The TxDOT I-45 Expansion: Opportunity to Work Together

Photo credit: Texas Department of Transportation

By Senator Borris Miles

There was a time when traveling by automobile in the City of Houston, we could get most places in 20 minutes. Those days are long gone with our growing population in Houston and its surrounding areas. A commute during peak hours of travel nowadays could take an hour or longer on some freeways.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has been planning the reconstruction and redesign of the I-45 downtown corridor, known as the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (I-45 NHHIP), for the past 15 years. It will change the look of the freeways as we have known them to be since the 1960s.

Earlier this month, I arranged a community meeting with TxDOT, Houston Housing Authority, Harris County Commissioner Precinct 1, Central Houston and several City of Houston departments, to address the concerns of the residents that may be impacted by the upcoming construction plans. Many property owners agree the expansion is needed, but concerns were raised regarding the design that will affect many residential homeowners, places of worship, commercial properties and the renters living in affordable housing communities like Clayton Homes and Kelly Village.

With more than 125 people at the community meeting in the Fifth Ward Multi-Service Center, attendees were encouraged to voice their concerns. TxDOT District Engineer Quincy Allen listened intently to all residents’ concerns and offered to come back to the table to see if there are better ways to help residents who would possibly be displaced. He offered to come back to Fifth Ward to host a workshop so residents can see if their home would be impacted and if so, how.

The TxDOT Community Workshop will be held on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at the Fifth Ward Multi-Service Center, 4014 Market St., Houston, TX 77020, from 4-7 pm.

TxDOT has a spotty history on community relations, especially in minority neighborhoods. I am encouraged by their willingness to offer this workshop to truly work to build a relationship and help these residents who would be impacted by this project. I encourage everyone to attend this very informative follow-up workshop for a better understanding of the proposed project. Learn more at http://www.ih45northandmore.com.