Houston residents are being asked to weigh in on a plan that could mean big changes to one of the busiest highways in the city. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will host a virtual meeting giving an overview of the State’s 10-year plan, Unified Transportation Plan (UTP) Wednesday, July 7. The meeting will include the potential removal of funding assigned to the I-45 North Houston Highway Improvement Project (known as the NHHIP). To learn more about the project visit: www.ih45northandmore.com.
The NHHIP will implement a number of improvements that would:
· Bring I-45, I-10, and US 59/I-69 up to current design standards to improve safety and operations.
· Manage I-45 traffic congestion in the NHHIP area through added capacity, MaX lanes, options for single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) lanes, and improved operations.
· Improve mobility on I-45 between US 59/I-69 and Beltway 8 North by accommodating projected population growth and latent demand in the project area.
· Provide expanded transit and carpool opportunities.
· Improve the capabilities of I-45 as an emergency evacuation route.
· Improve storm water drainage on I-45.
· Support the projected significant increase in travel on the regional highways in the Houston-Galveston area.
Texas Department of Transportation decided to give the public an opportunity to comment on the fate of funding for the I-45 project after Harris County filed a federal lawsuit to halt the plan for expanding I-45 and U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee wrote a letter to the Federal Highway Administration raising concerns under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 regarding poor air quality. Considering the opposition to the plan, the question now is “Does Houston want the $7.5 billion project?”
Beginning Friday, July 9 through Monday, August 9, the public can give their comments on the I-45 project in four different ways:
ONLINE: Visit www.TxDOT.gov and search the keyword “UTP public involvement” to access the online public comment form
EMAIL: Comments can be sent to UTP-PublicComments@txdot.gov.
PHONE: (800) 687-8108
MAIL: Texas Department of Transportation, Attn: TPP-UTP, P.O. Box 149217, Austin, TX 78714-9217The public is also invited to participate in the August 2, 2021 Draft 2022 UTP Public Hearing. (Details for joining the meeting are available at https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/unified-transportation-program.html.