TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES TxDOT completes environmental impact
COMPILED BY EMMA WHALEN & MATT DULIN
North Houston Highway Improvement Project
Segment start dates
Number of displacements in project area
Construction could begin by the end of 2021 and last into the late 2020s.
study of I-45 project The Texas Department of Transpor- tation’s environmental impact study published Sept. 25 is one of the final stages of the planning process for the highly scrutinized I-45 improvement project, which has been over a decade in the making. The project proposes rerouting and expanding the highway through the East End while abandoning its path through Midtown. It also calls for an expansion of the highway though much of the Northside. The comment deadline was extended fromNov. 9 to Dec. 9 after advocates seeking to mitigate impacts on Black and Hispanic communities in the East End, Northside and Fifth Ward pushed for more time. “The FEIS is 8,189 pages across three volumes. That would be impossible to read in the 30 days,” said Oni Blair, the director of transportation equity advocacy group Link Houston. “At first glance, we don’t see any major changes, especially ones of the magni- tude that Mayor Turner identified.” TxDOT Houston District Engineer Eliza Paul said, however, the agency will continue to communicate with local officials and residents. “We look forward to continued coordination with the public on the development and refinement of the proposed [North Houston Highway Improvement Project], which is a very important project for the region that will enhance safety and mobility for
Segment 1: 2025 or later Segment 2: late 2023 Segment 3: late 2021
West Alabama paving and drainage A segment of West Alabama Street from Weslayan Street to Buffalo Speedway is scheduled for recon- struction and improvements in 2021, including new drainage and side- walks. The project is in the design phase, according to Houston Public Works. Timeline: spring 2021-TBD Cost: $15.87 million Funding source: city of Houston
Public and low- income housing
Billboards Places of worship
SOURCE: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
all users,” Paul said in a statement accompanying the report. Some suggestions to enhance the project, such as park space on top of caps where the highway will move underground, are not funded by TxDOT but could be taken up by a group of city and county government agencies that formed from a subset of the Houston Galveston-Area Council’s Transportation Policy Committee. Representatives of Harris County, the Harris County Flood Control District, the Metropolitan Transpor- tation Authority of Harris County and surrounding counties are working through those suggestions via an agreement known as a memorandum of understanding. “This is an opportunity to look
a little differently at an extremely complex project ... and come up with something that the entire region can benefit from,” said Joe Zimmerman, the mayor of Sugar Land and member of the H-GAC committee. Advocacy groups are eyeing the pro- cess closely, noting the representatives tasked with drafting the MOU repre- sent areas outside the project area. “Any working group ... should not include an overwhelming majority of members who do not represent the neighborhoods, people and businesses along the project corridor,” a Link Houston memo stated. The next crucial steps are TxDOT’s record of decision and approval from the Texas Transportation Commission to seek out construction contracts.
Shepherd-Durham reconstruction A project slated for Shepherd and Durham drives between Washington Avenue and Dickson Street is nearing completion of its design phase, which includes plans to add drainage, curbs, sidewalks, driveways, lighting and un- derground utilities. The next step for the city is to solicit bids for a potential construction start in early 2021. Timeline: fall 2021-TBD Cost: $13.17 million Funding source: city of Houston
ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF OCT. 28. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT HRMNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.
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