AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans  (Read 2287 times)

MaxConcrete

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 507
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 06:51:05 PM
IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« on: January 10, 2017, 07:59:15 PM »

Low bid last week for rebuilding and widening 6.7 miles to 3x3: $128 million. This section extends the existing 3x3 section, which stops at the Montgomery/Walker county line.
http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/bidtab/01043001.htm

A video was recently posted of plans in Huntsville. It shows 3x3 main lanes, plus two-lane collectors on each side for a long distance, for a net of 10 freeway main lanes. The collector lanes will serve local traffic and prevent intermingling with the through-traffic between Houston and Dallas.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a08wqAaa7ZI

Bobby5280

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1687
  • Location: Lawton, OK
  • Last Login: July 15, 2019, 11:37:12 PM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2017, 12:03:05 AM »

The simulation in the video seems a little crude. I assume the I-45 main lanes and collector lanes are going to have proper shoulders. The roadways in the simulation don't have any shoulders. Considering how I-35 was re-built North of Austin, I would kind of expect the 3x3 main lanes of I-45 to not have any grassy median separating them, only a concrete Jersey barrier. But that would probably leave enough room for the shoulders.
Logged

longhorn

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 296
  • Last Login: Today at 09:12:52 AM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2017, 03:48:30 PM »

Interesting, the middle section is like an express section. Kind of reminds me of the Jersey tollway.
Logged

Chris

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2231
  • International road enthusiast

  • Age: 31
  • Location: the Netherlands
  • Last Login: Today at 07:42:09 AM
    • Flickr
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2018, 08:59:19 AM »

A 'PEL' study has been launched for I-45 north of Houston as well. This concerns the 24 mile section between Beltway 8 and Loop 336 in Conroe.

http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/houston/0308180.html

This is the third PEL study announced for Houston freeways, public meetings were also held for the I-10 (East Freeway) and I-69 (Southwest Freeway) PEL studies.

I-45 between Beltway 8 and Conroe has been upgraded more recently than I-10 and I-69, according to the Houston Freeways website, this section has been upgraded to current standards in phases between 1997 and 2003.

So it appears that the Hardy Toll Road extension to Conroe is dead and I-45 will be expanded instead?

Perfxion

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 314
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Last Login: June 09, 2019, 08:16:08 PM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2018, 10:47:24 AM »

It would be hard to extend the Hardy north. There is too much built too near the highways with too much rich money. It would be a riot if they tried buying out that. They are having a hard time turning a freight line into a bullet train without any land buyouts. The hardy expansion won't happen.
Logged
5/10/20/30/15/35/37/40/44/45/70/76/78/80/85/87/95/
(CA)405,(NJ)195/295(NY)295/495/278/678(CT)395(MD/VA)195/495/695/895

TXtoNJ

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 526
  • Last Login: Today at 02:42:27 AM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2018, 12:54:48 PM »

I like the Huntsville plans. It's the safest way to maintain 75 mph on the mainlanes.

It may seem strange that they're considering reconstruction of 45N just 15 years after previous completion, but no one was expecting the ExxonMobil ops HQ to be built where it was. Likewise, The Woodlands has become a commercial center far beyond even its most optimistic boosters' dreams.

With this in mind, it's not the capacity that's a problem - it's how the lanes are being used. There needs to be a way to separate the northbound through traffic from the local Woodlands traffic, especially if there will be no Hardy extension. Reconstructing 45 into a 3x3x3x3 local-express facility from BW8 to 336 would be the best way to approach this.
Logged

Bobby5280

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1687
  • Location: Lawton, OK
  • Last Login: July 15, 2019, 11:37:12 PM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2018, 07:20:00 PM »

There is very little space for adding new lanes to I-45 between Conroe and Beltway 8. Any significant expansion, such as 2 or more additional lanes in each direction, would either require elevating those additional lanes above the existing highway or clearing a great deal of property to expand outward.  Either scenario would be very costly. If an elevated option is pursued that could actually serve as a Hardy Toll Road extension.
Logged

Anthony_JK

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1318
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Last Login: Today at 04:58:29 AM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2018, 11:42:09 AM »

I like the Huntsville plans. It's the safest way to maintain 75 mph on the mainlanes.

It may seem strange that they're considering reconstruction of 45N just 15 years after previous completion, but no one was expecting the ExxonMobil ops HQ to be built where it was. Likewise, The Woodlands has become a commercial center far beyond even its most optimistic boosters' dreams.

With this in mind, it's not the capacity that's a problem - it's how the lanes are being used. There needs to be a way to separate the northbound through traffic from the local Woodlands traffic, especially if there will be no Hardy extension. Reconstructing 45 into a 3x3x3x3 local-express facility from BW8 to 336 would be the best way to approach this.

They could do what they did to the Katy Freeway I-10 segment in Houston and drop in some 2X2 MaX lanes in the median for express traffic, connecting that to the Hardy Toll Road terminus.
Logged

Chris

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2231
  • International road enthusiast

  • Age: 31
  • Location: the Netherlands
  • Last Login: Today at 07:42:09 AM
    • Flickr

TXtoNJ

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 526
  • Last Login: Today at 02:42:27 AM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2018, 04:53:14 PM »

There is very little space for adding new lanes to I-45 between Conroe and Beltway 8. Any significant expansion, such as 2 or more additional lanes in each direction, would either require elevating those additional lanes above the existing highway or clearing a great deal of property to expand outward.  Either scenario would be very costly. If an elevated option is pursued that could actually serve as a Hardy Toll Road extension.

They could go with an LBJ North sort of cantilevering combined with elevated roadways in other parts. I would imagine they would want any double-deckered portion depressed through The Woodlands.
Logged

MaxConcrete

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 507
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 06:51:05 PM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2018, 09:37:37 PM »

There is very little space for adding new lanes to I-45 between Conroe and Beltway 8. Any significant expansion, such as 2 or more additional lanes in each direction, would either require elevating those additional lanes above the existing highway or clearing a great deal of property to expand outward.  Either scenario would be very costly. If an elevated option is pursued that could actually serve as a Hardy Toll Road extension.

I agree, any major expansion is going to be very difficult, costly and disruptive. With the $7 billion I-45 project between downtown and BW 8 already consuming most available funding in the 2020s, a less costly plan is most realistic to actually get improvements done.

I'm predicting that the recommendation is going to be mainly intersection improvements and the addition of auxiliary lanes where feasible. The intersection improvement program will include adding the remaining 6 unbuilt connectors at the Grand Parkway. Auxiliary lanes are needed around the Grand Parkway and Hardy Toll Road.

Bobby5280

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1687
  • Location: Lawton, OK
  • Last Login: July 15, 2019, 11:37:12 PM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2018, 10:03:14 AM »

One thing metro Houston needs very badly is improvements to surface street grids to filter traffic better. They can add more capacity to freeways as much as they like, but as long as so many neighborhoods have every freaking surface street, business entrance and driveway spilling out directly onto the main thoroughfares we're still going to see really stupid traffic jams at any time of day. Those jams often clog intersections and then back up onto the freeways. I've been caught up in traffic jams in Houston, even late at night, due to woefully inefficient street grid design.

Some of the newer residential development neighborhoods have their street layouts filtered where there's only a couple or so entrances/exits onto the main arterials. Unfortunately very few of the commercial and industrial zones in Houston have followed the same approach. Driveways and intersections are all over the place. I remember one drive on Gessner Rd next to Memorial City Mall in the middle of the day on a weekend. I was trying to get to I-10 nearby. It took half an hour to travel less than half a mile to get on I-10. There's half a dozen traffic signaled intersections in that short stretch along with lots of driveways. Each red light seemed to take forever to run its cycle. I could have walked or even crawled faster than that infuriating garbage.
Logged

rte66man

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1078
  • Location: Warr Acres, OK
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 09:31:04 PM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2018, 04:35:05 AM »

Traveled to Houston this week.  I was again reminded that depressing any lanes for an I-45 expansion isn't feasible due to the frequent flooding.  You could pump out the water but it would have no place to go.  I would disagree about elevating lanes through the Woodlands.  There are already high ramps at 242.
Logged
When you come to a fork in the road... TAKE IT.

                                                               -Yogi Berra

TXtoNJ

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 526
  • Last Login: Today at 02:42:27 AM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2018, 09:39:34 AM »

Traveled to Houston this week.  I was again reminded that depressing any lanes for an I-45 expansion isn't feasible due to the frequent flooding.  You could pump out the water but it would have no place to go.  I would disagree about elevating lanes through the Woodlands.  There are already high ramps at 242.

And people who don't live here don't understand - the added detention volume from the depressed freeways is a feature, not a bug. That's water that's not otherwise in a creek or a neighborhood.
Logged

Chris

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2231
  • International road enthusiast

  • Age: 31
  • Location: the Netherlands
  • Last Login: Today at 07:42:09 AM
    • Flickr
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2018, 10:03:17 AM »

I've read that most newer malls have parking lots that are designed to flood as a last resort detention pond. Some media saw the street flooding as a design failure, but evidently the Houston street system is designed to store water in case of flooding. Of course Hurricane Harvey was an extraordinary event. It dumped twice as much rain as flood-proof role model Netherlands receives in an entire year.

Bobby5280

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1687
  • Location: Lawton, OK
  • Last Login: July 15, 2019, 11:37:12 PM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2018, 05:16:52 PM »

Quote
And people who don't live here don't understand - the added detention volume from the depressed freeways is a feature, not a bug. That's water that's not otherwise in a creek or a neighborhood.

I wouldn't think a depressed freeway would be big enough to make any significant difference to flood water volume. We've had flash floods and valley-wide floods here in SW OK. Seeing some of that in person has me thinking that's a lot more water than any freeway or parking lot is going to hold.

And then there's the matter of freeways serving as evacuation routes along hurricane-prone coasts. Most people are going to be gone before the storm hits. A freeway in a trench is going to collect more than just flood water. Once the water levels finally recede a whole bunch of stuff may be left behind blocking the highway.
Logged

rte66man

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1078
  • Location: Warr Acres, OK
  • Last Login: July 16, 2019, 09:31:04 PM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2018, 06:03:21 AM »

Traveled to Houston this week.  I was again reminded that depressing any lanes for an I-45 expansion isn't feasible due to the frequent flooding.  You could pump out the water but it would have no place to go.  I would disagree about elevating lanes through the Woodlands.  There are already high ramps at 242.

And people who don't live here don't understand - the added detention volume from the depressed freeways is a feature, not a bug. That's water that's not otherwise in a creek or a neighborhood.

I am a past resident of Houston and have been coming here for business reasons for the past 30 years.  I understand very well how Houston floods. They are certainly doing better that 30 years ago.

Detention ponds have a large footprint.  Where along the proposed route would you put them?  Willow Waterhole greenspace ?
Logged
When you come to a fork in the road... TAKE IT.

                                                               -Yogi Berra

Anthony_JK

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1318
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Last Login: Today at 04:58:29 AM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2018, 09:12:25 AM »

Traveled to Houston this week.  I was again reminded that depressing any lanes for an I-45 expansion isn't feasible due to the frequent flooding.  You could pump out the water but it would have no place to go.  I would disagree about elevating lanes through the Woodlands.  There are already high ramps at 242.

And people who don't live here don't understand - the added detention volume from the depressed freeways is a feature, not a bug. That's water that's not otherwise in a creek or a neighborhood.

I actually have family that live in North Houston, so I perfectly understand.

The main issue with flooding in H-Town is that waaaay too much land is concreted over by sprawl, and there's really no place for any water to settle but the depressed freeways. Smarter land use and tighter zoning regulations requiring space for runoff and detention would definitely help ease the situation. Obviously, an extreme event like Harvey would exacerbate matters, but with climate change making such events happen more often, the sense of urgency should be greater.

As far as I-45 north of Houston goes: maybe you could do a cantilevered or tunneled express lane/MaX lane setup like I-635 in Dallas, or a raised lane cantilevered effect through The Woodlands, extended south to the northern terminus of the Hardy Toll Road. That seems to be the default choice these days.
Logged

TXtoNJ

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 526
  • Last Login: Today at 02:42:27 AM
Re: IH 45 north of Houston: expansion contract and plans
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2018, 04:37:50 PM »

The water settling in the freeways is a good thing. I'll take a day of traffic inconvenience over houses flooding where they never have before.
Logged

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.