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Author Topic: Houston IH 45 North expansion study, findings in this week's public meeting  (Read 2102 times)

MaxConcrete

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http://www.ih45northandmore.com/scoping_documents3.aspx

Since the last meeting they have officially deleted options which were obviously infeasible, mainly the tunnels. The options where were obviously viable still remain, so there were not any major decisions yet. Two options for downtown are added, including a full and partial demolition of the Pierce Elevated

Downtown
* Three options remain: Widen the existing freeway and Pierce Elevated; demolish the Pierce Elevated and move the freeway to be along US 59; move the IH 45 northbound main lanes to be along US 59 and keep the southbound main lanes as an elevated structure on the path of the current Pierce Elevated
* All tunnel options are no longer being considered. I remember seeing a report somewhere that the tunnels would cost $700 million/mile per bore.
* It looks like anything below ground (including a trench) is no longer being considered
* The pure roundabout design (one-way loop) that was an alternative in the previous meeting is gone
* The option to totally remove the Pierce Elevated is a new option. This would move the IH-45 freeway alongside US 59 requiring about 85 feet of right-of-way acquisition along the east side of US 59. This option is somewhat disturbing. Its viability depends on the amount of "tear-down-the-freeway" sentiment. I don't think it is likely, but I think it could happen (25% chance).
* For the options to remove the Pierce Elevated or make it southbound only, it isn't clear to me what would happen to the freeway north of the Pierce Elevated
* Some drawings show managed lanes along Interstate 10 on the north side of downtown, but there is no indication that the lanes would continue south along US 59. It is unclear to me what is proposed.
* I'm still thinking the Pierce widening in its current location is most likely. But I'm not ruling out the removal option. It depends on the amount of anti-freeway sentiment among the influential business interests.

Downtown to Loop 610
* This section is potentially controversial due to the inner loop anti-freeway neighborhoods nearby
* TxDOT caved-in to the neighborhoods early in the study and promised no right-of-way acquisition
* Two options remain: the elevated lanes in the center and a design which keeps all lanes at ground level or below.
* I'm expecting the option at ground level and below to prevail. I don't see the at-ground section fitting in the right-of-way, however, since the existing freeway uses all the space.


Loop 610 to Beltway 8
* This will be the widest section of freeway, also very long, most likely similar to the IH-10 Katy Freeway if built at ground level
* The ground-level widening and central elevated structure option still remain.
* For the ground-level widening, the right-of-way width is shown as 475-500 feet wide. This is even wider than IH-10 west, which is usually around 450 feet wide (completed in 2008). The drawings show 200 to 225 feet of right-of-way acquisition. This would be a massive clearance event, but as anyone who has driven on the freeway knows, the freeway roadside is a dump and would be no great loss.
* My expectation is that they will go with the ground-level widening.
* There is no indication of plans for the Loop 610/IH-45 interchange, but it would have course be rebuilt.

Perfxion

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It would seem it would be cheaper to double deck the Pierce with the ground floor being Southbound and the top deck being Northbound. And if they get rid of it for construction, remind me never to go downtown.
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