Toll lanes on Beltway 8 in Harris County to remain closed indefinitely?

Traffic Jams are routine on the city’s westside at Locations Where Lanes are Closed

HOUSTON – “It’s been a long a** time since it’s been open,” said Anthony Mize regarding the closed toll lanes along Houston’s westside on Beltway 8.

He is not the only Houstonian criticizing the Harris County Toll Road Authority. There have been others reaching out to KPRC 2 Investigates in recent years about lanes that have been closed since the pandemic.

“What’s the point of them if they’re not going to be open?” asked Kimberly Aguilar.

Houstonians want answers as to why these toll lanes remain closed because they not only clog up traffic at various points throughout the day, but also because drivers pay for them.

In May 2022, when KPRC 2 Investigates asked Roberto Treviño, HCTRA’s Executive Director, about the status of the tolls, he quickly responded.

“We are going to phase it in over the next 36 months,” said Treviño at the time.

However, since that report, Treviño, who recently became one of Harris County’s highest-paid employees, has not been made available to answer any of the questions that many Houstonians have been asking.

Instead his Assistant Director of Communications, Roxy Sibrian, recently met with us and revealed that the tolls will take more time than what was told to us in 2022.

“It’s going to be in 2028 so four years from now.” Sibrian also added, “The plazas will be a priority throughout the project.”

According to HCTRA, that means a total of nearly 8 years to reconfigure and reopen the publicly funded toll lanes along the Beltway. Remember, it took Houston only six years to put a man on the moon and that was over 50 years ago.

Another key aspect to keep in mind is the fact that the total price tag remains uncertain as HCTRA was unable to provide us with numbers

In 2022, Treviño informed KPRC 2 Investigates of a $19 million study that was ordered to help produce some designs and concepts.

However, nearly two years later? “I’m not certain.. on.. the.. where we are at in the process,” said Sibrian.

Email from HCTRA (KPRC 2)

KPRC 2 Investigates was told one week ago following our interview, “We are working on gathering items from our conversation: Concepts, timeline, project cost,” said Sibrian in an email.

We also asked sent an email reminding her about discussion for an interview with Treviño at some point in the future.

HCTRA has yet to get back to us.

About the Author:

Journalistic bulldog focused on accountability and how government is spending your dollars. Husband to Wonder Woman, father to a pitcher and two Cavapoos. Prefers queso over salsa.