Comments on Plans for the North Houston Highway Improvement Project

Proposed Improvements to Downtown Freeways and I-45 North

Page created May 10, 2015 Updated June 22, 2019
In May 2019 updated schematics were posted on the official project web site. These are probably the final schematics for the final environmental impact statement. Changes in the May 2019 schematics were very minimal compared to the May 2018 version. Previously, changes in the May 2018 schematics were very minimal compared to the May 2017 schematics.
The map below highlights my main design concerns for the final schematics. As a practical matter, it may no longer be possible to make changes to correct these concerns. But I think my concerns on Interstate 45 north of Loop 610 can be fixed, and since that section is slated for construction after the downtown work (maybe not until around 2030), it is possible the design will be reviewed before that section moves forward and adjustments can be made.
For more details on other issues which I identified in prior versions of the schematics, see the analyses of prior versions.
May 2018     May 2017     June 2016     September 2015
Connection ramp from BW8 to southbound IH-45 and transition zone length
There is only one lane connecting to the main lanes of IH-45. The connection needs two lanes.
The transition zone for merging into the IH-45 main lanes is too short. It needs to be extended further south.
The northbound IH-45 main lanes are reduced to four lanes at Parker
The merge-down transition zone from the IH-610 interchange (six lanes) is too short.
A fifth northbound lane needs to be added to the exit for SH 249
The transition zone on westbound IH-610 is too short
6 lanes are merged down to 4 in a too short distance.
The transition zone needs to be extended, with a fifth lane to the Shepherd exit.
The northbound entrance/exit to the managed lanes is poorly situated at the IH-610 interchange
The entrance/exit may exacerbate congestion in this area
The only entrance to the northbound IH-45 managed lanes is from downtown
Traffic on northbound IH-45 cannot enter the managed lanes until the entrance at Loop 610
The connection from southbound IH-69 to southbound IH-45 is difficult and potentially dangerous
It will require weaving across three lanes in a distance of 2000 feet inside the tunnel, where visibility is reduced and signage is more difficult to see.
The northbound IH-69 approach to the downtown split has only 5 lanes
There needs to be at least 6 lanes. With only 5 lanes, the full benefit of the new main lanes east of the split will not be realized.
However, this section of IH-69 is outside the scope of the NHHIP.