The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will proceed with a $347 million plan to elevate a 1.8-mile stretch of Interstate 10 in downtown Houston. The road is historically prone to flooding and closure following tropical storms and hurricanes. Heavy rains have rendered the highway impassable 10 times in the last 31 years, according to TxDOT officials. The project is currently in the design phase. TxDOT expects construction to begin in 2025.
Following public feedback, TxDOT recently revised the project to elevate both of I-10’s main lanes and the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes above the nearby White Oak Bayou floodplain. The floodplain stretches from Heights Boulevard to downtown Houston. TxDOT will also widen the HOV lanes from 12 to 14 feet.
State officials unveiled six adjustments in response to public feedback received in July 2022. As part of the adjustments, TxDOT will work with Houston’s METRO transit authority to accommodate a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) structure. TxDOT will move the I-10 main lanes to provide enough space for METRO to build the dedicated lane. Once built, the structure will service BRT and Regional Express buses within the corridor.
Plans call for building a 26-acre detention pond beneath the corridor to treat stormwater runoff and to help prevent flooding. TxDOT also envisions adding vegetation and trees along White Oak Bayou and preserving a nearby forested area. In addition, TxDOT will build a 10-foot-wide shared use path for pedestrians and cyclists to connect the existing trail system.
The proposed improvements will require the state to buy 1.2 acres of right of way (ROW) for construction. TxDOT anticipates that the project will not displace nearby residential or non-residential structures.
Both state and anticipated federal funding will support the project. Because of that, the project must undergo an environmental review process carried out under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). That decision is expected in 2024.
Photo by Famartin