I-10 Replacement Bridge Design nearly complete

By David Taylor
Managing Editor

Highlands Chamber of Commerce members were happy to hear from TxDOT representatives concerning one new project and another that has yet to materialize but shows promise.

TxDOT Project Manager Stephan Gage was the main speaker discussing the I-10 East Planning and Environmental Linkages Study and the presentation ended with Project Manager Jeanne C. Javadi briefly answering questions concerning the I-10 at San Jacinto River Bridge Reconstruction project.

Most members’ interest was piqued by the more looming bridge contract since most are directly affected by the construction.

Javadi confirmed that the project is on schedule.

“We’re finishing up the schematic design and then it will go through a very formal process with the Federal Highway Administration,” she said on Friday.

The project is just over 4 miles long and begins at Magnolia Road and ends at Thompson Road and includes the Spur 330 exchange.

The funding has been secured and includes both state and federal funds.

Javadi said it will take the next couple of years to finalize the plans and secure the right-of-way they need.

“It’s not a lot,” she said, “just adjusting utilities and so on, but it does take time.”

She anticipated seeing contract letting by September of 2027.

Javadi estimated the project to cost taxpayers approximately $555 million.

It’s a project she said the district is focusing on.

“We’re putting a lot of effort into it,” she said. “It’s a priority project. When it was shut down because of the (barge) accident, we realized how vital it is.”

She also confirmed that it will be bid on one contract and not several, which can sometimes occur, and it will be a steel bridge.

“We will have three bridges essentially,” she described it. “We’ll build the south segment first, which will be eastbound, and then there will be a bridge in the middle for managed (HOV) lanes, two in each direction, and then the north bridge will be the westbound lanes. Between the eastbound and westbound will be a total of 11 lanes, and then the middle bridge will have two lanes each direction.”

According to the TxDOT website, the replacement I-10 bridge, while currently still in design, would tentatively consist of a steel girder bridge with a 52-foot vertical clearance and a 386-foot horizontal clearance.

Of concern to many area commuters is the barges that were freed during the hurricane, taking out the bridge with damage for months.

“We’re going to have a lot of protection. There’s going to be piers in front of the columns and little dolphins on the north side,” she said. The dolphins will act as a barrier, quay wall, or jetty.

Another concern with residents was the ongoing cleanup of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits area.

“We’ll be working at the same time but will cooperate with the EPA,” she said. “We have regular meetings with the EPA to coordinate with what we’re doing.”

LJA Engineers is working together with TxDOT on the project.

“They’re already very familiar with this area,” Javadi said.

Gage said public comment on the I-10 East Planning and Environmental Linkages Study ended on Friday for now, but the study was still a priority to finish by the end of the year. The study is currently in the 8th out of 13 steps.

Gage pointed out that congestion on the east side is only expected to increase with the accompanying growth occurring in the area. Projected traffic volumes are expected to increase exponentially particularly from downtown to the North Shore and Channelview corridor. Truck volumes, which fuel the local economy particularly coming out of the Port of Houston area, are expected to increase by 18 percent.

Gage also demonstrated 2045 traffic volumes along I-10E will increase by an average of 68 percent. In the North Shore and Channelview area, from the current 112,000 VPD (volume per day) to 216,000.

No plans have been made or funds expended, but the project manager said it was a blueprint for the future on what needs to be done and how to develop those plans.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.