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Author Topic: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways  (Read 28431 times)

TXtoNJ

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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.
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MaxConcrete

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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.

TXtoNJ

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MaxConcrete

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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

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

TXtoNJ

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New schematics on www.ih45northandmore again
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Chris

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Are there major changes?

longhorn

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So the relatively new I-69/I-10 interchange will be replaced, after............12-15 years of use?
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Anthony_JK

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So the relatively new I-69/I-10 interchange will be replaced, after............12-15 years of use?

It doesn't look like it will be as much replaced as refined to add the through and MAX lanes for the realigned I-45, as well as account for the completion of the Hardy Toll Road extension.

Personally, I'm still not so happy about taking out the Allen Elevated, but I guess that's what they wanted.

If the MAX lanes are going to be free and mostly unrestricted, I want to know how they are going to pay for all this without the "magic" of tolling. Not that I mind, though.

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thisdj78

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So the relatively new I-69/I-10 interchange will be replaced, after............12-15 years of use?

They did the same with the Beltway 8/Katy Freeway interchange. It was approximately 15 years old when they started replacing it.
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MaxConcrete

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Are there major changes?
I did a side-by-side comparison of the new and prior schematics.
All changes are minor, and most are very minor.

The most significant change is that the Montrose bridge over IH-69 is no longer slated to be replaced. The number of lanes on IH-69 remains the same, and it appears they are squeezing in the lanes by narrowing the HOV lane width.

Bobby5280

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Narrow lanes? Do they not realize this project is located in Texas, a place where lots of people drive great big vehicles? It's not some far flung Eastern European community where people are tooling around in tiny cars.
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MaxConcrete

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Funding for segment 2 of the project (between IH-10 and Loop 610 including the 610 interchange) received a crucial endorsement today when HGAC committed $100 million in discretionary funds as requested by the Texas Transportation Commission, which has tentatively allocated $840 million to the $1.225 billion segment 2.

http://www.h-gac.com/transportation-policy-council/meeting-agendas/documents/2019/july/ITEM-08-North-Houston-Highway-Improvement-Program.pdf


https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Houston-area-officials-commit-100-million-to-14189219.php?src=hp_totn

Project opposition is launching an all-out effort to kill or delay the project. There was a large, hostile crowd at the meeting. I was at the meeting and spoke in favor of the funding. According to the news report, 59 of 65 speakers opposed the project. I was speaker #14 and was the first to speak in favor. Houston celebrity "Mattress Mac" spoke ahead of me and opposed the project. In the end, only one member of the policy council voted against the funding, which is a good outcome and suggests council support remains strong. However, we certainly have not heard the last from the opposition and I'm thinking there may be a lawsuit to stop the project. The Houston Chronicle has also been very biased in its project reporting, being against the project.

In terms of segment 2, it is unexpectedly expensive at $1.225 billion. The TxDOT UTP lists the Loop 610 interchange at $520 million. If that is construction cost only, then it will likely become the most expensive interchange ever built in Texas. (The High Five in Dallas had a construction cost around $260 million when awarded around 2000.) The main lanes south of the interchange are listed at $320 million. I don't know about the remaining $385 million, it may be right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation, design, project management, etc.

With the newly added funding in the UTP, total project funding is now at $4.7 billion, and includes all work from the Loop 610 interchange southward, including all elements of the downtown work.

UTP: https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/transportation-planning/utp.html




« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 10:07:57 PM by MaxConcrete »
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Bobby5280

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Do the people who oppose this project not realize they live in freaking Houston? The expansion of Katy Freeway and other major highways outside of the I-610 loop should have been a clue as to what would eventually happen. They should also realize the expansion along I-10 and I-69 is a direct consequence of re-routing I-45 around the East side of downtown so the old elevated freeway can be removed.

Houston is a giant-sized metro. No one is getting around that entire metro using bicycles and light rail trains. It's still a very very car-oriented metropolis and it's one that continues to add population at a fairly rapid pace. Houston could be the nation's 3rd largest city in terms of city limits population, passing Chicago, within the next 10-20 years. All modes of transportation will have to be expanded dramatically. Roads, rail, buses, bike paths, etc. Everything. It's not a zero sum game situation.
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Plutonic Panda

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Hopefully these people don't have an impact and this project proceeds on schedule.
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In_Correct

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Large Hostile Crowd, :fight: I Would Like You To Meet My Good Friend Water Hose.  :pan:
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Anthony_JK

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[...]

Project opposition is launching an all-out effort to kill or delay the project. There was a large, hostile crowd at the meeting. I was at the meeting and spoke in favor of the funding. According to the news report, 59 of 65 speakers opposed the project. I was speaker #14 and was the first to speak in favor. Houston celebrity "Mattress Mac" spoke ahead of me and opposed the project. In the end, only one member of the policy council voted against the funding, which is a good outcome and suggests council support remains strong. However, we certainly have not heard the last from the opposition and I'm thinking there may be a lawsuit to stop the project. The Houston Chronicle has also been very biased in its project reporting, being against the project.

[...]


Let me guess....they want to tear down the entire Interstate freeway network inside of I-610 and turn current I-69/US 59 through downtown Houston into a high-speed rail line?

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silverback1065

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[...]

Project opposition is launching an all-out effort to kill or delay the project. There was a large, hostile crowd at the meeting. I was at the meeting and spoke in favor of the funding. According to the news report, 59 of 65 speakers opposed the project. I was speaker #14 and was the first to speak in favor. Houston celebrity "Mattress Mac" spoke ahead of me and opposed the project. In the end, only one member of the policy council voted against the funding, which is a good outcome and suggests council support remains strong. However, we certainly have not heard the last from the opposition and I'm thinking there may be a lawsuit to stop the project. The Houston Chronicle has also been very biased in its project reporting, being against the project.

[...]


Let me guess....they want to tear down the entire Interstate freeway network inside of I-610 and turn current I-69/US 59 through downtown Houston into a high-speed rail line?

 :-D don't you love freeway haters?
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rte66man

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[...]

Project opposition is launching an all-out effort to kill or delay the project. There was a large, hostile crowd at the meeting. I was at the meeting and spoke in favor of the funding. According to the news report, 59 of 65 speakers opposed the project. I was speaker #14 and was the first to speak in favor. Houston celebrity "Mattress Mac" spoke ahead of me and opposed the project. In the end, only one member of the policy council voted against the funding, which is a good outcome and suggests council support remains strong. However, we certainly have not heard the last from the opposition and I'm thinking there may be a lawsuit to stop the project. The Houston Chronicle has also been very biased in its project reporting, being against the project.

[...]


Let me guess....they want to tear down the entire Interstate freeway network inside of I-610 and turn current I-69/US 59 through downtown Houston into a high-speed rail line?

Nah, they want at-grade boulevards..............
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Bobby5280

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I wonder if the folks wanting these at-grade boulevards as opposed to freeways ever drive any significant distance, like 10 miles, on such streets. It doesn't take long to get really tired of all the stop lights.
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compdude787

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^ I totally agree with that! It truly amazes me how people think that freeways are unnecessary when so many people use them. Even in traffic it's still slower to take surface streets than the freeway for the most part.

And I also cannot stand it when none of the lights on a road are synchronized and you end up having to stop at every single one. :angry:
« Last Edit: July 31, 2019, 04:55:58 PM by compdude787 »
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thisdj78

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I wonder if the folks wanting these at-grade boulevards as opposed to freeways ever drive any significant distance, like 10 miles, on such streets. It doesn't take long to get really tired of all the stop lights.

Maybe they see older European cities and envision the same for here. Difference is, those cities were built before the age of cars and public transportation is key there.

It’s hard to convert a large car driven city to other modes of transportation (which is what removing freeways would require).
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silverback1065

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I wonder if the folks wanting these at-grade boulevards as opposed to freeways ever drive any significant distance, like 10 miles, on such streets. It doesn't take long to get really tired of all the stop lights.

the answer is an obvious no  :-D
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NE2

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Found the bootlicker.
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Bobby5280

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Quote from: thisdj78
Maybe they see older European cities and envision the same for here. Difference is, those cities were built before the age of cars and public transportation is key there.

They know European cities aren't spread out over large areas like American cities. Population density is much higher. The United States dismantled much of its old passenger rail infrastructure decades ago while the passenger rail infrastructure in Europe (and Asia for that matter) has grown and continually modernized. The culture about transit use is very different overseas whereas car culture dominates in the US.

Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc. It's a good bet the policy makers championing mass transit use don't even use it themselves. I picture those "suits" using private car services, limousines and even helicopters hopping from one helipad to the next.

The "romance" with mass transit sours pretty quickly when you experience the amount of time it drains from your day by using it. I lost 3 hours every day to my commute between Manhattan and Staten Island back in college. Even a train ride from the middle of Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan would often take at least 45 minutes to an hour or more each way.
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Plutonic Panda

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Quote from: thisdj78
Maybe they see older European cities and envision the same for here. Difference is, those cities were built before the age of cars and public transportation is key there.

They know European cities aren't spread out over large areas like American cities. Population density is much higher. The United States dismantled much of its old passenger rail infrastructure decades ago while the passenger rail infrastructure in Europe (and Asia for that matter) has grown and continually modernized. The culture about transit use is very different overseas whereas car culture dominates in the US.

Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc. It's a good bet the policy makers championing mass transit use don't even use it themselves. I picture those "suits" using private car services, limousines and even helicopters hopping from one helipad to the next.

The "romance" with mass transit sours pretty quickly when you experience the amount of time it drains from your day by using it. I lost 3 hours every day to my commute between Manhattan and Staten Island back in college. Even a train ride from the middle of Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan would often take at least 45 minutes to an hour or more each way.
China has 3-4 times the US population and I have heard most of it is in the east region.
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