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Reminder: I-45 public meeting tonight

From The Highwayman:

As officials take another step in the process of widening Interstate 45 from downtown north to the Sam Houston Tollway, one option to essentially make the teardrop-shaped inner loop created by I-45 and U.S. 59 an odd confluence of I-45 running along both sides of the business district remains a possibility, according to planning to handouts for a Thursday meeting.

Texas Department of Transportation officials have spent years planning for a wider I-45 north of downtown, holding public sessions for the past decade to gather comment. Residents, especially those within Loop 610 north of downtown, have vehemently and vocally opposed any idea that widens the freeway in its existing right of way.

After a lot of winnowing of options, TxDOT officials have proposed three options for adding lanes between Loop 610 and Interstate 10. The first simply widens the freeway by adding two carpool/toll lanes in each direction, either by taking more right of way or by burying the freeway and capping it with concrete so the frontage road is atop the freeway. Two other options add the managed lanes either as a center-bridge structure or double-decking the managed lanes.

Things get even more complex south of I-10, where the three remaining options seem to be widening the Pierce Elevated portion of I-45 and making Pierce Street more narrow; moving I-45 to where U.S. 59 is and running the freeways parallel along the eastern side of downtown while tearing out the Pierce and turning the route into a parkway to get to I-10; and leaving I-45 southbound lanes on the Pierce Elevated and moving the northbound lanes to follow U.S. 59.

See here, here, and here for more on the meeting, and here for more on the giant downtown highway roundabout. Personally, I think all of these choices are lousy, but if you forced me to pick one anyway, I’d take the bury-the-freeway option. I have a schedule conflict and can’t attend this meeting tonight, so if you go please feel free to tell us about it in the comments, or drop me a note at kuff – at – offthekuff – dot – com. Thanks.

UPDATE: Today’s Chron story has some more detail.

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