Route 88.7 Blog: Plans, Grants, and Automobiles

News and updates on plans for I-45 North, non-traditional transportation grants, and a warning for heights drivers.

Plans for I-45 North

It’s been listed as one of the most congested freeways in Texas. Now TxDOT is seeking public input on how to prepare I-45 North for even more traffic in the future.

Right now, TxDOT is gathering public comment on what’s known as the North Houston Highway Improvement Project. The project includes I-45 North between Beltway 8 and downtown Houston, but it also includes nearby roadways such as the Hardy Toll Road, along with connections to I-10 and U.S. 59.

TxDOT says it’s looking at current and future congestion as well as projected economic development in the corridor. The agency also wants to improve the roadway for hurricane evacuations.

TxDOT’s Raquel Lewis says they’re looking at a lot of options right now, including managed lanes, similar to what’s on the Katy Freeway.

But she adds they’re also under what she calls, “descriptive constraints.” That’s particularly in the residential areas between Cavalcade and Quitman where there’s been concern in recent years over the impact construction could have on the neighborhood. She also says, “the alternatives are derived for how do we meet our purpose of providing additional capacity, providing better mobility and congestion relief along the corridor while also satisfying those constraints.”

Plans for I-45 improvements have been in the works for about ten years and a final decision on the project’s shape is still a few years off. You can learn more and leave comments here.

Non-Traditional Transportation Grants

In other transportation news this week, TxDOT is preparing to distribute about about $70 million dollars to local communities for what it’s calling “non-traditional” transportation projects. The federally-funded “Transportation Enhancement Program” provides money for projects related to transportation, such as the restoration of old bridges and depots, acquiring scenic easements, and removing and controlling outdoor advertising.

Mark Marek with TxDOT’s design division says the bulk of applications come from towns and cities hoping to build new bike paths. He adds, “that’s been about 45 percent of the program calls that have been done to date, so that seems to be very popular with the local entities. They see their citizens get a lot of use out of those facilities.”

The deadline for communities to apply is November 16. You can get details here.

A Warning for Heights Drivers

TxDOT has drastically lowered the load limit on the Yale Street bridge from 8,000 pounds per single axle to 3,000 pounds per axle. Passengers cars will be able to cross the bridge okay, but larger vehicles will have to detour to the Heights Blvd. bridge, which doesn’t have a load limit.

In a statement, Houston Public Works says the Yale Street bridge isn’t showing any recent deterioration and is still safe to drive, but it should be used within the new posted limits. TxDOT says it has the bridge is on a priority list for replacement, but that’s not expected to happen until 2016.

So how are you getting around in your part of Houston? Get in touch at

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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