It’s actually happening, y’all: TxDOT is taking the next steps to expand I-45

CORRECTS SOURCE OF FUNDING TO A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE CITY AND THE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION BUFFALO BAYOU PARTNERSHIP Houston's Buffalo Bayou as it snakes its way into downtown below a highway overpass Friday, April 18, 2014. The city and the nonprofit Buffalo Bayou Partnership are spending $58 million to improve the waterway and the surrounding parks and bike and jogging trails. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

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The planned widening of a large section of I-45, running from the Sam Houston Tollway to downtown Houston, is approaching the end of its public comment period.

Plans for I-45 relocation. Screen shot of TxDOT’s website.

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Following several public meetings and sit downs with project stakeholders, officials from Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) shared their plans.

Three years in the making, they’ll be ready to begin construction of two additional lanes on each side of I-45:

“We’re doing a lot of listening,” Quincy Allen, district director for TxDOT, said in an interview. “We want to be a good partner, with others, in every sense of the word.”

The biggest concerns over the construction were raised by community members living in the area around the proposed expansion lanes, near residential neighborhoods, as well as potential interference with mass public transit.

Public comment submissions for the project ends on Thursday, but, even after the cut off, an environmental review isn’t expected to be approved until next year.

The price tag for construction is currently project to be running around $7 million to bring I-45 parallel to I-69, sinking some areas and elevating others.

Others worry the project will cut off certain neighborhoods from development, like previous construction on I-10 and the 610 Loop, which left areas divided, something still remembered, and dreaded, today.

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