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Author Topic: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways  (Read 25340 times)

MaxConcrete

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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/docs4/17_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_03_Western_Half.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.
 
 

bjrush

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Who is coming up with this stuff? TxDOT or a consultant for TxDOT
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MaxConcrete

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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.

ARMOURERERIC

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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.
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nexus73

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Lordy, if ODOT could only Think Big when it comes to the PDX freeway mess! 

Rick
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US 101 is THE backbone of the Pacific coast from Bandon OR to Willets CA.  Industry, tourism and local traffic would be gone or severely crippled without it being in functioning condition in BOTH states.

nolia_boi504

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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/
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Chris

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Wow...

pctech

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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.
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MaxConcrete

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Houston Chronicle report

Short Version
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


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.

 

TXtoNJ

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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.
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longhorn

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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.
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Henry

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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!
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Anthony_JK

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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.
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Chris

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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

TXtoNJ

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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.
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mrsman

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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.
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Anthony_JK

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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.
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codyg1985

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I can only imagine how much of a pain the construction would be for this.
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longhorn

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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.
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Chris

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Some renders in this video:

pctech

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This one project will probably cost more than La. DODT's entire annual budget.
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The Ghostbuster

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Only in Texas. Some of the things (highway projects) that happen there, you couldn't get away with anywhere else.
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Buffaboy

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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.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 12:46:44 AM by Buffaboy »
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Henry

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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.
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MaxConcrete

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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

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?

....
 
 

 


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