The I-45 Coalition was formed to address issues related to new potential construction in the area Interstate 45 near downtown Houston, Texas. We strongly believe that any construction or improvements on I-45 must comply with these 3 tenets:
  • No expansion beyond the existing right-of-way

  • Alternative means of transportation must be explored

  • No negative impact on the neighborhoods quality of life.

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TxDot Plans

Synopsis
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), METRO and the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) are currently conducting a comprehensive analysis of the North-Hardy corridor. The corridor extends approximately 30 miles north of downtown Houston, reaching into Montgomery County (The Woodlands). METRO has determined that they would like to have light rail service the corridor. 

The estimated timeline for this study and the subsequent expansion is anywhere from 5 years to 10 -15 years.  The biggest variable in the timetable is whether a toll-road component will be included in the expansion (similar to the Katy Corridor expansion currently underway).

Why is the I-45 Coalition actively monitoring this project?
The I-45 Coalition consists of neighborhoods and neighbors, groups and individuals from a small section of I - 45  ~ specifically the approximately 3 miles between North Loop 610 and Interstate 10.  After the TxDOT study has been completed, any resulting expansion of I-45 will affect directly or indirectly a large number of residents, citizens and voters.  Many of the people involved reside in Woodland Heights, Lindale Park, Houston Heights, 1st Ward, 6th Ward, Proctor Plaza, Northside Village Super Neighborhood and many others.

The I-45 Coalition’s purpose is to be pro-active and work with any and all governmental agencies to make sure that the citizen’s concerns and interests are considered, answered and met.  It is our hope that by establishing a strong presence during the planning and study phase, when subsequent phases occur, the citizens will be part of the solution and unpleasant surprises will be eliminated.

Concerns
There are 3 primary areas that the I-45 Coalition has serious concerns with: 

First We want TxDOT to stay within its existing Right-of-Way (R-O-W).  We do not want to increase the “footprint” of the existing roadway and we do not want our neighborhoods and our homes destroyed by an ever-increasing slab of pavement. 

Second – We want TxDOT to investigate other modes of transportation, other than more and more concrete for more and more vehicles.

Third – We do not want our Quality-of-Life and our neighborhoods affected adversely by increased air pollution, noise pollution, flooding, increased neighborhood traffic, etc.

TxDOT’s Timeline

As of September of 2006, TxDOT projected the following timeline would be followed: 

ANTICIPATED PROJECT ACTIVITES

IH 45 FROM BW 8 TO SOUTH OF DOWNTOWN

1.      1st Scoping Meeting – We will be showing the study area, draft need and purpose, draft coordination plan, and origin-destination study.  Comments will be received from the public concerning the draft need and purpose and draft coordination plan.

2.      2nd Scoping Meeting – The purpose of this meeting is to present the approved coordination plan and the approved need and purpose.  We will also present the universe of alternatives from which a range of alternatives will be selected.  We will be seeking comments on alternatives to consider.

3.      3rd and 4th Public Meeting – Receive comments on alternatives presented at the meetings and the evaluation criteria that will be used to evaluate the alternatives.

4.      5th Public Meeting – Present preferred alternative selected from the reasonable alternatives shown at the 3rd and 4th public meetings.

5.      Pubic Hearing – Presentation will be made concerning the preferred alternative as discussed in the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement).  Verbal and written comments will be received.  Court reporter will be present to record verbal comments for the record.

6.      Final Public Meeting – Release of FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) for public view.

7.      Issuance of ROD (Record of Decision).

Definitions

  1. Coordination Plan - SAFETEA-LU, the new federal legislation, requires that a plan be developed for coordinating public and government agency participation and comment during the environmental review process.
  2. Need and Purpose – Reasons the project is needed and the purpose the project will serve.
  3. DEIS – Report that discusses the alternatives considered, analysis of impacts of alternatives, and identifies the preferred alternative to be studied in greater detail.
  4. FEIS – Documents recommended alternative and provides response to comments made on DEIS.
  5. ROD – The Record of Decision documents FHWA’s decision on approval/disapproval of EIS.

Timeframe

  1. 1st scoping meeting by end of this year.
  2. Hope to have second scoping meeting in 4-6 months after the first meeting. The public meetings concerning the alternative selection will be held as we reach those milestones.
  3. We are hoping for a ROD in 4-5 years

This time line was just a draft and was/is subject to change.   

In fact, it HAS changed.  Due to SAFETEA-LU, the project has been stalled.  NONE of the meetings listed above have happened.  Item #1 under Timeframe refers to “end of this year” which meant 2006.  That did not happen.  No estimate on when the project will be released is available.

Plans Continued-->