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Houston Metro Light Rail East Side/Green Line (formerly Brown Line)


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TJI:


METRO Moving Forward with Hughes Street Overpass

METRO's is taking the Green Line over Hughes Street to connect the line to the Magnolia Transit Center.

After several meetings with East End residents, civic leaders, elected officials and extensive discussions with environmental professionals on the subject of the Huges Street overpass/underpass, the METRO Board of Directors voted today in favor of an overpass. 

"I think it’s important that we never lose sight of our fiduciary duty, and we represent everyone and everything within the service area," said METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia. "We’ve got to complete the line. That is the best thing we can do for this community - complete the line and get out of the way.” 

Eight board members voted in favor with Christof Spieler absent.  Spieler did however send an email in support of an overpass.

The METRO Board will move forward with the option that will take light rail and vehicular traffic, plus sidewalks over Hughes Street. The option also provides a lane for vehicular traffic and pedestrian sidewalks at street level.  Preliminary costs are estimated between $35-$43 million. The overpass is projected to take31 months to complete.

The underpass option would have cost $52-$68 million and take approximately 
42 months to complete. That does not include costs of remediation of environmental clean up outside of the project specific area.

The Board approved motion states:

I MOVE THAT METRO RESCIND ITS PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION FOR AN UNDERPASS, AND CONSTRUCT A LIGHT RAIL OVERPASS WITH A LIMITED NOTICE TO PROCEED WITH THIS DESIGN. METRO WILL WORK WITH THE CITY OF HOUSTON TO SECURE FUNDING AND AGREEMENTS BY JUNE 30TH, TO ALSO HAVE TRAFFIC LANES OVER AND PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS AND TRAFFIC LANES AND PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS AT GRADE AND PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS. IF AN AGREEMENT IS NOT ENTERED INTO BY JUNE 30TH, METRO WILL DESIGN AND CONSTRUCT AN OVERPASS WITH LIGHT RAIL ONLY.

The light rail only option would cost $27-$37 million and take approximately 28 months to complete. Next steps include working with the city of Houston to try to expedite the construction process. "We want to work to move this forward as fast as possible," said Garcia.

ee_crop.jpg

The Green Line's tracks have been undergoing testing. The majority of the line - from downtown to Altic - is expected to open this fall.

 
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no way it takes 31 months to design/build that bridge....bridge engineer here....are they going to run a separate train on the east portion?

 

No plans for separate trains running on the east portion according to the Green Line office representative I spoke to. The rails and stations will sit there unused until the bridge is completed.

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But what kind of overpass?

I heard they were going for the rail only option, then last night on the news, they approved a rail and traffic one.

Board recommended overpass design with rail and one lane of vehicular traffic. Other vehicular lane will be at grade. METRO will negotiate with city council to aide with financials for this design. If by summer nothing has come to fruition, then METRO will proceed with overpass design with only rail (2 vehicular lanes at grade).

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well, you just can't have workers standing by, so I'd imagine they'd have to design and engineer it once they decide what design they want to use.

then of course, you need to order pieces from various vendors, blah, blah, blah.

Most people don't have the slightest clue on what it takes to construct something.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jeez ... that is ridiculous.  Some colleagues at work were recently lamenting how, in our company, it seems that the right and left hands don't know what each other are doing.  But ... the situation within and between Metro, CoH and the others seems to be much more dire!  

 

And I thought the phenomenon of sidewalks built with utility poles in the middle was bad.  This is much worse.

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I certainly hope that it's temporary - but I doubt that was the intention.  This looks like different sheets were used for traffic control signals and catenary support placement, and nobody bothered to overlay them.  Both posts are the type and finish being used for the permanent installation, and the catenary post already has some of the train wiring strung.  I suspect this is something that's going to need to generate a change order.  

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Isn't this the eastbound line in downtown that runs along Rusk on one side of the street ? I'm thinking the same in the previous post they may add signals to the catenary poles but these poles may be cantilevered where the arms stretches over one or two lines towards the middle of the street which is possible. 

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Tower, you are correct, it's EB Rusk on the side with the tracks.  And JL, having one pole rather than two would seem to make all sorts of sense when they are all of two feet apart; beyond that, I wouldn't be surprised if they manage to find their drill and some bigger bands to move the walk signals and "one way" sign over onto the catenary pole.  Lesserthenever, we've got two brand new, shiny, gray poles, both matching each of their single purpose brethren, and number stickers, etc., so I'm still calling design error on this.

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Tower, you are correct, it's EB Rusk on the side with the tracks.  And JL, having one pole rather than two would seem to make all sorts of sense when they are all of two feet apart; beyond that, I wouldn't be surprised if they manage to find their drill and some bigger bands to move the walk signals and "one way" sign over onto the catenary pole.  Lesserthenever, we've got two brand new, shiny, gray poles, both matching each of their single purpose brethren, and number stickers, etc., so I'm still calling design error on this.

 

I've noticed that instead of moving the old pedestrian signals downtown to new poles, they're doing things including installing new pedestrian signals to new signal and catenary poles, installing new pedestrian signals to old signal poles with different types of mast arms to accommodate the new lines of vision caused by new catenary poles being in the way of the old signal poles, and I think some of the old pedestrian signals and old signal poles are being untouched if it's been determined that their current placement is ok.

 

You can see in this photo posted by "rechlin" in the Houston Traffic Lights Thread in the Traffic and Transportation Main forum that new pedestrian signals and a new traffic signal are being mounted to the old red signal pole on the right side of the road. On the left side of the road, you can see the new pedestrian and traffic signals mounted to a catenary pole with the old signal pole just to the left of it.

T7eQkjf.jpg

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Tower, you are correct, it's EB Rusk on the side with the tracks.  And JL, having one pole rather than two would seem to make all sorts of sense when they are all of two feet apart; beyond that, I wouldn't be surprised if they manage to find their drill and some bigger bands to move the walk signals and "one way" sign over onto the catenary pole.  Lesserthenever, we've got two brand new, shiny, gray poles, both matching each of their single purpose brethren, and number stickers, etc., so I'm still calling design error on this.

 

I guess it's just lucky for them that there already happens to be a hole drilled in the catenary pole to run the wiring to the walk sign. :huh:

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I came upon a couple folks wearing HRT gear and carrying clipboards.  At first they were perplexed, but when it became clear that the blocked item is a shiny new gray traffic signal pole with a ball on top on a nice new poured foundation, they acknowledged that it was not as it should be and said they will look into it.  We shall see.  FWIW, other catenary/traffic signal pairings have the traffic signal in front from the viewpoint of approaching traffic.

 

I also got a memo that METRO will be running the shuttle wagon on the east end line through downtown this weekend on both Capitol and Rusk, from the western terminus to Main.

 

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I came upon a couple folks wearing HRT gear and carrying clipboards.  At first they were perplexed, but when it became clear that the blocked item is a shiny new gray traffic signal pole with a ball on top on a nice new poured foundation, they acknowledged that it was not as it should be and said they will look into it.  We shall see.  FWIW, other catenary/traffic signal pairings have the traffic signal in front from the viewpoint of approaching traffic.

 

 

I'll bet they were "perplexed", given that literally nothing you told them or are presenting to us on this subject has been accurate.

 

I just went by it tonight on my way home and took a look.  The blocked item is very clearly not a shiny new gray traffic signal pole (alright it does have a ball on top.)  It is  not the same finish as the new pole and the blocked pole is not on a nice new poured foundation.

 

I encourage anyone in the area to run by and take a look to confirm.  A rudimentary examination of the new pole (with the pre-drilled hole for pedestrian sign wiring) along with the clearly pre-exsiting pole, makes it pretty clear this is a temporary situation and not an oversight requiring correction.

Edited by Houston19514
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Whatever.  I've used that crosswalk pretty much daily for years, but I'm not going to bicker.

 

Will you at least acknowledge that it's a tad dangerous?

 

Whatever indeed. 

 

Even if you used that very crosswalk 50 times every day, it doesn't change the facts.  It doesn't make old concrete new.  

 

Like I said, I encourage others to drop by and take a look.

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METRO has a horrible track record executing projects. Not sure why people are surprised that this one is poorly executed too.

 

Any project with multiple contractors is going to have coordination issues.  The trick is minimizing the potential problems.

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I came upon a couple folks wearing HRT gear and carrying clipboards.  At first they were perplexed, but when it became clear that the blocked item is a shiny new gray traffic signal pole with a ball on top on a nice new poured foundation, they acknowledged that it was not as it should be and said they will look into it.  We shall see.  FWIW, other catenary/traffic signal pairings have the traffic signal in front from the viewpoint of approaching traffic.

 

I also got a memo that METRO will be running the shuttle wagon on the east end line through downtown this weekend on both Capitol and Rusk, from the western terminus to Main.

 

In the picture below, the so-called "blocked item" is the is the pole on the right.  As anyone can see, the only thing it has in common with Mollusk's description of it, is that it has a ball on top (well, actually you can't see the ball in this pic, but it does have a ball on top).

 

post-98-0-63520300-1402863102_thumb.jpg

Edited by Houston19514
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Meanwhile, pedestrians heading east on Rusk from the only open sidewalk in its 800 block (a crossing that's also necessary for those making a jog to continue walking north on Travis, again due to taking down the Houston Club building) still can't see the crossing signal.  

 

Edit:  This is my last post on this particular issue.  I'm no longer going to participate in a game of "is not - is too" on a side point, and I apologize to those who've had to put up with the noise.

Edited by mollusk
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Meanwhile, pedestrians heading east on Rusk from the only open sidewalk in its 800 block (a crossing that's also necessary for those making a jog to continue walking north on Travis, again due to taking down the Houston Club building) still can't see the crossing signal.  

 

 

False.   The crosswalk has been shifted to the south and the current pedestrian signal is clearly visible from that altered crosswalk location.

 

Edit:  This is my last post on this particular issue.  I'm no longer going to participate in a game of "is not - is too" on a side point, and I apologize to those who've had to put up with the noise.

 

Yeah, that photo pretty conclusively disproved your point, didn't it?  ;-)

 

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Any project with multiple contractors is going to have coordination issues.  The trick is minimizing the potential problem.

 

And don't forget the initial late change to an underpass was because the city belatedly decided to step up with some funding.

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The blocked crossing signal has been moved to the catenary pole, and is now easily visible from the crosswalk across Travis looking east.  If a HAIFer reached out to someone with HRT or one of its contractors, thanks.

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The blocked crossing signal has been moved to the catenary pole, and is now easily visible from the crosswalk across Travis looking east.  If a HAIFer reached out to someone with HRT or one of its contractors, thanks.

 

ROFL.   It was moved just as always was planned.  That's why there were pre-drilled holes in the new pole for the wiring.  No reaching out or prodding was necessary to get them to do what was obviously always the plan.   Prepare yourself for the removal of the "hidden" pole, also as planned from the beginning.

 

Edited by Houston19514
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  • 4 weeks later...
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  • 3 weeks later...

Why does there need to be vehicle lanes on the bridge?

 

To reduce number of cars crossing the UPRR lines at grade.  It reduces the risk of accidents between cars and trains at that crossing.  I thought at one time they were going to completely eliminate the at-grade crossing there by forcing all cars to go on the bridge, with u-turn lanes on both sides of the UPRR tracks allowing access to properties on both sides of the bridge embankment.

 

Doesn't look that way from the images...looks like the at-grade crossing remains.

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