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I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)


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I mean, that's great for constitutional amendments, but the reality is, it's just a statute, so 2/3rd majority, and vote on a ballot not necessary.

it's a statute that states how the state highway fund is used.

sec. 222.001 use of state highway fund. statutes can be updated via a bill becoming a law.

I get it, you're just going to say that even getting the state government to pass a bill into law is never going to happen and that I'm living in crazy town. 

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.222.htm

and section 49k of the constitution in regards to the Texas Mobility Fund:

Quote

Sec. 49-k. TEXAS MOBILITY FUND. (a) In this section: (1) “Commission” means the Texas Transportation Commission or its successor. (2) “Comptroller” means the comptroller of public accounts of the State of Texas. (3) “Department” means the Texas Department of Transportation or its successor. (4) “Fund” means the Texas Mobility Fund. (5) “Obligations” means bonds, notes, and other public securities. (b) The Texas Mobility Fund is created in the state treasury and shall be administered by the commission as a revolving fund to provide a method of Art. III Sec. 49-k 49 financing the construction, reconstruction, acquisition, and expansion of state highways, including costs of any necessary design and costs of acquisition of rights-of-way, as determined by the commission in accordance with standards and procedures established by law. (c) Money in the fund may also be used to provide participation by the state in the payment of a portion of the costs of constructing and providing publicly owned toll roads and other public transportation projects in accordance with the procedures, standards, and limitations established by law.

https://tlc.texas.gov/docs/legref/TxConst.pdf

so um, yeah.

Edited by samagon
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31 minutes ago, samagon said:

I mean, that's great for constitutional amendments, but the reality is, it's just a statute, so 2/3rd majority, and vote on a ballot not necessary.

it's a statute that states how the state highway fund is used.

sec. 222.001 use of state highway fund. statutes can be updated via a bill becoming a law.

I get it, you're just going to say that even getting the state government to pass a bill into law is never going to happen and that I'm living in crazy town. 

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.222.htm

and section 49k of the constitution in regards to the Texas Mobility Fund:

https://tlc.texas.gov/docs/legref/TxConst.pdf

so um, yeah.

OK Sam, so tell me your legislative theory of having that pass the Texas Legislature with a simple majority and be signed by the Governor, with the composition of the Legislature including plenty of R-The Woodlands, R-Frisco, and plenty of other equivalents before we even get to the likes of R-Vidor and R-Rusk.  Mask mandates have a plurality of popular support and look where we are.  Perfectly happy with people dying in the name of "freedom," and you think these guys don't associate cars and freeways with "freedom"?  (HINT: Consider the etymology of the word FREEway.)

Surely you saw that question coming.

At the end of the day, I just don't think you're a very serious person.

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45 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

What park are you referring to exactly if we were to word things to have people lean in the direction of tripling the width of the freeway? If you're talking about that cap park, then you're def being disingenuous. That thing is all conceptual with no planned source for funding. 

No funding sources for construction of an actual park planned from TxDOT (because they don't do it anywhere).  There's a tremendous difference.

The initial drawings of Spaceport Houston were CONCEPTUAL (i.e., pretty pictures with no basis in reality).  The cap park between the convention center and the East End is likely most accurately described as being in PLANNING.  The next phase will be DESIGN, and, yes, guess what, it won't be in that phase until Segment 3 is permitted.  The cap park is exactly where you'd expect it to be at this phase.  

The City, Central Houston, and other organizations are all planning for the cap park and have been for YEARS.  You've got a city of philanthropists that have been absolutely committed to funding parks over the past decade.  You think they could get funding for Disco Green, Lynn Wyatt Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, and Memorial Park and wouldn't make this a priority, when funding options are arguably more expansive with HOT, convention, TIRZ taxes, and now the Infrastructure Bill in a Democratic administration?  Not to mention that TxDOT is funding structures and other enabling work. 

Somehow, you accept the park rings around downtown as possible, but not this?  Give me a break.

The cap parks between Midtown and the Museum District?  Well, those are anybody's guess.  But even in those cases you've got people working.

I seriously never thought I would find myself advocating as much as I appear to be for freeways, or feeling any sympathy for TxDOT, but if they have to deal with this nonsense, I probably would be throwing up my hands, too.

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35 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

OK Sam, so tell me your legislative theory of having that pass the Texas Legislature with a simple majority and be signed by the Governor, with the composition of the Legislature including plenty of R-The Woodlands, R-Frisco, and plenty of other equivalents before we even get to the likes of R-Vidor and R-Rusk.  Mask mandates have a plurality of popular support and look where we are.  Perfectly happy with people dying in the name of "freedom," and you think these guys don't associate cars and freeways with "freedom"?  (HINT: Consider the etymology of the word FREEway.)

Surely you saw that question coming.

At the end of the day, I just don't think you're a very serious person.

I think a better way for you to contextualize my responses is to say that my level of optimism doesn't jive with your understanding of how dysfunctional our state leadership is.

which I'd probably agree with.

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27 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

No funding sources for construction of an actual park planned from TxDOT (because they don't do it anywhere).  There's a tremendous difference.

The initial drawings of Spaceport Houston were CONCEPTUAL (i.e., pretty pictures with no basis in reality).  The cap park between the convention center and the East End is likely most accurately described as being in PLANNING.  The next phase will be DESIGN, and, yes, guess what, it won't be in that phase until Segment 3 is permitted.  The cap park is exactly where you'd expect it to be at this phase.  

The City, Central Houston, and other organizations are all planning for the cap park and have been for YEARS.  You've got a city of philanthropists that have been absolutely committed to funding parks over the past decade.  You think they could get funding for Disco Green, Lynn Wyatt Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, and Memorial Park and wouldn't make this a priority, when funding options are arguably more expansive with HOT, convention, TIRZ taxes, and now the Infrastructure Bill in a Democratic administration?  Not to mention that TxDOT is funding structures and other enabling work. 

Somehow, you accept the park rings around downtown as possible, but not this?  Give me a break.

The cap parks between Midtown and the Museum District?  Well, those are anybody's guess.  But even in those cases you've got people working.

I seriously never thought I would find myself advocating as much as I appear to be for freeways, or feeling any sympathy for TxDOT, but if they have to deal with this nonsense, I probably would be throwing up my hands, too.

Ok? My whole career revolves around things that go from concept to reality. Again its all conceptual. You can talk about the planning, the philanthropists, and how TxDOT will do whatever, it all doesn’t mean a damn thing. And you’re right, I def want the green loop to happen. I love the concept of using some of the abandoned freeway elements to create elevated park space and retail space beneath, but some of that stuff may never happen. How long has the city been “planning” to create the north canal for BB? Not saying the cap park won’t become a reality but you’re defending this entire project on an idea. All I read was how disingenuous @samagon question was if it was presented as a ballot question. And all I’m pointing out is that as it stands, that park isn’t a guarantee, so if you word things in such a way how is that not actually being disingenuous? The only thing I read from @samagon was an actual fact about how much wider the freeway will be. Hell St Emanuel would become a damn feeder road. And you feel bad for TxDOT because they have to deal with Houstonians who don’t want more freeway construction? Get over yourself man 😆

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Just now, j_cuevas713 said:

Ok? My whole career revolves around things that go from concept to reality. Again its all conceptual. You can talk about the planning, the philanthropists, and how TxDOT will do whatever, it all doesn’t mean a damn thing. And you’re right, I def want the green loop to happen. I love the concept of using some of the abandoned freeway elements to create elevated park space and retail space beneath, but some of that stuff may never happen. How long has the city been “planning” to create the north canal for BB? Not saying the cap park won’t become a reality but you’re defending this entire project on an idea. All I read was how disingenuous @samagon question was if it presented as a ballot question. And all I’m pointing out is that as it stands, that park isn’t a guarantee, so if you word things in such a way how is that not actually being disingenuous? The only thing I read from @samagon was an actual fact about how much wider the freeway will be. Hell St Emanuel would become a damn feeder road. And you feel bad for TxDOT because they have to deal with Houstonians who don’t want more freeway construction? Get over yourself man 😆

J, there's a hell of a lot of difference between CONCEPTS and a demonstrably feasible project that has tacit support from the State (yes, the State!), the City, the Chamber of Commerce and Central Houston.  It's exactly where you'd expect it to be at this phase.

6 minutes ago, samagon said:

I think a better way for you to contextualize my responses is to say that my level of optimism doesn't jive with your understanding of how dysfunctional our state leadership is.

which I'd probably agree with.

It's only going to get worse, I'm afraid, before new coalitions can be built with all of this pathetic, know-nothing posturing to the lowest common denominator.  But let's see how 2022 turns out.

(And it's jibe, not jive.)

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8 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

J, there's a hell of a lot of difference between CONCEPTS and a demonstrably feasible project that has tacit support from the State (yes, the State!), the City, the Chamber of Commerce and Central Houston.  It's exactly where you'd expect it to be at this phase.

How does it have support from the city? The city and county both filed lawsuits against TxDOT at the Federal level. I’m sure the state does support it. Surprise surprise! 

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11 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

How does it have support from the city? The city and county both filed lawsuits again TxDOT at the Federal level. I’m sure the state does support it. Surprise surprise! 

J, we are talking about the CAP PARKS between the GRB and the East End (you know the tripling of the highway width by Minute Maid Park being put to a referendum straw man).  The City has pretty much said it supports segment 3 with minimal changes.  WHY?!  Because this has been the plan for YEARS.

NHHIP Segments 1 & 2 Facilitation Group Meeting #2 (houstontx.gov) (credit to texan for supplying link in prior post)

City's vision on page 13: "MOVE FORWARD NOW"

And I don't believe the City has sued anyone over NHHIP, but I can't keep track.  Actually none of us seem to be able to keep track with all of this misinformation.

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3 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

J, we are talking about the CAP PARKS between the GRB and the East End (you know the tripling of the highway width by Minute Maid Park being put to a referendum straw man).  The City has pretty much said it supports segment 3 with minimal changes.  WHY?!  Because this has been the plan for YEARS.

NHHIP Segments 1 & 2 Facilitation Group Meeting #2 (houstontx.gov) (credit to texan for supplying link in prior post)

City's vision on page 13: "MOVE FORWARD NOW"

And I don't believe the City has sued anyone over NHHIP, but I can't keep track.  Actually none of us seem to be able to keep track with all of this misinformation.

That is true. Again I love the overall positives of this project but we’ll see what happens at this point with everything at a standstill. 

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On 8/16/2021 at 11:31 AM, samagon said:

well I've seen plenty of people in this same thread talk about how good this will be for people who drive cars without knowing what the people who drive cars actually want. so many people, we just have to let them build it, and if we don't let them build it, then nothing will be built.

this bolded part is beyond asinine, it is TxDOT's duty to maintain our highways, whether this project goes forward or not doesn't mean they get to toss up their hands and say 'well, we tried, sorry Houston, you are SOL with this freeway in perpetuity', they are still on the hook to maintain and update as our city needs.

people here may not be saying it, but TxDOT is suggesting it, and many stories about the project seem to suggest that this is a you take it or leave it prospect, and that just isn't a thing.

I mean the actual positives of the project for people who will use the freeway (like trucks no longer running into bridges) are things we can calculate to some degree, regardless of whether people who will be using the freeway the most want the project or not. But in regards to that particular point, it must be pointed out that most of the known opposition to the freeway is coming from inner city interests, not suburban interests, and the general assumption by most people in regards to this highway, even in this very thread, has been that the freeway will mainly benefit three groups: 1) suburbanites and commuters,  2) intrastate/interstate traffic, and 3) crosstown traffic. Nobody's polled any of those people either, even though it seems to be the general consensus that it will benefit them, but those groups are not overwhelmingly or even minorly opposed to this project.

And of course they will maintain the freeway as is, as they've continued to do while they were planning for this project. But that's irrelevant to the discussion. This freeway is old, outdated, and has tangible issues, which people have brought up numerous times in this thread. Not engaging this project means those issues don't get fixed, no matter how much preventative maintenance is done on the road. The Pierce Elevated is not getting any younger, and the North Freeway is still one of the most raggedy freeways in Houston. These issues remain, whether the road is still undergoing maintenance or not.

However, if this project goes pear shaped, the state will take the money allocated to it and spend it somewhere else, more than likely in another more reliably Republican part of the state. The TxDOT is obligated to maintain the freeway. It isn't obligated to fix its issues, do anything else with it, or keep fighting with the city and county to get things done. They will just leave Houston holding the bag. So yes, this is a "you take it or you leave it" project. You take it as is, or the state reallocates the funds. The money will get spent, but it doesn't have to get spent in Houston.

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11 hours ago, Big E said:

I mean the actual positives of the project for people who will use the freeway (like trucks no longer running into bridges) are things we can calculate to some degree, regardless of whether people who will be using the freeway the most want the project or not. But in regards to that particular point point, it must be pointed out that most of the known opposition to the freeway is coming from inner city interests, not suburban interests, and the general assumption by most people in regards to this highway, even in this very thread, has been that the freeway will mainly benefit three groups: 1) suburbanites and commuters,  2) intrastate/interstate traffic, and 3) crosstown traffic. Nobody's polled any of those people either, even though it seems to be the general consensus that it will benefit them, but those groups are not overwhelmingly or even minorly opposed to this project.

And of course they will maintain the freeway as is, as they've continued to do while they were planning for this project. But that's irrelevant to the discussion. This freeway is old, outdated, and has tangible issues, which people have brought up numerous times in this thread. Not engaging this project means those issues don't get fixed, no matter how much preventative maintenance is done on the road. The Pierce Elevated is not getting any younger, and the North Freeway is still one of the most raggedy freeways in Houston. These issues remain, whether the road is still undergoing maintenance or not.

However, if this project goes pear shaped, the state will take the money allocated to it and spend it somewhere else, more than likely in another more reliably Republican part of the state. The TxDOT is obligated to maintain the freeway. It isn't obligated to fix its issues, do anything else with it, or keep fighting with the city and county to get things done. They will just leave Houston holding the bag. So yes, this is a "you take it or you leave it" project. You take it as is, or the state reallocates the funds. The money will get spent, but it doesn't have to get spent in Houston.

for this specific design, yes, I agree, but for overall building an i45 that is updated and better fits the needs of Houston, I don't agree.

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just read this article https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2021-08-20/austin-at-large-aint-no-highway-wide-enough/

which also links to this article https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2002-09-20/102944/

both good reads, and aside from locations, and the names of those fighting against TxDOT it reads very similar to what we're doing today.

although it does make me rethink, if we reject this current TxDOT plan, they will not take another crack at redesign for a while.

the problem is still, that's not a good enough reason to accept it.

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On 8/19/2021 at 2:24 PM, samagon said:

just read this article https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2021-08-20/austin-at-large-aint-no-highway-wide-enough/

which also links to this article https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2002-09-20/102944/

both good reads, and aside from locations, and the names of those fighting against TxDOT it reads very similar to what we're doing today.

although it does make me rethink, if we reject this current TxDOT plan, they will not take another crack at redesign for a while.

the problem is still, that's not a good enough reason to accept it.

GOLD

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On 8/19/2021 at 2:24 PM, samagon said:

just read this article https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2021-08-20/austin-at-large-aint-no-highway-wide-enough/

which also links to this article https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2002-09-20/102944/

both good reads, and aside from locations, and the names of those fighting against TxDOT it reads very similar to what we're doing today.

although it does make me rethink, if we reject this current TxDOT plan, they will not take another crack at redesign for a while.

the problem is still, that's not a good enough reason to accept it.

Austin is no real model to anyone on anything regarding traffic, highways, or transit, considering how bad its own traffic issues are, directly due to its lack of major north-south and east-west routes, how terrible and broken its own street grid is, its persistent suburban sprawl, and lagging transit. I-35 is a mess and probably does need to be rebuilt, especially the double decked portion. But the one thing this article makes supremely clear is that TxDOT is deafly afraid of even attempting to tunnel a highway, and will always throw that idea out first. Which makes the fact that they aren't planning to cap I-45 and I-69 themselves make all the more sense. Also, calling a freeway "racist and toxic" is just stupid. A freeway, by virtue of being a big slab of concrete, can be neither of those things. 

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5 minutes ago, Big E said:

Austin is no real model to anyone on anything regarding traffic, highways, or transit, considering how bad its own traffic issues are, directly due to its lack of major north-south and east-west routes, how terrible and broken its own street grid is, its persistent suburban sprawl, and lagging transit. I-35 is a mess and probably does need to be rebuilt, especially the double decked portion. But the one thing this article makes supremely clear is that TxDOT is deafly afraid of even attempting to tunnel a highway, and will always throw that idea out first. Which makes the fact that they aren't planning to cap I-45 and I-69 themselves make all the more sense. Also, calling a freeway "racist and toxic" us just stupid. A freeway, by virtue of being a big slab of concrete, can be neither of those things. 

Like I said in a earlier post they should have went with a tunnel between the beltway and 610.

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26 minutes ago, Big E said:

Austin is no real model to anyone on anything regarding traffic, highways, or transit, considering how bad its own traffic issues are, directly due to its lack of major north-south and east-west routes, how terrible and broken its own street grid is, its persistent suburban sprawl, and lagging transit. I-35 is a mess and probably does need to be rebuilt, especially the double decked portion. But the one thing this article makes supremely clear is that TxDOT is deafly afraid of even attempting to tunnel a highway, and will always throw that idea out first. Which makes the fact that they aren't planning to cap I-45 and I-69 themselves make all the more sense. Also, calling a freeway "racist and toxic" us just stupid. A freeway, by virtue of being a big slab of concrete, can be neither of those things. 

I think TxDOT and TTI take a lot of pride in the solutions that have been developed in-state (not to mention, the local engineering companies and construction companies have a lot of pull in the Lege). However, given the lack of mountain highways or submarine tunnels built in the last 80 years, not much research into or experience from building tunnels exists within the state. That's why I think there's the bias toward cut-and-cover methods for depressed highways, rather than underground tubes.

It's not geology either - Houston used to have two functioning tunnels (now just the Washburn), and near Vancouver, they're about to rebuild a tunnel through alluvial silt in the middle of a very seismically active area (needs to withstand up to MM9.0 earthquakes).

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11 minutes ago, Big E said:

Austin is no real model to anyone on anything regarding traffic, highways, or transit, considering how bad its own traffic issues are, directly due to its lack of major north-south and east-west routes, how terrible and broken its own street grid is, its persistent suburban sprawl, and lagging transit. I-35 is a mess and probably does need to be rebuilt, especially the double decked portion. But the one thing this article makes supremely clear is that TxDOT is deafly afraid of even attempting to tunnel a highway, and will always throw that idea out first. Which makes the fact that they aren't planning to cap I-45 and I-69 themselves make all the more sense. Also, calling a freeway "racist and toxic" us just stupid. A freeway, by virtue of being a big slab of concrete, can be neither of those things. 

fair points, and I didn't link that article to show anything more than we're not unique in being pushed by TxDOT to fit the wider is better philosophy of road building, which seems to be the only song that these guys can sing.

some here seem to want it to be believed that a small group of Houstonians are unique in believing there is a better way.

the freeway certainly can be toxic, by virtue of the cars that it is designed to convey spewing all sorts of toxins that are known to cause asthma among other things to people within a certain distance of the freeway. even if we get to a future where BEV is the primary single occupant vehicle, we're probably 30, or more years away from that.

through the demographics of the residents of areas around freeways, you can make all sorts of logical conclusions about racism and freeway location. specific to segment3 of NHHIP, they're removing the freeway from the rich white side of downtown and relocating it on the poorer and less white side of downtown. it's hard to not jump straight to the racism, and oppression of the underrepresented as at least part of the reason there.

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4 minutes ago, ADCS said:

I think TxDOT and TTI take a lot of pride in the solutions that have been developed in-state (not to mention, the local engineering companies and construction companies have a lot of pull in the Lege). However, given the lack of mountain highways or submarine tunnels built in the last 80 years, not much research into or experience from building tunnels exists within the state. That's why I think there's the bias toward cut-and-cover methods for depressed highways, rather than underground tubes.

It's not geology either - Houston used to have two functioning tunnels (now just the Washburn), and near Vancouver, they're about to rebuild a tunnel through alluvial silt in the middle of a very seismically active area (needs to withstand up to MM9.0 earthquakes).

they've been building tunnels through the Netherlands forever, I'd be shocked to learn that their soil is better for tunnels than ours is.

I appreciate the lack of experience, and I appreciate the wanting to do it internally, but know your strengths and know when to call in experts, it's unconscionable that they wouldn't pull in experts from another source if they need some help. for some reason, it makes my despair at the whole thing even more rueful. they're going to do all this negative stuff to all these people because they've got too much pride to call in for some outside help?

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1 minute ago, samagon said:

it's unconscionable that they wouldn't pull in experts from another source if they need some help

As far as they're concerned (remember, this is engineer-thinking we're talking about), they don't need help - perfectly good in-house solutions already exist to the problem they're trying to solve. Bringing in consultants would be unnecessary expense, and there's no political will to cover that expense.

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3 minutes ago, ADCS said:

As far as they're concerned (remember, this is engineer-thinking we're talking about), they don't need help - perfectly good in-house solutions already exist to the problem they're trying to solve. Bringing in consultants would be unnecessary expense, and there's no political will to cover that expense.

yeah, makes sense, but I still don't like it.

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1 hour ago, Big E said:

Austin is no real model to anyone on anything regarding traffic, highways, or transit, considering how bad its own traffic issues are, directly due to its lack of major north-south and east-west routes, how terrible and broken its own street grid is, its persistent suburban sprawl, and lagging transit. I-35 is a mess and probably does need to be rebuilt, especially the double decked portion. But the one thing this article makes supremely clear is that TxDOT is deafly afraid of even attempting to tunnel a highway, and will always throw that idea out first. Which makes the fact that they aren't planning to cap I-45 and I-69 themselves make all the more sense. Also, calling a freeway "racist and toxic" us just stupid. A freeway, by virtue of being a big slab of concrete, can be neither of those things. 

The majority of American highways in urban settings are inherently racist. Not by their existence, but by their placement. This is highly documented and can be seen in most, if not all, major cities. Developers in the 40s, 50s, and 60s were openly racist and used highways to separate and financially ruin communities of color.

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44 minutes ago, HoustonBoy said:

The majority of American highways in urban settings are inherently racist. Not by their existence, but by their placement. This is highly documented and can be seen in most, if not all, major cities. Developers in the 40s, 50s, and 60s were openly racist and used highways to separate and financially ruin communities of color.

Freeways also ran through parks, business areas, rich communities, downtowns, waterfronts, etc. They were pretty indiscriminate in what they ran through during that period, as the focus was to run the freeway in the straightest possible route from point A to point B. This is part of the reason why the freeway revolts started in the first place; nobody was safe from them, and even the prominent wealthy communities and neighborhoods had to sit up and take notice. Remember that the first major freeway revolt happened because New Orleans wanted to build a massive expressway through the French Quarter along the riverfront.

 

1 hour ago, ADCS said:

I think TxDOT and TTI take a lot of pride in the solutions that have been developed in-state (not to mention, the local engineering companies and construction companies have a lot of pull in the Lege). However, given the lack of mountain highways or submarine tunnels built in the last 80 years, not much research into or experience from building tunnels exists within the state. That's why I think there's the bias toward cut-and-cover methods for depressed highways, rather than underground tubes.

It's not geology either - Houston used to have two functioning tunnels (now just the Washburn), and near Vancouver, they're about to rebuild a tunnel through alluvial silt in the middle of a very seismically active area (needs to withstand up to MM9.0 earthquakes).

I can appreciate that TxDOT lacks practical experience here. I can also appreciate that everyone remembers Boston's "Big Dig" and the right mess and a half that was. But the Big Dig worked; the freeway was sunk down, removing a massive eyesore from central Boston, capacity was added successfully, and a new East-West cross bay connection was added to the airport, taking pressure off the Central Artery. It was ultimately successful, despite the cost overruns, delays, leaks, design flaws, charges of poor execution and use of substandard materials, criminal arrests, and death of one motorist. We can learn from the failures of that project and know what mistakes to not make next time. The Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement happened largely without (major) incident (there was one semi-major incident that stopped the project for two years) compared to the Big Dig.

 

1 hour ago, samagon said:

the freeway certainly can be toxic, by virtue of the cars that it is designed to convey spewing all sorts of toxins that are known to cause asthma among other things to people within a certain distance of the freeway. even if we get to a future where BEV is the primary single occupant vehicle, we're probably 30, or more years away from that.

True, cars are toxic polluters, but the freeway itself is just a big slab of concrete; if it was mostly unused or underutilized, it wouldn't have much effect on the actual environment.

 

1 hour ago, samagon said:

through the demographics of the residents of areas around freeways, you can make all sorts of logical conclusions about racism and freeway location. specific to segment3 of NHHIP, they're removing the freeway from the rich white side of downtown and relocating it on the poorer and less white side of downtown. it's hard to not jump straight to the racism, and oppression of the underrepresented as at least part of the reason there.

They are moving I-45 to that side because there is literally no other place to effectively move it. Since TxDOT won't completely bury I-45, and I-69 isn't being moved, only sunk, that is the most logical place to put the new freeway. TxDOT are probably counting on the fact that they are sinking both freeways, and a possible future highway cap, as making up for this. If the cap happens, no matter how one feels about them moving the freeway to that location, its probably a net positive for the community in the end.

Edited by Big E
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1 hour ago, ADCS said:

It's not geology either - Houston used to have two functioning tunnels (now just the Washburn), and near Vancouver, they're about to rebuild a tunnel through alluvial silt in the middle of a very seismically active area (needs to withstand up to MM9.0 earthquakes).

I presume you're referring to the Massey Tunnel replacement.  About $3.25 Billion USD for an 8-lane tunnel roughly 700 meters long.  Soooo.... somewhere in the ballpark of $85 Billion to do an 8-lane tunnel from the Beltway to the Loop.  Yeah, we should definitely do that.  🤣

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14 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

I presume you're referring to the Massey Tunnel replacement.  About $3.25 Billion USD for an 8-lane tunnel roughly 700 meters long.  Soooo.... somewhere in the ballpark of $85 Billion to do an 8-lane tunnel from the Beltway to the Loop.  Yeah, we should definitely do that.

I mean, it would be a huge mega project, that's for sure, but they are literally building a far longer tunnel through freaking mountains in Europe, between Italy and Central Europe, so it can be done. A tunnel like that could probably get federal backing, since the idea of burying a massive eyesore of a freeway would be something a lot of the current crop of bureaucrats in Washington would probably get behind. But I would take them just burying I-45 through downtown in its current footprint, deep enough so that the area it vacates could be built over, and connecting Spur 527 to it via tunneling to remove the need for lanes connecting directly to I-69.

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9 minutes ago, Big E said:

I mean, it would be a huge mega project, that's for sure, but they are literally building a far longer tunnel through freaking mountains in Europe, between Italy and Central Europe, so it can be done. A tunnel like that could probably get federal backing, since the idea of burying a massive eyesore of a freeway would be something a lot of the current crop of bureaucrats in Washington would probably get behind. But I would take them just burying I-45 through downtown in its current footprint, deep enough so that the area it vacates could be built over, and connecting Spur 527 to it via tunneling to remove the need for lanes connecting directly to I-69.

Nobody said it can't be done.  Of course it can be done.  The question is whether it would make sense to spend Tens of Billions of Dollars extra for a tunnel.  Tunnels can make sense in certain places (like to get a railroad through the Alps, when  the alternatives are (a) to go over the Alps, or (b) try to engineer additional capacity in very constrained and congested mountain passes) 

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1 minute ago, Houston19514 said:

Nobody said it can't be done.  Of course it can be done.  The question is whether it would make sense to spend Tens of Billions of Dollars extra for a tunnel.  Tunnels can make sense in certain places (like to get a railroad through the Alps, when  the alternatives are (a) to go over the Alps, or (b) try to engineer additional capacity in very constrained and congested mountain passes) 

In this case, I think it would. It would be a great help to the surrounding environment and community, allow them to work on the entire freeway without causing significant disruption to existing traffic, and remove any perceived issues of adding lanes or increasing highway footprint. 

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Just a little additional context.  From what I can gather, the much anticipated Federal infrastructure bill includes $110 Billion for roads, bridges, and major projects.  Even just tunneling Houston's downtown portion would apparently take more than 1/3 of that.

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2 hours ago, Big E said:

In this case, I think it would. It would be a great help to the surrounding environment and community, allow them to work on the entire freeway without causing significant disruption to existing traffic, and remove any perceived issues of adding lanes or increasing highway footprint. 

I don't think so. Any tunneling would be done by cut and cover, not actual boring machines. Cut and cover is hugely disruptive. Tunneling in Houston also has the issue of not knowing what, exactly, is underground. There are thousands of unpermitted water and oil wells from 100 years ago, and no one knows where all of them are. Europe typically does not have that problem.

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13 hours ago, Ross said:

I don't think so. Any tunneling would be done by cut and cover, not actual boring machines. Cut and cover is hugely disruptive. Tunneling in Houston also has the issue of not knowing what, exactly, is underground. There are thousands of unpermitted water and oil wells from 100 years ago, and no one knows where all of them are. Europe typically does not have that problem.

hundreds of water wells from 150 years ago, ok, I'm listening, that makes a modicum of sense, but oil wells, in midtown and downtown? thousands you say?

further, what materials were the wells lined with? I presume these water wells were lined with metals that were as pure as 19th century technology could produce, which is to say they have probably all deteriorated to the point that any boring machine would probably not even notice they existed.

by the way, if the TxDOT is going to dig a huge trench for the freeway anyway, aren't they going to encounter these wells anyway? or did these wells only exist in the path of the current pierce elevated and not in the ROW for 59 near EaDo?

this is a dog that I am going to say probably doesn't hunt.

interesting history of Houston's city water https://www.publicworks.houstontx.gov/sites/default/files/assets/003-history_of_drinking_water_operations.pdf

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17 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

I presume you're referring to the Massey Tunnel replacement.  About $3.25 Billion USD for an 8-lane tunnel roughly 700 meters long.  Soooo.... somewhere in the ballpark of $85 Billion to do an 8-lane tunnel from the Beltway to the Loop.  Yeah, we should definitely do that.  🤣

Oh, it's expensive, but it's feasible. Also, Texas is way richer than BC, so why the hell not?

 

(because Texas is politically structured to favor the interests of small-to-medium business and resource extraction companies, and they derive no benefit from spending on anything more than the cheapest infrastructure)

14 hours ago, Ross said:

I don't think so. Any tunneling would be done by cut and cover, not actual boring machines. Cut and cover is hugely disruptive. Tunneling in Houston also has the issue of not knowing what, exactly, is underground. There are thousands of unpermitted water and oil wells from 100 years ago, and no one knows where all of them are. Europe typically does not have that problem.

Europe typically has buried artillery shells from the last 150 years of warfare, a bit more hazardous than an old oil well.

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Considering the number of trucks in Houston that are carrying toxic, caustic, flammable or other noxious cargo, I'm leery about having tunnels in which an accident could create a chemical gas chamber, trapping hapless motorists. 

Edited by dbigtex56
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1 hour ago, dbigtex56 said:

Considering the number of trucks in Houston that are carrying toxic, caustic, flammable or other noxious cargo, I'm leery about having tunnels in which an accident could create a chemical gas chamber, trapping hapless motorists. 

Would be a terrible way to go, but they're more likely to die in a major flooding event.

Edit: Or a road rage incident given the almost daily shootings.

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2 hours ago, dbigtex56 said:

Considering the number of trucks in Houston that are carrying toxic, caustic, flammable or other noxious cargo, I'm leery about having tunnels in which an accident could create a chemical gas chamber, trapping hapless motorists. 

http://www.houstontx.gov/police/teu/haz-mat.htm#:~:text=Houston has designated the 610,are restricted Haz-Mat routes.

Quote

Houston has designated the 610 Loop as a Haz-Mat route. Hazardous Material vehicles transporting haz-mat product must use this 610 Loop route and not travel through the city. The Pierce Elevated and Highway 59 Overpass are restricted Haz-Mat routes.

and if there's a situation where a truck carrying hazardous stuff spills, whether it's in a tunnel, or not it's gonna be a bad day for a lot of people.

my mom (driving a 1 year old me home from a Dr. visit) ended up being about 10 minutes in front of this accident on 59 back in the mid 70s. .

https://davewardshouston.com/videos/ammonia-truck-accident-releases-deadly-cloud-over-houston/#:~:text=It was the worst accident,now I-69) interchange.&text=One person was killed in,died from inhaling anhydrous ammonia.

5 dead of exposure, 78 hospitalized, and 178 injured. it was a bad day, and no tunnels necessary.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

http://www.houstontx.gov/police/teu/haz-mat.htm#:~:text=Houston has designated the 610,are restricted Haz-Mat routes.

and if there's a situation where a truck carrying hazardous stuff spills, whether it's in a tunnel, or not it's gonna be a bad day for a lot of people.

my mom (driving a 1 year old me home from a Dr. visit) ended up being about 10 minutes in front of this accident on 59 back in the mid 70s. .

https://davewardshouston.com/videos/ammonia-truck-accident-releases-deadly-cloud-over-houston/#:~:text=It was the worst accident,now I-69) interchange.&text=One person was killed in,died from inhaling anhydrous ammonia.

5 dead of exposure, 78 hospitalized, and 178 injured. it was a bad day, and no tunnels necessary.

That day would have been a lot worse if it were inside a tunnel, though. 

 

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26 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

That day would have been a lot worse if it were inside a tunnel, though. 

 

absolutely, but the city has strict instructions for where HC is allowed, and not allowed already. a tunnel would probably make their list of not allowed for HC route. 

from the link I provided in the same post Pierce Elevated and 59 next to town are already off limits to HC.

so in any of the many scenarios...

  1. TxDOT goes away and Pierce Elevated stays as is where is
  2. TxDOT realigns 45 and digs a big hole that is covered with a park (maybe, but lets assume yes, which basically makes it a tunnel)
  3. TxDOT decides to scrap their current plan, and call in some tunnel wizards to bore a tunnel around the thousands of 100 year old oil wells in midtown and keeps the same alignment, just with a real, honest to goodness tunnel.
  4. ????

COH will keep the designation that HC has to go around 610, and those methods of travel are off limits to any hazardous cargo.

and I'm sure the '76 accident was probably one of the reasons that Houston adopted HC routes.

Edited by samagon
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7 minutes ago, samagon said:

absolutely, but the city has strict instructions for where HC is allowed, and not allowed already. a tunnel would probably make their list of not allowed for HC route. 

from the link I provided in the same post Pierce Elevated and 59 next to town are already off limits to HC.

so in any of the many scenarios...

  1. TxDOT goes away and Pierce Elevated stays as is where is
  2. TxDOT realigns 45 and digs a big hole that is covered with a park (maybe, but lets assume yes, which basically makes it a tunnel)
  3. TxDOT decides to scrap their current plan, and call in some tunnel wizards to bore a tunnel around the thousands of 100 year old oil wells in midtown and keeps the same alignment, just with a real, honest to goodness tunnel.
  4. ????

COH will keep the designation that HC has to go around 610, and those methods of travel are off limits to any hazardous cargo.

and I'm sure the '76 accident was probably one of the reasons that Houston adopted HC routes.

Tell me about the thousands of 100-year-old oil wells in Midtown? I didn't know there was an oilfield there.

 

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depending on the TxDot District, most design work is done by consultants....some, like Houston District, design some of their stuff "in-house"......Tunnels cost A LOT more than bridges (especially here with the soil type) and there's barely enough infrastructure money as it is...there's all sorts of infrastructure underground (storm sewers, water lines, wastewater lines, ets)...there's a reason you have to call 311 before digging....LULZ

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10 hours ago, samagon said:

hundreds of water wells from 150 years ago, ok, I'm listening, that makes a modicum of sense, but oil wells, in midtown and downtown? thousands you say?

further, what materials were the wells lined with? I presume these water wells were lined with metals that were as pure as 19th century technology could produce, which is to say they have probably all deteriorated to the point that any boring machine would probably not even notice they existed.

by the way, if the TxDOT is going to dig a huge trench for the freeway anyway, aren't they going to encounter these wells anyway? or did these wells only exist in the path of the current pierce elevated and not in the ROW for 59 near EaDo?

this is a dog that I am going to say probably doesn't hunt.

interesting history of Houston's city water https://www.publicworks.houstontx.gov/sites/default/files/assets/003-history_of_drinking_water_operations.pdf

I didn't give a mix of oil vs water. Water wells are the most likely to be encountered, with potential flooding of tunnels if they are encountered. It's simpler to deal with the flooding issues in cut and cover than in boring due to better access and easier escape.

The problem with oil wells is no on knows where they are or how they were abandoned, if they were abandoned with more than a metal plate welded to the top of the hole. An abandoned oil well near where I live was redone about 10 years ago, and it wasn' ton any of the RRC maps when it was found.

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2 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Yeah just a bunch of businesses nobody cares about like Matty and Big E said. These are what make Houston great. 

C5B75F86-872D-4A66-A7F5-8F915DD41F7F.jpeg

Are these guys within the ROW expansion?

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5 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Yeah just a bunch of businesses nobody cares about like Matty and Big E said. These are what make Houston great. 

C5B75F86-872D-4A66-A7F5-8F915DD41F7F.jpeg

Congratulations, you found one of the probably 500 optical businesses in the city. Will you post a picture of one of the car lots too?

Also, it says Third Ward on that sign so I looked it up. They are right next to the section of I-69 that's going to be sunk between Midtown and the Museum District. Keep in mind, that's one of the sections almost everyone universally wants to happen and nobody has a problem with. I don't even know if their business is actually in danger of being taken, since that segment is not going to have expanded ROW, I don't think. Then again, the nearby Mexican Consulate is moving, so maybe they are taking it just in case.

If these guys were smart, they would have already made plans to move to a different location anyway. Sinking the freeway here would be a net positive for all of the surrounding communities, and nobody actually opposes this segment, so these guys should just suck this one up and move. One business should not stop something that would benefit the larger region.

Edited by Big E
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9 hours ago, Big E said:

Congratulations, you found one of the probably 500 optical businesses in the city. Will you post a picture of one of the car lots too?

Also, it says Third Ward on that sign so I looked it up. They are right next to the section of I-69 that's going to be sunk between Midtown and the Museum District. Keep in mind, that's one of the sections almost everyone universally wants to happen and nobody has a problem with. I don't even know if their business is actually in danger of being taken, since that segment is not going to have expanded ROW, I don't think. Then again, the nearby Mexican Consulate is moving, so maybe they are taking it just in case.

If these guys were smart, they would have already made plans to move to a different location anyway. Sinking the freeway here would be a net positive for all of the surrounding communities, and nobody actually opposes this segment, so these guys should just suck this one up and move. One business should not stop something that would benefit the larger region.

Thanks for making my point 

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15 hours ago, Ross said:

 

The problem with oil wells is no on knows where they are or how they were abandoned, if they were abandoned with more than a metal plate welded to the top of the hole. An abandoned oil well near where I live was redone about 10 years ago, and it wasn' ton any of the RRC maps when it was found.

Are we sure?

We've got a cluster around Eureka Heights, and some within the loop at Pierce Junction, some inside the beltway 

RRC Map

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