MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TX – Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack has been working with engineering firm WSB on preliminary redesign plans of Interstate 45 in order to improve traffic flow along the highly congested stretch between Rayford/Sawdust and the Grand Parkway.
The concept received unanimous support from Montgomery County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, May 23, with the court authorizing funding to begin a preliminary design of improvements on Interstate 45 at the Hardy Toll Road. The proposed project would revise the northbound and south ramps on I-45 to reduce congestion resulting from vehicles weaving to and from the Hardy Toll Road, which conflict with vehicles weaving to and from Rayford/Sawdust. The proposed ramp concept would elevate the Hardy Toll Road entrance and exit ramps over the Rayford/Sawdust ramps, which would improve safety and reduce delays on I-45.
“There is not a roadway that brings in more people and commerce into Montgomery County than Interstate 45,” Commissioner Noack said. “However, there is a choke point in South Montgomery County that creates a massive mess on main lanes and the frontage roads.”
Through TxDOT’s high-level planning study over the past five years of I-45 North along a 25-mile stretch between Belway 8 in Houston and South Loop 336 in Conroe, it was determined that the single-most congested stretch is between the Hardy Toll Road and Woodlands Parkway, according to WSB. The ramp changes at Hardy Toll Road were identified as critical improvements as part of the study.
Data from 2017 showed 250,000 vehicles per day travel that stretch, with an estimated 370,000 vehicles per day by 2045, putting it on par with any of the most congested freeways in Houston, according to WSB.
There are too many ramps too close together, and the proposed collector-distributor plan concept would greatly improve traffic flow. TxDOT, which has expressed interest in this as a high priority, is participating in the project to perform a detailed traffic analysis and design visualization of the proposed ramp changes.
The segment of I-45 between SH 99 and Woodlands Parkway in Montgomery county is the most congested segment of I-45 north of downtown Houston and currently carries over 270,000 vehicles per day.
Press Release from Pct. 3 Commissioner’s Office