August 22, 2005
More publicity for the Camacho Tunnel

For something that may never make it past the Powerpoint presentation stage, the proposal by Gonzalo Camacho to build a tunnel to replace the existing I-45 roadway from Beltway 8 to downtown sure is getting a lot of attention. Which is fine and dandy by me. I do have one concern, though:

TxDOT has neither endorsed nor rejected consideration of a tunnel. Its recently completed I-45 study phase addressed only general topics, said spokeswoman Janelle Gbur. The preliminary conclusions called for adding four lanes to the stretch of I-45 between Sam Houston Tollway and downtown, though it did not specify truck lanes, toll lanes or additional HOV lanes.

"We have not reached that point in the process. It's a graduated process and the goal is improved mobility," said Gbur, who expects the department will issue a report on all proposed improvements to I-45, including the tunnel, about this time next year.

"We'll give all the ideas a good review, and nothing at that point will be eliminated purely on the basis of cost-effectiveness alone," she said.

I don't think you need a PhD in bureaucratese to read that statement as saying TxDOT thinks a tunnel would cost too much. Maybe it will, maybe it won't, I don't know, though I do know that if they're using the current cost estimates as a basis for comparison, no alternate plan will look good. I'm just about sold on the tunnel idea, but I fear putting all our eggs in one basket, thus leaving TxDOT an easy way to make the default bulldoze-and-widen choice. Still, I continue to be impressed by the job that Camacho has done in telling people about his plan (which as always you can view here in its 8 MB PPT file glory) and in particular in getting them to take the idea seriously. I just hope that TxDOT is as willing to think outside the box as much as he has.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 22, 2005 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack

Grrr. Argh! Gurgle. *vein popping*

No more Big Digs.

Posted by: B. K. Oxley (binkley) on August 22, 2005 2:46 PM