Another I-45 public meeting should be scheduled soon

From Jim Weston of the I-45 Coalition:

TxDOT will soon be holding another public meeting!

TxDOT has been working for years to come up with a plan to ‘relieve’ the congestion on I-45. After several years, TxDOT is getting closer to come up with a “plan”. The I-45 Coalition is a group of neighborhood volunteers that monitors TxDOT and makes sure that the affected neighborhoods are fully aware of their plans.

You can look at all of the Public Meetings information by going to TxDOT’s website

Let me give you some brief history.

In 1998, TxDOT announced plans to widen I-45. They conducted a study, were stalled for a while and then started holding public meetings. In Nov 2005, TxDOT released the North-Hardy Planning Study that said 4 managed lanes were needed. The estimated cost at that time (in 2004 dollars) was $2.1 BILLION . According to TxDOT, AFTER doing the project, in the year 2025, the peak speeds in the main traffic lanes would be 35 mph instead of 32 mph if we did nothing (between 610 & I-10)!!

Public meeting #1 was in Nov. 2011. TxDOT wanted to know where the public preferred to put the 4 managed lanes. TxDOT said they would consider Hardy Toll Road as well as tunnels.

TxDOT broke the project into 3 Segments. Segment 1 = Beltway 8 to 610; Segment 2 = 610 to I-10; Segment 3 = Downtown “loop”.

Public Meeting #2 – in Oct. 2012 -TxDOT came up with 6 alternatives per 3 segment. They asked the public for input to identify the choices. TxDOT would narrow the 6 choices down to 3 per segment. Then after PM #3, TxDOT would narrow the 3 choices down to the final 1 per segment

Public Meeting #3 – in Nov. 2013 – TxDOT announced the results from PM #2. TxDOT eliminated almost all of the public’s preferred choices!

For Segment 1 – Almost ½ the comments wanted TxDOT to put the additional 4 lanes on an expanded Hardy Toll Road (Alt 3,3c); the other top 2 picks were taking an additional 30 feet right-of way (ROW) from both sides of 45 (Alt 7, Alt 8). Instead, TxDOT substantially increased all ROW demands and said the public had to select from taking an additional 200-225 feet ROW from either the West side (Alt 4)or East side of 45 (Alt 5) or 81’ from both sides of 45 (Alt 7).

For Segment 2 – The 3 picks the public wanted were 1) 4 lanes in a tunnel (Alt 14); 2) 4 lanes on Hardy (Alt 15); and (3) cover the below-grade section of 45 and make green space above(Alt 10). TxDOT eliminated the Tunnel option and the Hardy option and responded with 1) Put the 4 lanes on a double-decked structure in middle of road (Alt 12)…NO one in the public picked that! 2) 4 lanes on an elevated structure in middle of roadway (Alt 11) and 3) no cover for the below-grade area & no green space (Alt 10).

For Segment 3 – 98% of the public selected tunnels (Alt 4, Alt 6 & Alt 5) that TxDOT had proposed! TxDOT’s response … they eliminated ALL tunnels and came up with 2 new alternatives that the public had never seen before (Alts 11, 12 & Alt 10). They provided inadequate detail on any of the options they proposed, so the public could not make an informed decision.

When I asked the TxDOT engineer why TxDOT didn’t consider the Public’s input, he responded with “we did consider it, but this is not a popularity contest”! The next meeting has NOT been announced yet. I have been told it would be in Winter or Spring. We are quickly leaving Winter & entering Spring, so an announcement will likely be soon. I just wanted you to keep this on your radar, because you need to be involved. If we don’t remain vigilant, TxDOT will do what they want, where they want … and that usually involves pouring more & more concrete!

The I-45 Coalition has 3 main goals:

First – We want TxDOT to stay within its existing Right-of-Way (ROW). We do not want to increase the “footprint” of the existing roadway and we do not want our neighborhoods and our homes destroyed by an ever-increasing slab of pavement.

Second – We want TxDOT to investigate other modes of transportation, other than more and more concrete for more and more vehicles.

Third – We do not want our Quality-of-Life and our neighborhoods affected adversely by increased air pollution, noise pollution, flooding, increased neighborhood traffic, etc.

If you would like to be on I-45’s notification list for TxDOT meetings and updates, please go to our website at and sign up OR/and go to our Facebook page and join. Thank you & PLEASE be involved!

I noted last month that in a longer story on the state of transportation projects around Houston, TxDOT spokesperson Raquelle Lewis alluded to the “next round of meetings” regarding I-45 and that 2015 would be a busy year for planning. Get ready to get involved, and be sure to let your preferred candidate(s) for Mayor know where you stand on this as well.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.