Segment 3
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Segment 3

Key information

Segment 3 of the I-45 North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) would reconstruct all existing interchanges in the downtown Houston loop system and reroute I-45 to be parallel to I-10 on the north side of downtown and parallel to US 59/I-69 on the east side of downtown. Access to the west side of downtown would be provided by a set of “Downtown Connectors” that would consist of entrance and exit ramps for various downtown streets. The existing elevated I-45 roadway along the west and south sides of Downtown would no longer serve a transportation function and could be removed. To improve safety and traffic flow in the north and east portions of Segment 3, portions of I-10 and US 59/I-69 would be straightened to eliminate the current roadway curvature.

Segment 3 would provide enhancements beyond mobility improvements. Its construction would provide flood mitigation by adding capacity through the construction of new drainage systems, and improve connectivity on both the west and east sides of Downtown Houston. Work in this segment could also provide green space and beautification opportunities as well.

Project funding

Construction phasing

Segment 3 history

  • The NHHIP Segment 3 project will ultimately reconstruct portions of I-10, I-45, I-69, and SH 288 around downtown Houston
  • Segment 3, excluding 3A, was originally planned to be Design-Build (DB). Now, Segment 3B, 3A, and various other portions of Segment 3 will be constructed as traditional Design-Bid-Build (DBB) projects, in which design plans are developed prior to construction contractors providing bids.
  • TxDOT studied elevated lanes, depressed lanes, underground tunnels, and combinations of all three. The only alternative that had a significant and positive impact was to depress US 59/ I-69 between Commerce St and Spur 527, and shift I-45 from the current alignment along Pierce Elevated and make it parallel with I-10 on the north side of Downtown and US 59/I-69 on the west side of Downtown.

Segment 3D (GRB Deck)

Not just a park... but a place

  • Lowering the highway near the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB) effectively separates Downtown-bound traffic from through traffic. This strategic adjustment significantly diminishes the need for drivers to navigate complex lane changes, streamlining their journeys. Beyond mere functionality, the lowered freeway introduces the concept of a fourth structural cap and opportunity to realize the "Art of The Possible." It doesn't merely offer the potential for another park on the deck but envisions a transformative space where the community can thrive—providing an iconic destination for work, play, and celebrations.
  • TxDOT is committed to funding the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the critical infrastructure. In a collaborative effort, TxDOT will engage with third parties to incorporate amenities into the caps, enhancing the overall experience. However, the realization of this destination place necessitates a combination of public and private funding.

Segment 3C3 proposed changes

FEIS approved

Proposed changes*

Segment 3C2 proposed changes

FEIS approved

Proposed changes*

  1. Extend North San Jacinto St. to connect with Naylor and Providence streets along the new I-10 alignment.
    • Response to community request
  2. Make Naylor St. into a two-way from North Main St. to North San Jacinto St., and tie Naylor St. in with Providence St.

  3. Extend Naylor St. west of North Main St. so it ties into the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) parking.

  4. Provide parking opportunities under roadway bridges to mitigate impacts to UHD parking.

  5. Build a new detention pond.

  6. All roadways in the area will pass over existing railroad tracks to avoid raising and realigning tracks.
    • In coordination with Union Pacific Railroad
  7. Add shared use path added along west side of White Oak Bayou.

  8. Build I-10 eastbound exit to Gregg St. under the I-69 northbound to I-10 eastbound direct connector.
    • Response to community request
  9. Extend I-10 westbound frontage road from Meadow St. to Jensen Dr.
    • Response to community request
  10. Build connection from Nance St. east to Rothwell St., providing access to Jensen Dr.
    • Response to community request

Segment 3C and 3D proposed footprint reduction areas*

I-10 Eastbound Frontage Road

These proposed design changes would eliminate or reduce the roadway footprint along I-10 eastbound frontage road west of I-69, and west of Downtown near one set of the proposed downtown connectors.

Downtown connectors at Walker street

TxDOT continues to look for opportunities to reduce the footprint as final design progresses.

* NEPA reevaluations will be performed as needed when proposed changes deviate from the FEIS


Buffalo Bayou

  • TxDOT is providing $20M of funding in support of the City of Houston North Canal Project that reduces flooding risk
  • South Canal to be built in the NHHIP
  • Area shown in yellow is anticipated to no longer flood in a 100-year flood event


  •  Green areas shown are anticipated to experience less ponding during rain events

Segment 3 - 3D schematics visualization

(Video Transcript)

Segment 3

This visualization shows the proposed improvements to the downtown Houston loop system, which includes improvements to I-45, I-10, I-69 and State Highway 288. It begins along I-69 near Montrose Boulevard where it would be widened from eight lanes total to 10 or 12 lanes. An area of I-69 between Main and Caroline streets is proposed to be depressed. The structural cap on top could be developed by parties other than TxDOT into a public space.  

The visualization continues along I-69 northbound until the roadway meets with State Highway 288. Continuing northbound, cross streets such as Elgin, Tuam and McGowen would still cross over I-69 and SH 288, but the bridges would be redesigned and look similar to the I-69 cross street bridges in the Montrose area.  

Continuing north along I-69’s route, direct connectors will provide access between Downtown and Midtown and I-45. The Pierce Elevated route will be abandoned and instead  I-45 will run parallel with  

I-69 through the east side of Downtown. An area of I-45 and I-69 between Lamar and Franklin streets is proposed to be depressed. The structural cap on top could be developed by parties other than TxDOT into a public space.  

I-69’s route moves northeast away from Downtown, toward the I-10 interchange. Here the video moves from eastbound to westbound, showing how I-45 changes course and begins to run parallel to I-10. I-45 would be elevated, with I-10 below. I-10 will also have two express lanes in the middle which will allow motorists to move through the Downtown area without mixing with exiting and entering traffic. 

Continuing westbound, the Downtown Connectors appear, with an exit to them coming from I-10 and an entrance from them going to I-10. These connectors to and from Downtown would be built in the area where the I-45 Pierce Elevated is now. Since I-45’s configuration would change, the Pierce Elevated would no longer be needed. The connectors will provide Downtown exits to McKinney and Jefferson streets. Entrances to the connectors will be available from Walker Street, Allen Parkway and Pease Street.

Segment 3 schematics