City approves controversial sale of land to TxDOT for freeway expansion

Chaz Miller Image
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
City approves controversial sale of land to TxDOT for I-45 expansion
The city has agreed to sell nearly three acres of land to TxDOT for the department's controversial expansion for I-45.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The City of Houston has agreed to sell nearly three acres of land near downtown to TxDOT as part of the department's expansion of Interstate 45.

The land is located along White Oak Bayou near the University of Houston-Downtown and will result in lanes of freeway being constructed over running and biking trails.

Mayor John Whitmire cast one of 11 votes in favor of the $261,051 sale at the city council meeting on Wednesday morning.

District H Councilman Mario Castillo, who represents the area where the acreage is located, was one of four votes against it. One of the major complaints against the sale regards the impact the new roads will have on trail users, wildlife, and the environment.

SEE ALSO: City of Houston considers selling 2.99 acres to TxDOT for I-45 expansion

Proponents, including Whitmire, said the construction won't take the trails away.

It was also stated agreements between the city and TxDOT will ensure the trails will remain open and maintained throughout construction.

This vote was supposed to take place last week but was delayed so council members could get more information. It was nearly delayed another week, but the vote ultimately went through.

Whitmire said he would have allowed the additional delay but feared it would just give groups against the project an additional chance to speak out.

"We're past that discussion," Whitmire said on any plans to modify elements of the project.

SEE ALSO: Neighbors, 'Stop TxDOT I-45' fighting for remaining parts of EaDo housing complex

Stop TxDOT I-45 has been against the entire expansion project and sent ABC13 a statement that reads in part:

"We are disappointed with (Wednesday's) vote, and we urge the mayor and city council to remain vigilant to ensure TxDOT follows through with the assurance to keep the White Oak Bayou trail open during and after construction."

Construction on this portion is scheduled to start in 2027, according to TxDOT's website.

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