After several meetings with East End residents, civic leaders, elected officials and extensive discussions with environmental professionals on the subject of the Hughes Street overpass/underpass, the Houston METRO Board of Directors voted in favor of an overpass.
"I think it's important that we never lose sight of our fiduciary duty and we represent everyone and everything within the service area," said METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia. "We've got to complete the line. That is the best thing we can do for this community, complete the line and get out of the way."
The Houston METRO Board will move forward with the option that will take light rail and vehicular traffic, plus sidewalks over Hughes Street. The option also provides a lane for vehicular traffic and pedestrian sidewalks at street level. Preliminary costs are estimated between $35-$43 million with an estimated 31 months to complete.
The underpass option would have cost $52-$68 million and take approximately 42 months to complete. That does not include the costs of environmental clean up outside of the project area.
The light-rail only option would cost $27-$37 million and take approximately 28 months to complete. Next steps include working with the city of Houston to try to expedite the construction process.
The Green Line's tracks have been undergoing testing and the majority of the line, from downtown to Altic, is expected to open this fall.
"We want to work to move this forward as fast as possible," said Garcia.