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I-10 West Reconstruction

Last updated 29-December-2001 (remove schematics)

The official project web site: www.katyfreeway.org

Newsflash 14-August-2001: Funding for construction will be authorized on August 30, 2001. See the good news in the news report.

I-10 west of 610 is Houston's worst freeway traffic disaster. It is one of Houston's few remaining freeways in its as-constructed 1960's configuration. Since the 1960's, this corridor has become Houston's "Energy Corridor" with heavy office, commercial, retail, and residential development. But relief is on the way in a big way. I-10 will be a huge facility - one of the nation's widest spans of urban concrete for a sustained distance.

On March 27, 2001, TxDOT presented the "final" schematic - the one that was to be submitted for final approval. However, just after that date, the Harris County Toll Road Authority proposed a plan to add four toll lanes in the center of the freeway. Of course, this would render the March 27 design obsolete.

Right-of-way acquisition is already underway. 1067 businesses and residences will be displaced, including some substantial structures, such as a multi-story office building and a YMCA. According to an article in the 26-January-2001 Houston Business Journal, many of the businesses to be displaced are banding together to obtain legal representation to ensure fair treatment in the condemnation process.

The decision to revise the HOV lane configuration was announced late in 2000. See the newspaper article reporting on this change.

In April 2001, the public was made aware of a proposal to expedite construction of the freeway and expand the lane count to 24 lanes by adding a four-lane tollway down the middle of the freeway. The Harris County Toll Road Authority would take a major role in the project. Three town hall meetings were scheduled in April to obtain public input. The Houston Chronicle reports a very favorable public response to a plan to increase the total lane count (including feeder roads) to 24 lanes on the planned Katy Freeway expansion.

At its August 2001 meeting, the Texas Transportation Commission officially provided full funding for the project. Construction will occur from 2003 to 2009.

As of December 2001, it appears to be a near-certainty that the four toll lanes will be included in the final design. There are some issues to work out, including maintaining a level of service of "C" so express buses can use the toll lanes. However, there has not been a formal announcement as of December 30, 2001.


This graphic shows the possible configuration with the toll road in the middle.

Limits Downtown Houston westward 40 miles to the Brazos River crossing. The major expansion will occur in the segment from I-610 westward 11 miles to state highway 6. The segment from state highway 6 westward to the Grand Parkway (state highway 99) is also slated for significant expansion.

Existing
facility

Downtown to I-610: 10 lane freeway with discontinuous feeders
I-610 to SH6: 6 lane freeway with central reversible HOV and continuous 4 lane feeders
SH6 to Katy: 6 lane freeway and continuous 4 lanes feeders
Katy to Brookshire: 6 lane freeway
Brookshire to Brazos River: 4 lane freeway,  some sections with 4 lane feeders

Planned facility As of April 2001, the exact configuration is still being determined but could have up to 24 total lanes if a freeway/tollway plan is adopted.
Timeline The project has been divided into 8 segments. Contract awards to begin in 2003, with contracts continuing for several years after. TxDOT is considering fast-tracking the project, working 20 hour days 6 days a week.
Cost $1.2 billion: $859 million for construction, $180 million for right-of-way, $78 million for utility relocation, and $110 million for transit improvements (1999 estimates)
Status The final public meeting was held 27-March-2001. The schematic will be submitted to TxDOT headquarters for approval. Final environmental clearance from Washington is expected by summer 2001.
Comments The main 11-mile section of expansion from I-610 to SH6 will be one of the widest fully paved spans of concrete in the nation. With a right-of-way width averaging about 500 feet with, this will be a huge freeway.

FAQ: Where is all the needed right-of-way (ROW) coming from?
For the entire corridor from IH-610 to Katy, there was a railroad ROW on the north side of the freeway. The railway ROW is 100 feet wide. TxDOT purchased this ROW in the early 1990's and removed the railroad tracks around 1998. It will be used for the freeway expansion. For most of this corridor between 610 and 6, Old Katy Road is on the north side of the railroad tracks. It is 35 feet wide, and will be used in the expansion.

West of BW8, the ROW is no problem. The existing freeway ROW is 300 feet wide. Add in 100 feet from the railroad ROW, and 35 feet from Old Katy Road, and you have 435 feet. The freeway fits in this corridor for most of this segment. Any additional needed ROW is taken from businesses on the north side of Old Katy Road.

Between BW8 and IH-610, ROW is more challenging. IH-10 ROW varies in this segment from 300 to as narrow as 200 feet. Where IH-10 is the most narrow, Old Katy Road does not exist. That means that available ROW is about 300 feet. The freeway width averages about 500 feet wide in this segment. Most the needed ROW will be taken from the north side, resulting in substantial residential displacments, especially in the section east of Bingle. Between Antoine and Chimney Rock, however, the freeway will take a substantial amount of right-of-way on the south side. This will displace a large number of businesses. A total of 1067 residential and business units will be displaced.

Existing I-10
Existing I-10 between 610 and BW8, a substandard 1960's era freeway.

Corridor Map
Although the segment from 610 to 8 is listed as 8 regular lanes, it will actually have a minimum of 10 regular lanes for most of this segment.

 

Schematics
Since the design presented on 27-March-2001 did not include the toll lanes, and as of December 2001 it appears highly likely that the toll lanes will be included in the design, I have removed the schematics.
 
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All information is unofficial and "AS IS" with no guarantees for accuracy. All schematics are preliminary except as noted.
 
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