HOUSTON - Gridiron and gridlock is what a lot of Texans fans could be dealing with this weekend if they're not careful.
The reason: a big stretch of I-45 will be closed, and for drivers heading up to Dallas for the game, that could be a big problem.
The Texans and Cowboys have a rivalry as big as the Lone Star State. This Sunday fans will pack into AT&T Stadium where more than 100,000 people can cheer, shout, and scream their football hearts out for their favorite team.
"We've definitely gotten calls from Texans fans or the general public wondering how long it will take them to get to Dallas," said Deidrea Samuels, with the Texas Department of Transportation.
Before those fans make it to the kickoff in Dallas they may scream and shout for a different reason: brake lights and stop-and-go traffic on the road. Interstate 45 will be shut down in both directions from Woodlands Parkway to Highway 242 this weekend for construction.
"It's starting Friday night so they're going all the way to Monday until 5 a.m. So they will hit it going and hit it coming back," said Samuels.
That's only about a two-mile stretch, but when you consider traffic surrounding The Woodlands Mall, people who work and live in the area, and Sunday's game, main lane and feeder lane traffic could be a nightmare. Just like every game needs referees, TxDOT officials will send out their own reinforcement to move drivers along.
"We are going to have police officers out there to make it flow easier," said Samuels.
Don't let your football fever turn into a highway headache. Plan accordingly.
"Take an alternate route, or start early," said Samuels.
There will also be traffic heading back to Houston because of southbound lane closures. Those lanes will be closed for construction. Crews will replacing steel girders along I-45.
If you're heading that direction, here are some alternate routes: Take Highway 249, to FM 1488, then back to I-45. Another option is to take Highway 59 to Highway 105 and back to I-45.
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