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Elevate I-10? Heights area homeowners concerned about latest TxDOT proposal near White Oak Bayou

The $347 million project would raise the I-10 main lanes between I-45 and Heights Boulevard in an effort to eliminate flooding risk on the freeway.

HOUSTON — A Texas Department of Transportation plan to elevate I-10 near White Oak Bayou is fueling growing concerns among neighbors who said the plan for a higher freeway will cause even bigger noises and drainage problems.

"When you do one thing, you impact everything," President of the Woodlands Heights Civic Association Alaina Hebert said.

Hebert and other Heights-area homeowners are bracing for the impact as TxDOT unveiled its plan to make major changes to I-10 between Heights Boulevard and I-45. Hebert said the $347 million plan was first brought to neighbors' attention on July 26.

"It's a quality of life issue," Hebert said. "People will leave our neighborhood, for sure."

Neighbors told KHOU 11 News the major project caught them completely off guard. Changes would be significant. I-10 between Taylor Street and I-45 would be raised to roughly the same height as the elevated HOV lane that goes into downtown Houston.

"Can you say that construction will not impact flooding in our neighborhood while it's going on? I don't believe that for a second," Hebert said.

TxDOT said the project is aimed at preventing flooding along a stretch of I-10 that was underwater during Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storms Imelda and Allison.

"I think it was four hours that I-10 was impassable," Hebert said.

Hebert said the project is a solution for a problem that's not really a problem. If anything, they fear it will make existing issues worse.

"At night you can hear I-10 ... sounds like a raceway, people going outrageous speeds," Hebert said. "Now it plans to elevate 30 feet in the air, now that sound I don't even know what it is going to do. Double the echo."

Neighbors also want to learn more about what impact and long-term changes this freeway lift will have on the popular trails and green space along the bayou and I-10.

"If it's happening, we want to be at the table," Hebert said. "Hopefully, they will listen to us and work with us."

TxDOT will conduct an environmental impact assessment in 2023. If that goes well, construction is set to begin in the summer of 2024. For now, the public can still chime in on the project through Sept. 9.

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