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I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)


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That's all? What about the proposed disruption of the street grid in Third Ward by the to-be-trenched 59?

That too. But the park in the middle of the freeway was a big wtf for me. Totally illogical. Destroying third ward is sad but you know what Kanye said about George bush. People on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale have zero political say.

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I'd rather they tear down the Pierce Elevated, sell the land to developers, then use that cash to help cap the freeways on the other side of Downtown, but that's just me.

Absolutely love this quote from the article “If you really want to live in the suburbs, that’s OK. That’s a choice,” Graham said. “But when you make that choice you have to understand that you can’t d

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That's all? What about the proposed disruption of the street grid in Third Ward by the to-be-trenched 59?

 

To a lot of people (read: developers), that's a feature, not a bug. Divide et impera.

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I may have said this earlier, but I'm more and more against this realignment (don't call it an expansion), they could and should do this cheaper.

 

As much as it sucks, they should keep the current alignment of everything and add more through lanes to 45. keep 45 elevated the whole way around downtown by removing the dallas dip and add at least 2 lanes in each direction. They can do this easily by expanding over the existing street grid between midtown and downtown, smooth the curve around the southwest side of downtown and connect into existing lanes. Remove the allen parkway exit from northbound traffic. remove the allen parkway entrance for southbound traffic, there's still the Houston street entrance/exit for 45 which is very accessible from allen parkway. while they're at it, remove the ramp from 59 southbound traffic to 45 northbound (direct all 45 northbound exiting from 59 southbound onto I-10 west). Remove the ramp from I-10 westbound to 45 southbound (direct all 45 southbound exiting from I-10 onto 59 southbound).

 

I know it sucks that freeways don't get removed, but to remove and make better one area to the detriment of other areas is, to be as polite as possible, f***** up.

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I may have said this earlier, but I'm more and more against this realignment (don't call it an expansion), they could and should do this cheaper.

As much as it sucks, they should keep the current alignment of everything and add more through lanes to 45. keep 45 elevated the whole way around downtown by removing the dallas dip and add at least 2 lanes in each direction. They can do this easily by expanding over the existing street grid between midtown and downtown, smooth the curve around the southwest side of downtown and connect into existing lanes. Remove the allen parkway exit from northbound traffic. remove the allen parkway entrance for southbound traffic, there's still the Houston street entrance/exit for 45 which is very accessible from allen parkway. while they're at it, remove the ramp from 59 southbound traffic to 45 northbound (direct all 45 northbound exiting from 59 southbound onto I-10 west). Remove the ramp from I-10 westbound to 45 southbound (direct all 45 southbound exiting from I-10 onto 59 southbound).

I know it sucks that freeways don't get removed, but to remove and make better one area to the detriment of other areas is, to be as polite as possible, f***** up.

Adding more Elevated Lanes around Downtown would not be a step in the right direction, it would be a giant leap backwards.

Currently, besides the total number of vehicles on the freeway, the hold up on traffic is the freeway intersections, and how they connect (and where). Even if we had a 100 lanes added, there would still be congestion during rush hour. That's a fact of life. No matter what improvements happen, there is going to be traffic during rush hour in the morning and afternoon.

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I may have said this earlier, but I'm more and more against this realignment (don't call it an expansion), they could and should do this cheaper.

 

As much as it sucks, they should keep the current alignment of everything and add more through lanes to 45. keep 45 elevated the whole way around downtown by removing the dallas dip and add at least 2 lanes in each direction. They can do this easily by expanding over the existing street grid between midtown and downtown, smooth the curve around the southwest side of downtown and connect into existing lanes. Remove the allen parkway exit from northbound traffic. remove the allen parkway entrance for southbound traffic, there's still the Houston street entrance/exit for 45 which is very accessible from allen parkway. while they're at it, remove the ramp from 59 southbound traffic to 45 northbound (direct all 45 northbound exiting from 59 southbound onto I-10 west). Remove the ramp from I-10 westbound to 45 southbound (direct all 45 southbound exiting from I-10 onto 59 southbound).

 

I know it sucks that freeways don't get removed, but to remove and make better one area to the detriment of other areas is, to be as polite as possible, f***** up.

 

yeah because adding more lanes really worked for Katy Freeway.... Adding more lanes always solves traffic problems!

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The debate about why certain sections are elevated and others are trenched is missing the logic derived from the existing conditions (and future alignment ROW) of the adjaceny impacts in order to get approval past the Federal EIS process; which is why it appears that the alignments at first glance look to favor some parts of town but one must look at a whole slew of issues (like where dense conglomerations of people actually live/work) but essentially, the geometry of the general layout of the city, a southwest oriented grid is going to generally favor southwest orientated sites versus those on the edge of this grid (or those areas impeded by grid disruptions). TXDOT (and the FHWA) have a fiscal responsibility not to waste time/money on amended proposals that won't fly through EIS (like expanding the Pierce Elevated over Pierce St.). This current proposal (even slightly modified) has a very good chance of getting approval without busting the tentative budget by not following such suggestions like extra entrances/exits, showy flyovers, expanded/tiered through lanes, fully interconnected sub-networks of managed lanes, or acrobatic splicing of cross streets through interchanges that would surely increase the project scope and complexity. Not to burst anyone's bubble and you really should submit a comment to TXDOT by 05/15/2015 but this is pretty much where the freeway re-alignments are going.

Edit:

As for the Pierce Elevated ROW, I'm not quite yet ready to reveal my position on the matter.

Edited by infinite_jim
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The debate about why certain sections are elevated and others are trenched is missing the logic derived from the existing conditions (and future alignment ROW) of the adjaceny impacts in order to get approval past the Federal EIS process; which is why it appears that the alignments at first glance look to favor some parts of town but one must look at a whole slew of issues (like where dense conglomerations of people actually live/work) but essentially, the geometry of the general layout of the city, a southwest oriented grid is going to generally favor southwest orientated sites versus those on the edge of this grid (or those areas impeded by grid disruptions). TXDOT (and the FHWA) have a fiscal responsibility not to waste time/money on amended proposals that won't fly through EIS (like expanding the Pierce Elevated over Pierce St.). This current proposal (even slightly modified) has a very good chance of getting approval without busting the tentative budget by not following such suggestions like extra entrances/exits, showy flyovers, expanded/tiered through lanes, fully interconnected sub-networks of managed lanes, or acrobatic splicing of cross streets through interchanges that would surely increase the project scope and complexity. Not to burst anyone's bubble and you really should submit a comment to TXDOT by 05/15/2015 but this is pretty much where the freeway re-alignments are going.

Edit:

As for the Pierce Elevated ROW, I'm not quite yet ready to reveal my position on the matter.

 

I'm curious (mainly because I just don't know), but why would expanding the elevated over pierce street not get approval through the EIS process? 

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I may have said this earlier, but I'm more and more against this realignment (don't call it an expansion), they could and should do this cheaper.

 

As much as it sucks, they should keep the current alignment of everything and add more through lanes to 45. keep 45 elevated the whole way around downtown by removing the dallas dip and add at least 2 lanes in each direction. They can do this easily by expanding over the existing street grid between midtown and downtown, smooth the curve around the southwest side of downtown and connect into existing lanes. Remove the allen parkway exit from northbound traffic. remove the allen parkway entrance for southbound traffic, there's still the Houston street entrance/exit for 45 which is very accessible from allen parkway. while they're at it, remove the ramp from 59 southbound traffic to 45 northbound (direct all 45 northbound exiting from 59 southbound onto I-10 west). Remove the ramp from I-10 westbound to 45 southbound (direct all 45 southbound exiting from I-10 onto 59 southbound).

 

I know it sucks that freeways don't get removed, but to remove and make better one area to the detriment of other areas is, to be as polite as possible, f***** up.

 

Every highway expansion ever is for the benefit of one area to the detriment of another area.  The odd thing about this is that the area we're talking about benefitting is actually right there on the ROW instead of all the negative impact being at the construction point and all the positive impact being commuters from far away and owners of vacant land who can now develop sprawl to fill the capacity of the new freeway lanes.

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The experts have spoken!

 

Sorry HAIFers I did not believe in you. I guess I'm leaning towards not turning the Pierce Elevated into a park. I've created a clip from a recent ULI Houston discussion of two of the experts (Hines residential rep & VP of CBRE) that think it will really help the two neighborhoods.

 

Enjoy

 

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All 4 panelists (Midway, CBRE, Hines, Houston First) at the downtown redevelopment meeting today were supportive of the 45 reroute and enthusiastic about the changes the project could bring to downtown and the surrounding areas.

The experts have spoken!

 

Sorry HAIFers I did not believe in you. I guess I'm leaning towards not turning the Pierce Elevated into a park. I've created a clip from a recent ULI Houston discussion of two of the experts (Hines residential rep & VP of CBRE) that think it will really help the two neighborhoods.

 

Enjoy

 

thanks for the video! you didn't want to include Suzanne or Peter's insight on the Pierce removal?

Edited by cloud713
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thanks for the video! you didn't want to include Suzanne or Peter's insight on the Pierce removal?

 

I don't think they said anything, or did I miss/forget about it? :-/

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The experts have spoken!

Sorry HAIFers I did not believe in you. I guess I'm leaning towards not turning the Pierce Elevated into a park. I've created a clip from a recent ULI Houston discussion of two of the experts (Hines residential rep & VP of CBRE) that think it will really help the two neighborhoods.

Enjoy

http://youtu.be/v4x5pfVJ9nw

I'm glad someone else can see the bigger picture. Hopefully the Pierce Elevated Park won't gain an traction and will go right back into the blue where it came from.
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I'm never going to advocate the demolition of the Pierce, but from my experiences last night, it sure feels poorly engineered for something practically rebuilt just less than two decades. Even though I couldn't observe the road that closely, I could feel that there were grooves in the asphalt (like speed humps), causing the car to "gallop" even at 60 mph.

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If I understand the video correctly, 45 would merge with I-10 and run north of downtown, then merge with 59 and run east of downtown before separating and going nicely on its way. 

 

The Pierce elevated goes away and is partially replaced on the west side with a parkway (at level or below ground) that runs to downtown destinations. 

 

Where the elevated exists today between downtown and midtown would be replaced with a park or something.

 

So if I'm stating that correctly, and I'm not saying I am, is it as simple as replacing the signs on I-10 to I-10/I-45, and similar with 59, and tear down the rest, or is there freeway expansion required to accommodate the additional traffic flow?

 

Also, I see a similar complaint arising in the future against the Eastex Freeway dividing Downtown from the East side, but now you have all 59 and 45 traffic running through it. 

 

 

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If I understand the video correctly, 45 would merge with I-10 and run north of downtown, then merge with 59 and run east of downtown before separating and going nicely on its way. 

 

The Pierce elevated goes away and is partially replaced on the west side with a parkway (at level or below ground) that runs to downtown destinations. 

 

Where the elevated exists today between downtown and midtown would be replaced with a park or something.

 

So if I'm stating that correctly, and I'm not saying I am, is it as simple as replacing the signs on I-10 to I-10/I-45, and similar with 59, and tear down the rest, or is there freeway expansion required to accommodate the additional traffic flow?

 

Also, I see a similar complaint arising in the future against the Eastex Freeway dividing Downtown from the East side, but now you have all 59 and 45 traffic running through it. 

 

They're to build a new set of roadways alongside the 59/69 roadways to accommodate 45 traffic. You can find schematics here. Note that these have been modified since they were published, though no new maps have been produced yet.

 

The whole structure will be depressed with the intention of capping it later on, in order to anticipate the complaints you mention.

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They're to build a new set of roadways alongside the 59/69 roadways to accommodate 45 traffic. You can find schematics here. Note that these have been modified since they were published, though no new maps have been produced yet.

 

The whole structure will be depressed with the intention of capping it later on, in order to anticipate the complaints you mention.

 

Thanks for clearing that up. That's a very ambitious plan. So one day, all the freeways that surround downtown today will be removed or be underground. 

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Unfortunately, the caps are mainly behind the convention center and have to be paid for separately from the project, so add no real sense of continuity, that's assuming that they get built since they aren't included in the project.

 

There will be fewer lanes crossing all areas of the expanded freeways which will disrupt any hope of continuity that the caps would bring. To top it off they'll be removing an entire block along the stretch of 59 from current 45 alignment to i10. no new lanes added, some lanes in fact are removed from the freeways current size. 

 

I may be the only person who is not optimistic about this project helping anyone outside of high end developers who want the land the pierce elevated current sits on. I guess we'll see in 10-20 years if it has a net positive impact though, assuming this phase of the project can actually move forward. I'll bet that the other phases get started and this phase gets pushed back a lot.

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Now that I understand it better, I like it a bit more, but not enough to convince me it's worth doing. 

 

I'm all about reclamation of public space from freeways, and downtown not being totally wrapped by elevated freeways. But as Samagon mentions, if it's just going to be about  opening those parcels to developers, I'm not impressed. 

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Now that I understand it better, I like it a bit more, but not enough to convince me it's worth doing. 

 

I'm all about reclamation of public space from freeways, and downtown not being totally wrapped by elevated freeways. But as Samagon mentions, if it's just going to be about  opening those parcels to developers, I'm not impressed. 

 

Developers = buildings = more urban integration. Sounds like a win to me.

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Now that I understand it better, I like it a bit more, but not enough to convince me it's worth doing. 

 

I'm all about reclamation of public space from freeways, and downtown not being totally wrapped by elevated freeways. But as Samagon mentions, if it's just going to be about  opening those parcels to developers, I'm not impressed. 

 

I certainly don't have the popular opinion of the effect this will have.

 

Don't take anyone's word for it though.

 

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/15_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_01_Overall.pdf

 

that's the link to the PDF, if you are curious, load it up (it's really big and will take a while), pull up google maps next to it and work through the flow for both freeway and surface streets.

 

the changes include 59 from Montrose to Lyons, 288 from Wheeler, 45 from Dowling up all the way to the beltway (but as it concerns downtown, it's only past i10), and i10 from Greg to Houston ave. 

 

as someone mentioned, that's probably not current, but it's the most current we have access to as of now. 

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I certainly don't have the popular opinion of the effect this will have.

 

Don't take anyone's word for it though.

 

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs4/15_20150417_Seg3_PM4_Exhibit_01_Overall.pdf

 

that's the link to the PDF, if you are curious, load it up (it's really big and will take a while), pull up google maps next to it and work through the flow for both freeway and surface streets.

 

the changes include 59 from Montrose to Lyons, 288 from Wheeler, 45 from Dowling up all the way to the beltway (but as it concerns downtown, it's only past i10), and i10 from Greg to Houston ave. 

 

as someone mentioned, that's probably not current, but it's the most current we have access to as of now. 

 

Just looking at that file makes my head hurt. I would almost need to print it to a plotter to be able to see it properly. 

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I'm never going to advocate the demolition of the Pierce, but from my experiences last night, it sure feels poorly engineered for something practically rebuilt just less than two decades. Even though I couldn't observe the road that closely, I could feel that there were grooves in the asphalt (like speed humps), causing the car to "gallop" even at 60 mph.

Those bumps come from the bents that hold up the bridge deck. Before it was rebuilt, the bumps were bouncier and there were more expansion joints.

Edited by JLWM8609
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  • 3 weeks later...

Driving to the northside today, I noticed construction on I-45NB near White Oak Bayou and Quitman. I went on the TxDOT Project Tracker and found that the bridge and approaches at White Oak Bayou are being replaced. Given that bridges typically last 40-50 years (current bridge was built in 1961 and rehabbed in the late 80s/early 90s), I wondered if this new bridge would be incorporated into the new I-45 plans, or if it'll be demolished, giving it a shorter lifespan than usual. A quick look at the preliminary schematics shows the new bridges for the North Houston Highway Improvement Project will take different paths over White Oak than the current (and currently being constructed) White Oak Bayou Crossing. Seems like TxDOT wouldn't build a new crossing just to have it demolished in the next 10-15 years, unless the current structure is just that bad. That may very well be the case because the current structure is prone to potholes, the gradient causes a low clearance issue at the Hogan overpass, and there's that bad dip at the northern approach just underneath the Quitman overpass.

 

If you want to find it, it's TxDOT Project # 050003044.

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That's the same description that's given to work that's been going on for a number of months on both sides of 45 on the west side of downtown, and currently on the bridge over the Milam exit off of SB45.  The main part of what they're doing is replacing the bridge decking, though I suspect that the supporting members are getting a pretty thorough looking over as well.  

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That's the same description that's given to work that's been going on for a number of months on both sides of 45 on the west side of downtown, and currently on the bridge over the Milam exit off of SB45.  The main part of what they're doing is replacing the bridge decking, though I suspect that the supporting members are getting a pretty thorough looking over as well.  

 

I actually saw new supports and a new approach for the White Oak Bayou bridge. I've seen the work they've done to 45 on the west side of Downtown that replaced the bridge decking, but this looks like an outright bridge replacement or perhaps a widening.

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What ever is decided trenching the freeway is a potential disaster during heavy rains or tropical cyclones.  Below grade freeways always flood in Houston. Just see 288 May 2015, Southwest freeway June 2001, I-10 March 1992 Just to name a few. People must always come first.

Those are freak storms tho; this past May storm was what they called a 50-year storm; as in once every 50 years (approx). 

 

Yes, it rains, but those kinds of storms are rare and should not steer this project going forward.

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What ever is decided trenching the freeway is a potential disaster during heavy rains or tropical cyclones.  Below grade freeways always flood in Houston. Just see 288 May 2015, Southwest freeway June 2001, I-10 March 1992 Just to name a few. People must always come first.

 

And? That's keeping water out of neighborhoods.

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Look up the article Significant Houston Area Floods. This area has at times huge rainfalls. Tropical Storm Claudette rained 43 inches on Alvin in July 1979. Read the article, it is an eye opener. These massive rainfalls have occurred frequently since records were kept in the mid 1800's. My point is trenching the freeways will lead to stalled unusable roads during heavy rains during tropical storms or hurricanes. This will endanger peoples lives.  As much as I dislike elevated freeways, trenching is not the way to go. A more realistic and uniquesolution taking Houston's environment into account must be thought through. We are not Boston or NYC and need not  imitate them. We do  not need to engage in "me too"

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 part of the reason for trenching the freeways is to reduce flooding in neighborhoods. Nobody should be on the roads during severe rainfall. Stay at home. Stay at the office. Don't drive into flooded roadways and you will probably live.

Edited by LarryDierker
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I dont get why everyone here says it should be turned into a park or greenspace.

Why?

Why not tear down the elevated and turn the real estate into what it was originally......REAL ESTATE.

I thought the whole point was to break down the "barrier" that divides downtown and midtown. If you keep the elevated and make it a green space, the barrier still stands.

Turn them back into city blocks and let more skyscrapers, condos, apartments etc be built on top of them just like the old days, we increase our block count, our building count, our density and most importantly the barrier comes down and Downtown/midtown become seamless....

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I dont get why everyone here says it should be turned into a park or greenspace.

Why?

Why not tear down the elevated and turn the real estate into what it was originally......REAL ESTATE.

I thought the whole point was to break down the "barrier" that divides downtown and midtown. If you keep the elevated and make it a green space, the barrier still stands.

Turn them back into city blocks and let more skyscrapers, condos, apartments etc be built on top of them just like the old days, we increase our block count, our building count, our density and most importantly the barrier comes down and Downtown/midtown become seamless....

 

Well you can't have buildings on top of it unless it is super deep and built to support structures. 

 

In Boston the park isn't a barrier at all, it depends on how it's done. 

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Well you can't have buildings on top of it unless it is super deep and built to support structures.

In Boston the park isn't a barrier at all, it depends on how it's done.

Huh??

Who said anything about building buildings on top of the pierce elevated? I'm talkin bout tearing it down to reveal the remainder of the surface lots that have been hidden under there forever and using them as real estate again.

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  • Triton changed the title to I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)

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