HCTRA Sam Houston Tollway
Location: Houston, TX
Year Completed: 2011
The Main Lane Plaza structure is purposefully iconic to announce at a distance, by day or night, the toll monitoring gateway. Although identifiable, it is visually open and transparent so as not to suggest that drivers need to stop or slow down at its crossing. Sculptural concrete buttresses support an arched weave of thin tension and compression steel members to clear span the wide roadway section. Suspended from the arched section is a floating horizontal plane, that suggests an outdoor room, comprised of a grid support system for the monitoring cameras and E-Z Tag readers.
The structure uses recycled content steel in an efficient load transfer structure that conserves material use. Fluorescent and LED lights are used in lieu of HID sources to conserve energy use and significantly increase lamp life. The graceful complementary structures at the Exit Toll Plazas complete the toll road
“All of us were drawn to it because architects get to do so little with infrastructure, and this makes a really kind of monumental presence and gives this tollway an identity …”
James Russell | FAIA
AIA Texas Society of Architects Design Award