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I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)


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7 minutes ago, samagon said:

you keep going on about plausibility, we're not having the same conversation. I fully understand both the denotative and connotative definition of the word "could", and I understand what it means in the context of what the spokesperson for TxDOT stated.

I will rephrase the question, maybe you'll get it this time and answer the question asked, rather than go on about something else entirely?

why would TxDOT go on record and say:

and then provide this as a possible outcome of the revisitation?

 

Sammy, this question has been thoughtfully answered multiple times above. If you can’t connect the dots, well, then, that’s on you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

New article in today's Chronicle, with Turner stating that the TTC chairman misrepresented his position by saying on 8/31 that Turner supported the project.  Turner referred to a MoU between the City and TxDOT proposed by the City on 8/30.

Turner: TxDOT leader misrepresented my position on I-45 project (houstonchronicle.com)

The actual MoU is available at https://www.scribd.com/document/525534277/Agreement-on-I-45#download&from_embed

From a quick reading of the MoU (which originated from the City . . . the article doesn't mention if the text was based on any formal or informal negotiations . . . if it purely reflects the City's position, then I'd say it's more of a term sheet), the major provisions are:

-Increased support for dislocated residents

-Design changes to mitigate floods

-Reducing the footprint of the expansion where possible (but rather soft language if you ask me) 

-Collaboration language re transit, neighborhood connectivity, and parks that I'd characterize as "soft" and serving simply to memorialize what is already in the plan

In terms of likely outcomes, it seems like the best chance for the project proceeding is some agreement in this form between the City and TxDOT, which would be used as a vehicle to satisfy the USDOT review as the preferred "local solution."  Not sure how Harris County fits into Segment 3, if at all, due to it being entirely within the city limits.  I'm not sure why TxDOT wouldn't agree to the spirit of the MoU, but there may be a long list of reasons.  The biggest may be so as not to create a new precedent as to how to deal with relocations.

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21 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

New article in today's Chronicle, with Turner stating that the TTC chairman misrepresented his position by saying on 8/31 that Turner supported the project.  Turner referred to a MoU between the City and TxDOT proposed by the City on 8/30.

Turner: TxDOT leader misrepresented my position on I-45 project (houstonchronicle.com)

The actual MoU is available at https://www.scribd.com/document/525534277/Agreement-on-I-45#download&from_embed

From a quick reading of the MoU (which originated from the City . . . the article doesn't mention if the text was based on any formal or informal negotiations . . . if it purely reflects the City's position, then I'd say it's more of a term sheet), the major provisions are:

-Increased support for dislocated residents

-Design changes to mitigate floods

-Reducing the footprint of the expansion where possible (but rather soft language if you ask me) 

-Collaboration language re transit, neighborhood connectivity, and parks that I'd characterize as "soft" and serving simply to memorialize what is already in the plan

In terms of likely outcomes, it seems like the best chance for the project proceeding is some agreement in this form between the City and TxDOT, which would be used as a vehicle to satisfy the USDOT review as the preferred "local solution."  Not sure how Harris County fits into Segment 3, if at all, due to it being entirely within the city limits.  I'm not sure why TxDOT wouldn't agree to the spirit of the MoU, but there may be a long list of reasons.  The biggest may be so as not to create a new precedent as to how to deal with relocations.

All the issues we've already been talking about. They didn't agree because they don't care. 

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40 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

All the issues we've already been talking about. They didn't agree because they don't care. 

Yes, one would expect a proposed MoU between two opposing parties to address the issues that have been raised.  That checks out.

How you get from 1 to 2, I'm not sure.  But I suppose that's a possibility.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Ridiculous.  The event is being run by TAG, not TxDOT.  That's like expecting any other NGO with a policy platform to pay to rent space and feed people from an NGO with the complete opposite policy position.  It'd be no different than the DNC being forced to admit Republicans to an official event for free when all of their members paid a nominal admission.  Or Planned Parenthood hosting a fundraiser and being required to admit anti-abortion activists for free.  It may not be a "good look," as noted in the article (although that's quite the stretch for anyone but an entirely unserious person), but one would be entirely disingenuous if they said this was anything other than a routine annual event.

From the article:

"I think people are just now paying attention to the fact that we've done these things for the last 10 years," French said. "We cannot host a free event at the Omni, that's just not something we are able to do with our budget, certainly not several events a year. We have to charge something to cover the sheer cost of hosting a luncheon. I think there is a perception that we are bigger and wealthier than we are, and that's just not true.

"I get it," French said. "I understand how the optics look."

Spoiler alert: Anyone can buy tickets here, for the same price as everyone else.

State of TxDOT 2021 | Oct. 21 - TAG Houston

Edited by mattyt36
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/21/2021 at 10:45 AM, mattyt36 said:

Ridiculous.  The event is being run by TAG, not TxDOT.  That's like expecting any other NGO with a policy platform to pay to rent space and feed people from an NGO with the complete opposite policy position.  It'd be no different than the DNC being forced to admit Republicans to an official event for free when all of their members paid a nominal admission.  Or Planned Parenthood hosting a fundraiser and being required to admit anti-abortion activists for free.  It may not be a "good look," as noted in the article (although that's quite the stretch for anyone but an entirely unserious person), but one would be entirely disingenuous if they said this was anything other than a routine annual event.

From the article:

"I think people are just now paying attention to the fact that we've done these things for the last 10 years," French said. "We cannot host a free event at the Omni, that's just not something we are able to do with our budget, certainly not several events a year. We have to charge something to cover the sheer cost of hosting a luncheon. I think there is a perception that we are bigger and wealthier than we are, and that's just not true.

"I get it," French said. "I understand how the optics look."

Spoiler alert: Anyone can buy tickets here, for the same price as everyone else.

State of TxDOT 2021 | Oct. 21 - TAG Houston

Then why not host it in a place where everyone has a voice? lame excuse

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40 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Then why not host it in a place where everyone has a voice? lame excuse

It's a private event, put on by a private organization that asked a government agency to present.

Should Mayor Turner not address the Greater Houston Partnership every year with his State of the City address?

If UH asks Lina Hidalgo to come make a presentation on education, is she supposed to say, "Oh, no can do, have to open it up to everyone?"

How about if the HAS Director is asked to address United Airlines employees on the expansion of IAH?

If Joe Biden gets a tour of an auto factory and addresses its employees on a potential change to trade policy?

HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.  The article as written is irresponsible in not noting this basic truth if you ask me.  Get Stop IH-45 Now to invite the TxDOT guy (in good faith, of course, which is probably a bridge too far at this point).

People aren't thinking clearly YET AGAIN.  You guys don't like NHHIP, I get it.  But there is no there there.  Just stick with "I really just don't like NHHIP," because, at the end of the day, it is the explanation for 90% of the comments on here.  It's not about presentations by TxDOT at the Marriott, it's not about demolishing low income housing, it's not about pollution.  You want some Euro Disney dreamland with trains everywhere, no matter how financially unfeasible or operationally nonsensical it is.   

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  • 2 weeks later...

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas/article/Houston-Republicans-urge-Buttigieg-to-lift-pause-16606508.php

Quote

Seven Republican members of Congress from the Houston area are urging federal transportation officials to quickly wrap up a review of Texas’ planned Interstate 45 rebuild, arguing that much of the opposition to the project is “disingenuous” and has come from national environmentalist groups.

In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls and six of his GOP colleagues criticized the Federal Highway Administration’s move to study the I-45 project’s effect on low-income and minority communities, which has put the rebuild on pause since June.

 

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4 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I find it hilarious that these Republicans want to speed up the process of a civil rights investigation calling criticism of the project “disingenuous” while Dan Crenshaws district looks like a kid scribbled on a map. And none of them represent those affected by the project. 

Do they have represent the area to criticize the hold up? The interstate is a major project that effects the region and state. Everyone who uses that freeway or has constituents that uses it will be effected. Also, not sure what his district's appearance has to do with anything.

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1 hour ago, Big E said:

Do they have represent the area to criticize the hold up? The interstate is a major project that effects the region and state. Everyone who uses that freeway or has constituents that uses it will be effected. Also, not sure what his district's appearance has to do with anything.

Is that a serious question?

Look at his district. It has a lot to do with a lot. 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Big E said:

Do they have represent the area to criticize the hold up? The interstate is a major project that effects the region and state. Everyone who uses that freeway or has constituents that uses it will be effected. Also, not sure what his district's appearance has to do with anything.

The issue is that they see no repercussions, only benefits. So for them to say shut up and build it is selfish. 

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7 minutes ago, samagon said:

they're just doing what they need to do to keep their voting base happy, when it comes time for them to be re-elected, whether this project succeeds or fails, they can point to this letter and say 'hey guys, we fought super hard for you'.

 Not sure if you meant for it to be this way, but what you wrote applies to both sides.

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1 hour ago, wilcal said:

The issue is that they see no repercussions, only benefits. So for them to say shut up and build it is selfish. 

Well sounds like a NO BRAINER then from their perspective and they'd be idiots not to do it.

Regardless, under the federal system of highway funding, Nehls et al DO have a role.  They represent areas that are part of HGAC and do have a vote on regional transportation plans.  (Don't kill the messenger!)

Edited by mattyt36
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33 minutes ago, rechlin said:

My bet is this is some way for the County to save face on paper while allowing the Downtown segment to proceed.  No doubt the County pissed off a hell of a lot of people on both sides for a nonexistent constituency by any meaningful measure.   

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2 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

Well sounds like a NO BRAINER then from their perspective and they'd be idiots not to do it.

Regardless, under the federal system of highway funding, Nehls et al DO have a role.  They represent areas that are part of HGAC and do have a vote on regional transportation plans.  (Don't kill the messenger!)

Their offices don't have a direct role in HGAC though. It is like them releasing a co-letter saying that they want garbage pickup to happen twice a week. 

2 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

Blocking the NHHIP--if it is successful--will prove not to be a political benefit to anyone.  Quite the opposite.

That is probably true, but the CMs that have been most against this, probably weren't in the pocket of the construction industry to begin with. 

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5 minutes ago, wilcal said:

Their offices don't have a direct role in HGAC though. It is like them releasing a co-letter saying that they want garbage pickup to happen twice a week. 

At the end of the day, I don't see it as any different than the Mayor of the City of Houston commenting on State legislation.  Sylvester Turner has no formal rights or say in the State of Texas legislative processes, but we're not surprised he has an opinion (nor should we be).

If you put cynicism aside and say that Nehls is doing this in the interest of his voters, that could also very well be true as he does not want to create any precedents that may affect funding for highway expansion in his district.  Makes perfect sense if you ask me.  Hell, suburban Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin congressmen have an interest in filing "friend of the court" style briefs for the same reason.

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Just now, mattyt36 said:

At the end of the day, I don't see it as any different than the Mayor of the City of Houston commenting on State legislation.  Sylvester Turner has no formal rights or say in the State of Texas legislative processes, but we're not surprised he has an opinion (nor should we be).

Bad example since he does have to operate under control of the state (see preclusion from enacting a mask mandate, Houston's ability to regulate locations of concrete plants, etc). The congressmen do get a say... in the form of federal funding for txdot, but they are currently not in control of Congress, so a sternly-worded letter is all that they can do. 

Quote

If you put cynicism aside and say that Nehls is doing this in the interest of his voters, that could also very well be true as he does not want to create any precedents that may affect funding for highway expansion in his district.  Makes perfect sense if you ask me.  Hell, suburban Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin congressmen have an interest in filing "friend of the court" style briefs for the same reason.

I'm not saying he isn't doing this in the interest of his constituents, but I also don't think his constituents are the ones that should get any significant amount of say in a highway expansion 20 miles away. They already receive a disproportionate amount of say in HGAC and a disproportionate enjoyment of the funding, so maybe don't try to dump a bunch of PM2.5 in minority neighborhoods to save 5 minutes on their commute and then have their congressman complain that the civil rights investigation is taking too long. 

Maybe the asshole tone that the letter took is making me feel this gruff about it. 

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3 hours ago, wilcal said:

I'm not saying he isn't doing this in the interest of his constituents, but I also don't think his constituents are the ones that should get any significant amount of say in a highway expansion 20 miles away. They already receive a disproportionate amount of say in HGAC and a disproportionate enjoyment of the funding, so maybe don't try to dump a bunch of PM2.5 in minority neighborhoods to save 5 minutes on their commute and then have their congressman complain that the civil rights investigation is taking too long. 

Well I'd love to know ideas for an alternative.  Luminaire, I believe, mentioned he thought these things should be subject to a referendum.  Who gets to vote?  And do they get different weightings, as implied by your response?

Or is the solution just to overhaul the federal highway funding system?

3 hours ago, wilcal said:

Maybe the asshole tone that the letter took is making me feel this gruff about it. 

Well if there's one thing this thread has proven, it's that emotion is driving much of the response.

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5 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

My bet is this is some way for the County to save face on paper while allowing the Downtown segment to proceed.  No doubt the County pissed off a hell of a lot of people on both sides for a nonexistent constituency by any meaningful measure.   

The Downtown segment needs to be killed. It's useless, and does nothing to improve the City, in my opinion. It wipes out one part of the city and a bunch of businesses for alleged "improvements" to another nearby area.

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1 hour ago, Ross said:

The Downtown segment needs to be killed. It's useless, and does nothing to improve the City, in my opinion. It wipes out one part of the city and a bunch of businesses for alleged "improvements" to another nearby area.

The downtown segment is literally the only part there is any consensus on (see Mayor Turner's letter to TxDOT and the city and county's joint vision plan)

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2 hours ago, Ross said:

The Downtown segment needs to be killed. It's useless, and does nothing to improve the City, in my opinion. It wipes out one part of the city and a bunch of businesses for alleged "improvements" to another nearby area.

Are you serious? That's literally the only segment almost everybody WANTS to happen and agrees would actually be GOOD for downtown!

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10 hours ago, texan said:

The downtown segment is literally the only part there is any consensus on (see Mayor Turner's letter to TxDOT and the city and county's joint vision plan)

 

10 hours ago, Big E said:

Are you serious? That's literally the only segment almost everybody WANTS to happen and agrees would actually be GOOD for downtown!

I said that was my opinion. I figured it wouldn't be a popular one.

I don't see the Pierce Elevated as a bad road. I do not believe it creates an insurmountable separation between Midtown and Downtown. I like driving on the Pierce, with the views of Downtown.

I believe the destruction of apartments and businesses required by the ill conceived widening and sinking of the freeway on the East side of Downtown is a really bad idea. I do not believe it will help traffic at all, and there will never be a park on top. I also question whether the new road will carry the 300,000+ vehicles the current 59 and 45 carry daily. I can also see huge safety issues with that many vehicles in a trench, especially when there is a bad accident.

The good news for me is that it will probably take 35 years to do all this work, by which time I'll be dead and won't care.

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1 hour ago, Ross said:

I said that was my opinion. I figured it wouldn't be a popular one.

Nothing wrong with that!

1 hour ago, Ross said:

I don't see the Pierce Elevated as a bad road. I do not believe it creates an insurmountable separation between Midtown and Downtown. I like driving on the Pierce, with the views of Downtown.

By the same token, as a Fourth Ward resident, my opinion is I disagree!  🤣

1 hour ago, Ross said:

I believe the destruction of apartments and businesses required by the ill conceived widening and sinking of the freeway on the East side of Downtown is a really bad idea. 

This is one of those "facts" that is tossed about loosely . . . I wish we could keep specific parameters around this.

I think the apartments being destroyed are the Lofts at the Ballpark and the Clayton Homes units that were not already deemed unlivable after Harvey (am I missing anything else?).

It's hard for me to view the Lofts at the Ballpark as any sort of tragedy.  The residents certainly have options and the property owner will be fully compensated.  The Clayton Homes residents will be relocated (many already have, right?).  There are obviously different and nuanced ways to look at that . . . undeniably a disadvantaged population.  But a disadvantaged population without a legal real estate interest . . . guess what . . . just like the residents of The Lofts at the Ballpark.  I'm sure most of the businesses are in this bucket as well.

1 hour ago, Ross said:

I do not believe it will help traffic at all, and there will never be a park on top.

I have no doubt that it will as all of the relevant organizations have been pushing for this for years and there are plenty of options for funding.  In fact, it is probably one of the primary drivers for this concept to begin with.  It's all about the Convention Center, baby!

That said, will be surprised if any of the other cap parks will be completed, with the potential exception of the Midtown one, which has a strong private interest (i.e., Rice) in developing something.

1 hour ago, Ross said:

I can also see huge safety issues with that many vehicles in a trench, especially when there is a bad accident.

What?!  Houston has the best drivers in the world!!!!  🤣

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1 hour ago, Ross said:

 

I said that was my opinion. I figured it wouldn't be a popular one.

I don't see the Pierce Elevated as a bad road. I do not believe it creates an insurmountable separation between Midtown and Downtown. I like driving on the Pierce, with the views of Downtown.

I believe the destruction of apartments and businesses required by the ill conceived widening and sinking of the freeway on the East side of Downtown is a really bad idea. I do not believe it will help traffic at all, and there will never be a park on top. I also question whether the new road will carry the 300,000+ vehicles the current 59 and 45 carry daily. I can also see huge safety issues with that many vehicles in a trench, especially when there is a bad accident.

The good news for me is that it will probably take 35 years to do all this work, by which time I'll be dead and won't care.

there has been the highest level of attention on the CBD part of it, and the highest marketing dollars have been used to sell it, so naturally, people are going to be inclined to like it.

I fully agree with your assessment, but we are very much the minority. 

at the end of the day, everything I've read on this says that the entire project is a go/no go, the federal investigation (and county lawsuit) is not singling out any specific phase.

it may come to pass that if the federal investigation decides that TXDoT can't move forward, or the county lawsuit stops TXDoT, they could come back and propose just to do the downtown section, and that might be allowed.

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14 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

Can anyone summarize or copy relevant sections?

 

Harris County will pause its lawsuit against the Texas Department of Transportation over the proposed Interstate 45 widening in hopes that it leads to a consensus that has eluded them for more than four years.

The pause, approved unanimously by the Commissioners Court at a special meeting Monday, instructs County Attorney Christian Menefee to seek a stay on the lawsuit in federal court as he negotiates with TxDOT to resolve differences between the changes the county seeks to the project and the current plan.

The project, estimated to cost at least $9 billion, would rebuild and widen I-45 from downtown Houston north to Beltway 8, including the freeway’s interchanges with I-69, I-10 and Loop 610 in Independence Heights.

The stay and pause, officials said, would give an opening to county officials to work out details of the planned freeway widening without backing off their opposition to what TxDOT is proposing.

“I am willing to consider a pause,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia said. “Not a dismissal, but I hope that will demonstrate our commitment.”

Menefee said he will ask the court for a stay of 30 days and then potentially extend that for an additional 30 days if the discussions are “fruitful.”

“The pause is a show of good faith by the county to remind TxDOT that we’re in this to find solutions and address community concerns,” Menefee said in a statement. “We expect TxDOT to work alongside us to achieve the same. If that does not happen, the county will resume the suit and we’ll let the courts decide.”

State officials said the delay allows for more discussion, but that the county’s vote is merely the first step.

“TxDOT will reserve any further comments about today’s action until after it is clear what steps the Harris County Attorney’s Office takes next,” agency spokesman Bob Kaufman said in a statement.

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There was an article that was linked here a while back that posed the question (I'm paraphrasing): "Who is the project built for, the commuters that head to downtown for work or for the communities that live near the highway?". I'm all for segment 3 because I think it will significantly improve the area around downtown. Basically we'll remove the highway on 2 of the 4 sides of downtown, which will (hopefully) be replaced with green space. I know its easy to be cynical that it will not turn out the way people hope, but really I don't think the pierce elevated or 69/59 behind GRB are some amazing civil works that need to be preserved. Segments 1 and 2 I am less enthusiastic about, as it is just the same thing that they've done for I-10 and other highways, I'd rather see a focus on non-car based transportation options around the city.

I mean, here is a sketch of what is being considered by the city for the highway cap -- yeah we will lose some buildings in the process but what an opportunity.

image.png.a831034cfa3c7a6d7ca1a8a7547d13bf.png

Edited by sapo2367
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5 hours ago, samagon said:

at the end of the day, everything I've read on this says that the entire project is a go/no go, the federal investigation (and county lawsuit) is not singling out any specific phase.

it may come to pass that if the federal investigation decides that TXDoT can't move forward, or the county lawsuit stops TXDoT, they could come back and propose just to do the downtown section, and that might be allowed.

This is yet another instance that I'd love to hear about the process . . . I have no idea if this is true or not.  You'd think if you were the transportation writer for the Houston Chronicle, you'd have a full appreciation of this and report on it, yet we have nothing . . . 

I may be becoming a conspiracy theorist but I don't think the timing of the Nehls letter and the Harris County "pause" conversation is unrelated, either.  There must be conversations going on in the background, and some compromise about to be announced that Nehls wanted to "get in front of" and claim credit. 

Again, the Transportation Reporter for the Houston Chronicle should be asking these very elementary questions. 

Edited by mattyt36
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  • 2 weeks later...

GREAT NEWS!  I can't wait for them to get this started!  Not sure I understand the last sentence of the quote.  How has any part of the project (and it's not clear if he's talking of Sections 3 or Sections 1 &* 2) been delayed two years by the FHWA pause, which so far is measured in months?

Edited by Houston19514
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4 hours ago, X.R. said:

@ToryGattis with the explanation now that the construction has been unpaused. It seems like things are picking up, and that the project may be approved in pieces. For now work is greenlit for the 59 portion by midtown/museum, the part of 59 leading into 45, and the part of 45 that feeds into i-10. The Eado part is still on pause:

https://twitter.com/torygattis/status/1465769685849415688?s=20

Makes sense to start with those sections as they are the most complex.

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14 hours ago, HNathoo said:
Quote

“We expect TxDOT to participate in good faith and work alongside us to achieve a resolution that benefits all County residents,” Menefee said.

that's a huge leap of faith considering how they've acted on this project so far.

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

that's a huge leap of faith considering how they've acted on this project so far.

well, despite some doubting the power of the lawsuits and the fed gov't, TxDot's hand's were tied and now are untied. The lawsuit hasn't been dismissed, just a stay while the parties work towards a resolution, and the fed eased up. Not sure how much of a leap it is when they both can re-tie TxDot's hands for certain portions of the project if they don't like what's happening. Which really should tell us that our elected powers that be are comfortable with mostly everything but the Eado part.

Now that the infrastructure bill has passed, can't they tap into some of that money for the cap parks? If they could, I think at least some of the angst would go away. 

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1 hour ago, mattyt36 said:

No World Cup matches will be played at BBVA/PNC if that’s what you’re implying.

I was implying that the city will probably get thousands of tourists going in and around our city (mainly in hotspot areas like Downtown/Midtown/ Museum district/ EADO/ etc). So, they would eventually have to go through this construction loop if its not completed by then (which probably wont due to the delays). I don't think NRG is a big area in terms of tourist attractions (In my opinion).

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4 minutes ago, Amlaham said:

I was implying that the city will probably get thousands of tourists going in and around our city (mainly in hotspot areas like Downtown/Midtown/ Museum district/ EADO/ etc). So, they would eventually have to go through this construction loop if its not completed by then (which probably wont due to the delays). I don't think NRG is a big area in terms of tourist attractions (In my opinion).

Understood, but I think that's a bit simplistic.  "Ahhhhhh, freeway construction during major event=definite nightmare."

The biggest determinants are the construction phasing plan and the volume of traffic flows.

If we're talking about tourists, then the traffic flows are dependent on where the hotels are.  It's my sense that the supply of hotel rooms is weighted downtown and to the west, with the only other major concentrations at IAH and The Woodlands, but obviously these won't be the most attractive hotel rooms, and traffic should be taken as a matter of course.

For people staying downtown, the light rail will be the most attractive transportation option, as it has been with the Super Bowl and Final Four.  Obviously people staying to the west or in the Galleria won't be affected.  

For those wanting to use personal vehicles from downtown, the number one traffic determinant will be the surface street connections to the freeways from downtown.  Since there's generally a quadrant system to enter and exit downtown, I'm not sure why what's happening on the perimeter in terms of construction will be that impactful, as long as the entries and exits bypass the construction.

Anyway, there's no way of knowing now, but I wouldn't be so quick to assume that the NHHIP is going to be a "nightmare" for the World Cup, at least from the perspective of the "thousands of tourists" who are visiting, especially given the lead time involved for planning.

 

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