TEXAS CITY, Texas – Interstate 45 and FM 1764 in Texas City is a headache to drive through right now. Much of the highway is closed off in the area and drivers must rely on other ways to get around.
Here’s a look at what exactly is being done and when drivers will finally get to drive on the main lanes of the Gulf Freeway near Texas City.
- What exactly is being done? Two new direct connector ramps are being constructed to tie IH-45 NB and SB directly into Emmett Lowry Expressway (FM 1764) on new bridge structures. In addition, the northbound frontage road will be continuous in this area as it will run beneath the new bridge. This is part of the larger I-45 project to widen the roadway in this area.
- What progress has been made? The target date for opening the direct connectors is mid-November 2020. The contractor has removed the old bridges and is nearing completion of the new bridges.
- How will the improvements impact/benefit traffic in the area? Improved vertical clearance over IH-45. Reduce congestion on IH-45 and the entrance ramp of Emmett Lowry. Currently, the northbound frontage road enters IH-45. This entrance ramp will be eliminated and moved further North. Lastly, the South Bound mainlane exit to FM 1764 will be reopened. These changes will certainly improve traffic flow and enhance safety in the area.
- What is left to do in terms of construction work? The contractor needs to complete the reconstruction of the frontage roads and then they will start the reconstruction/widening of IH-45 for both northbound and southbound traffic.
- Should drivers expect complete closures? The complete closures are done for the safety of the workers as well as the traveling public. While TxDOT always works to minimize impacts to the traveling public, sometimes, for safety, they have to implement total closures of the mainlanes. The concern is that some work has to be done above, on, or near the mainlanes and it is safer to close the lanes rather than having traffic passing so close to construction.
- When is this project expected to be completed? The entire project IH-45 project in this area is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2024.