Relieving the north-south traffic bottleneckSpend some time in Houston traffic, and you'll soon realize two of the biggest freeway headaches are the downtown tangle and the 610 West Loop by the Galleria. Look at a map, and you'll see these are major north-south chokepoints. Hopefully the West Loop construction will relieve some of that problem, but what to do about downtown?
If Spur 527 off 59 could be connected through Midtown all the way up to 45, it would take a huge load off the Pierce and 59 elevateds and the bottlenecks between them (area map). How to do this without destroying the recently revived Midtown neighborhood? Simple: build one-way, two-lane, cut-and-cover tunnels underneath Bagby and Brazos connected into the nice, broad, already-in-existence entrance and exit ramps to/from 45. Sure, tunnels aren't cheap, but we're only talking about 3/4 of a mile here, and cutting and covering a trench is certainly cheaper than boring a tunnel. It would probably actually improve the neighborhood by taking short-cutters like me off Bagby and Brazos.
This Word document has more details, including maps.
(BTW, if you were wondering, this is not the traffic congestion solution referred to in the kickoff post.)
An email from Peter one one reasonably affordable approach:
I talked to a guy named Curtis from OldCastle in North Carolina who said that he could lay 200 feet of tunnel a day using a combination of both precast split box culverts and a precast bridge--40 feet wide by 16 feet tall. That is two full 12 foot lanes with 8 foot shoulders on each side.
Basically he would lay a 40 foot wide precast split culvert bottom half and put a 40 foot wide precast bridge on top of it. That would accommodate full truck heights.
The cost is roughly 40 million a mile. Two 3/4 mile sections under Bagby and Brazos streets would cost 60-80 million.
Labels: mobility strategies