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I-45 Improvement study completed

TxDOT requests comments

FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR IH-45 IMPROVEMENT PROJECT COMPLETED

The long-awaited document is available for review by the public

By Danny Perez

HOUSTON – The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) would like to announce that the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is now complete for the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP). Since its release in 2017, TxDOT has been reviewing and addressing public comments on the Draft EIS and preparing the Final EIS.

The proposed NHHIP would include roadway improvements to add four managed express (MaX) lanes on I-45 from Downtown Houston to Beltway 8 North, reroute I-45 to be parallel with I-10 on the north side of Downtown Houston and parallel to US 59/I-69 on the east side of Downtown Houston, realign sections of I-10 and I-69 in the Downtown area to eliminate the current roadway reverse curves that limit capacity, and depress I-69 between I-10 and Spur 527 south of Downtown to improve safety by eliminating unsafe weaving.

The proposed project also includes reconstruction of mainlanes and frontage roads; addition of bicycle/pedestrian elements along the 44 Downtown streets that cross the freeways, including a 15- foot to 17-foot wide pedestrian buffer between the bicycle/pedestrian traffic and the vehicular traffic; addition of sidewalks along frontage roads; and addition of pass-through lanes on I-10 that will separate traffic desiring to go to Downtown from traffic destined to go through Downtown.

The Final EIS is more refined and definitive than the Draft EIS. It incorporates the input received on the Draft EIS and reflects changes to the project proposed as a result of that input. Since the release of the Draft EIS, TxDOT has continued public engagement through community meetings, multi-agency coordination and posting updated technical reports for public comments. Additionally, TxDOT recently prepared a series of white papers titled “NHHIP Project Facts & Highlights” to help distill the contents of the Final EIS to help convey concise and key information regarding matters of high priority to the public. This can be found at http://www.ih45northandmore.com/ NHHIP_Project_Facts_ And_Highlights.aspx.

The Final EIS and the NHHIP Project Facts and Highlights can be accessed on the project website: www.IH45northandmore.com. Additionally, the Final EIS is on file and available for inspection at the TxDOT Houston District Office, 7600 Washington Avenue, Houston, Texas 77007 by appointment.

“The TxDOT Project Team will continue to consider all input received during the lifetime of the NHHIP,” said Eliza Paul, TxDOT’s Houston District Engineer. “We look forward to continued coordination with the public on the development and refinement of the proposed NHHIP, which is a very important project for the region that will enhance safety and mobility for all users.”

The Final EIS is comprised of three volumes. Volume I contains an executive summary and the main report. Volume II contains appendices, including the technical reports. And Volume III contains the matrices of comments to Draft EIS, comments to draft technical reports and TxDOT’s response to these comments.

Individuals wishing to review the Final EIS at the TxDOT Houston District Office may visit https://www.flexbooker.com/reserve/NHHIP_ FEIS_APPT or call (713) 802-5207 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to make an appointment. Due to recommendations regarding COVID-19, enhanced safety measures will be applied. This includes wearing a face mask, submitting to a temperature check prior to entry, and following social distancing practices. If anyone arrives without an appointment, they may be asked to wait outside to ensure appropriate occupancy within the room.

Comments on the Final EIS (due 30 days from the date the Notice of Availability is published in the Federal Register) should be sent to the Texas Department of Transportation, Attention: Director of Project Development, P.O. Box 1386, Houston, Texas 77251, or by email to: HOU-pioweb mail@txdot.gov. We anticipate that the Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register on October 9, 2020, which would establish a comment deadline of November 9, 2020. For further information or to request a copy of the Final EIS, please contact the Director of Project Development, (713) 802-5070.

A video presentation on NHHIP can be found at http://ih45north andmore.com/ChangesForTheBetter.aspx. For more information, contact Danny Perez at (713) 802-5077. Also Follow us on Twitter @TxDOTHouston.