Advocates call for delay in vote on major I-45 expansion plans

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HOUSTON – Community advocates called for a delay Tuesday in the planned vote aimed at funding an expansion plan for Interstate 45 in Houston.

The vote by the Houston-Galveston Area Council planned for Friday would address a request by the Texas Department of Transportation for a $100 million down payment to rebuild the portion of I-45 from Interstate 10 to the Interstate 610 North Loop.

READ: Q&A about the I-45 rerouting plans

Groups like Air Alliance Houston, LINK Houston, the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice and the Make I-45 Better Coalition gathered outside B.K. Bruce Elementary School, saying the expansion would bring the heavily traveled freeway to the school’s property line.

Houston Independent School District board member Rhonda Skillern-Jones said the delay would allow more time for studies to be completed to address concerns on adverse impacts to low-income communities and students who would lose their homes as part of the project.

“Limiting the right of way would address all of these issues,” Skillern-Jones said. “There’s no harm in delaying.”

The groups asked that the vote be postponed until 2020.

If the project goes through, it will take over 15 years to complete and will cost around $7 billion.

About the Authors:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.