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Underground: Freeway remodel could bury part of Southwest Fwy

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — By now, you’ve probably heard about the plans to send a portion of I-45 underground in downtown Houston. What you may not know, the same $7 billion project would also send the Southwest Freeway underground going into downtown.

The Pitroom off Richmond sits just a few blocks away from the future construction site along the Southwest Freeway. Patrons there, although previously unaware of the plans, were quick to weigh in on the impact in the area.

“I think it’s just the way Houston is growing, it’s just going to be an endless ‘chasing our tail’ sort of thing,” driver Nathan Honsacker said.

TxDOT would send US-59 freeway lanes under surface streets like Main, Fannin, San Jacinto, and Caroline just east of Spur 527 going into downtown.

It’s part of a big freeway remodel that aims to speed up traffic in downtown by 20 miles per hour during peak times, according to TxDOT.
TxDOT also envisions a public greenspace to go over the underground portion of the freeway for the public to use, but funding for that would have to come from another source.

Project engineers came up with the design to accommodate the traffic needs of the year 2040.

Construction is not expected to begin until 2022. But this portion of the Southwest Freeway is slated to break ground first, before I-45 in downtown.

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