The Texas Transportation Commission will vote March 28 on 19 proposed mobility projects intended to relieve congestion across the state, including five Houston area projects. The proposals come from updates to the Unified Transportation Program—a $70 billion plan to be executed over the next 10 years.
Of the $70 billion, about $29 billion will be dedicated to congestion relief efforts in major metropolitan cities. The Texas Department of Transportation plans to allocate $2.5 billion from the Texas Clear Lanes initiative to the projects over the next four years. Houston projects are expected to require just over $998 million of that funding.
The following Houston projects were proposed and given addresses and letting dates:
- 2018: Constructing a Loop 610 South overpass at Cambridge Street/Almeda Road/Union Pacific railroad line ($75 million).
- 2020: Reconstructing and widening I-69 South to 12 mainlanes from I-45 South to Hwy. 288 and reconstructing the I-69/Hwy. 288 interchange ($173.5 million).
- 2020: Reconstructing I-69 South to 10 mainlanes from Hwy. 288 to Spur 527 ($192 million).
- 2020: Constructing three I-69 gateway bridges at McGowen Street, Tuam Street and Elgin Street in Midtown ($55.8 million).
- 2021: Reconstructing the interchange including I-45 and I-69 mainlanes at I-69 South ($501.72 million).
“Houston’s problems obviously are in the downtown area first and foremost,” said Lauren Garduno, TxDOT director of project planning and development.
Commissioner Bruce Bugg Jr. said a majority of Texans rely on their own vehicles as their primary mode of transportation. Although today’s statewide population is about 27 million, demographers expect it to double in the next 35 years, he said.
“Ninety-three percent of our population demands these highway funds to be used to… meet their needs of getting from point A to point B in their daily lives,” he said. “We know that we have congestion problems today, but we are also mindful of what the opportunities are with our new Texans joining us over the next 35 years.”
Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Bugg to spearhead Texas Clear Lanes, a program focused on addressing congestion in the metropolitan areas with 1 million or more people.
At a February workshop, projects were proposed in other metropolitan regions across the state. About $807.8 million of the $2.5 billion would be allocated to projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, $415.6 million would go toward relieving congestion in Austin and San Antonio would see $316 million.
Projects are subject to change pending commission approval at a March 28 meeting.