The Texas Department of Transportation is hoping to elevate portions of I-10′s main lanes between Heights Boulevard and I-45, which officials say was impassable during Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Imelda.
TxDOT said the primary difference between the existing and proposed sections is that the main lanes and HOV lanes would be elevated above the White Oak Bayou flood plains to reduce the risk of roadway flooding. The transportation agency said it would also need an add a 0.559 acre right of way on the north side of Houston Avenue to put a column to raise the road.
TxDOT released a virtual presentation of its plans online earlier this week and played the same presentation at an in-person meeting Thursday night. Officials say they want to hear from the public about the estimated $347,000,000 project, which would include federal funding.
“I think that kind of thing would be more useful in areas that it does have, you know, a lot of flooding,” said Camila Castaneda.
Castaneda said flooding isn’t a huge issue in her Heights neighborhood.
“I know that flooding can impact even at our raised elevation right here,” Castaneda said.
Small business owners like Jacob Dorion of Nourish Juice Bar and Kalis Coffee Cup said he recalls high flood waters outside his business during Harvey.
“We opened here right after Hurricane Harvey, and the flood waters were banking right up against our planters out there and [along] our parking lot’s front edge,” Dorion said. “Whatever helps alleviate flooding, I mean, I kinda support. But what I’m concerned about is the disruption of traffic flow.”
Charles Barr just opened up the Foodie Barr in January after transitioning from a food truck. He’s concerned the proposed elevation project could deflate traffic to his small business.
If given the green light the project would start in the Summer of 2024.