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610 West Loop Express Lanes

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http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/houston/121015.html

Looks like the process has started for adding 4 elevated express lanes down the center of the 610 West Loop between I 10 and I 69. I am betting that TXDOT will stand a better chance of getting this built despite the likely inevitable legal challenges from the Memorial Park Conservancy and various other NIMBY organizations. Fact is, 300k+ cars use this stretch of road every day and it needs the additional capacity big time. The link has a project map and additional details.

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Since the elevated lanes are bypassing 59 & 10, why not extend them a mile more at each end to ease up the traffic caused by the interchange exits? And I giggled at "may be" tolled. Will be interesting how they will beautify the columns. 

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It is about time!  As long as TXDOT does not encroach near Memorial Park Imma Hogg with not turn over in her grave.  They tried to build the Astrodome and also a tollway in Memorial park and it is not allowed.

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They tried to build the Astrodome in Memorial park?  Interesting...didn't know that

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Sure did and the estate said it was giving to the city only as a park. Or the land goes back the estate.

I heard that too but road widening seems to be legally allowed--otherwise they couldn't have turned Post Oak Road into 610 in the first place.

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I wonder how this relates to an elevated busway for the BRT uptown line

From what I gather, these will be two separate projects, not combined (at least for now). It's gonna be wild looking to see overpasses 35 feet in the air over the major intersections along the route. I guess there just isn't enough ROW along the frontage roads to cantilever those lanes over them.

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Jesus. Next it will be triple stacked, no really this has been discussed for some Texas freeways since double stacked isn't the answer. The alternative elephant in the room can't even be discussed. The oil/car/construction lobby is too powerful.

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Jesus. Next it will be triple stacked, no really this has been discussed for some Texas freeways since double stacked isn't the answer. The alternative elephant in the room can't even be discussed. The oil/car/construction lobby is too powerful.

 

Look, I like public transportation as much as the rest, but the West Loop needs more capacity. Not our fault that planners failed to design sufficient north-south arterial capacity in the area.

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Frankly, I'd like to see them go one step further and just tunnel 610 from 10 to 59/69, build an express tunnel for both directions, build a local access tunnel for both directions, and put a local access parkway at grade. Double the total number of lanes.

 

I'd imagine the folks with the MP Conservancy would put their positive power behind such a plan.

 

Post Oak Parkway anyone??

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Frankly, I'd like to see them go one step further and just tunnel 610 from 10 to 59/69, build an express tunnel for both directions, build a local access tunnel for both directions, and put a local access parkway at grade. Double the total number of lanes.

I'd imagine the folks with the MP Conservancy would put their positive power behind such a plan.

Post Oak Parkway anyone??

Much though I would love to see it, both the engineering peeps at TXDOT and the gazillions of drivers that use this road won't much appreciate it. Ideally I'd like to see those lanes cantilevered over the frontage roads and make some sort of vine covered hanging gardens of Houston. Something akin to the vine walls on 59/69 in Montrose only covering the bridges, posts, and so on.

http://m.chron.com/news/transportation/article/Elevated-lanes-coming-to-Loop-610-eventually-6673795.php?cmpid=hpfc

Additional coverage from The Chron

Edited by BayouCityMan

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This will be beneficial, but two of the biggest causes for backup are drivers that are coming from 290E onto 610S or drivers coming from 59N&S to 610N, and as it sounds now the entrance ramps to the elevated expressway will be before any of these drivers have a chance of taking them instead.

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I agree that the extent of the project is too short. On the northern terminus, it should at least go past the US 290 interchange.

I wonder if there will be entrances/exits between these express lanes & the existing main lanes in between I-10 and I-69 terminus (like the Katy Freeway managed lanes). Or instead it will truly act as a West Loop bypass meaning that once you get on, you ride it the full stretch (like the elevated section of I-35 in Austin). I prefer the latter for better traffic flow.

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It would be nice to know the figures for the vehicles, where they are going and where they came from. What percentage of drivers are really traveling from Bellaire to Brookhollow. How much of the congestion will they be easing with this? Will it only be a select few laughing at the parking lot below?

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I can't wait for this to be built. It will cut my travel time by 10 to 15 minutes since this is the only way for us to get north (and we never go to the galleria). The amount of traffic this could reduce will be huge (I would guess at least a 1/3 reduction).

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That's the kind of optimism we should all strive for. However, I doubt it would be that big of a reduction, although it depends on where the new lanes would connect to on the southern segment. In my own experience, it seems like most of the traffic headed south, that doesn't exit for Uptown, heads towards 59/69. Once I get past that exit, traffic headed south over 59/69 is light until you reach the other end of the interchange.

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Frankly, I'd like to see them go one step further and just tunnel 610 from 10 to 59/69, build an express tunnel for both directions, build a local access tunnel for both directions, and put a local access parkway at grade. Double the total number of lanes.

 

I'd imagine the folks with the MP Conservancy would put their positive power behind such a plan.

 

Post Oak Parkway anyone??

 

I was thinking of something similar, but potentially less expensive: full double deck, but the lower deck would be a trench like 59 east of Shepherd.  The upper deck would be a cap on it, with plenty of room for air gaps as needed for ventilation.  And it solves the problem of lanes elevated high in the air (which seems to upset all the adjacent people).  The tricky part would be the bayou, of course.  It may have to be a tunnel or elevated for just that portion.

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I was thinking of something similar, but potentially less expensive: full double deck, but the lower deck would be a trench like 59 east of Shepherd.  The upper deck would be a cap on it, with plenty of room for air gaps as needed for ventilation.  And it solves the problem of lanes elevated high in the air (which seems to upset all the adjacent people).  The tricky part would be the bayou, of course.  It may have to be a tunnel or elevated for just that portion.

 

As much as I'd like to see that, the other big problem with the Post Oak Road partial redevelopment into 610 is the fact that Post Oak Road merges back into 610 S. Would be nice to see that become one big road again from Bellaire to Northwest Mall, really.

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As much as I'd like to see that, the other big problem with the Post Oak Road partial redevelopment into 610 is the fact that Post Oak Road merges back into 610 S. Would be nice to see that become one big road again from Bellaire to Northwest Mall, really.

 

That would probably help a little with traffic congestion - add a true north south alternative 

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They've posted the schematics and some renderings that were presented at tonight's open house on the website.

Clearly this is a flawed design. The express lanes go from 1 lane as it ramps up, to 2 lanes in the middle section, then back to 1 lane as it ramps down. It's going to bottleneck for sure. What a joke.

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They've posted the schematics and some renderings that were presented at tonight's open house on the website.

Clearly this is a flawed design. The express lanes go from 1 lane as it ramps up, to 2 lanes in the middle section, then back to 1 lane as it ramps down. It's going to bottleneck for sure. What a joke.

 

Agreed, I really don't see this as improving much at all. Looks like a bus lane that they've converted into a general express lane on account of the opposition to the Post Oak busway.

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The way it looks in the schematics it's just going to fit more people in the same area. Instead of being stuck in traffic with exits, now you won't have a way out of the backup.

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Agreed, I really don't see this as improving much at all. Looks like a bus lane that they've converted into a general express lane on account of the opposition to the Post Oak busway.

 

The Post Oak busway looks to be a separate structure from this.  I can't imagine why they would bother having 2 lanes at any point if there are no exits and the beginning and end are both single lane ramps.  It's almost like they were going to have it go longer distance or connect to 59 or 10 and changed their mind before going to the public

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The Post Oak busway looks to be a separate structure from this. 

 

Schematic 1 from the TXDOT website above shows the proposed dedicated bus lanes: http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/hou/notices/121015-schematic-01.pdf

 

Gray colored lanes in the plan and elevation views. Looks as though the bus lanes bump the express lanes out of the I-610 median south of Woodway.

 

Edit: Also looks like they want to rebuild the 610 main lanes over 59 (blue lanes in Schematic 2). I wonder why?

Edited by The Ozone Files

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I personally don't like how it would further obstruct the skyline and add more blight at a higher altitude, for what seemingly doesn't seem like it will be that much traffic benefit. At that cost, why not just doubledeck fully with the upper deck having no exits?

 

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I'm speculating that some of the perceived advantage to these express lanes will be separating long-haul and industrial trucks from local traffic. I'm amazed at the number of big rigs on the West Loop that have no business in the immediate area.

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Wow.

So let me get this straight. A structure like this is proposed to hold more cars and reduce traffic and the general concensus is that this is a great idea, we have the money for this, people are all for it, there is no opposition from local congressman or senators.

But if we were to build the exact same structures over our freeways or over the HOV lanes of I-10, 45, or 288 and then.......PUT A TRAIN ON IT that holds way more people than cars do, and SUDDENLY it's a HORRIBLE idea, it's completely not feasible, we DON'T HAVE THE MONEY FOR IT, and it would be a HORRIBLE APPROPRIATION of funds to spend any money on it, do I have that about right? :rolleyes:

Man, **** **** ****.

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Wow.

So let me get this straight. A structure like this is proposed to hold more cars and reduce traffic and the general concensus is that this is a great idea, we have the money for this, people are all for it, there is no opposition from local congressman or senators.

But if we were to build the exact same structures over our freeways or over the HOV lanes of I-10, 45, or 288 and then.......PUT A TRAIN ON IT that holds way more people than cars do, and SUDDENLY it's a HORRIBLE idea, it's completely not feasible, we DON'T HAVE THE MONEY FOR IT, and it would be a HORRIBLE APPROPRIATION of funds to spend any money on it, do I have that about right? :rolleyes:

Man, **** **** ****.

 

Sounds about right.  More people would benefit from a train (because a train can hold more people).  Therefore you get more people moved per dollar.  This would be a smart decision.  The government is making the decision.  Therefore we get the highway lanes

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Sounds about right.  More people would benefit from a train (because a train can hold more people).  Therefore you get more people moved per dollar.  This would be a smart decision.  The government is making the decision.  Therefore we get the highway lanes

 

To be fair, the schematic does include dedicated, elevated bus lanes. They even run along the center of 610 for a stretch. And isn't there some possibility that the bus lanes will be converted into light rail lines in the future?

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To be fair, the schematic does include dedicated, elevated bus lanes. They even run along the center of 610 for a stretch. And isn't there some possibility that the bus lanes will be converted into light rail lines in the future?

 

I read that the overpass is not being designed to be able to, but reading that sentence out of an internet article is the extent of my knowledge so take that for what it's worth.

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Wow.

So let me get this straight. A structure like this is proposed to hold more cars and reduce traffic and the general concensus is that this is a great idea, we have the money for this, people are all for it, there is no opposition from local congressman or senators.

But if we were to build the exact same structures over our freeways or over the HOV lanes of I-10, 45, or 288 and then.......PUT A TRAIN ON IT that holds way more people than cars do, and SUDDENLY it's a HORRIBLE idea, it's completely not feasible, we DON'T HAVE THE MONEY FOR IT, and it would be a HORRIBLE APPROPRIATION of funds to spend any money on it, do I have that about right? :rolleyes:

Man, **** **** ****.

 

Never underestimate how powerful auto dealers are in local politics. They're responsible for half of GOP campaign funds, and often around 15-20% of Democratic funds.

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For the comments about double-decking the freeway; I assume this won't happen because how "new" this segment of 610 is. It's most likely on the future plans, but man, future 610 reconstruction is going to suck.

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Never underestimate how powerful auto dealers are in local politics. They're responsible for half of GOP campaign funds, and often around 15-20% of Democratic funds.

Wait a minute, that would explain why every time I eat brunch at Harry's in Midtown I see George DeMontrond in there wining and dining a different politician eh?

But then again, for a guy who's sold billions of dollars worth of cars, he's also on the board of Metro, unless that just means that he's...........oh God help us all

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I hate that man so much, not because of any of what you talk about it, it's the 5 consecutive minutes he books for commercials between Monday and Thursday night games.

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Looks interesting, TxDOT always seems to have a ton of money for stuff like this, so why not? 

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Looks interesting, TxDOT always seems to have a ton of money for stuff like this, so why not? 

 

1. Doesn't really help anything

2. Makes future, useful expansions more expensive

3. It's a pretty regressive design - reminds me of something out of the '80s

4. Reduces shoulder space in a congested area - will likely lead to more accidents

5. Bottlenecks inherent in the design may make West Loop traffic worse, due to the weaving/backpressure that will be introduced onto the mainlanes at the entrance/exit points

 

The more I think about it, the less this particular project makes sense. Either double-deck the whole thing like LBJ in Dallas, or let the current design live out its service life and hope you have the political clout to take on the rich NIMBYs the next go-around.

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Perhaps instead of this high-flying express lane plan they first ought to consider continuous frontage roads at the two major highway interchanges. That is in the plans for I-45/610 with that rebuild and such was added within the past few years at 290 and the Beltway if I'm not mistaken, why not try that here as well?  

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TxDOT Plans For $70 Billion To Fund Transportation Projects Over Next 10 Years
By TxDOT Media Relations | Thursday, August 25, 2016 | txdot.gov

AUSTIN – The Texas Transportation Commission today
approved the 2017 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) with $70 billion worth of projects to help TxDOT meet the state’s growing transportation demands. The plan is the largest of its kind in the agency’s history that addresses capacity, maintenance and safety needs around state.

The 10-year plan, developed with extensive public input, targets congestion in the state’s most-populated areas and includes projects to better connect the major interstates in rural areas with local roads and highways. Also outside urban areas, the program calls for enhancing and completing interstate highways, and addressing the continuing needs within the energy sector and along hurricane evacuation routes.

"The actions today by the Texas Transportation Commission represent a historic investment in our state’s infrastructure,” said Governor Abbott. “Texans have sent a loud and clear message that they are tired of sitting in traffic, and this funding plan will significantly address safety, maintenance, connectivity and congestion on our crowded highways. The plan presented by the commission will allow Texas roads to keep pace with our population growth, provide much-needed congestion relief for working Texans and put the Lone Star State well on its way towards having a first-in-class highway system for decades to come.”

“The Unified Transportation Program reflects TxDOT’s commitment to planning for and meeting the mobility needs of our fast-growing state,” said Transportation Commission Chairman Tryon Lewis.

With more than $70 billion in total funding, the 2017 UTP represents a significant increase from last year’s 10-year plan, which included more than $33 billion worth of projects. The bulk of the additional funding will come from legislative- and voter-approved initiatives to allocate portions of oil and gas taxes, sales taxes and other taxes to the state highway fund. Ending the practice of appropriating state highway funds to agencies other than TxDOT and the passage of long-term federal transportation legislation also contributed to the additional funding.

The new funding in the 2017 UTP is largely allocated into program areas that address safety, maintenance, congestion and rural connectivity needs. It includes funding for all 25 TxDOT districts and 25 metropolitan planning areas throughout the state.

 

http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/media-center/statewide-news/22-2016.html

 

 

Love this image. Unrelated.  BHP building is awesome

GLMitlu.jpg

Edited by Twitter1
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The 2017 UTP is available here (beware, it's a hefty scroll).  

 

While the 610/59 rebuild and Post Oak bus-lane projects are included, the 610 Express Lanes are not.

Edited by SkylineView
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This is a terrible idea. Its like a drug addict saying that he can solve a problem by taking more drugs. Or a drunk man thinking he will get sober by drinking more beer. So messed up. Maybe I should I take some of these people with me when I go back to Germany in a month. Pretty sure that will change their minds.

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40 minutes ago, Luminare said:

This is a terrible idea. Its like a drug addict saying that he can solve a problem by taking more drugs. Or a drunk man thinking he will get sober by drinking more beer. So messed up. Maybe I should I take some of these people with me when I go back to Germany in a month. Pretty sure that will change their minds.

 

How would a trip to Germany change their minds?

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Dallas wedged in a lot of lanes by half burying / half elevating 635 between 35E and HW75.  Seems like the logical next step.

 

Alternatively, can we please, for the love of God, add some braided lanes for the Post Oak to 610N and 610S to Post Oak exits?  I realize these were purposely not included since the build required a no-capacity add, but I mean, COME ON.  

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On 8/29/2016 at 9:08 AM, Luminare said:

This is a terrible idea. Its like a drug addict saying that he can solve a problem by taking more drugs. Or a drunk man thinking he will get sober by drinking more beer. So messed up. Maybe I should I take some of these people with me when I go back to Germany in a month. Pretty sure that will change their minds.

 

The people in charge here are idiots.

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1 hour ago, Twitter1 said:

Started?

 

The express lanes are definitely not starting construction. There is a long way to go in the pre-construction process, including more public meetings. However, the bus lanes structure from Memorial to Post Oak (north of San Felipe) is scheduled to receive bids in December. The tree removal could be related to the bus lanes, or could be unrelated to highway work.

 

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2018/harris.htm#027117163

Edited by MaxConcrete
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2 hours ago, Twitter1 said:

Started?

 

Pulling up trees a long the side of the freeway for further development?

 

*via Nextdoor posting about the project

I thought it was for the 610/59 interchange reconstruction.

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On 9/22/2017 at 11:05 PM, JLWM8609 said:

I thought it was for the 610/59 interchange reconstruction.

 

I'm confused.  There are two different 610 projects coming in 2018?

 

The 610/59 Interchange is the same as the 610 Elevated Express Lanes? Should be the same project, right?  The 610 elevated express lanes goes from the 59 Spur to I-10. That whole 4-mile stretch of 610.

 

I might be making it more confusing.

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