Dear BayTran Stakeholders,
 
Mobility and transportation improvements are common themes we hear around town these days, while being stuck in traffic is an everyday occurrence.  Good news, improvements are planned and solutions to address the congestion problems are being developed.  At the recent BayTran luncheon, Quincy Allen, P.E., Houston District Engineer with the Texas Department of Transportation, told a capacity crowd that there are a number of TxDOT projects either underway or planned for the Houston region.  A major focus is on reducing congestion on some of the most clogged roadways in the Houston area.  Each month, congestion costs Texans 472 million extra hours of travel time, $10.1 million in delay and fuel costs, and $21.1 billion in truck freight moving costs.  The Texas Transportation Commission has proposed a $1.3 billion plan, the Congestion Relief Initiative project (CRI), to address some of the State’s worse bottlenecks and congested areas in large urban areas.  Three projects in Houston have been earmarked to receive $447 million to accelerate improvements and address congestion.  These projects include 610 West Loop/I-69 Interchange improvements (the most congested intersection in Texas in 2015), IH-10 Katy Freeway from 539 to the Brazos River in Waller County, and IH-45 Gulf Freeway widening from NASA Road 1 to FM 518.  The IH–45 Gulf Freeway project will be accelerated to directly follow the construction and improvement work currently underway on the freeway.   Presently, work is continuing on the freeway segments from Kurland to Medical Center Blvd and improvements on those segments should be completed in Fall 2018.  The CRI improvements on IH-45 Gulf Freeway is projected to get underway in Spring 2017 with estimated completion in Summer 2020.  The project will be divided into three separate segments, and when completed will greatly improve mobility on this heavily traveled hurricane evacuation route and primary freight corridor. 

In addition to the CRI projects and the improvements scheduled for IH-45, Mr. Allen also discussed many other projects and initiatives proceeding at TxDOT.  The Houston District, which includes Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Montgomery and Waller Counties, encompasses 5,856 square miles, serves 5.8 million people, and maintains and operates a total of 10,567 miles of pavement. Several projects are currently in construction throughout the District, include US 290 expansion, US 59/I-69 widening and upgrade to interstate standards, and the extension of the Grand Parkway, with Segments F-1 and F-2 opening this month and Segment G scheduled to open in late March.  The SH 146 widening and improvement project is progressing.  Right of Way acquisition for the project is proceeding and construction is projected to begin in late 2017/early 2018. 

Lastly, Mr. Allen also talked about projects on the horizon.  He presented the preliminary plans for the IH-45 North Houston Highway Project, which proposes rebuilding the freeway around Downtown Houston and includes a decked linear park over the depressed freeway sections.  It was very exciting to hear about future plans to address mobility and reduce congestion.  Thank you, Quincy Allen, for this informative presentation, and an outlook on future improvements in the region.

 

Please join us at our next installment of BayTran’s luncheon series. Our guest speaker will be Janiece Longoria, Chairman, Port of Houston Authority.  Chairman Longoria will provide the State of the Port update and highlight many of the exciting things happening at the Port.

Looking forward to seeing you in March.

  

     

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