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Author Topic: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways  (Read 34078 times)

jbnv

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So, what exactly do the opponents of this project want? Bring back the Pierce Elevated section? Or, blow out all the remaining sections and kill or boulevardize all the freeways in Houston inside of I-610 and the US 59/I-69 corridor? Or, even, rip that down and force I-69 to use the Grand Parkway (TX 99), as what was proposed originally in the TTC-69 tollway proposals?

Probably just to be kings and tell people what they can and cannot do. We saw the same thing with I-49 in Lafayette.
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Plutonic Panda

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So, what exactly do the opponents of this project want? Bring back the Pierce Elevated section? Or, blow out all the remaining sections and kill or boulevardize all the freeways in Houston inside of I-610 and the US 59/I-69 corridor? Or, even, rip that down and force I-69 to use the Grand Parkway (TX 99), as what was proposed originally in the TTC-69 tollway proposals?

Probably just to be kings and tell people what they can and cannot do. We saw the same thing with I-49 in Lafayette.
Is that project officially dead!?
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Anthony_JK

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So, what exactly do the opponents of this project want? Bring back the Pierce Elevated section? Or, blow out all the remaining sections and kill or boulevardize all the freeways in Houston inside of I-610 and the US 59/I-69 corridor? Or, even, rip that down and force I-69 to use the Grand Parkway (TX 99), as what was proposed originally in the TTC-69 tollway proposals?

Probably just to be kings and tell people what they can and cannot do. We saw the same thing with I-49 in Lafayette.
Is that project officially dead!?

More like in limbo until funding is resolved.
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Chris

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TxDOT released a bunch of visualizations on their Youtube channel today, so it doesn't look like it's dead.





« Last Edit: January 23, 2020, 01:18:28 PM by Chris »
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MaxConcrete

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TxDOT released a bunch of visualizations on their Youtube channel today, so it doesn't look like it's dead.


Those all appear to be the original animated visualizations from May 2017 (as indicated in the videos) with no updates.

For the downtown, the 2017 animation does not include two major design changes in the most recent schematic: 1) The removal of the connection ramp to/from the SH 288 managed lanes, and 2) the downtown connector now goes under West Dallas Street.

For section 2 (IH-10 to Loop 610), changes have been minimal since 2017 but the video shows U-turns at N.Main (north side) and Cottage Street, and those U-turns have been eliminated.

North of Loop 610, I don't think there have been any changes so the animation should still be accurate.

It does seem strange for the videos to be reposted without the needed updates.

MaxConcrete

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #130 on: February 01, 2020, 02:31:08 PM »

The City of Houston is in process of holding meetings to get public feedback, including a meeting this morning which I attended.

All the options are visible on the survey site
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MTHBX5S

Overview
  • Options are extensive, ranging from minor tweaks to major downsizing. Most keep the overall plan intact, especially around downtown, but many options will be costly or infeasible.
  • Fewer options than I expected for downtown, with none on the south side of downtown (south of GRB)
  • The meeting used a sticker-based voting system, which of course is geared for the anti-project folks, and for most options there was much more support for the alternative designs

My Take
The project is not at risk and will probably proceed without major changes. But TxDOT will need to implement some changes to satisfy CoH, and I think a high percentage of options are infeasible or expensive, which may cause some political difficulty.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2020, 02:45:06 PM by MaxConcrete »
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #131 on: February 10, 2020, 07:37:18 PM »

More negative press on this. I really hope these RE/T folks donít fuck this project up.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/I-45-project-TxDOT-freeway-project-7B-TxDOT-15039483.php
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Bobby5280

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #132 on: February 10, 2020, 09:19:11 PM »

I think it's nothing short of INSANE for any of these groups to seriously be thinking about building abnormally narrow lanes.

I pretty much avoid I-35E to the North of Dallas due to the narrow lanes on that interim upgrade. 11' wide lanes might be okay if everyone is driving little tiny Fiat cars. Many millions of American drivers are getting around in full size trucks, SUVs and other large vehicles. It's not any fun to be moving along at 60mph-70mph feeling like you're going to trade paint with vehicles in the adjacent lanes.
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Rothman

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #133 on: February 10, 2020, 09:47:51 PM »

Somebody would not deal with eastern freeways well.
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Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.

thisdj78

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #134 on: February 10, 2020, 10:08:59 PM »

Somebody would not deal with eastern freeways well.

The average speed limit on freeways in East Coast cities is 55mph isnít it?

Itís like 65 in Texas cities (sometimes 60 in construction zones)
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Rothman

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #135 on: February 10, 2020, 10:30:21 PM »



Somebody would not deal with eastern freeways well.

The average speed limit on freeways in East Coast cities is 55mph isnít it?

Itís like 65 in Texas cities (sometimes 60 in construction zones)

You believe speed limits matter when it comes to trading paint out here in the East?  You poor naive chump. :D
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thisdj78

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #136 on: February 10, 2020, 10:46:37 PM »



Somebody would not deal with eastern freeways well.

The average speed limit on freeways in East Coast cities is 55mph isnít it?

Itís like 65 in Texas cities (sometimes 60 in construction zones)

You believe speed limits matter when it comes to trading paint out here in the East?  You poor naive chump. :D

Of course it doesnít matter, but when the speed of traffic is moving at an average of 55-60 vs 70-80 (and in larger vehicles on top of that), it makes difference in someoneís perception of safety.

As someone whoís spent a lot of time driving in NYC and Boston, Iím nowhere near naive or a chump. 😎
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Rothman

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #137 on: February 10, 2020, 10:49:03 PM »

Pfft.  Your experience doesn't sound very representative.

Let's get him out here on the roads!
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J N Winkler

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #138 on: February 10, 2020, 11:19:34 PM »

I don't mind 11 ft unit lane width, though I prefer 12 ft.  What I really want to avoid is 10 ft, which is good for a 30% reduction in capacity.

On Kellogg Avenue in Wichita, the West Street flyover was built in the mid-1980's with 11 ft lanes and the adjoining sections of the Kellogg freeway were built later with 12 ft lanes.  This results in a fairly abrupt transition eastbound as the width of the traveled way expands from 33 ft to 36 ft while the centerline stays laterally fixed.
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silverback1065

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #139 on: February 11, 2020, 07:48:45 AM »

they can't make them less than 12 ft, any thing less than 12 is substandard for an interstate. 
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Bobby5280

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #140 on: February 13, 2020, 03:07:09 PM »

Brand new highways desiring an Interstate designation can't have travel lanes less than 12' wide. But that rule apparently isn't stopping people from trimming lane sizes on expansions of existing Interstate highways.
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nolia_boi504

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #141 on: February 13, 2020, 06:01:58 PM »

Aren't there requirements for shoulder widths as well? Looks like 610 West loop will permanently be shoulderless where the elevated bus lanes drop through the middle of the highway.... l

Pixel 4

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rte66man

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #142 on: February 16, 2020, 06:50:31 PM »

they can't make them less than 12 ft, any thing less than 12 is substandard for an interstate. 

Tell that to Dallas drivers on the recently rebuilt I35E
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MaxConcrete

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #143 on: February 16, 2020, 07:42:41 PM »

they can't make them less than 12 ft, any thing less than 12 is substandard for an interstate. 

Tell that to Dallas drivers on the recently rebuilt I35E

It is surprising FHWA allowed the 11-foot-wide lines on an interstate. I'm thinking it was allowed because it is an "interim" configuration, planned to be temporary until the ultimate configuration is built.

The ultimate configuration from IH 635 to south of the Bush Turnpike (the Dallas County section) has $600 million in funding in the 2020 UTP and it is slated for award in August 2021
https://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2021/dallas.htm#019603274

The 2020 UTP also funds work north of SH 121 (Rayburn Turnpike) in Lewisville on or before FY 2023. The Lewisville area is probably the worst area for 11-foot-wide lanes.

So by the mid-to-late 2020s, a lot of the 11-foot-wide lanes should be eliminated.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 10:37:55 PM by MaxConcrete »
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BrandonC_TX

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #144 on: February 17, 2020, 12:55:18 AM »

It will be crazy if TxDOT once again uses narrow lanes on the downtown Houston project.  I believe they did that on US 290 in northwest Houston as well, though the full left shoulder makes it seem not as bad as I-35E north of Dallas (which lacks a left shoulder from on the entire rebuilt section from I-635 to US 380).

NCTCOG's Mobility 2045 plan does not call for improvements on I-35E in the Lewisville/Lake Dallas area until the 2037-2045 timeframe (keeping a 4+2R+4 configuration there), though TxDOT has nothing to do with that plan.  I would expect full improvements sooner, and the configuration of the ultimate project is very similar to the I-45 project in north Houston (while woven ramps between the managed lanes on I-35E might make that project seem more expensive, all the major stack interchanges are already in place thanks to the interim project, whereas I-45 in north Houston calls for a new 5-level stack at I-610).

It just surprises me to see all the narrow lanes on recent TxDOT projects, where TxDOT has maintained very high standards in the recent past.
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dfwmapper

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #145 on: February 17, 2020, 03:15:29 AM »

I'm guessing that most of the substandard designs date back to the budget shortfall era when the only hope of ever getting anything built was cutting every possible corner. Remember that highway funding had mostly dried up in this state until we passed Prop 1 in 2014 (rainy day fund) and Prop 7 in 2015 (sales and vehicle registration taxes) to steal money from other sources to pay for roads.
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sprjus4

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Re: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways
« Reply #146 on: February 17, 2020, 10:17:10 AM »

The upcoming expansion of Loop 1604 in San Antonio from 4 (2 each way) to 10 lanes (4 + 1 HOV each way) is being built with reduced 11 foot lanes to accommodate a narrow ROW. Not sure how I feel about that though.

I-264 in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia has 11 foot lanes, and while itís certainly noticeable when driving, people seem to maintain doing 70+ mph on the 8-lane 55 mph highway without issue.
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Plutonic Panda

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Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread
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Echostatic

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Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread

They ran a similar article a few years ago about the I-35 Capital Express upcoming in Downtown Austin.

sprjus4

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Trying to keep this non political as a possible is hard but now Streetsblog seems to be using the tragedy that happened to George and the unrest that followed to play the race card and claim this freeway expansion is now racist. Good stuff.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/08/houstons-i-45-project-is-a-reminder-of-urban-renewal-racism/#disqus_thread
:no:

It won't change anything. Much like the upcoming I-35 project, this will be most likely be constructed as planned and provide significant relief to the current mess that is Downtown.
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