Halted Interstate Expansion Could Proceed in Houston

Local and state officials have come to an ‘historic’ agreement that could move the stalled project forward.

Read Time: 2 minutes

December 28, 2022, 12:00 PM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


The controversial expansion of Interstate 45 in Houston could go forward in as soon as two years after officials reached an agreement about the project, reports Dug Begley, who has been following the freeway saga for the Houston Chronicle.

“The agreement outlines plans for widening the freeway by adding two managed lanes in each direction from downtown Houston north to Beltway 8, along with various frontage road and interchange alterations,” Begley writes.

After months of negotiations, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) agreed to increase the amount of money it will provide to the Houston Housing Authority to fund relocation and affordable housing. “The project also connects to trails for running and biking, adds air monitoring in certain areas, adds features aimed at encouraging transit use and commits to stormwater design changes sought by the Harris County Flood Control District.”

TxDOT must still come to an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which halted work on the project in March 2021. “The FHWA told TxDOT to halt development of the project as it reviewed concerns raised by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and others that the outreach to some minority communities was insufficient and violated civil rights laws by harming some Black and Latino neighborhoods.” According to a TxDOT spokesperson, the agency is “having productive conversations with FHWA.” Critics of the project maintain their opposition, saying that widening the freeway at all will create more traffic and displace residents and businesses.

Monday, December 19, 2022 in Houston Chronicle

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