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Highway 59 headache begins for Kingwood, New Caney commuters

59/69 SB mainlanes to close due to damaged bridge

HOUSTON – During Hurricane Harvey, the main channel of the San Jacinto River shifted, impacting the I-69 southbound main lane bridge over the river. As a result, the depth of the river increased and affected the foundation of the bridge.

Although capable of carrying typical traffic, the southbound bridge does not have the capability of carrying extremely heavy loads, which have been diverted to the frontage road.

To restore the load capacity of the southbound bridge, a project to replace part of the bridge will begin in March. Currently, some preliminary work has begun under the bridge.

All southbound lanes of Highway 59 from FM 1314 to FM 1960 will be closed from 2 a.m. Saturday through 5 a.m. Monday. Traffic will detour to the southbound frontage road to the next entrance ramp

The project is being expedited and is expected to be completed in about four to six months. TxDOT's goal is to do the work while making efforts to minimize the impacts on the traveling public.

Drivers and residents were getting prepared for a major traffic headache.

“I don’t even know how we’re suppose to get out of here. Are we suppose to get out of here on the feeder road? We really don’t know how we’re suppose to get out of here yet,” Jeff Jones said.

Jones lives in Kingwood which was very close to the San Jacinto River and he wondered how it’ll impact his neighborhood.

Many people said the repairs would be an inconvenience, but were absolutely necessary.

“If it’s gotta get fixed, it’s gotta get fixed. What would be worse? To have it shut down and get it fixed or to have people driving over it and something happen to the bridge and multiple people get hurt,” said Justin Mitchell.

Crews will move the southbound lanes over to the northbound lanes. They'll gradually shift inbound at Sorters McClellan Road and outbound at Townsen Boulevard.

“What we’re going to do is reroute some of the traffic, do some reassignments of the lanes out there so folks will have a continuous flow during the construction process. It’s going to be about a four to six month process. We hope to get it done as quickly as possible,” said Danny Perez with TxDOT.

TxDOT said they’ll work around the clock to make the repairs. Considerable delays are expected.

Here is a graphic for the 59/69 bridge demo:

Here is a list of the road closures planned, beginning March 23:

  • I-69 Eastex northbound mainlanes between FM 1960 to Sorters McClellan Road, two right lanes closed continuously beginning Saturday, March 10 at 3 a.m. through Monday, March 12 at 5 a.m.
  • I-69 Eastex northbound entrance ramp from FM 1960/Townsen total closure beginning Saturday, March 10 at 3 a.m. through Sunday, March 11 at 7 a.m. Additionally, this ramp will be closed through the duration of the project, effective 9 p.m., Tuesday, March 13.  Detour northbound on the frontage road to the entrance ramp from Sorters McClellan Road.
  • I-69 Eastex northbound mainlanes between FM 1960 to Sorters McClellan Road., two right lanes closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday, March 13 through Thursday, March 15.
  • I-69 Eastex northbound exit ramp to Kingwood Drive total closure nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., Wednesday, March 14 and Thursday, March 15.  Additionally, this ramp will be closed continuously Friday, March 16 at 9 pm through Monday, March 19 at 5 a.m. Detour via the northbound mainlanes to the exit  ramp to Northpark Drive; U-Turn at Northpark Drive and then follow the southbound frontage road to either Kingwood Drive or Sorters McClellan Road.
  • I-69 Eastex northbound mainlanes between FM 1960 to Sorters McClellan Road., four alternate lanes closed continuously beginning Friday, March 16 at 9 p.m. through Monday, March 19 at 5 a.m. At least one mainlane will remain open.
  • I-69 Eastex northbound exit ramp to Loop 494/ McClellan/ Hamblen total closure continuously Friday, March 16 at 9 pm through Monday, March 19 at 5 a.m. Detour via the northbound mainlanes to the exit  ramp to Northpark Drive and then follow the frontage road to the U-Turn at Northpark Drive to the southbound frontage road to either Kingwood Drive or Sorters McClellan Road.
  • I-69 Southbound from FM 1314 to FM-1960 Total Closure. Closed continuously from 2:00 AM, Saturday, March 24 to 5:00 AM, Monday, March 26. Traffic will detour to the southbound frontage road to the next entrance ramp. There are no signalized intersections or stop signs with-in the detour route.
  • I-69 Southbound from KINGWOOD DR. to FM-1960. 2 Outside Lane(s)   Closed continuously from 9:00 PM, Friday, March 23 to 5:00 PM, Sunday, August 12.

 The project is expected to be completed in about six months.