Walker County residents can expect more construction on Interstate 45 in the coming year.
The next segment of construction is set to begin in 2021, according to Huntsville City Manager Aron Kulhavy. Segment 2A will begin where the first phase stops, which is near the Highway 19 overpass. It would widen I-45 to six lanes, take the project through Huntsville and end by Home Depot. The segment is projected to be completed in three to four years.
Segment 2B is set to begin two years after segment 2A. This segment will pick up at the Home Depot and take the construction north to FM 1696. Segments 2A and 2B combined are estimated to be just under half a billion dollars.
“The state is paying for all of the projects so it’s nothing the city has to cover the cost of,” Kulhavy said.
The construction will have a temporary effect on the people of Huntsville and commuters of I-45. Some businesses will be impacted on the east side of the freeway as they will lose some property as a part of the widening project.
“The greatest impact will be to traffic trying to cross the interstate,” Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Bob Colwell said. “During construction, there will be a time when FM 1374 (Montgomery Road) will have reduced lanes and utilize two newly constructed U-turn bridges in order to construct a new bridge in the same location as the current bridge. The Smither overpass will need to be completely closed in order to construct three bridges in its place.”
The current exit and entrance ramps will be closed during various intervals, but during construction all routes will be signed, and press releases will be in place so citizens can know what to expect.
“Most lane closures will occur at night, and should a hurricane evacuation become necessary, contra-flow would start at the southern end of the project similar to the current plan in place,” Colwell said.
The expansion of I-45 will result in greater mobility and connectivity between Houston and Dallas. TxDOT’s consultant designers have been tasked with providing traffic lanes and shoulders throughout construction in the Huntsville city limits.