Final proposal would change look of North Freeway

Thursday, April 23, 2015

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- After years of having the public weigh in on the North Houston Highway Improvement Project, TxDOT released their final proposal Thursday to reconstruct I-45 the North Freeway between downtown and North Beltway 8.

"We're trying to go in and make sure we address congestion in the Houston area," says TxDOT Public Information Officer, Danny Perez.

The project will break down into three areas. Segment one will be between North Beltway 8 and I-610 the North Loop.

"It's going to remain four lanes -- four lanes on the NB side and four on the SB side," said Perez. "Then you'll have two managed lanes, and then you'll have the additional three frontage road lanes."

This highway plan will continue toward downtown.

The second section of work will be between I-10 and I-610 the North Loop. There, I-45 will transform into a whole new landscape.

"The frontage road will be above grade and you'll have the main lanes and managed lanes below grade," explains Perez.

In addition, if funding is available, creating a green space above the freeway near Quitman and North Main, and another green space near the GRB will create a whole new look for Houston. It's something Dallas did a few a years back near their downtown.

Closer to downtown, there will be major changes. First, I-45 will run parallel to US-59.

"So, you'll have two freeways next to each other on the east side of downtown," adds Perez.

We'll also say goodbye to the Pierce Elevated.

"This definitely will improve congestion into the Downtown area," said Perez.

Perez explains downtown connectors will ease the bumper to bumper conditions.

"If you want to go to downtown, you'll have the parkway option," he said. "Get on the parkway and go to Downtown. But if you're on the north side trying to go south of downtown, you can bypass the downtown spur or downtown parkway."

Construction of the North Houston Highway Improvement Project won't have you tapping your brakes just yet.

"This could be five, ten years down the road. It depends on when funding becomes available," says Perez.

TxDOT wants to make sure the public knows the plan and the project's impact on the community. Three public meetings will take place.

The first is Thursday night at Aldine Ninth Grade School, 10650 North Freeway

The next will be April 28 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, at Houston Community College Central Campus, Learning Hub/Science Building. 1300 Holman St.

The last one will be April 30 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Jefferson Davis High School 1101 Quitman St.

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