The Houston District of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is currently holding public meetings in neighborhoods at four locations along the I-10 corridor.
These meetings are called “open house formats (no formal presentations)” and are meant to show the public areas under study, and to receive comments from persons interested in interacting with the planning process.
I-10 is under study because it carries a high volume of auto and commercial traffic, and this is expected to increase in the future due to activity and expansion in the petrochemical industry on the East side of Harris and Chambers County.
The study is known as a PEL (Planning and Environmental Linkages) study, required by the federal government. The purpose is to gather feedback during planning to inform the environmental review process, including the National Environmental Policy Act. The study encompasses I-10 East from I-69 near downtown Houston, to State Highway 99 (Grand Parkway) in Chambers County.
Public meetings were held last week, and this week, at Barbers Hill High School, Goose Creek Memorial High School, Channelview High School, and Mickey Leland College Prep Academy.
The format was to show large photos and maps of the highway, broken into sections, with drawings that indicated environmental concerns, and aerial photos displaying current road alignments and cross-sections. Forms were provided for public comments to be submitted.
For anyone missing the meeting but wanting to see the information, it is available at the TxDOT offices on Washington Avenue in Houston. It is also on the internet, at the following address: https:// www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/houston/houston-pel-i-10.html. The study would include the city areas of Houston; Jacinto City; Baytown; and Mont Belvieu.
At a high level, a PEL study:
– Identifies transportation issues
– Develops the need and purpose for proposed improvements
– Helps inform planning decisions through public feedback
– Streamlines the project delivery process for NEPA Identifies environmental constraints, issues and potential future projects PEL Timeline and Process
Following is a high-level timeline; ongoing agency and stakeholder involvement occurs throughout the entire PEL process.
Phase I: Spring 2017 – Summer 2018
– Conduct data collection Analyze existing conditions
– Determine corridor needs and concerns Identify vision for the corridor with community input
Phase II: Fall 2018 – Summer 2020
– Develop and screen conceptual ideas and alternatives that support the corridor vision
– Consider viable alternatives
– Present PEL findings
After the PEL study process, the NEPA process will then be initiated and additional public involvement will be required and planned.
The whole planning, environmental review, engineering, and construction for the work is expected to take at least 10 years.