Big I-45 Downtown Rerouting, Grand Parkway Expansion Get Go-Aheads

BIG I-45 DOWNTOWN REROUTING, GRAND PARKWAY EXPANSION GET GO-AHEADS Proposed Changes to I-45, I-10, and I-69, HoustonYesterday was a big day for Houston freeway expansion and reconfiguration: On Tuesday, the Texas Transportation Commission gave the go-ahead for construction to begin in late 2020 on the first of 7 separate projects that will move I-45 from the west and south sides of Downtown to its east side, paralleling U.S. 59 behind the George R. Brown, reports Chron transportation writer Dug Begley. Separately, the commission also selected design and construction crews for the next segment of the Grand Parkway, from I-69 near New Caney to I-10 east of Baytown. How grand that section of the Grand Parkway actually ends up being may depend on your perspective: This segment of the Houston area’s fourth ring road is expected to cost $1.25 billion and open in 2022 — but the tollway will have only a single lane in each direction. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Diagram of I-45 rerouting: TxDOT  

25 Comment

  • Are you kidding me?!? Downtown traffic is already terrible as 45 and 59 get down to effectively 2 lanes. I don’t see how on earth this could possibly improve things….

  • This makes it official, not buying a house in town until this is done with. Time to start packing up and move to the suburbs for the next couple years.
    See you guys on the flip side.

  • Does this mean Pierce Skypark is happening!!?

  • By eliminating the bottleneck created by the pierce elevated, and streamlining the I-45 routing, this will actually improve things by lessening the options people have to transition between highways. From what I am seeing on the plan, the new “parkway” that is one half of the Pierce will retain the downtown and westbound exits, but only those who need them will use them and not have to compete with the I45 through traffic.

  • OMG Houston’s version of The Big Dig! Time to start implementing the LA rule of thumb… relocating to less than 3 miles from your place of work.

  • I like how no one commented yet about the low income housing this project will bulldoze next to Buffalo Bayou.

    Since I-45 is being completely relocated, the current configuration of I-45 and US-59 will be in place until they are ready to switch I-45 to the new route. I predict the Pierce elevated will remain partially in use until other components are completed. The final step will be the downtown connect and demolition of the Pierce elevated.

    I really don’t think traffic will get any worse in the interim unless we have another large economic boom starting again.

  • What’s the status of the 59 segment east of spur 527? Will it still be sunk?

  • Kiss UHD goodbye. Thistakes the whole property that UHD had to expand, where they were putting their science and engineering building. There’s no way they can expand to the south, so they’re now stagnant.

  • @HouCynic certainly TXDOT will manage this project better

  • Well, everyone gets about 3 years to plan their adjustment and/or move since construction is not slated until late 2020, according to the story. Just in time for the sunset of the Trump presidency.
    Like others have said, this promises to be a big headache for an area with big headaches already.

  • @kjb434 – Believe me, the residents of 2nd ward are cheering for Clayton homes to be bulldozed. This whole interchange will be a mess for the next 4 to 6 years. Downtown will grow south, towards medical center, and the east side / North side will suffer years of poor traffic.

  • Pierce Skypark concept project has been downloaded to the Downtown Management District Framework Team to envision Houston’s Future. The details of the integration are still under discussion and an economic study is required to understand the potential of Pierce Skypark. Our facebook link!
    Pierce Skypark needs your likes on facebook and support on the online study that Downtown Management improving biking and pedestrian connectivity and practical amenities our communities need. Put Downtown Management District has and on line survey and April meeting scheduled the public can attend.! Put some skypark notes on their survey!! Tell you city council district representatives that you want Pierce Skypark to become part of Houston’s future! We are happy to visit civic clubs and interested groups wanting more information about Pierce Skypark! Reach out to us on facebook!

  • No one is even mentioning the $1.25 BILLION, yes BILLION of OUR money being used to build a useless segment of the Grand Parkway tollway literally in the middle of nowhere! Where is that good old fashioned Houston outrage we so often see when a light rail line is built or proposed? Crickets and hypocrites.

  • I feel bad for the people who live in low income housing that will be displaced from Clayton Homes. I also feel back for the people that will be living the low income housing at Hardy Yards that will have to deal with elevated freeways for days over there. I am happy for the affluent people in midtown who will get unobstructed views of the real winners building on the land that they got from the pierce elevated estate sale.
    It’s hard not to see txdot making the same horrible decisions today that were made 60 and 70 years ago when they plowed under less affluent neighborhoods so that the freeways didn’t have to go through the rich people’s neighborhoods.

  • Correction needed: Grand Parkyway is Houston’s 3rd ring.

    This will cause more traffic issues in our and highways are always demarcations this will further divide downtown and the east side of 59.

    Why can we not focus our much needed attention on raised above street level mass transit to continue to grow and compete on a national level!

  • @toasty,

    I dont feel bad for the demo of Clayton Homes one bit. For all intents and purposes, Clayton Homes were old school projects where the government tried to cram as many low income folks into the least square footage at the cheapest price; I think we can do a little better than that nowadays. I also have no reason to feel bad about the people moving into hardy yards, as those will be brand new, likely good quality apartments in a very convenient location that many people (and not just yuppies you’re probably envisioning) would pay a premium to live in; I do feel bad for those who make too much to qualify for affordable housing but too little to live in a neighborhood of their choice and are forced to make compromises, but that’s an entirely different conversation.

    From a purely financial standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to prop up freeways, or even projects, in affluent neighborhoods, as the land value is much higher; it would be a complete waste of taxpayer money. Also, the right-of-way that is being acquired for the 45 widening through downtown is not exactly low-income with the exception of Clayton, which is government owned.

  • Wanna feel bad for someone I vote for the multitudes of homeless folk who live under 59. Where will they go when they are pushed out for construction?
    growth happens. Someone will have growing pains, I get it but that’s gonna be rough.

  • @R2b2 Homeless are going to move to 1960 and the migration has already begun!

  • Swamplot, what does this mean for the deck park? Is that happening? Will the highways go underground?

  • @gkiller14: TxDot and/or the FHA could build all the new roads they want. The traffic problem IS the SELFISH , reckless, stupid drivers on their gdamn mobiles NOT watching where they’re going. We’ll still have another massive boondoggle clogging up MORE freeways . All of the bureaucrats in Austin & DC should be injected with common sense drugs. Cause they don’t have ANY sense whatsoever. This project will be a NIGHTMARE. And they’ll drag the fricking thing out over 5 + years. Just wait and see.

  • I think this is the worst idea ever, this will not eliminate traffic. This will replicate 59 at 527 spur and 45 south at the downtown connection near Scott St. Both places are full of TRAFFIC!!!!!!! I hate that the idea of the skypark will make people believe that this is a great idea ITS NOT (and i work with the firm that is pushing this idea LOL) This project will put a larger divide in this city. Midtown does not need the connectivity to downtown as much as EADO (horrible name) does!!!!

  • The skypark is such a blatant attempt to pacify constituents by TxDot it makes me sick. There are NO funds attached to a skypark; TxDot has not even promised that it won’t tear the Pierce down. Yet they mention the possibility of a skypark in all their presentations. Kudos to the organizers of they can make it happen, but without any $$ it seems like a pie in the sky idea. What will happen is that the handful of cool businesses that have popped open in Eado will be displaced or destroyed by years of construction (this will make the Harrisburg overpass look like nothing), the east side will be further maligned as the polluted 15 lanes of freeway side of town, and one of the huge benefits of living on the east side, ease of commute into downtown, will be lost as several of the through streets into downtown will be lost, pushing everyone onto Ireland basically. My advice to fellow eastenders is to think about selling while buyers are still largely unaware… in three years it will be too late.

  • Can someone explain to me how this is going to affect all the new development in east downtown (East Village) and everyone who lives there??

  • This reconfiguration of I-45 is basically a no-capacity added project. It basically just moves the lanes from one side of downtown to another. I-45 still narrows down to two lanes as it heads south, which is folly in the 21st century. We need (and are going to need) all of the capacity we can get, including the Pierce elevated, as our population grows.

  • We need to build the metro rail down post oak and richmond. Houston needs more metro rail. Support the metro rail