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.