housing project. He said the housing project is susceptible to flooding and the residents will be relocated to new housing. I'm sure the downtown Houston real estate and business interests would love to see that low-income housing moved elsewhere, because having it removed will make the area much more attractive for redevelopment.
 
 
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Atomica on May 04, 2015, 12:33:26 AM
I question the need to demolishing such recent additions to the system myself...However, Texas are sitting on top of a $15bn surplus and they are attracting more business and more residents sooooo....

It certainly makes you wonder how far ahead they planned when the I-10/US 59 interchange was revamped.


And how much growth they had planned for as well.  They know by now that their business-friendly and freedom-friendly environment has bolstered its population and traffic growth.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on May 04, 2015, 07:28:54 AM
This one project will probably cost more than La. DODT's entire annual budget.

Greater Houston's GDP is twice as big as the state of Louisiana. :)

And of course, such a mega project means that kind of money is spent over multiple years.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Henry on May 04, 2015, 01:03:21 PM
So will the total length of I-45 change if and when the project is done?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: mrsman on May 09, 2015, 10:09:30 PM
What I find very interesting is that this plan is being touted by the anti-road folks at Streetsblog and similar sites as being a positive in removing the Pierce elevated, while ignoring the fact that they are widening the other freeways to take over some of the loss of capacity.

Do people here believe that this project will be an overall positive for the driving public?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 10, 2015, 11:35:23 AM
I just placed online a thorough analysis of the plan which identifies problems and concerns

http://houstonfreeways.com/analysis (http://houstonfreeways.com/analysis)

If any technically-oriented types out there want to review my list, I would be pleased to get some feedback to verify my concerns are valid.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 10, 2015, 10:12:10 PM
Personally, I think it would have been better if they didn't remove the Pierce Elevated, had dropped it in a trench and widened it to handle existing I-45 traffic, replaced the proposed managed lanes with regular free lanes, and used alternatives like expanded light rail corridors to handle the commuter traffic.


I understand how downtown business leaders want to expand development, but this is sounding more like an expensive clusterwack more and more.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on May 11, 2015, 12:53:40 PM
Personally, I think it would have been better if they didn't remove the Pierce Elevated, had dropped it in a trench and widened it to handle existing I-45 traffic, replaced the proposed managed lanes with regular free lanes, and used alternatives like expanded light rail corridors to handle the commuter traffic.I understand how downtown business leaders want to expand development, but this is sounding more like an expensive clusterwack more and more.

1. There appears to be two primary practical concerns behind the removal of the Pierce. First, expansion of the existing deck is infeasible given the property values of the surrounding buildings. Furthermore, given the development of the surrounding neighborhood, such an expansion would likely fail a "highest, best use" test. The second practical concern is that trenching the Pierce would likely cost multiple billions for a single mile of roadway, due to takings and the difficulties of constructing a trenched roadway in dense, urbanized surroundings. Double-decking would likely be the most cost-effective way of expanding the Pierce, which is politically infeasible.

2. Light rail isn't designed to handle commuter traffic, and would not address the primary concerns with the Pierce, which is its failures in handling through traffic. You would need higher-speed commuter or interurban rail to address that, which is difficult in a sprawled, multinodal city like Houston.

3. Free lanes would be nice, but would have their own sets of problems (weaving, which is endemic in Houston) owing to the current funding environment, and TxDOT's aversion to creating divided express and local lanes.

4. Reconstruction of any freeway system in the center of a city will be an expensive cluster unless corners are cut, like they were for the first Pierce reconstruction.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: The Ghostbuster on May 11, 2015, 04:06:50 PM
Does anyone know how much this "massive, mind-boggling" rebuild is going to cost? Or how long it will take to complete the projects?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Perfxion on May 11, 2015, 04:53:15 PM
My guess is 6.5 to 7.5 billion dollars. Plus 5 to 8 years giving the fact that they would need to do the I69/US59/I45 section first to allow traffic to still move. Then the revamp/deconstruction of the Peirce section. Plus, city is still trying to bring in events like the Superbowl, World Cup, and Wresltemania, which a project like that makes those bids next to impossible to achieve.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 26, 2016, 03:23:46 PM
The Houston Chronicle reported on the current status of the project.
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Houston-s-7-billion-highway-project-would-widen-8323573.php?t=a0e53f5b64&cmpid=email-premium (http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Houston-s-7-billion-highway-project-would-widen-8323573.php?t=a0e53f5b64&cmpid=email-premium)

Highlights

TxDOT posted the latest design schematics on the project web site in May and I updated my analysis of the project design.
http://houstonfreeways.com/Home/analysis (http://houstonfreeways.com/Home/analysis)
Project site: http://www.ih45northandmore.com/ (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/)

Highlights
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: longhorn on June 27, 2016, 09:39:33 AM
When was the I-10/59 (now I-69) interchange redone? Five or seven years ago? And it will be replaced in five to seven years? Amazing.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on June 27, 2016, 09:48:05 AM
  • They are hoping for a ROD in 2018 with construction to start in 2020

I'm amazed how fast the decision-making process is in this case. In most areas such a very large project would require decades of political indecisiveness and shifting priorities before it gets built with a reduced scope.

This project hardly appeared on the radar until 2015, right?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: US 81 on June 27, 2016, 11:56:28 AM
I'm no highway engineer, but the way Houston floods, it surprises me to see plans for more trenching of highways.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on June 27, 2016, 04:22:12 PM
I'm no highway engineer, but the way Houston floods, it surprises me to see plans for more trenching of highways.

Flooded freeways hold water that would otherwise sit in neighborhoods. Any expansion of impervious surface requires a retention offset, and trenching freeways provides much of that retention.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: US 81 on June 27, 2016, 04:51:12 PM
I'm no highway engineer, but the way Houston floods, it surprises me to see plans for more trenching of highways.

Flooded freeways hold water that would otherwise sit in neighborhoods. Any expansion of impervious surface requires a retention offset, and trenching freeways provides much of that retention.

Ah, the light dawns. Thank you.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: noelbotevera on June 27, 2016, 05:53:26 PM
Not only am I interested with DFW's projects, but I'm interested with what Houston can do. I just haven't really spoke much about them, but this is of real interest. I'm actually ok with the Pierce Elevated being demolished, because that is a bottleneck at 6 lanes while the other side is 8 lanes. Hoo boy.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: US 41 on June 27, 2016, 07:59:13 PM
When I drove through Houston in November it didn't seem like it was that bad in the downtown area. I was stuck in a traffic jam because of an incident that closed every lane, except for the far right lane. Besides that traffic seemed to move pretty well, which surprised me since it is the 4th largest city in the US. If you really wanted to avoid the downtown area you could take I-610. The only reason I didn't take I-610 is because I like to drive to drive right through the middle of huge cities.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 27, 2016, 09:34:44 PM

I'm amazed how fast the decision-making process is in this case. In most areas such a very large project would require decades of political indecisiveness and shifting priorities before it gets built with a reduced scope.

This project hardly appeared on the radar until 2015, right?

The process actually started in 2002 but was suspended between 2005 and 2011 due to lack of consensus and lack of money. The process has been in the active study mode since around 2012.

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/history.aspx (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/history.aspx)

While it still took some time to get to this point, there are probably only a very few cities in the USA which can implement a project this ambitious, both politically and financially. Dallas is working toward something similar, but it is being done one small section at a time.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on June 27, 2016, 09:55:36 PM
When was the I-10/59 (now I-69) interchange redone? Five or seven years ago? And it will be replaced in five to seven years? Amazing.
It was completed by early 2004, if I recall correctly. (Most of it was open in late 2013, just in time for the Super Bowl.) The record for the shortest-lived major interchange is the original IH-10 west and BW8 interchange, Houston's first five-level interchange which existed from 1988 to around 2007 (19 years). The I-10/59 interchange would have to come down before 2023 to break the record, and I think it is unlikely it will be replaced before 2023.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on February 24, 2017, 11:42:36 PM
It looks like this project is going to happen, sooner rather than later.

Yesterday TxDOT approved $922 million toward the $1.7 billion first phase on the south side of downtown. (I'm assuming the rest of the funding is in place). Work on the section of IH-69 between Spur 527 and SH 288 could start as soon as 2020, with additional work north of SH 288 starting in 2021 and 2022. According to the article, the TxDOT Commission is slated to approve more funds next month to continue pushing work northward, including the relocation of IH-45. A ROD is expected this year, and a public meeting should take place within the next few months. The most recent number I've seen for all downtown work is $2.9 billion.

Probably subscriber-only
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/State-accelerates-start-time-for-major-I-45-10958185.php (http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/State-accelerates-start-time-for-major-I-45-10958185.php)

(http://ww3.hdnux.com/photos/57/36/37/12445678/4/920x1240.jpg)

Project site with schematics
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/ (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/)
Quote
...
Though these first steps are incremental compared to the overall plan, officials say they are important and send the clear message: The I-45 freeway is relocating and the elevated portion along Pierce will be abandoned and maybe demolished within the next dozen years.

Work on revamping the freeway intersections is slated for late 2020 or early 2021, years ahead of when state officials first predicted when they unveiled their construction plans in 2014.

For the Houston region, it might be the most significant freeway project in anyone's lifetime. That's because it reconfigures the three interstates that form the backbone of how Houstonians move - I-45, I-69 and Interstate 10 - in the one area where they are so closely tangled and reliant on drivers making transitions from one to another as smooth as possible.

The state commitment, provided the Texas Transportation Commission proceeds with its planned changes to the Unified Transportation Plan that sets all state highway project priorities, would contribute $923 million of the $1.7 billion needed to rebuild I-45, I-69 and Texas 288 where the three freeways converge. Most of the money comes from Texas Clear Lanes, a program aimed at addressing congestion in the state's five biggest cities.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: DNAguy on February 28, 2017, 02:06:26 PM
What the heck is TxDOT doing w/ the 610 rebuild? I was super jazzed about this post until I saw that!

That has 5 lanes in both directions and a significant median (enough for a HOV even!) in-between.

If you want to rebuild 610, do the part from 288 to 45. That section is a POS, engineered to 1960's standards, and has discontinuous frontage roads at rr crossings that cause traffic jams by forcing folks onto the highway for local trips. I know it's most poor black folks who live in that area so TxDOT could care less, but A LOT of petrochemical trucks use those roads so time = $$$$. 288 to 225 needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. 610 from i45 to 225 needs an 610 west style (I10 to 290) revamp with direct 225 to I45 connectors that are separated from 610 traffic. Do that and stop wasting $.

As someone who commutes from 90A to Deer Park everyday, I can attest that the major cause of traffic on the section of 610 slated to be rebuilt is:
1.) The 288 interchange (which will likely likely be solved when its rebuild)
2.) 90A-Main / frontage traffic backing up onto the freeway (Would be solved with direct connectors from 90A north to 610 east & 610 west to 90A south 
3.) S Post Oak's traffic backing up onto 610 (A problem solved with adding overpasses to 90A and/or extending the FB tollroad to South Post Oak)

The work they're doing does nothing to address these issues.

I can't even TxDOT. I just can't even....
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: longhorn on February 28, 2017, 03:43:26 PM
So the recently built I-69/59 over I-10 interchange will be changed or remodeled?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on February 28, 2017, 08:23:34 PM
So the recently built I-69/59 over I-10 interchange will be changed or remodeled?

According to the plan it will be totally demolished and replaced. Somewhat of a shame, since it has some nice, long, high ramps into downtown.

Depending on exactly when it happens, it could take the record for the shortest-lived major interchange. But most likely it won't take the record, because the original 5-level IH-10 West/Beltway 8 interchange lasted from 1989 until 2008, only 19 years. To beat that record, the new interchange will need to be done by 2022, which is unlikely.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on February 28, 2017, 08:34:49 PM
What the heck is TxDOT doing w/ the 610 rebuild? I was super jazzed about this post until I saw that!

That has 5 lanes in both directions and a significant median (enough for a HOV even!) in-between.

If you want to rebuild 610, do the part from 288 to 45. That section is a POS, engineered to 1960's standards, and has discontinuous frontage roads at rr crossings that cause traffic jams by forcing folks onto the highway for local trips. I know it's most poor black folks who live in that area so TxDOT could care less, but A LOT of petrochemical trucks use those roads so time = $$$$. 288 to 225 needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. 610 from i45 to 225 needs an 610 west style (I10 to 290) revamp with direct 225 to I45 connectors that are separated from 610 traffic. Do that and stop wasting $.

As someone who commutes from 90A to Deer Park everyday, I can attest that the major cause of traffic on the section of 610 slated to be rebuilt is:
1.) The 288 interchange (which will likely likely be solved when its rebuild)
2.) 90A-Main / frontage traffic backing up onto the freeway (Would be solved with direct connectors from 90A north to 610 east & 610 west to 90A south 
3.) S Post Oak's traffic backing up onto 610 (A problem solved with adding overpasses to 90A and/or extending the FB tollroad to South Post Oak)

The work they're doing does nothing to address these issues.

I can't even TxDOT. I just can't even....

The work on Loop 610 will add an interchange at Cambridge Street to create a new access route into the Medical Center. The project is not part of a Loop 610 rebuild or widening; it is strictly for medical center access.

As for widening between between SH 288 and IH 45: as you mentioned it is a mostly black, lower-income area. And because of the low-income minority status, it becomes very difficult to gain approval for highway improvements due to "environmental justice" issues. Political leadership does not want to be seen as pushing highway improvements through a minority area where there is opposition (and there always is opposition), so (the last time I checked) nothing is planned and nothing is slated to happen in the long term regional plan (i.e. the next 30 years).
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Anthony_JK on March 01, 2017, 03:48:40 AM
What the heck is TxDOT doing w/ the 610 rebuild? I was super jazzed about this post until I saw that!

That has 5 lanes in both directions and a significant median (enough for a HOV even!) in-between.

If you want to rebuild 610, do the part from 288 to 45. That section is a POS, engineered to 1960's standards, and has discontinuous frontage roads at rr crossings that cause traffic jams by forcing folks onto the highway for local trips. I know it's most poor black folks who live in that area so TxDOT could care less, but A LOT of petrochemical trucks use those roads so time = $$$$. 288 to 225 needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. 610 from i45 to 225 needs an 610 west style (I10 to 290) revamp with direct 225 to I45 connectors that are separated from 610 traffic. Do that and stop wasting $.

As someone who commutes from 90A to Deer Park everyday, I can attest that the major cause of traffic on the section of 610 slated to be rebuilt is:
1.) The 288 interchange (which will likely likely be solved when its rebuild)
2.) 90A-Main / frontage traffic backing up onto the freeway (Would be solved with direct connectors from 90A north to 610 east & 610 west to 90A south 
3.) S Post Oak's traffic backing up onto 610 (A problem solved with adding overpasses to 90A and/or extending the FB tollroad to South Post Oak)

The work they're doing does nothing to address these issues.

I can't even TxDOT. I just can't even....

The work on Loop 610 will add an interchange at Cambridge Street to create a new access route into the Medical Center. The project is not part of a Loop 610 rebuild or widening; it is strictly for medical center access.

As for widening between between SH 288 and IH 45: as you mentioned it is a mostly black, lower-income area. And because of the low-income minority status, it becomes very difficult to gain approval for highway improvements due to "environmental justice" issues. Political leadership does not want to be seen as pushing highway improvements through a minority area where there is opposition (and there always is opposition), so (the last time I checked) nothing is planned and nothing is slated to happen in the long term regional plan (i.e. the next 30 years).

I would figure, though, with Prez Trumpster's proposals to do away with most regulations constraining highway construction and environmental impact on "environmental justice" communities, it should get a bit easier to approve upgrades through poor Black communities. That is, if the "freeway teardown" folks don't get there first.

I agree that something really does need to be done on that segment of 610 between 45 and 288. A more fully directional interchange between 610 and 45 would be pretty nice.

BTW...are there still plans for a tollway along SH 35 which would go from 45/610 to Alvin to connect with the proposed Grand Parkway?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on March 01, 2017, 09:47:36 AM
What the heck is TxDOT doing w/ the 610 rebuild? I was super jazzed about this post until I saw that!

That has 5 lanes in both directions and a significant median (enough for a HOV even!) in-between.

If you want to rebuild 610, do the part from 288 to 45. That section is a POS, engineered to 1960's standards, and has discontinuous frontage roads at rr crossings that cause traffic jams by forcing folks onto the highway for local trips. I know it's most poor black folks who live in that area so TxDOT could care less, but A LOT of petrochemical trucks use those roads so time = $$$$. 288 to 225 needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. 610 from i45 to 225 needs an 610 west style (I10 to 290) revamp with direct 225 to I45 connectors that are separated from 610 traffic. Do that and stop wasting $.

As someone who commutes from 90A to Deer Park everyday, I can attest that the major cause of traffic on the section of 610 slated to be rebuilt is:
1.) The 288 interchange (which will likely likely be solved when its rebuild)
2.) 90A-Main / frontage traffic backing up onto the freeway (Would be solved with direct connectors from 90A north to 610 east & 610 west to 90A south 
3.) S Post Oak's traffic backing up onto 610 (A problem solved with adding overpasses to 90A and/or extending the FB tollroad to South Post Oak)

The work they're doing does nothing to address these issues.

I can't even TxDOT. I just can't even....

The work on Loop 610 will add an interchange at Cambridge Street to create a new access route into the Medical Center. The project is not part of a Loop 610 rebuild or widening; it is strictly for medical center access.

As for widening between between SH 288 and IH 45: as you mentioned it is a mostly black, lower-income area. And because of the low-income minority status, it becomes very difficult to gain approval for highway improvements due to "environmental justice" issues. Political leadership does not want to be seen as pushing highway improvements through a minority area where there is opposition (and there always is opposition), so (the last time I checked) nothing is planned and nothing is slated to happen in the long term regional plan (i.e. the next 30 years).

I would figure, though, with Prez Trumpster's proposals to do away with most regulations constraining highway construction and environmental impact on "environmental justice" communities, it should get a bit easier to approve upgrades through poor Black communities. That is, if the "freeway teardown" folks don't get there first.

I agree that something really does need to be done on that segment of 610 between 45 and 288. A more fully directional interchange between 610 and 45 would be pretty nice.

BTW...are there still plans for a tollway along SH 35 which would go from 45/610 to Alvin to connect with the proposed Grand Parkway?

They're building ramps from SB 45 to WB 610, actually. And last I remember, the SH 35 tollway is on hiatus indefinitely. Too much development around Pearland for there to be a viable corridor.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: DNAguy on March 01, 2017, 11:08:39 AM
They're building ramps from SB 45 to WB 610, actually.

I don't understand why they did this really.

Surface streets and the existing SH35 / frontage road route to WB 610 adequately handle anyone making the making the SB45 to WB 610 trip

The $30 MM or so it's costing to build that flyover is a waste of resources that should be saved for a more comprehensive overhaul of the 225/610 interchange to 45/610 interchange that is a complete mess OR put into more deserving projects.

You might have an argument for the EB 610 to NB 45 flyover they're building...... but that's going to do didly for actually alleviating any congestion on 610 as it's mostly due to:
1.) the steep grade of 610 over 45
2.) the steep grade + tight curve of the EB 610 to SB 45 direct connector
3.) The Hobby airport exiting traffic fighting with the merging direct connector traffic on 45
4.) The entering traffic onto 610 fighting the exiting traffic to SB45 at ~ Woodridge / SH35

Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: silverback1065 on March 01, 2017, 11:30:58 AM
why not just remove all of 45, is the stub really that necessary?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on March 01, 2017, 12:07:39 PM
why not just remove all of 45, is the stub really that necessary?

Yes. It's the primary means by which S. Downtown, Midtown and Montrose access the freeway system.

This, incidentally, leads to one of the primary knocks against the Pierce Elevated - it's practically useless to those who live in the area. People coming from the southwest use Spur 527, the downtown Gulf Freeway exits from the southeast, and the Jackson/Chenevert exits from the south. The Pierce serves 95%+ through traffic, and it does not do that particularly well.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: compdude787 on March 01, 2017, 03:44:31 PM
The Pierce serves 95%+ through traffic, and it does not do that particularly well.

Why not?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: inkyatari on March 01, 2017, 03:49:49 PM

Yesterday TxDOT approved $922 billion toward the $1.7 billion first phase on the south side of downtown. (I'm assuming the rest of the funding is in place).

I saw this and my eyes bugged out,  :-o then I realized it was a typo...
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: DNAguy on March 01, 2017, 04:43:38 PM
The Pierce serves 95%+ through traffic, and it does not do that particularly well.

Why not?

1.) Tight curve radius on western end of downtown
2.) # of lanes (3 in each direction)
3.) Left and right exits / entrances
4.) Engineering of overpass itself (its like being in a boat w/ all the bobbing up and down at speeds > 30 mph)
5.) The terrible interchanges with I10 and 59/69
6.) And finally everyone seems to be distracted by the tall buildings to the point that they forget how to drive.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: silverback1065 on March 01, 2017, 05:28:37 PM
The Pierce serves 95%+ through traffic, and it does not do that particularly well.

Why not?

1.) Tight curve radius on western end of downtown
2.) # of lanes (3 in each direction)
3.) Left and right exits / entrances
4.) Engineering of overpass itself (its like being in a boat w/ all the bobbing up and down at speeds > 30 mph)
5.) The terrible interchanges with I10 and 59/69
6.) And finally everyone seems to be distracted by the tall buildings to the point that they forget how to drive.

 :-D to #6

this must have been designed back in the original interstate construction days.  generally all interstates in downtown areas are terribly designed by today's standards.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Henry on March 02, 2017, 09:49:58 AM
So the recently built I-69/59 over I-10 interchange will be changed or remodeled?

According to the plan it will be totally demolished and replaced. Somewhat of a shame, since it has some nice, long, high ramps into downtown.

Depending on exactly when it happens, it could take the record for the shortest-lived major interchange. But most likely it won't take the record, because the original 5-level IH-10 West/Beltway 8 interchange lasted from 1989 until 2008, only 19 years. To beat that record, the new interchange will need to be done by 2022, which is unlikely.
Sign of the times...nothing lasts forever these days, does it? :(
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: longhorn on March 02, 2017, 10:31:26 AM
The Pierce serves 95%+ through traffic, and it does not do that particularly well.

Why not?

1.) Tight curve radius on western end of downtown
2.) # of lanes (3 in each direction)
3.) Left and right exits / entrances
4.) Engineering of overpass itself (its like being in a boat w/ all the bobbing up and down at speeds > 30 mph)
5.) The terrible interchanges with I10 and 59/69
6.) And finally everyone seems to be distracted by the tall buildings to the point that they forget how to drive.

What is so terrible on the I-10 interchange. Its the same as the Mixmaster in downtown Dallas. I think its pretty innovative, two major freeway parallel each other, exchange traffic, and then separate. No right angle exits.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on April 06, 2017, 10:07:05 PM
I just noticed an updated "project overview briefing packet" on the project web site
http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/20170327_NHHIP_Presentation_Project%20Overview%20Briefing%20for%20Website.pdf (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/20170327_NHHIP_Presentation_Project%20Overview%20Briefing%20for%20Website.pdf)
Project site http://www.ih45northandmore.com/ (http://www.ih45northandmore.com/)

On the last page there is a cost summary for the downtown work
Construction: $3.067 billion
Right-of-way: $875.4 billion

Total: $3.942 billion

Those numbers do not include the deck park, which could add another couple hundred million dollars.

The right-of-way on the east side of downtown, $423.6 million, is quite high.

Construction of Interstate 10 on the north side of downtown, including the big interchange complex with IH-45, is also quite high at $1.63 billion.

Work on the south side of downtown is slated to start in 2020, and work on the north side of downtown is slated to start in 2026. So that would put completion around 2030.

There's no word on the rest of the project, from downtown north to Beltway 8. North of downtown is actually most of the project length, and I'm concerned it could get pushed into the distant future (after 2030) since the downtown work will consume most available funding. I'm thinking some new transportation funding will be needed to get that part of the project moving forward anytime soon. I'm not optimistic about any non-tolled funding from a Trump infrastructure program, but that would seem to be the best hope for new funding in the short term.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on April 25, 2017, 12:39:11 PM
The draft EIS has been published: http://www.ih45northandmore.com/draft_eis.aspx
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: compdude787 on April 28, 2017, 12:26:05 PM
The draft EIS has been published: http://www.ih45northandmore.com/draft_eis.aspx

Cool! Looks like the new combined I-45/I-69 is going to be one heck of a wide freeway! I count a total of 21 lanes, not including frontage roads.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on April 28, 2017, 04:08:08 PM
Looking at the new schematics, am I correct in seeing that there is no direct movement from 45N to 10E, 45S to 59N, 59S to 45N and 10E to 45S? Not that it's an issue - I doubt there is much traffic that flows that way - but it is a bit of a sea change in how TxDOT approaches Interstate connections.

There will be a lot of "TO I-XX" signs here, something you really don't see in the Houston area.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: Chris on April 28, 2017, 04:29:30 PM
The I-10 / I-45 mix will feature up to 32 freeway lanes.

(http://i.imgur.com/EgOQHdA.png)
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: intelati49 on April 28, 2017, 04:36:19 PM
The I-10 / I-45 mix will feature up to 32 freeway lanes.

(http://i.imgur.com/EgOQHdA.png)

This is mindboggling. Two thoughts: 1. I should move to Texas and get a EIT there. 2. How the hell do they intend to pay for this?
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TheArkansasRoadgeek on April 28, 2017, 04:46:58 PM
The I-10 / I-45 mix will feature up to 32 freeway lanes.

(http://i.imgur.com/EgOQHdA.png)

This is mindboggling. Two thoughts: 1. I should move to Texas and get a EIT there. 2. How the hell do they intend to pay for this?

It's Texas, I'm sure they'll find a way!
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on May 04, 2017, 09:50:53 AM
http://ih45northandmore.com/

The new May 2017 schematics have been added to the project website. Someone with a more careful eye than me (MaxConcrete?) may want to take a look at the revisions listed here.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 04, 2017, 10:00:51 PM
The changes in the new schematics versus the May 2016 schematics are mostly minor. I'm hoping to be able to post a full analysis on HoustonFreeways.com this weekend.

In short

Mid and south side of downtown: minimal changes

North side of downtown
Some beneficial tweaks at the IH 69/IH 10 interchange
The IH 10/IH 45 interchange complex received the most changes, including shifting the IH 10 eastbound main lanes to the west side of the multiplex. There are numerous tweaks, mostly adding lanes to certain ramps, for example the downtown spur connector. All changes are beneficial.

IH 45 between IH 10 and IH 610, including the 45/610 interchange is basically the same.

IH 45 from IH 610 to BW 8 has minimal changes, mostly some ramp repositioning.
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: TXtoNJ on May 16, 2018, 02:21:47 PM
New schematics:

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/
Title: Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
Post by: MaxConcrete on May 17, 2018, 12:35:46 AM
Thanks for the tip about the new schematics

After a side-by-side comparison to the May 2017 schematics, there are only two non-negligible changes.
1. The SH 288 toll lanes previously ended/started with a connection ramp into Chenevert street. The residents in that area were complaining about it last year. The ramp into Chenevert is now eliminated. There is now a ramp from the southbound SH 288 frontage road into the southbound toll lane, and the northbound toll lane terminates into the ramp which connects into IH 45 (both northbound and southbound)
2. Changes on the south end of the downtown connector. Last year's design went over West Dallas Street, but the new design goes under Dallas Street and a new overpass over the connector is added at Andrews Street. The northbound frontage road smooth transition into Houston street is eliminated, and it now requires crossing the Dallas bridge with a left turn and right turn. The new drawing also suggests that the Sabine Street bridge over Buffalo Bayou will be replaced.

Item 1 is probably a plus from the mobility perspective. Item 2 has a minimal effect, but probably slightly negative due to the loss of the smooth transition to Houston Street.

Of course I'm disappointed that there are no changes which address any of my items of concern which I posted last year, so I think I can safely conclude that there will be no changes relating to my items of concern
http://houstonfreeways.com/analysis (http://houstonfreeways.com/analysis)

On a more positive note, TxDOT representatives stated in a recently posted video (long video) that the Interstate 10 Express lanes will not be tolled and appear to be restriction-free, and the IH 45 MaX lanes will not be tolled, but will be restricted to HOV vehicles at peak periods.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9IFTSNIn0A&t=28s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9IFTSNIn0A&t=28s)