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I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)


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4 hours ago, sdotwill84 said:

 

Unfortunately, a young lady passed early monday morning as she went around the barricades on her way home. Sad story.

 

We can only do so much. Sadly, there's no getting around human ingenuity past a certain point. Still, I think larger steel barriers would be much more difficult to defeat than the plastic temporary ones that Public Works uses.

 

The sorts of barriers that I'm thinking of are commonly used in the Mountain West and Plains states to shut down Interstates for blizzards. There is no reason these can't be installed here for heavy floods.

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2 hours ago, ADCS said:

 

We can only do so much. Sadly, there's no getting around human ingenuity past a certain point. Still, I think larger steel barriers would be much more difficult to defeat than the plastic temporary ones that Public Works uses.

 

The sorts of barriers that I'm thinking of are commonly used in the Mountain West and Plains states to shut down Interstates for blizzards. There is no reason these can't be installed here for heavy floods.

 

So barriers more similar to the ones that are closed on the HOV/HOT lanes when they are closed in that direction

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Are you seriously using the incredibly small and minute chance of an air rescue operation for a very specific scenario on a one mile stretch of highway in the entire Houston Metropolitan area as a legitimate and serious strike against the removal and replacement of a multi billion dollar freeway system? 

 

This is the best take I've seen on this thread.

 

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I really don't get Julie Gilbert's logic.  It's taking "this is why we can't have nice things - some people don't appreciate them."  Sure, some people run red lights and some people drive around railroad crossing arms.  But most don't. 

 

 

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On 4/22/2016 at 11:05 PM, BigFootsSocks said:

Are you seriously using the incredibly small and minute chance of an air rescue operation for a very specific scenario on a one mile stretch of highway in the entire Houston Metropolitan area as a legitimate and serious strike against the removal and replacement of a multi billion dollar freeway system? 

 

This is the best take I've seen on this thread.

 

First off, I said that it was a problem with the deck park system, not necessarily the sunken freeway, and that it was "something to think about". You can accuse some topics as "hot takes" as you and other Pierce Elevated removal advocates exchange high-fives over it, but if you're already of the "Remove the Pierce Elevated at any cost" mindset, what legitimate criticism have you ever accepted as a valid reason?

 

In all fairness, if you browse this thread I admit that I've never heard of a legitimate reason for removing it, so neither of us can take the high ground...or below-grade ground, for that matter. ;)

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1 hour ago, IronTiger said:

First off, I said that it was a problem with the deck park system, not necessarily the sunken freeway, and that it was "something to think about". You can accuse some topics as "hot takes" as you and other Pierce Elevated removal advocates exchange high-fives over it, but if you're already of the "Remove the Pierce Elevated at any cost" mindset, what legitimate criticism have you ever accepted as a valid reason?

 

In all fairness, if you browse this thread I admit that I've never heard of a legitimate reason for removing it, so neither of us can take the high ground...or below-grade ground, for that matter. ;)

You're assuming that a very specific emergency rescue operation that happens on average around 3,000 times a year all over the metropolitan area is somehow a valid reason for not putting in a deck park, and thus not removing the Pierce. I haven't rejected any legitimate criticism, I'm only pointing out the ludicrous and reaching criticisms that you and Gattis have posited in the past couple of weeks. If there is a serious enough accident that would require a life flight operation, then it's easy enough for emergency medical crew to transport the patient to a location on either side of the deck's entrance. Sure, it might be easier for a helicopter to land on the Pierce, but how many times has an air rescue operation taken place on either side of downtown?! And why are we assuming that a hospital would send a life flight crew when an ambulance to and from St.Joseph's or the medical center is easier and cheaper?

 

I really don't need you to explain how the entire argumentative process works. It's patronizing, it's a waste of our time, and it assumes that my entire goal is to change your mind. I don't give a shit what yours and anyone else's opinion is (regardless of their side in this); my goal is to point out the weak flaws and holes in your's and other's arguments that rely on such frivolous and irrelevant points of contention for a topic that should not be taken this lightly. A potentially $6 billion project should not be debated by its "air rescue" access points or its ability to "keep the culture of Midtown alive by lack of office towers." The "hot take" I refer to in your recent argument is thinking that anyone on either side of the issue considers that specific point to hold any merit. 

Do not think I am simply insulting you or saying your arguments are weak; I'm saying you and Gattis have come up with more valid criticisms than this, and that I expect better arguments from you and your "side" as it were. I don't bring up other criticisms simply because I do consider them legitimate and worthy for discussion, and those people who are on the "other side" are foolish and ignorant for ignoring them. 

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I come to the HAIF because I want to, not because I have a particular bone to pick about freeways or trains or whatever HAIFers want to talk about. I only accused you of what you said both because of a noted insistence in tearing down the Pierce Elevated for a certain group of people and the fact that you've used the "hot take" accusation before on at least one occasion (not to mention the fact that a lot of times people use it as a way of dismissing an argument).

 

Whatever you may think of me, my postings, and my arguments, I've been on the Internet long enough that I've learned that I can't take arguments too seriously because it's just not worth it. That's why that last paragraph is in there, to admit that I'm not being as arrogant as you think I am, and to remember that it's just the Internet. However, reading through your three paragraph response gives me the impression that you might have missed that part.

Edited by IronTiger
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I'm not sure what you're accusing me of though; of pointing out how irrelevant the OP I replied to was? I guess. 

 

The irony in this passive aggressive post is that you misread me essentially saying I don't think you're arrogant. 

 

For the record, a hot take is a grandiose, bombastic, or over-simplification of an argument. For example, about 90% of our former friend HOUTXUSA's posts.

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2 hours ago, BigFootsSocks said:

I'm not sure what you're accusing me of though; of pointing out how irrelevant the OP I replied to was? I guess. 

 

The irony in this passive aggressive post is that you misread me essentially saying I don't think you're arrogant. 

 

For the record, a hot take is a grandiose, bombastic, or over-simplification of an argument. For example, about 90% of our former friend HOUTXUSA's posts.

 

It wasn't a passive aggressive post. I'm sorry if you read it that way. 

Secondly, I'm sorry I read your post the wrong way, though the wording of "don't think I'm simply insulting you" reads like insulting me is already part of the package.

Thirdly, I am well aware of what a hot take is.

 

Sometime I'd like to take another look at the plan because disregarding the Pierce Elevated, there's a lot of room for improvement. For example, in the I-10/I-45 spaghetti (as it exists now), why are there left hand exits in two different places instead of trying for a variation of what's every other highway has, with one right hand exit for both east and west (or north and south) exits, then splitting those off, then rejoining them as they re-join their highways. If there was one part of the downtown highway system that needed improvement, that would be my choice. Did they actually keep this or fix this in the TxDOT plan? When I have time, I'd like to study that...

 

 

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3 hours ago, IronTiger said:

Secondly, I'm sorry I read your post the wrong way, though the wording of "don't think I'm simply insulting you" reads like insulting me is already part of the package.

Except I thought you knew me better bb. but yeah, the rest of your post is the kinda shit I expect to see from you not this "well maybe a hovercraft that needs to access the coordinates 8403.201.201SE, 291.940.19456NE at exactly 2:51am from the outer reaches of the Orion Nebula"

 

idk i'm drunk and dgaf anymore screw the Pierce and all the controversy destroy it and rebuild it so we can piss everyone off

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  • 2 weeks later...

I apologize for my ignorance of the whole scheme, but I'm wondering, in layman's terms, if the Pierce Elevated is demolished what then?

Underground highway encircling downtown, and then a large boulevard over it? 

An argument on the "Australian's" thread over if the Pierce Elevated deters construction, I'd like to say it may be an extraordinarily handsome road if it were a tree-lined boulevard, ripe for even greater development.

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positives:

pierce elevated will be going away, land sold (maybe developed, maybe not).

about half of the remaining freeway system very close to downtown will be below grade

 

negatives:

19 blocks of east downtown will be taken to accommodate 45 being realigned.

hundreds of people will be forced to move.

local connectivity will be drastically reduced at pretty much every point.

 

maybe positivies: (not in budget)

potential caps over a few strategic places of below grade could make for park area

 

current design PDF:

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs5/20150922_NHHIP_Seg3_Updates.pdf

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41 minutes ago, samagon said:

 

positives:

pierce elevated will be going away, land sold (maybe developed, maybe not).

about half of the remaining freeway system very close to downtown will be below grade

 

negatives:

19 blocks of east downtown will be taken to accommodate 45 being realigned.

hundreds of people will be forced to move.

local connectivity will be drastically reduced at pretty much every point.

 

maybe positivies: (not in budget)

potential caps over a few strategic places of below grade could make for park area

 

current design PDF:

http://www.ih45northandmore.com/docs5/20150922_NHHIP_Seg3_Updates.pdf

I'm starting to dislike this more and more. Do I want the Pierce removed? Yes. Do I want a wide, tan, katy freeway wrapped around a majority of Downtown? No.

 

How can TXDOT be so blind? I would even prefer a tall elevated freeway over the current one versus a wide, block gobbling one.

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3 hours ago, Montrose1100 said:

I'm starting to dislike this more and more. Do I want the Pierce removed? Yes. Do I want a wide, tan, katy freeway wrapped around a majority of Downtown? No.

 

How can TXDOT be so blind? I would even prefer a tall elevated freeway over the current one versus a wide, block gobbling one.

 

Put 69 below grade (since it already is south of GRBCC). Put 45 above grade with local streets passing through at grade.

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I wish there were an easy way to put the pierce below grade in its current ROW all the way up to Dallas street. I think maintaining street access for the hospital is probably of high import though, and to go subterranean with it would require street closures at least from Chenevert to Austin. Not only would it be hypocritical of me to suggest street closures in one area to maintain connectivity in another, but it's so close to the hospital and I'm sure they need the connectivity.

 

Maybe if the put 45 underground before the 59 interchange, it would have to go even lower than the already below grade 59/288, and there would be no way to have connector ramps from 59 to 45 there, but it would be a solution. Start to tunnel it south of Dowling, there are no cross streets between nettleton and dowling that aren't already closed off. that would be plenty of room for going subterranean.

 

of course, 59 traffic wanting to get on 45 would have to go around 59>10>45 so figuring a way to expand that portion of freeway without taking any land would be a struggle.

 

it would probably be as expensive as the 4 billion they are already proposing to spend.

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Yes, I do not care too much for the proposed design. For one thing, that will definitely erase the breathtaking view coming into downtown from North 45 going below the towering BOA and Heritage Plaza skyscrapers. It will be sorely missed.

 

 

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8 hours ago, scarface said:

Yes, I do not care too much for the proposed design. For one thing, that will definitely erase the breathtaking view coming into downtown from North 45 going below the towering BOA and Heritage Plaza skyscrapers. It will be sorely missed.

 

 

That's simply not true.

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36 minutes ago, IronTiger said:

I'm pretty sure I mentioned the same thing, and you said something like, "Well, you can enjoy it from street level" or something along those lines.

 

The freeway west of Downtown, where you pass under BOA and Heritage Plaza, will remain where it is according to the current plans. That's the whole "Downtown Connector" concept.

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Just now, ADCS said:

 

The freeway west of Downtown, where you pass under BOA and Heritage Plaza, will remain where it is according to the current plans. That's the whole "Downtown Connector" concept.

The user mentioned 45 North, not 45 South.

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1 minute ago, IronTiger said:

The user mentioned 45 North, not 45 South.

 

If we're going to be pedantic, let's get it right - he talked about coming in from North 45, not traveling on 45 going north.

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As much as I dislike the Chain O' Freeways circling downtown, an alternative that ends up more or less recreating Atlanta's I-75/85 cluster flock or Boston's not so free flowing Central Artery is just not appealing.

Edited by mollusk
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3 minutes ago, mollusk said:

As much as I dislike the Chain O' Freeways circling downtown, an alternative that ends up more or less recreating Atlanta's I-75/85 cluster flock or Boston's not so free flowing Central Artery.

 

This does neither. 75-85 merges all lanes into one facility, while this plan keeps those lanes separated. The Big Dig was similar in concept, but had much more complexity owing to existing underground rail facilities, along with being constructed primarily through landfill.

 

TxDOT studies these things for a living. They know what they're doing.

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what are the benefits of realigning the freeway though? 39 pages of 'yay, let's knock down the pierce! new shiny freeways!' and outside of the benefits to one neighborhood (and mainly benefiting already rich developers at that, not the people who live in midtown) no one has been able to provide an answer.

 

1. Will this add capacity to an already over capacity system for people to bypass downtown?

2. Will this substantially reduce traffic through downtown?

3. Will this reduce pollution in and around downtown?

4. How will this benefit the entire greater Houston region?

5. How will this improve the quality of life for people who live close to downtown, but not in midtown? (Near Northside, 5th ward, EaDo, 3rd ward, Museum district)

 

Here's my answers (but please, answer for yourself too).

 

1. Not enough to compensate for the people who have recently moved here, let alone the people that will move here.

2. No - and someone said it wasn't about reduction of traffic, but making it predictable. It's already predictable, so that's not a good enough answer.

3. No.

4. It won't.

5. It won't. It will actually reduce mobility for people living near downtown (even those in midtown) to move around locally (ie, not on a freeway).

 

Expansion of answer #5: For EaDo specifically, the possibility of a park covering the trenched freeway (that has no current funding, and considering the budget of the city, has little likelihood of being funded) is not even close for making up the taking of 19 blocks, reduced local mobility, and hundreds of people being displaced.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well if  everyone learns that maintaining speed while turning your wheel 10 to 20 degrees isn't going to send you into a uncontrollable spin, through-put would improve and you wouldn't have these phantom congestion on the pierce.. Then you wouldn't have to spend 6 billion dollars to solve a human issue and I would be Happy Stan.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/28/2016 at 0:59 PM, Mad Stan said:

Well if  everyone learns that maintaining speed while turning your wheel 10 to 20 degrees isn't going to send you into a uncontrollable spin, through-put would improve and you wouldn't have these phantom congestion on the pierce.. Then you wouldn't have to spend 6 billion dollars to solve a human issue and I would be Happy Stan.

 

 

Something else occurred to me...it looks like the proposed re-route will add about a full mile to Interstate 45's length. Now, disregarding all the other problems about this (I'm sure the "phantom congestion" problem will become worse with all the twists and turns in the new plan), but wouldn't adding an extra mile throw off the mileage on mile markers and exit numbers?

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2 hours ago, IronTiger said:

Something else occurred to me...it looks like the proposed re-route will add about a full mile to Interstate 45's length. Now, disregarding all the other problems about this (I'm sure the "phantom congestion" problem will become worse with all the twists and turns in the new plan), but wouldn't adding an extra mile throw off the mileage on mile markers and exit numbers?

 

They'd just find some way to fudge the numbers, likely at the start in Galveston, and perhaps update them to the new numbers as sign replacement projects come along. Not that huge of a problem.

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On 6/10/2016 at 1:52 PM, IronTiger said:

Something else occurred to me...it looks like the proposed re-route will add about a full mile to Interstate 45's length. Now, disregarding all the other problems about this (I'm sure the "phantom congestion" problem will become worse with all the twists and turns in the new plan), but wouldn't adding an extra mile throw off the mileage on mile markers and exit numbers?

 

In defense of the project, there are going to be less slight twists and turns in favor of 3 major turns (for 45). So rather than a slight turn southwest of downtown before the dallas dip, then a series of bends back and forth, imagine 3 turns more severe than the westpark curve. actually, that's not a good thing at all. never mind. They're at least getting rid of all the left exits. Wait, they aren't doing that either.

 

Never mind, forget I even made this post.

Edited by samagon
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  • 2 weeks later...

I updated my analysis of the project design based on the new schematics for the inner loop section which TxDOT posted on the official project web site in May.

 

http://houstonfreeways.com/Home/analysis

 

The good news is that TxDOT has fixed several serious issues with the new update. My list of design concerns is now only four items, and TxDOT says it is studying the problems to identify changes to address three of the four remaining concerns.

Edited by MaxConcrete
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14 hours ago, The Pragmatist said:

 

The proposal for widening I-45, one of Houston's core freeways, comes at a time when city officials - notably Mayor Sylvester Turner - are arguing for more public transit and fewer freeway lanes.

"It just seems like we are headed down the same road," District I Councilman Robert Gallegos said.

Gallegos and others urged TxDOT to consider how the managed lanes planned along the freeway could one day be converted to some form of mass transit, particularly rail.

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48 minutes ago, Sunstar said:

 

Gallegos and others urged TxDOT to consider how the managed lanes planned along the freeway could one day be converted to some form of mass transit, particularly rail.

 

Convert.... Ha, so it's a dead proposal already. You start now.. you don't wait... This is the perfect opportunity. They'll be making too much money from the managed lanes to convert them later. As someone who just visited California last week, they integrate the mass transit in with the highways during the construction phase... or they lay it out in a way for any expansion. San Francisco was a little different in that they did some above grade Caltrain work that didn't necessarily need to be tied in with the highway but let's not kid ourselves with wishful thinking, especially with TxDot who tried to force Metro to say that the bus lanes will never be converted to light rail.

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2 hours ago, Triton said:

 

Convert.... Ha, so it's a dead proposal already. You start now.. you don't wait... This is the perfect opportunity. They'll be making too much money from the managed lanes to convert them later. As someone who just visited California last week, they integrate the mass transit in with the highways during the construction phase... or they lay it out in a way for any expansion. San Francisco was a little different in that they did some above grade Caltrain work that didn't necessarily need to be tied in with the highway but let's not kid ourselves with wishful thinking, especially with TxDot who tried to force Metro to say that the bus lanes will never be converted to light rail.

 

Thing is, though, Houston's freeway landscapes, with the interminable feeder roads, are almost uniquely hostile toward public transit in all but park-and-ride setups.

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2 hours ago, Triton said:

 

Convert.... Ha, so it's a dead proposal already. You start now.. you don't wait... This is the perfect opportunity. They'll be making too much money from the managed lanes to convert them later. As someone who just visited California last week, they integrate the mass transit in with the highways during the construction phase... or they lay it out in a way for any expansion. San Francisco was a little different in that they did some above grade Caltrain work that didn't necessarily need to be tied in with the highway but let's not kid ourselves with wishful thinking, especially with TxDot who tried to force Metro to say that the bus lanes will never be converted to light rail.

 

34 minutes ago, ADCS said:

 

Thing is, though, Houston's freeway landscapes, with the interminable feeder roads, are almost uniquely hostile toward public transit in all but park-and-ride setups.

Running rail between highways is a sexy idea in theory but the stations make it difficult, because frontage roads or not, you have to put the station between the tracks, and to do that you have to have access, either tunneling under the freeway or building a bridge over it, and usually that requires a tower for stairs and elevators. The third option is to build a connection from the road overpass in which case frontage roads don't matter and actually would help as frontage roads intersect with highways in stoplights with manageable frontage roads instead of ramps that directly turn onto other roads with yield or merging lanes.

 

Specifically, I'm thinking of part of the LA light rail (in Pasadena, CA) that has that sort of thing.

 

As for converting lanes, that's problematic because the public transportation and freeways are funded differently (METRO would have to buy ROW, basically), and METRO had already made a somewhat expensive mistake by insisting that the HOT lanes in the Katy Freeway be made "rail ready" (basically paying money to over-engineer the roads, which is another "conversion" problem) even though there was never a guarantee or promise about the Katy Tollway being reduced to use for rail.

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  • 4 months later...

The weekend closures of the Pierce Elevated are a giant PITA (repairing a bridge), really messed up a commute to the central library when I was in Pearland last week. I still can't get over the massive curves that would be installed in the proposed re-do would slow down traffic on northbound I-45 South even more, as part of the reason for Pierce's congestion is that people naturally want to slow down for curves (this is also why five-stacks get locked up around rush hour, which isn't entirely a bad idea...flying off an ~80 foot ramp at 70 MPH will be the ride of your life).

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On 11/23/2016 at 0:06 PM, IronTiger said:

 I still can't get over the massive curves that would be installed in the proposed re-do would slow down traffic on northbound I-45 South even more, as part of the reason for Pierce's congestion is that people naturally want to slow down for curves (this is also why five-stacks get locked up around rush hour, which isn't entirely a bad idea...flying off an ~80 foot ramp at 70 MPH will be the ride of your life).

 

This is just the nature of the inner city freeway beast. You're going to have curves.....the trick is to keep the curves loose enough to where traffic doesn't have to slow down TOO much. It's part that, and partly on the drivers themselves. If people just slow down a little further back before the curve instead of slowing down a lot at the last minute, congestion wouldn't be so bad. You know where the curve is and at what speed you should take it and those facts never change......so just start slowing down sooner. With less congestion you'll actually get to where you need to go quicker.

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On 11/23/2016 at 11:22 AM, Triton said:

Did someone mess up the files on the I45 and more website? Couldn't access the latest designs. Trying to find my area of north of I-10 to 610.

Ah nevermind about what I said. I was looking in the 4th public meetings area.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not sure if this has been discussed yet or not, but is anyone else curious what the impact of "tunneling" the new 45/69 behind the GRB will have on the Green/Purple lines?

 

Theyre gonna have to construct a bridge for the lines, and a possible method for this would be to build one half of the bridge so that there's still one line to connect Eado to Downtown, but since there isn't a "switch" on the West side of 69, trams headed West won't be able to cross over (where the line splits by the new GRB Garage) to the Capitol side of the line. If they can't do that, then they can't turn around and head East back towards Eado.

 

I guess they could construct a temporary line by making a sharp S-curve immediately West of Eado Stadium Station, and run the lines parallel to the current ones on Texas Ave, then make the turn Southwest and connect it to the current lines. This would require shutting down Texas Ave, which in itself is a huge issue, but then there's the cost of this whole proposal.

 

Either way, service on the Green/Purple line is going to be...lacking in the coming years. Honestly, they're probably just going to use the Switch they built West of Eado Stadium Station and just shut off service for a year or so while they build the bridge over the new Freeway.

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I would bet money there will not be a year-long service interruption for the Metro rail line. My best (very amateur) guess would be something along the lines of the suggested temporary relocation of the tracks.  That block of Lofts at the Ballpark apparently have to be torn down.  Perhaps they will be tear those down and build temporary tracks through that site.

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2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

I would bet money there will not be a year-long service interruption for the Metro rail line. My best (very amateur) guess would be something along the lines of the suggested temporary relocation of the tracks.  That block of Lofts at the Ballpark apparently have to be torn down.  Perhaps they will be tear those down and build temporary tracks through that site.

I thought of this too, but the turning radius required would mean that they'd have to tear down the new ramp for the elevated Unloading Dock behind the GRB, so if they put in temporary tracks they'd have to put them north of where they are now on Texas Ave.

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23 minutes ago, BigFootsSocks said:

I thought of this too, but the turning radius required would mean that they'd have to tear down the new ramp for the elevated Unloading Dock behind the GRB, so if they put in temporary tracks they'd have to put them north of where they are now on Texas Ave.

 

Good point.  On the other hand, that ramp may need to be altered again for the highway project anyway (because it currently terminates under the freeway). 

Edited by Houston19514
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12 hours ago, EllenOlenska said:

I'm just coming over from the Cheek Neal Coffee Building. I'm not good at reading the realignment proposal maps, and am curious: would the coffee building (on the northeastern side of the lot) be torn down during the realignment? 

 

The building was designated a historic structure, and will be salvaged. TXDOT had to adjust the road around this building.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/8/2016 at 8:45 PM, HNathoo said:

 

The building was designated a historic structure, and will be salvaged. TXDOT had to adjust the road around this building.

Are you sure about this? I read in an article from the leader of Preservation Houston that federal and state plans overturn local preservation. Where did you see that they adjusted the road??? I would be beyond happy to know this building would be saved. And what about the Tout Suite building?

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  • The title was changed to I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)

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