Critical developments are happening around the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) planned I-45 expansion project:
- TxDOT has released updated draft impacts assessment reports. Public comments are due February 7.
- The City of Houston is holding community workshops starting January 30 to present and discuss alternative project designs.
Please see details below. We need your help in taking action!
New Impacts Assessment Reports
TxDOT recently released updated drafts of the Community Impacts Assessment (CIA) Technical Report and the Cumulative Impacts Assessment Technical Report for the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (I-45 expansion). We need your help submitting public comments on the reports before February 7.
The new technical reports revise TxDOT’s earlier, 2017 assessment of how the $7 billion, 25-mile long project will impact communities. Here are a few key takeaways from the new assessment concerning air quality and right-of-way impacts:
Air quality impacts:
Air quality assessments have not changed. TxDOT continues to argue that air quality will not be affected, relying on previous arguments that regional air quality will improve as a direct result of congestion relief and that improved fuel economy standards will cancel out an increase in the number of cars on the road (Section 5.7 of the draft CIA Technical Report).
These are not sufficient justifications for one of the largest highway projects in the history of our city. For example, a recent Harris County report concluded that congestion relief from the I-45 expansion will not be permanent, which means any anticipated improvements in air quality will be short-lived. Additionally, the current administration has rolled back Obama-era vehicle fuel economy standards.
Although the number of potential displacements due to the project decreased slightly, the overall footprint of the highway increased. The expanded right-of-way for the highway project appears to reflect additional stormwater detention basins, as well as changes in existing land use and occupancy (p. 52, Section 5.1 of the draft CIA Technical Report). Detailed lists of displacements can be found in Appendix G of the draft CIA Technical Report.
Contact TxDOT by February 7 to express your concerns about the expansion and demand that more is done to protect our health, homes, and historic neighborhoods:
- By email: [email protected]
- By post: TxDOT Houston District Office, Director of Project Development, P.O. 1386, Houston, TX 77251-1386
- In person: TxDOT Houston District Office, 7600 Washington Avenue, Houston, TX 77007.
If you need help drafting your comments, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].
New Community Workshops
Using extensive community feedback, the City of Houston, working together with Huitt-Zollars, has developed alternative designs for TxDOT’s I-45 expansion plan. These designs will be presented and discussed in a new round of community workshops on Jan. 30, Feb. 1, and Feb. 3.
Based on the community discussions, the City will make requests to TxDOT.
We highly encourage you to attend and share your opinions. Please see below the dates and times of the meetings. All three workshops will cover the same agenda.