Price tag for I-45 rebuild in Houston now at $9 billion

Officials have now confirmed that rebuilding aging Interstate 45, including stretches through downtown Houston, will now cost more than $9 billion.

Photo: TxDOT

Recent increases in cost estimates come to more than $477 million, most of which will be needed for massive changes to intersections in the downtown area.

Another $274 million would cover the cost of delays the project has faced. Rebuilding the freeway has divided elected officials, local leaders, environmental advocates, and community groups.

The Texas Department of Transportation has been planning the rebuild from downtown north to Beltway 8 for almost 20 years. Main lanes would be updated and two managed lanes in each direction would be added. Numerous freeway interchanges would also be reconstructed.

Downtown, I-45 would be rerouted to follow Interstate 69 and Interstate 10 near the central business district. And more than 12 miles will be rerouted through dozens of neighborhoods.

Opponents of the project say it doesn't do enough to promote safety or reduce solo automobile trips and, instead, encourages more commuting and increases disruption in neighborhoods along the route. Federal officials are trying to determine how the project might affect low-income and minority communities. They say their review is “making progress” but have offered no estimate of when it might conclude. Consequently, area planners may need to reschedule parts of the construction to 2027 or later.

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