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I-69 Southwest Freeway HOV ramps closed at Westpark for major project

HOUSTON – The 610 West Loop at I-59/I-69 is one of the busiest interchanges in town and things are about to look even more congested for Galleria-area commuters, starting this weekend. 

A 5- to 6-year construction project is already gearing up. Utility work is being done in the area now. Starting at 9 p.m. Friday the HOV entrance and exit ramps at Westpark just under the interchange will remain closed for the duration of the construction project. 

Drivers can access the Southwest Freeway HOV just east of the 610 West Loop/I-69 interchange at Edloe. You will also be able to exit the I-69 Southwest Freeway HOV at Edloe. 

VIDEO: 610-59 Construction Phase One Map

As far as mainlane closures in the area, that won't take place until the later part of 2018 according to the Texas Department of Transportation. 

When lanes do begin to close, you'll notice the roadwork happening in phases and will include night time and weekend road closures. The project has incentives and disincentives to encourage the contractor to complete various phases sooner than anticipated. So, hopefully things will run ahead of schedule. Fingers crossed.

READ: Things to know about 610/59 construction project

The $259 million project will improve safety and mobility while reducing congestion by widening the connector ramps to two lanes, increasing sight distances, and providing remedies to eliminate weaving. The project also calls for adding shoulders on the 610 West Loop mainlane bridge over I-69 and adding detention ponds. 

But buckle up, the ride is about to get pretty rough for one of hottest spots in town. 

DOCUMENT: Project fact sheet for I-610, U.S. 59 interchange

Here are some things to know about the project:

Estimated cost: $300 million

Estimated time to complete project: 5 years

When will work start?

  • Utilities work has already started; construction and detour and lane closure activities begin December 2017.

The project includes:

  • Reconstructing one-lane connectors to two-lane connectors
  • Upgrading interchange to current design standards
  • Adding shoulders on I-610 West main lane bridge
  • Increasing vertical clearances
  • Increasing sight distances
  • Adding detention ponds
  • Eliminating major weaving

The purpose of the project is to improve safety and mobility and reduce congestion.

The project also addresses several needs including one-lane direct connectors are over capacity; projected growth would increase demand; and there are no shoulders, low vertical clearances, below minimum sight distances, and crashes in merge areas.

I-610 West and I-69 South are heavily congested during peak hours (I-610 West Loop is ranked as the #2 Most Congested Highway in Texas).

Initial Construction Process

Phase 0:

  • Utility relocations: Late 2017 – Summer 2018

Phase 1:

  • Key projects: Summer 2018 – Summer 2019
  • Sound walls along I-610 SB and I-69 SB Freeway
  • High Mast Lights
  • Portions of I-69 NB to I-610 NB I-69 SB to I-610 SB, I-69 SB to I-610 NB and I-610 Main lanes
  • Close And Reconstruct I-610 Exit Ramp To Fournace
  • I-610 Widening
  • Storm Sewer Work – I-69 NB main lanes and South Rice Ave
  • Construct SB Post Oak Blvd

What to know about the construction schedule:

  • Seven-day standard construction work week
  • Minimized direct connector closures
  • Minimized lane closures
  • Smart Work Zones
  • Night time freeway closures