We Now Begin up to 8 Years of Construction on the West Loop—Southwest Fwy. Interchange

Here’s evidence that the scheduled reconstruction of the entire West Loop—I-69 interchange just southeast of the Galleria is about to begin. “Crews have been ripping out trees and other vegetation,” reports reader and 610 traveler John Greiner: “Much more than could be argued for improving traffic sight lines.”

These pics show the scene:


All main lanes of I-610 and all of the West Loop’s connections to I-69 (aka Hwy. 59) are scheduled to be rebuilt in the $258.8 million project. The winning bid proposal, by Williams Brothers Construction, provides for 2,030 working days — just under 8 years.

Photos: John Greiner

Foliage First

23 Comment

  • I recall an incident there back in the 70’s when a chemical truck overturned and the vapors killed all the trees around the interchange. http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/1976-7443377.php Anyhow, sucks to be a tree near a freeway in Houston – their average lifespan is quite limited.

    I would normally lament the impending 8 years of disastrous traffic at the interchange, but then I realize that it’s already terrible and can’t really get any worse – so meh.

  • Superdave: “it’s already terrible and can’t really get any worse – so meh.”

    Houston Traffic: “Hold my beer…”

  • I’m getting my prediction in now… We will survive 8 year of construction. Somehow, the finished product will end up with fewer lanes than before.

  • @WR: Ha! Good one buddy

  • Seems like yesterday that this interchange was remodeled.

  • And this isn’t really going to relieve traffic either. After 8 years it will be just as bad as today just on a wider or more dedicated ramp.

  • The ramp reconstruction is to aid in the worst part of the current interchange: horrible traffic merging.

    Reducing the number of decisions a drive needs to make and cross lane merges which causes accidents will be an improvement.

    This isn’t about traffic reduction. It’s traffic maintenance.

    The 8 year time frame is because the interchange needs to be fully operational at the current level of service while construction occurs. I picture a lot of weekends where segments are closed to speed construction.

  • The 59 to 610 northbound interchange has to be one of the worst designed interchanges I’ve ever experienced. As soon as you get to 610, you are forced to change lanes into other merging traffic to avoid exiting. This causes massive backups on 59, which in turn causes accidents as people try to cut in on the long line of exiting cars. Glad they are finally doing something about it, as painful as it will be.

  • I have to agree with Mitchell’s comment: after an 8-year slog, the traffic congestion will have lapped any improvement designed today.
    And, this will overwhelm any “traffic maintenance” plan currently envisioned. Sad to say but this is an endless cycle of gridlock, construction, and then gridlock – unless sensible mass transit happens. Though, I can just opt to not visit any businesses near the West Loop, which is a solution in its own right.

  • I noticed the vegetation cut back last week and thought it a huge improvement. Not that I hate trees, but this interchange looked so overgrown and unkempt. Looks much better now and the sight lines are much improved.

  • Didn’t we already do this a few years ago? Jiminy.

  • Eight more years, after a 10 year break. Well done Texas.
    I wonder long building commuter rail from Rosenburg to Downtown would have taken?

  • Start double decking the roadways !!!

  • @ Wolf Brand Chili: You are assuming that Houston’s growth engine keeps on chugging along, and also that there isn’t some kind of mass adoption of disruptive technology…like driverless cars, ridesharing, and electric vehicles. Those three factors in unison, affecting Houston both functionally and economically, possibly obviate the need for this project.

  • Planned obsolescence !!!! 8 years. What a nightmare. The g-dam TxDot ass wipes drag these projects out forever. They NEED to build public work’s projects around the clock ,weather permitting ! That would speed things up. Once again , the slow ass government ruins everything !!! I hate bureaucrats !!!

  • @kjb, good point. Freeway developments are not for the sole purpose of reducing traffic and FYI, no modern city will ever be able to actually reduce traffic. If they do, then I can guarantee you it’s because of reasons that will make you no longer want to live there.
    The 59/610 interchange has to be the most dangerous intersection in all of Houston and certainly needs to be fixed without delay.

  • @GlenW, and what percentage of Houstonians actually work in the downtown corridor?
    How would Rosenberg/Sugarland residents even begin to be able to afford to build a commuter rail? – because it isn’t Houston’s issue. She’s got far more important things to deal with.
    Reducing suburban traffic should not be a primary focus for the city of Houston.

  • You guys do know that those working days account for 2 shifts a day, bringing down the total construction time to 4 year. 8 years is fake news

  • Isn’t this where the Jeff Alm incident occurred?

  • @joel
    You say:
    “How would Rosenberg/Sugarland residents even begin to be able to afford to build a commuter rail? – because it isn’t Houston’s issue.”

    But it really is. They drive their cars on Houston’s streets, clog up the roads, and cause wear and tear. It wouldn’t be Houston’s issue if we charged them a fee to drive in. Now that would be beautiful.

  • 610 with the two (or three?) planned projects. 1) Dedicated bus lane 2) Elevated express lanes 3) Southwest Freeway interchange.
    610 is the new 290. Great..

  • TC- yes. The ramp from 610 South to 59 North.