Protesters claim environmental and racial issues in I-45 project

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Just a few blocks from I-45 where there's a proposed freeway expansion on the horizon, protesters from "Stop TxDOT" are trying to get their voices heard.

"We're protesting because of the environmental injustice built into the project, the systemic racism built into the project," says Susan Graham, the group's founder.

They're protesting a proposal that would move I-45 from the west side of downtown to the east side and place it along US-59. TxDOT says the multi-million dollar project will address congestion.

RELATED: Moving I-45 to other side of downtown being called 1 of nation's most wasteful projects

The opposition is worried though, claiming the project will displace people, cause more pollution, and would fail to fix the area's growing traffic problems.

"People see this as a suburbs versus city issue and it's not," protester Molly Cook said. "The traffic will get worse, the commute times will get long, this is for every person."

TxDOT representatives tell ABC13 that several public meetings have been held, which started with more than 20 options. The state agency narrowed the list down to where it is today. They say they're continuing to work and listen to the community, but add this project will move forward.

"Whether we're going to win, we don't know," Graham said. "We just have to show up."

SEE ALSO: 2020 will be the year Houston decides I-45 project's future

TxDOT is waiting for the final environmental impact statement, which they believe would address and ease the group's concerns.

Follow TJ Parker on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.