Houston Matters

Was Expanding the Katy Freeway Worth It?

In 2004, the American Highway Users Alliance labeled the Katy Freeway at 610 as the second worst bottleneck in the nation. Of course, the group had a motive: they were lobbying to increase federal highway spending. But after a $2.5 billion-plus expansion of the Katy Freeway, was it worth the headache and cost? In the […]

In 2004, the American Highway Users Alliance labeled the Katy Freeway at 610 as the second worst bottleneck in the nation. Of course, the group had a motive: they were lobbying to increase federal highway spending.

But after a $2.5 billion-plus expansion of the Katy Freeway, was it worth the headache and cost? In the final analysis, was it wise to expand the highway to such a degree that we now have one stretch that encompasses 26 total lanes (12 main lanes, 8 feeder, 6 managed)?

Some urban planning groups, Houston Tomorrow among them, question it. That group notes how, according to its analysis of Houston Transtar data, traffic has only grown more congested in recent years: as an example, “traveling from downtown outbound on the I-10 Katy Freeway to Pin Oak took 51 percent more time in 2014 than in 2011.”

We discuss whether the Katy Freeway expansion worked with Greg Cohen (no relation), the President and CEO of the American Highway Users Alliance, and Tim Lomax, research engineer and Regents Fellow with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

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