Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A tunnel for 45 North?

There have been a recent Chronicle article and Kuffner post on the I45N expansion plans and the tunnel alternative that is being proposed. I personally think the tunnel would be overwhelmingly more expensive, certainly more than the 25% premium being pitched. As somebody else commented: Boston Big Dig anyone? (which ran many billions of dollars over original estimates, and leaks like a sieve to boot)

That said, I think TxDoT is overreaching trying to cram four managed lanes down the middle of 45 (like the new Katy freeway). It is true overkill in this case, because six managed lanes are available already in the north corridor: it's called the Hardy Toll Road. They want to use congestion pricing in their 45 managed lanes. Why not just cut a deal with the county to do the same thing with the Hardy, run the buses and carpools down it, remove the 45 HOV, and, voila, create two new free lanes on 45. It seems so much cheaper and simpler. If only state and county agencies had some way to communicate and coordinate with each other...

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