The latest update from the I-45 Coalition:
Dear I-45 Coalition member,
October 2015 was the last update … it’s now May 2016 … several things have changed in the past 8 months.
As a quick summary, TxDOT will be rebuilding I-45. This will be a massive project that includes rerouting I-45 downtown by abandoning most of the Pierce elevated and routing I-45 below-grade next to I-59 by George R Brown Convention Center. There are 3 Segments involved in the project – Segment 1 (610 to Beltway 8);Segment 2 (610 to I-10) and Segment 3 (the Downtown Loop).
We are currently in year 11 of an approximately 12 year planning phase … prior to shovels hitting the ground for 4-6 years of construction. TxDOT has held 4 public meetings so far, the last one in April 2015.
The next meeting will be a public HEARING (much different than a meeting) in late fall 2016 … probably October or November 2016. This will be the last opportunity for the public’s voices to be heard before construction begins! Comments received during the Public Hearing will be considered, then a ‘Record of Decision’ (ROD) will be issued & construction will begin (when funding is secured).
I am part of the I-45 Coalition, which is an all-volunteer group that was formed to address issues related to the planned construction of I-45 and to work with TxDOT to ensure that the pending construction comply with these 3 tenets: (1) No expansion beyond the existing right-of- way (2) Alternative means of transportation must be explored (3) No negative impact on the neighborhoods quality of life.
Well … #2 has never been explored, #3 is yet to be determined & #1 was initially going well, but has changed recently.
For Segment 2 – Initially, TxDOT was staying within existing right-of way (ROW) in Segment 2, except for some intersections. Now, things have changed – per TxDOT “The project now requires limited ROW acquisition on both sides of the highway between Quitman and Cavalcade to allow for ramping and connectivity between Quitman and N. Main. These changes were brought to us by neighborhoods wanting better access to the freeway. There is also a small sliver of ROW at the gas station on the northwest corner of N. Main to avoid impacts to the Hollywood Cemetery.”
Between Little White Oak Bayou to N. Main, on the East side of I-45 a service road is being created/expanded. “The length of the ROW is approximately 2400’ and the width varies between 10’ to 120’. Despite the large range in width, only the first row of properties adjacent to the highway would be affected. There are a total of 17 affected parcels. Of those, 12 have structures and one has a billboard that will be impacted.”
North St. Bridge – This will be gone. No vehicular bridge. No pedestrian bridge. The main I-45 roadway will be raised to almost grade level at North St. so there will be no way to have any bridge there.
You can look at TxDOT’s plan, maps & designs on their website, www.ih45northandmore.com
The I-45 Coalition will keep you updated as plans progress. It will be critical to attend the Hearing, when it is announced.
If you are not on our contact list, please go to www.I-45Coalition.org , then “How You Can Help” & enter your email info. Or go on Facebook & search for I-45 Coalition or https://www.facebook.com/groups/126404660719854
The project is on a short fuse now… please stay involved!
Jim Weston, I-45 Coalition
See here for the last update. I’ll be sorry to see the North Street Bridge go, but I can’t claim it’s highly trafficked. Mostly, I hope that Mayor Turner and the various people who represent this area are staying on top of developments and expressing their own concerns and opinions to TxDOT. Remember, there are other possibilities. I’ll keep an eye out for an announcement about that meeting.