Comment of the Day: Take Care of the Other Burials Before Putting I-45 In The Ground

COMMENT OF THE DAY: TAKE CARE OF THE OTHER BURIALS BEFORE PUTTING I-45 IN THE GROUND I-45 and 59 Proposed Tunnel“I don’t understand why people want to bury the Pierce Elevated. That seems like something to put onto the table after all the murders are solved and money starts to rain down from the sky. Can someone explain this to me? How could it possibly be practical to tear down this road?” [Commenter7, commenting on Defending the Pierce Elevated; The First Toucan Traffic Signal in TexasIllustration: Lulu

12 Comment

  • It is not practical, it is utopian. Build, demolish, repeat and repeat again until it is perfect.

  • Sinking the road but leaving it open to the sky – like what they did to 59 in Montrose – makes sense because then the highway doubles as detention. But burying it in an effort to do our very own Boston Big Dig is a different story. That’s, frankly, extravagant. I guess the tunnels could still be used as detention, but it would be terrible (and probably deadly) for drivers who get caught in flash floods down there. Drowning in pitch black darkness 25 feet underground. Yikes.

  • I believe TDOT says they have to replace the pierce due to the age of the columns and beams that support it. The burial is a kind of higher-cost version of a replacement that has to happen anyway.
    I personally don’t see the benefit of burying pierce, the sketchy greyhound terminal and the myriad homeless and drug addict facilities are much bigger problems in Midtown and they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

  • I’m not opposed to burying the Pierce if that’s what it takes politically to still have the Pierce, although if we’re going to tunnel a freeway anywhere in the downtown area then IMO it ought to be under Buffalo Bayou in order to connect fractured park spaces into something more like a regional park. There is some synergy to be had in that location that cannot be had merely by trenching a freeway between separate and distinct neighborhoods which will remain separate and distinct regardless of what is done.
    The flood-control possibility is intriguing too, and there is absolutely no engineering reason whatsoever(!!!) that a combination of sumps and floodgates couldn’t prevent a trench from flooding until after TXDoT was able to block ramps and clear traffic. None!!! When was the last time that the Washburn Tunnel flooded? Never. Yes, it gets water in there, no it does not flood. This is not difficult at all, it just costs money; but then, this is downtown we’re talking about and when downtown floods, that also costs money.

  • Commenting on Commenter7,s notion that we should stop infrastructure projects until we solve the city’s crime problems. We will never get rid of the crime in the city and in the meantime the city will be falling down around our ankles. Sounds like a great plan you should run for mayor 👍

  • Fallacy of Relative Privation. – dismissing an argument or complaint due to the existence of more important problems in the world, regardless of whether those problems bear relevance to the initial argument.

  • Thanks Purdueenginerd
    I knew there must be a name for this type of argument but couldn’t think of it. The thought of consistently trying to apply this kind of rational to everything we humans have done and do is worrying.

  • There is also a financial reason you can’t substitute fixing crime rates for building/repairing infrastructure. Likely a lot of the money spent on whatever solution “fixes” the Pierce Elevated is going to come from sources outside the city or county. It will be done in part with State or Federal funds that are already earmarked for infrastructure projects, if not for roadwork in particular. The City of Houston can’t just take highway funds and use them to hire more cops. I don’t necessarily like that politics works this way, but it does.

  • The Washburn Tunnel argument does not hold water ;-)
    You gotta be able to sump it somewhere. Trust me I lived in Midtown during Allison. Freaking 59 filled up with cars and people in it – this “time to warn” is “time to die”.
    There shall be no inner city tunnel in Houston. Plus I just sat in 20 minutes of darkness of the buried portion of 35 in Dallas. It’s a slog even when there is zero traffic – people don’t know how to drive in day-dark!

  • Yeah okay mea culpa on Ike. All the same, the point is that it doesn’t just fill up with water at random intervals, stranding motorists. About that, Ike is no exception.

  • Houston is big enough and has enough engineering talent that it doesn’t need to copy other places. Some of the best engineering comes from planners working around what is already there. The region desperately needs more routes/pathways/alternatives/etc. to get into and out of the city. Is anyone considering approaching any of the people who design those high tech tunneling robots if they can figure out a solution?