According to his report, TxDOT has plans that have already been approved to add to and modify the existing roads feeding I-10. Presumably this means to connect the Washington and TC Jester feeds and/or the Shepherd/Durham feed to the Yale/Heights feed using a series of new roads and bridges.
I-10 is continuously under construction of some kind, so the idea of traffic and delays is not the major issue. It is the possibility of flooding in the 100 year floodway - and the Heights.
Currently, the last resort flood area when the bayou crests its banks is I-10. Under TxDOT's model, the roadways would be spared flooding. But, if that is the case, where would the water go? Many Heights residents are fearful that if the water can't flow South, it will flow North - into the neighborhoods.
According to the report, the law stipulates that road construction cannot take place in the 100 year floodway, but that an exception can be made if the designs include a plan for the flood waters. TxDOT apparently has plans for two large retention ponds to handle the spill. But, the funds for the drainage are not a part of the funds for the road project and naysayers argue that the pond construction could be years behind the roadways. Leaving the Heights at risk.
As a Heights resident myself, I have to wonder if it is really even necessary to construct new feeder roads?
It is true that navigating in and out of the Heights takes some getting used to for new residents, but isn't that part of the charm? Isn't that a bit of the small town feel that we have such an affinity for? Why change it?
Sure heading west on I-10 from Yale requires a U-turn at Studewood and an extra half mile of driving, but is it really such a huge hassle that TxDOT should spend millions erecting bridges to "fix" it?
I wager that most Heights residents would say no. And I am not alone. Perhaps longtime resident Mary Ann Marucci says it best in her quote from the khou.com piece. "It is just one of those things about the Heights. That's the way it is and that is OK. It's never been a problem."
I agree. In fact, I rather like the closed off nature of our neighborhood. It adds to the quieter, slower pace that I have grown to love.
Besides, is it really worth the risk of flooding homes to better the flow of traffic? I, for one, don't think so.
Note: TxDOT is holding a public meeting for residents to present their views on the construction. The meeting will be held Wednesday, January 6 at 6:30 PM. The location is Stevenson Elementary at 5410 Cornish. Please attend to voice your concerns.