Managed HOV lanes have been added to a 12-mi segment of IH-10. The job required construction of tolling-zone structures with cast-in-place observation booths; installation of fiber-optic cables and all electronic equipment; and installation of guide signs to operate the managed lanes in the middle of the interstate.

IH-10 Managed Lanes, Houston
Photo: Jesse Perez

The work allows the lanes to function as variable-price toll lanes all the time and as dedicated HOV lanes during peak hours.

The addition of managed toll lanes makes the project unique. It is the first multilane electronic-managed tollway in the nation that operates within the right-of-way of an interstate highway, providing multiple entrance and exit locations to drivers. The new managed toll lanes replaced the contra-flow METRO-operated HOV lane, formerly located in the center of IH-10.

Traditionally, HOV lanes are available only to those vehicles having the required number of passengers, which means that valuable roadway capacity often goes unused. Managed lanes maximize the unused capacity by making the roadway available to all vehicles.

AECOM performed construction management and field observation/inspection services, as well as field-inspection coordination and testing-coordination services for this segment of IH-10.

The project was constructed in the middle of one of Houston’s busiest highways. During construction, special care was taken to avoid major disruption to commuters as well as provide the safest workplace for the project team. A majority of the construction occurred during off-peak hours and nighttime hours when traffic was the lightest. Mainlanes were re-routed during off-peak hours for the construction of the toll plaza structures and toll booths.

While the construction was in progress, designs for two components were changed, necessitating changes in the field during construction. The first was a redesign of the toll plaza booths. Originally designed as prefabricated structures, the contractor was concerned about the time required to construct offsite and the fitting of the booths in the toll plaza structures once they were delivered. The design was changed to construction-in-place, so the toll booths were built at the same time as the rest of the toll plaza structures.

Key Players

Submitted by: AECOM
Owner: Harris County Toll Road Authority, Houston
Construction manager and design engineer: AECOM, Houston
General contractors: Jerdon Construction Co., Stafford; and Florida Traffic Control Devices Inc., Pearland