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A better way to do I-45

From Michael Skelley on Facebook:

Here’s a new vision for I-45.
-saves money
-no displacement in low income areas
-no destruction of White Oak Bayou
-prevents TxDOT vandalization of EaDo
-downtown amenities if we want to fund those ourselves

This vision addresses the fundamental problem with this project – we should not be sending thru traffic through the heart of Houston, especially at the expense of low income communities, our kids’ health, and our bayous.

Almost half the traffic on I-45 is not going downtown. Let’s use Beltway 8 and 610 for thru traffic.

Please let us know what you think!

I like this a lot. I’d need to see some numbers, but I’m willing to bet there’s a lot of spare capacity on the east sides of Loop 610 and Beltway 8. As someone noted in the comments on this post, the 45-to-610-to-45 route is only about five miles longer than the 45-all-the-way route, and once you factor in the potential time savings from traffic that flows better, it would probably be no slower than the average trip along 45 is now. This would cost a lot less because there would be a lot less actual construction, and it would be less disruptive because the main construction needed would be at the two interchanges between 45 and 610, rather than the enormous integrations of I-45 into US59 and I-10 that are being proposed today. It would also allow the reclamation of a bunch of downtown real estate now being taken up by the existing I-45 – no more Pierce Elevated, as the current plan allows, but also no more gulf between the Heights and the Near Northside and Lindale. Much of 59 south of downtown was put below grade during its last major renovation, in response to public demand. This makes so much sense I’m kind of surprised no one had proposed it before now. I hope it’s not too late to make TxDOT consider it. What do you think?

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5 Comments

  1. Flypusher says:

    This makes perfect sense. Which means it probably has no chance.

  2. Adoile Turner III says:

    This should definitely be the plan however Sydney Sherman would def have to be upgraded to handle the extra traffic as it already sees so many cars and semis coming from the port. And The BRT could be all the way along 45 from downtown out to bush because if were making the north end from downtown a spur we could definitely remove a lane from each side for transit as well as center HOV space for centered highway stations (like in LA on the 110). but if we do this does 59 really need to be buried why waste money if we’re removing demand from downtown anyhow. That segment of 59 is not very old structurally wise so i wouldn’t waste billions burying it. But HCTRA is def not going for that beltway plan and neither will the county. And TxDOT has 0 say so about that except at interchanges at 45 north and south that could be upgraded to encourage more traffic that way but that trip is also extremely longer than 610 alternative. The only thing that needs to be considered is making sure 610 east can handle that extra traffic cause it can end up looking like the west loop.

  3. C.L. says:

    No way in hell the ‘owners’ of the Beltway on the east side of town are going to give up their cash cow.

    Just what the citizens of Houston want, another fish tank (more sunken freeways) waiting to fill up and end all traffic flow once it starts raining more than 2+”/hour.

    This has about as much a chance at flying as the plan put forth by the UH Architect for the re-use of the Astrodome.

  4. Flypusher says:

    Sunken freeways are a great way to keep the flood waters out of nearby structures. IIRC the neighborhoods around that below grade stretch of 59 fared pretty well during Harvey.

    We live in a swamp, and the rains are getting heavier. Traffic delays due to rain come with the territory. Always watch the weather and plan accordingly.