I-10 elevation update

From the Woodland Heights Civic Association January newsletter:

I-10 Heights to I-45 Project Update: Community Advocacy Leads to Significant Changes

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has announced modifications to its $347 million plan to elevate a section of Interstate 10 in Houston’s Heights area, a direct result of public feedback provided in 2022. This project, stretching approximately 1.8 miles from Heights Boulevard to I-45 in Downtown Houston, aims to raise the I-10 main lanes above the floodplain of White Oak Bayou.

Key Modifications:

  • Detention Pond: A 26-acre detention pond will be constructed beneath the elevated I-10 main lanes between Studemont Street and Houston Avenue.
  • Reduced Impact: The project now includes slightly lower lanes and sound-dampening walls, addressing noise concerns.
  • Preservation Efforts: More of the wooded area near White Oak Bayou (Taylor Woods) will be preserved.
  • New Shared-Use Path: A path for cyclists and pedestrians will be added on the south side of the bayou.

These changes are a testament to the effectiveness of community advocacy. The revised plans, presented in a virtual session and discussed at an in-person meeting on January 17th, 2024, reflect the community’s concerns and suggestions.

See here and here for the background. The full TxDOT presentation about this is here, and an illustration of how the proposal has changed since 2022 is here. Pretty significant.

The Chron adds some details.

Revised plans to elevate Interstate 10 northwest of downtown along White Oak Bayou seem to have eased — but not eliminated — concerns from nearby residents.

Though some still question the need for the $347 million project by the Texas Department of Transportation to lift I-10 out of the floodway, slightly lower lanes and walls to dampen sound correct many of the problems people identified with the earlier plans.

“I am not going to say I like it, but I like it a lot more than what they proposed the first time,” Heights resident David Rawlins said after seeing the plans Tuesday night online.

TxDOT’s revised plan would elevate about 2 miles of I-10 west of I-45, between Houston Avenue and Studemont. The higher freeway lanes would reduce flooding risk from nearby White Oak Bayou but also place elevated lanes through First Ward and southern parts of the Heights, which alarmed residents when designs were unveiled mid-2022. Elevating the lanes also means elevating the HOV ramp into the central business district, which under the plans would be more than 115 feet in the air at its highest point near I-45.

After concerns from residents, TxDOT engineers refined the project, lowering the lanes where possible and committing to taller walls along the road to address noise pollution and plans for new trails along and beneath the freeway to improve bayou running and biking trails.


While some look to the sky, others are focused more on the ground level of exactly what an elevated freeway will leave. TxDOT has made commitments to keep trees and plant others in the area, while it uses the area beneath the freeway for stormwater detention. Officials also plan a biking and walking trail along the south side of the bayou, which will connect to the M-K-T Trail in three places. The trail additions would not add a lengthy route, but add options south of White Oak to access the broader and growing trail system along the bayou.

Despite multiple changes, residents remain wary of many parts of the project, in part because it is one of many in the area and it is difficult — some said — to get the full scope of what is coming. Work raising the lanes along I-10 could start in late 2024 or early 2025 but be closely followed by plans by Metropolitan Transit Authority for a busway along I-10 between Loop 610 near Post Oak and downtown. Those lanes could be as tall as the HOV lanes into downtown on the south side of the freeway.

TxDOT also has its own plans for elevated managed lanes along the center of I-10 within Loop 610, as well as the massive I-45 rebuild that replaces the current interchange with I-10.

All the projects converge at White Oak Bayou, making understanding each of the projects in concert with the others important, [Fred Lindner with Save White Oak Bayou] said.

“Since TxDOT elects to treat all the project separately, it makes messaging the effects of the project difficult,” he said in an email. “We will be asking TxDOT to provide a comprehensive view of all their projects along I-10 so that there can be a public understanding of their totality.”

See here for more on the Metro piece of this, which as far as I know is dependent on that other elevated portion of I-10. I agree with Fred Lindner that there are a lot of disjointed pieces making it hard to keep up with the big picture, and with David Rawlins that this is better but I’m still leery because you can’t ever fully trust TxDOT.

The Leader News has a good wrapup with some informative pictures, as well as this timely reminder:

The public can continue to study and react to the proposal online or by writing:

TxDOT Houston District Office

Attn: Advanced Project Development Director

P.O. Box 1386

Houston, Texas 77251-1386 or emailing [email protected]

All comments must be received by Feb. 1.

Questions can also be directed to Grady Mapes, TxDOT district program director, at 713-866-7040, or by email at [email protected].

Make your voice heard while you can.

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3 Responses to I-10 elevation update

  1. David Fagan says:

    DOT likes to listen to the public feedback and advocacy efforts of this area of the population, but not the population affected by I-45? Why is that I wonder?

  2. mollusk says:

    Oh, TxDOT had their I-45 meetings, too, beginning years ago. The public meetings are basically a show.

    The flooding excuse really floors me. It totally ignores the fact that 45 still crosses Little White Oak Bayou below flood plain level just south of North Main. 10 East still floods, as do the downtown access points save heading northbound on 45. The pumped areas below grade still flood in the once every few years events – the same few events that currently flood the Katy east of Studewood.

  3. David Fagan says:

    Well, I would like to see a side by side comparison of the compromises made by DOT for each project, but I’m sure I’m not the only one. Several displaced people as a result of I 45 should care also, even though it won’t matter too much, which is the sad part.

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