Officials break ground on $259 million I-610, US 59 interchange project

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

HOUSTON - Officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for the multimillion-dollar project aimed at improving the interchange between Interstate 610 and U.S. Highway 59 in Houston.

The $259 million endeavor will rebuild one of the most congested interchanges in Texas, including improvements in safety and mobility.

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

Plans call for widening connector ramps to two lanes, increasing sight distances, solutions to eliminate weaving, adding shoulders to the West Loop bridge and the addition of retention ponds.

Construction will include night time and weekend closures, officials said.

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

 

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