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Key Messages

About the North Houston Highway Improvement Project

The North Houston Highway Improvement Project is the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT’s) planned rebuilding of Interstate 45 from Houston’s Midtown to the North Sam Houston Tollway, commonly known as Beltway 8. The project will enhance transportation infrastructure by connecting sections of freeways, improving traffic flow and safety, reconnecting Downtown and adjacent neighborhoods, and stitching neighborhoods back together that had been separated.

Addressing Critical Infrastructure Needs

The highway must be rebuilt due to safety concerns, outdated infrastructure, and increased transportation demands. With Houston's booming population1 and the region's vital role in national commerce, we cannot afford to neglect critical infrastructure to support our economy and ensure resilience against severe weather. Rebuilding our highways will enable us to enhance stormwater management, improve evacuation routes, and strengthen our region's infrastructure for the future.

Improving Downtown Traffic and Connectivity

TxDOT calls the section of highway around Downtown “Segment 3.” Rebuilding Segment 3 will improve highways and city streets around Downtown, including Interstate 45, Interstate 10, Interstate 69, and State Highway 288. These changes will improve traffic flow and safety and reconnect Downtown to neighborhoods that had been cut off from the core of our city. A few of the changes include trenching I-69; redesigning signature bridges over Elgin, Tuam, and McGowan; and improving connectivity between Downtown, East Downtown, and Midtown for people using all modes of transportation.

Catalyzing Urban Development and Sustainability

Rebuilding the highway will offer a variety of benefits for Houston, including addressing flooding while improving drainage systems. Rebuilding and realigning highways can also serve as a catalyst for more sustainable, resilient urban development.

Rebuilding the highway will pave the way for a new era of connectivity, accessibility, and quality of life with potential projects like a 30-acre cap park connecting Downtown’s convention district to East Downtown. Additional public benefits include new trails, parks, and community spaces.

Phase Construction for Minimal Disruption 

This transformational journey won't happen overnight; construction will progress in manageable phases over several years to minimize disruption to daily life.

Why is this important?

Because the flow of people and commerce into the heart of our region is a priority. Although Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods will feel the effects of construction, the phased approach ensures that Downtown will remain accessible.

Ensuring Downtown Accessibility and Support 

Downtown Houston will remain accessible and welcoming to residents, visitors, workers, and entrepreneurs throughout construction. We recognize the concerns and challenges posed by construction and are committed to minimizing disruptions. Downtown Houston+ offers resources to help businesses thrive, visitors explore, and residents navigate changes during each phase of transformation.

Addressing Concerns and Misconceptions 

Concerns about the impact of construction are expected, and it's essential to seek reliable resources and to recognize long-term benefits and opportunities that rebuilding the highway will bring to Downtown Houston. Downtown Houston+ encourages open dialogue and transparency to address concerns and provide accurate information to Downtown residents, visitors, workers, and businesses.

Additional Resources

Coming Soon! Traffic Updates and Alerts

  • Real-time traffic updates and alerts for impacted areas
  • Downtown alternative routes and detour information
  • TxDOT's official traffic management website

Project Updates and News 

Downtown Transit and Alternative Transportation

Text Updates
Use the form below to receive SMS updates about the North Houston Highway Improvement Project

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP)?
A: Led by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), The North Houston Highway Improvement Project is a planned realignment and reconstruction of Interstate 45 from Houston's Midtown to the North Sam Houston Tollway, commonly known as Beltway 8.

Q: How will the NHHIP benefit Downtown Houston and surrounding areas?
A: Segment 3 of the highway reconstruction involves enhancements to highways within and around Downtown, including I-45, I-10, I-69, and State Highway 288, as well as many city streets. These changes will improve traffic flow and safety and reconnect Downtown to neighborhoods that had been cut off from the core of our city. Changes include: trenching I-69; redesigning signature bridges over Elgin, Tuam, and McGowan; and improving connectivity between Downtown and Midtown for people using all modes of transportation.

Q: Will construction happen all at once?
A: No, the construction of Segment 3 will be carefully phased over several years to minimize disruption to daily life and to keep access to and from Downtown and surrounding areas always open. And even though it’s named “segment 3,” it is the first section of the highway to be rebuilt.

Q: What specific improvements are planned for Interstate 45?
A: Major improvements are coming to Interstate 45, including modernizing interchanges, improving storm water management, upgrading safety features, and integrating smart traffic management systems. These enhancements will improve traffic flow, mitigate flooding risks, enhance safety, and accommodate future growth in Houston.

Q: How will rebuilding the highway address flooding and drainage?
A: The highway reconstruction includes upgrading stormwater management and drainage systems. These measures will help mitigate flooding risks, enhance resilience against severe weather events, and contribute to improved environmental quality in the region. This highway also is a key evacuation route to move people out of harm’s way during hurricanes.

Q: What alternative transportation options will be available during construction phases?
A: We strongly encourage transit and ride-sharing, services, carpooling, walking, and biking to minimize traffic congestion. Downtown Houston+ provides detailed information on transit services, biking options, and more to support sustainable commuting.

Q: How will highway construction improve pedestrian and cyclist accessibility in Downtown Houston?
A:
Rebuilding the highway will improve pedestrian and cyclist accessibility by incorporating dedicated paths, crosswalk enhancements, and safer intersections along affected highway corridors. These improvements aim to create a more walkable and bike-friendly urban environment.

Q: What considerations are being made to minimize environmental impact during construction and beyond?
A: Environmental considerations are integral to this highway’s design and construction. The project includes measures to promote green infrastructure and incorporate sustainable construction practices to mitigate long-term environmental impact.

Q: What economic opportunities will rebuilding the highway create for local businesses and communities?
A: The project is expected to stimulate economic development by improving transportation access and connectivity. Despite construction challenges, the project will attract new businesses and enhance downtown's appeal as a dynamic urban hub.

Q: How can local businesses and residents stay informed about construction progress and updates related to rebuilding the highway?
A
: Downtown Houston+ will offer timely updates on construction progress, traffic advisories, and alternative transportation options through various communication channels. Stay informed by visiting downtownhouston.org for real-time updates, transit schedules, and resources to navigate construction-related changes.

1 Harris County, Ft. Bend, Montgomery, Liberty, and Chambers counties were among the nation's leading counties for population growth in 2023. Source: Census.gov