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MaxConcrete last won the day on March 18 2017

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  1. MaxConcrete

    Hardy toll road extension

    A long time ago, 10 years or more, I recall seeing one or more reports that it would be toll-free. I seem to recall the connector was described as a long on-ramp to the existing toll road. But I don't know that there ever was an official plan or decision for it to be toll free. I think the cost of the project escalated substantially, and that may have contributed to the addition of tolling.
  2. MaxConcrete

    The Pierce Elevated/I-59 Redesign Thread

    CoH has the right to purchase the property before it can be offered to anyone else or put on the market. I'm not sure about this, but Harris County could also have the same privilege, after CoH. In terms of price, my understanding is that CoH would have to pay market price. Determining the market price is not an exact science and the price could potentially be agreed to be on the low end of a market range and still be in compliance with rules.
  3. MaxConcrete

    New Mixed-Use Project - Texas Instrument Facility Site

    I'm wondering if this will have any impact or influence on the plans for the redevelopment of the Imperial Sugar site. There was no activity at the Imperial Sugar site when I drove by a couple months ago. (I don't know if activity has started since then.) I'm thinking the competition from the Grid may make it more difficult for the Imperial Sugar project to proceed.
  4. MaxConcrete

    New Mixed-Use Project - Texas Instrument Facility Site

    My assumption that the old Texas Instruments building would be demolished was wrong. (But I think I expected demolition based on the original project depiction, which IIRC appeared to show a parking garage on the main building site.) So it appears the T.I. building will be renovated to become office space.
  5. MaxConcrete

    The Pierce Elevated/I-59 Redesign Thread

    Tonight's meeting for the north side was well-attended. I arrived just as the main presentation was ending. COH staff said the meeting materials are online, but I can't find anything. The big news to me was not related to the highway but was the proposed railroad consolidation. See the attached image link. (I was not aware of the railroad proposal until tonight.) In short, the proposal is to combine the two east-west railroads into one corridor by building a new section of railroad from around Main street to Houston Street. The railroad serving the Amtrack station and going through UHD would be abandoned. The railroad on the "Be Someone" bridge extending west would also be abandoned. The corridor of the "Be Someone" bridge would be replaced by a road for better neighborhood connectivity, which was listed as one of the three main objectives of COH planning. That new road appears to be part of the plan, regardless of whether or not the railroad relocation actually happens. The benefits of the relocation are huge (see items 1 through 8), and the cost should be affordable. I'm thinking that just eliminating the railroad and the need to build a shoofly where the existing railroad crosses IH-10 east of Elysian could save $15-25 million, and maybe another $10 million for the elimination of a shoofly on the "Be Someone" bridge. As listed in bullet 5, the railroad removal would make the North Canal possible. Another project in this area is the bypass canal for White Oak bayou. I think I may have heard about it previously, but it probably has a greater probability of being built post-Harvey.
  6. MaxConcrete

    HCTRA.CO - a new information site

    Actually, the 2017 HCTRA financial statement says $134 million in toll revenue was skimmed off for "funding a county thoroughfare program to increase general mobility." Each of the three original sections of the Sam Houston Tollway generate around $100 million year (actually $105, $89 and $103 million going clockwise from IH 69 Southwest Freeway). Toll payers on these 3 segments are basically bankrolling HCTRA's surplus and slush fund. I can assure you that there really is no realistic alternative to the Sam Houston Tollway from IH 69 to IH 10. Try taking Gessner or Willcrest. It takes a *long* time even in light traffic conditions. So when someone says "Don't use them", that person is disconnected from reality. I think it is good to ask questions about 1) If the tollpayers on the Sam Houston Tollway original 3 segments should be bankrolling these surpluses into perpetuity 2) If tolls should be removed from any or all of those sections at some point in time
  7. MaxConcrete

    Latest Astroworld Plot redevelopment news

    The parking on the former Astroworld site is indispensable during the barbecue cookoff, since the cookoff takes over nearly all of the parking lot south of NRG stadium and the dome. When I went to this year's event, there were message signs reporting that the south (Astroworld) lot was totally full. During the rest of the rodeo season the lot is heavily used, but I don't know that it is critical. I also don't know if the site is used for parking for Texans games. So any parking that is lost due to development is going to have to be replaced, presumably with parking structures. Of course that costs money, and of course those parking garages will be empty most of the time, just like the surface lot. Since the Astroworld site has never been fully paved (although it has aggregate), that suggests to me that some kind of development may be envisioned for the future.
  8. MaxConcrete

    New Mixed-Use Project - Texas Instrument Facility Site

    There are three streets now open on the corner of the property near the Southwest Freeway and West Airport. The street names are Lumen, Current and Pulse, scientific-sounding names which surely pay tribute to the former semiconductor factory. As dml423 mentioned, there are frames for small buildings, I counted three separate buildings (one very small in the first photo). There's still no new progress on the demolition of the main Texas Instruments building, which seems to be on hold for a long time. That leads me to wonder if there is an issue with environmental contamination, since old semiconductor plants were notorious for using nasty chemicals called ethylene glycol ethers (EGEs) as part of the photoresist process, and Silicon Valley is full of superfund sites where factories existed. (Those chemicals were also bad news for workers, see ) Anyways, I'm just speculating about the EGEs, and I have no idea why the demolition seems to be on hold. It could be a financing issue. If anyone knows the reason, it would be interesting to find out.
  9. MaxConcrete

    The Pierce Elevated/I-59 Redesign Thread

    At the public hearing last year, the homeowners in the Chenevert area were opposed to ramp due to the potential for more traffic on their streets. That probably was a factor.
  10. MaxConcrete

    The Pierce Elevated/I-59 Redesign Thread

    The most significant change is for the connection to the SH 288 toll lanes. The connection into Chenevert Street is eliminated. The northbound SH 288 toll lane now connects into the ramp which connects to IH 45. The southbound entrance to the toll lane is now from the frontage road. The only other significant change is on the downtown connector at Dallas Street, as already pointed out and discussed. Looking at the schematic, the schematic creates the suggestion that the Sabine Street bridge is slated to be replaced. Trivial changes include some modifications to streets connecting to the frontage road at the 610/45 interchange, frontage road right turn geometries at the 610/45 interchange, and a two-lane exit to Bell on southbound IH-69 (previously one lane). So overall, changes in the design are minimal. I was disappointed to see that there were no adjustments in the locations of my list of concerns, so I think I can safely conclude that the design in basically final in those locations.
  11. MaxConcrete

    59 - 610 Interchange Partial Rebuild
  12. MaxConcrete

    KLM Ends 747 Service to IAH

    Photos from January 2016. Unless KLM resurrects 747 service, we'll never see this view again.
  13. MaxConcrete

    Midtown Sears to Become Houston's Innovation District

    You are correct, the first planned construction of the overall downtown and IH 45 project is the section of IH 69 in Midtown. My perception (based on speaking to representatives at public meetings) is that they are proceeding full speed with design and will be ready for immediate work on right-of-way acquisition when the Record of Decision is received, which is expected this year. But I also heard that there is a last-ditch effort by northside interests to derail the entire project, which could delay the ROD, perhaps substantially.
  14. MaxConcrete

    Amazon HQ2

    Unfortunately some interests are going to use the Amazon situation to promote more rail, when in fact Houston having less rail than other cities was almost surely a negligible factor. 1. Analyses like fail to mention that our proposed sites were poor. Generation Park is a nonstarter due to location, East River is extremely rough (and a dump in my opinion), and there is no obvious good site in the recently-hatched "innovation corridor". 2. As the bisnow article mentioned, our technical workforce is substantially incompatible with Amazon's needs. Houston is rich in chemical/process engineers, medical researchers, energy-related engineers, energy-related sciences like geophysics, and NASA-related space/aerospace. Our workforce has speciality/niche technical skills, while Amazon needs the kind of workforce that the mainstream technology industry uses (mostly programmers), and any number of cities have a workforce more geared to mainstream technology. 3. Houston's incentives appear to be weak compared to the competition. While there really was nothing for Houston to lose because we were never in the game due to the incompatible workforce, this could turn into a loss for Houston if it results in billions of dollars being squandered on new light rail with very low ridership like the green and purple lines.