Houston’s biggest road projects: The Gulf Freeway expansion

I-45 Gulf Freeway Expansion

HOUSTON – Road construction has been a problem on the Gulf Freeway for years. A newly-expanded stretch of freeway between the Sam Houston Tolloway (Beltway 8) and NASA-1 shows the fruits of the hard labor so far. Now, the construction extends to the stretch of road running through Galveston county.

The Texas Department of Transportation is proceeding with its planned expansion of the Gulf Freeway from NASA-1 through Galveston County. This project will be completed in multiple staggered segments that will each be completed sometime within the next several years.

IH-45 (Gulf Freeway) Expansion in Galveston County

As with every other freeway expansion in the Greater Houston area, this project is intended to keep up with the ever-expanding population and the growing strain on our current infrastructure that comes along with it.

Here are the various segments broken down:

  • Segment 1: A short, one mile stretch of road in Harris County between NASA-1 and the Galveston County line. The freeway will be expanded to 10 main lanes (five each way), two HOV lanes and two three-lane frontage roads. It will be complete by the summer of 2022.
  • Segment 2: A 3.4 mile segment that extends from FM 518 (Main Street) near the Houston-Galveston County line south to FM 517. The finished project will include eight main lanes (four each way) flanked by two two-lane frontage roads. Construction is ongoing and will be complete in the summer of 2021.
  • Segment 3: A five mile segment that picks up where segment 2 ends. It runs from FM 517 south to FM 1764. As with segment 2, the freeway here will be expanded to eight main lanes and two two-lane frontage roads. Construction on this segment will be complete by late 2022.
  • Segment 4: A 3.4 mile segment from FM 1764 to FM 519. This segment of the project also includes lane expansions and feeder roads. Construction is planned to be complete by 2023.
  • Segment 5: A 3.2 mile segment from FM 519 to Texas City Wye in Bayou Vista (where Highway 6, Highway 146 and Highway 197 connect with the Gulf Freeway). The freeway will be widened and new direct connectors between the freeway and Texas City Wye will be built. Completion of this particular segment is “To Be Determined”.

The total price of this freeway expansion through Galveston County is expected to be over $700 million.

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