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I must say I am inpressed with the improvments along the Katy freeway along the far West end of the project. THe new intersections at Grand Pwky, Hwy 90, Mason & Fry roads are nice, and were badly needed. Now I must say why in the hell are the main lanes for 610 still being put ar the top of the interchange at the 10-610 junction??

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Remember that the I610 and I10 interchange has to be fully functional through construction.

This and that it is cheaper that the same general configuration is kept. Most of the improvements were in geometric layout and the size of the directional ramps. Also, the interchange needed to be adjusted for the wider I10 mainlanes under it.

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  • 3 years later...
So the chron reports that a portion of it is officially open. Anyone drive on it this morning?

When I worked (contact) over at ExxonMobil 1-10, being on this email update list/website was very important to me and thousands of others that use to get to work/home. It is really great. :)

http://www.katyfreeway.org/

http://www.westhouston.org/katy_freeway.htm

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I've been on the new eastbound lanes from east of Bingle/Voss to the West Loop interchange. It's amazing how traffic scatters once you hit that point. And I have to admit that the schematics almost seem ingenius now in its completed state.

That said, one of the biggest problems with Katy Freeway traffic while under construction has been that you get odd bottlenecks at a lot of interchanges (such as at the Beltway, Gessner, Kirkwood, Hwy 6, etc.). This absolutely retards the flow of traffic, even more so than before the freeway went under construction.

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  • 2 months later...

Looks like the eastbound lanes of I-10 from Katy to Washington Avenue are now in their final striped configuration. Work is still ongoing on the managed toll lanes and westbound side. It felt nice to zip into town from San Antonio without the old slowdowns.

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  • 5 weeks later...

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY, U.S. CONGRESSMAN JOHN CULBERSON, AND FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATOR THOMAS J. MADISON JOIN TXDOT IN CELEBRATING COMPLETION OF THE KATY FREEWAY RECONSTRUCTION PROGRAM

"We promised completion in six years . and still beat the clock!"

(Houston, Texas) -- On the morning of Tuesday, October 28, 2008, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will celebrate the completion of the mega Katy Freeway Reconstruction Program. Texas Transportation Commissioner Ned S. Holmes will serve as master of ceremonies for a ribbon-cutting ceremony with special guests Governor Rick Perry, Federal Highway Administrator Thomas J. Madison, and U.S. Congressman John Culberson on program to celebrate the program's completion.

Following a major investment study, an environmental impact study and final design, the beginning of the Katy Freeway Reconstruction Program was celebrated with a ground-breaking ceremony in June 2003. Less than six years later, TxDOT is excited to celebrate the completion of this monumental program that not only sets precedence in the state but across the nation. Raquelle Lewis, TxDOT spokeswoman said, "We promised completion in six years . and still beat the clock!"

The Katy Freeway Reconstruction Program is the largest freeway reconstruction program ever performed in the State of Texas and represents a number of strategic partnerships involving visionary and collective thinking of many groups including area transportation partners, municipalities, and the business and residential communities all contributing to make this program a reality.

Drivers along the Katy Corridor are now experiencing transportation improvements that include (1) a minimum of four continuous through lanes in each direction and as many as eight lanes at key connector, entrance and exit ramp locations, (2) three continuous frontage road lanes with additional lanes for turning movements at key intersections, (3) improved drainage and flood control throughout the corridor, and (4) the new Katy Tollway/Managed Lanes which offer two lanes in each direction dedicated for METRO buses and HOV riders, as well as drivers willing to pay a toll.

The Harris County Toll Road Authority will open the new Katy Tollway/Managed Lanes in its initial Phase 1 operations effective 5 AM, Wednesday, October 29. The facility will open for HOV drivers with two or more people in the vehicle and buses only between the hours of 5 AM - 11 AM and 2 PM - 8 PM, Monday through Friday. Constables from Harris County Precinct 5 will have a large presence on the new managed lanes with driving patrols to monitor operations and enforce the facility's HOV 2+ requirements.

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http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metrop...an/6081097.html

How to navigate the new Katy

HOV lanes open Wednesday with some restrictions for drivers to learn

By ROSANNA RUIZ

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Oct. 27, 2008, 10:31PM

The new curve on the expanded Katy Freeway may be a learning curve.

With the construction complete, some motorists must become acquainted with the addition of four center "managed" lanes, when to use them and where to exit.

Additional lanes already are open, but the five-year construction project officially draws to a close with the opening of the interior, managed lanes at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

(excerpted)

I posted this article because of this silly quote:

But some are skeptical of the notion that managed lanes resolve congestion or increase carpooling rates.

"When the (managed) lanes open, we'll see even more improvement in travel time, but the question is, how long will it last?" said Pat Waskowiak, transportation program manager for the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

Well geez, you can ask the same basic question about emergency open heart surgery or any other lifesaving medical procedure. None result in immortality, but most provide a vast improvement and extend the patient's life expectancy. And bottom line, this major expansion of the Katy Fwy's capacity will result in shorter trip times for many, many years to come compared to if the freeway had remained in its original already overwhelmed state. And spare me the Induced Demand red herring. While there is some truth to the theory, it pretty much operates the same way the human induced global warming theory does: Subjective and unprovable enough to be morphed into anything the goalpost movers want for purely ideological reasons. Yeah, maybe in a couple of decades induced demand will have us right back where we started, but the 20 years of improved flow in between has a heck of a lot of benefits.

That quote reminds me of the TV commercial, where the old man thinks he's discovered the internet, while completely oblivious to the real story.

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Pestofan,

I agree. This project (and massive costs) are justified because of a lack of investment throughout the 80s. It's not that TxDOT didn't want to do anything; it was the massive cost of getting right of way to build anything. The Katy Freeway kept getting past over because other corridors were easier to improve.

To think about, for at least 25 years the freeway was in distress with heavy traffic and yet development continue to boom out on its western portion of the corridor. By this anecdote, not expanding the freeway will cause massive development.

Anyway, the real life test of this completed project will pave the way for the US 290 expansion and the expansion of I-45 (north freeway) from Beltway 8 to I-10.

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Following a major investment study, an environmental impact study and final design, the beginning of the Katy Freeway Reconstruction Program was celebrated with a ground-breaking ceremony in June 2003. Less than six years later, TxDOT is excited to celebrate the completion of this monumental program that not only sets precedence in the state but across the nation. Raquelle Lewis, TxDOT spokeswoman said, "We promised completion in six years . and still beat the clock!"

On time and under budg--oh wait. Yes, it sets quite a precedent, doesn't it? I don't think the bar can get any lower.

To think about, for at least 25 years the freeway was in distress with heavy traffic and yet development continue to boom out on its western portion of the corridor. By this anecdote, not expanding the freeway will cause massive development.

Yeesh. Talk about "moving the goalposts." Does anyone doubt that expanding the freeway will cause even *more* massive development than there would otherwise be?

Edited by N Judah
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  • 3 weeks later...
Does anyone know why the congestion between 610 and 45 on I-10 eastbound in the evenings has gotten substantially worse in the last month or so? My only guess is more people using 10 since the completed construction...

I think that is very likely. I commute on the Westpark Tollway and traffic has been noticably lighter since the construction has finished.

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one thing i don't understand is why a two directional HOV/Tollway is not 24 hours. sorry if this was in one of the other posts, but it should at least be open on the weekends...

ultimately it may be. they are supposedly gathering data for a few months to see traffic usage patterns, etc.

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ultimately it may be. they are supposedly gathering data for a few months to see traffic usage patterns, etc.

ive been using it though, on the weekends and on "off" hours on my motorcycle. cops have actually passed me and i haven't been pulled over yet... :ph34r:

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I've always wondered this too. Why should they ever close it?

It costs money to monitor the HOT/HOV so it may not make sense financial during times when most people wouldn't want to pay a toll. However, I think they should keep it open at least for HOV riders at all times, to promote less single occupancy commutes.

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one thing i don't understand is why a two directional HOV/Tollway is not 24 hours. sorry if this was in one of the other posts, but it should at least be open on the weekends...

Unless there is an obstruction in the general lanes or some particular event that is causing a spike in traffic volume, there really isn't any particular benefit to opening up the managed lanes during off-hours.

For instance, at 3:00AM, there may only be a handful of cars per minute going one way or the other on I-10. There is no congestion, and wouldn't be even if the speed limit was in the triple digits. Since the same speeds are achievable in the general lanes and the managed lanes, and since the managed lanes cost money to manage, there is actually a net negative social benefit to keeping them open.

Start adding cars and the situation changes. The difference from 1 car per minute to 5 cars per minute is nil. The difference from 5 cars per minute to 10 cars per minute is nil. The difference from 10 cars per minute to 20 cars per minute is nil. The difference between 20 cars per minute and 40 cars per minute is small, and really best described as negligible. But you start increasing incrementally and the adverse impact on average speeds climbs geometrically. ...but up to the point where congestion starts to kick in, there's just no sense in opening up the managed lanes because people can already travel at a speed that they'd want to (or should reasonably want to, in theory, given safety constraints).

^When I was at UH, no applied theories were so revered by UH economics professors as those which addressed traffic congestion management techniques, it seemed.

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I got to drive this freeway yesterday, first time I've used it in a while, and I must say I'm very impressed and very pleased on how it turned out. Is the Katy area and other areas the surround I-10 booming big time yet in comparison to pre-widening I-10? Driving out that way it seems like it is.

And keeping the HOV lanes open 24/7 is not practical. About the only argument I could see, if someone wanted to push it, is encouraging people to carpool around the clock. But people have no reason to bother with it when they can get to where they're going taking the main lanes. It is already open during the hours of peak traffic, so unless there is a big big accident (one that can block at least 3 of the 5 lanes for a little more than brief period of time... and that would have to be massive) then I also see no reason to open the High Occupancy lanes off hours.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

I got to drive the Katy freeway this week and last week and WOW! A very nice freeway. Driving it feels like your in a brand new city. And the Memorial City/Town and Country skyline looks nice along side it. The HOV tolls are big in the center and look nice, I wish it were rail down the center though that would really be nice.

I guess all of those old shopping centers and other stuff they had to knock down to widen it helped clean up the look of the area, because you don't see as many business signs as you do on other freeways.

Edited by citykid09
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It is a very nice freeway indeed. I wish I-45 north could look like that (not talking about Spring/The Woodlands area).

The Spring/Woodlands part of I-45 is nice, but the center median wall is very tacky. It wiggles and there is lots of trash in the huge for no reason shoulder. I don't see why the won't put one solid median wall up there, those look so much nicer.

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The Spring/Woodlands part of I-45 is nice, but the center median wall is very tacky. It wiggles and there is lots of trash in the huge for no reason shoulder. I don't see why the won't put one solid median wall up there, those look so much nicer.

They put the sections of barrier there because I think they were expecting to eventually extend the reversible one lane HOV lane up that way. It would be cheaper to just remove those temporary barriers to put the HOV lane there rather than tearing up permanent fixtures that would require concrete rehab along those sections of the roadbed where the permanent barriers were ripped up.

I think the current plans call for HOV lanes similar to those on the SW Fwy in Sugarland and on the Katy Fwy west of Hwy 6, which will probably just require restriping of the roadway, which will mean that the temporary barriers will likely stay in place. That is inless TxDOT decides to undertake a project to update all center barriers on area freeways to the taller style seen on freeways constructed in recent yerars.

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