HOUSTON – Due to all the rain we had last week, the Texas Department of Transportation decided to postpone the major 59-610 ramp closure impacting folks traveling towards the Galleria area. Well, after much-needed drier weather, the closure kicked off Thursday at 9 p.m.
This massive road closure will affect thousands of drivers each day, so here is your alternate route: Use the Fournace/Bellaire newly constructed exit ramp, continue on West Loop southbound to then make a quick U-turn under the West Loop to travel northbound. Enter the northbound main lanes on the West Loop as soon as you are able to.
In addition, the southbound connector ramp to 610 closes Monday at 9 p.m. Both ramps are part of a much bigger project that wraps up in 2024.
TxDOT said, “Traffic will be detoured to take the Newcastle Dr. exit, continue along the I-69 southbound frontage road, merge onto the I-610 northbound frontage road, and take entrance ramp onto the I-610 West Loop northbound mainlanes.”
“Once we get over the main lanes of I-69, we’re going to have to close I-69 northbound and I-69 southbound for the entire weekend,” said Danny Perez, a spokesperson with TxDOT. Drivers should anticipate nightly closures once the major portion of the ramp has been dismantled.
Crews continue to demolish the existing I-69 northbound connector ramp to I-610 northbound. They will work 24 hours a day this weekend to demo the portion of the ramp crossing over I-69 mainlanes and HOV lane. pic.twitter.com/lvznOSZXi7— HOU610at69 (@HOU610at69) June 12, 2021
Crews will start demolishing the southbound connector to 610 once that ramp closes Monday night. Drivers on the Southwest Freeway will not be impacted by the demolition. Since there’s no traffic flowing underneath, this part of the project will be done a lot sooner. Building the new southbound connector ramp should take about four months compared to the six to eight-month timeline that’s been laid out to build the northbound connector ramp, which goes above all the main lanes of traffic on the Southwest Freeway, Perez added.
“We’ve done some of the preliminary work but then you have to build the bridge columns, the bridge decking and that takes time,” Perez said.
At the exact time, the northbound connector ramp from the Southwest Freeway southbound main lanes near the Greenway Plaza will also shut down.
At some point, down the road, the main lines of 610 over the Southwest Freeway will be closed so the entire bridge can be reconstructed. There’s nothing to mark calendar just yet, the schedule for that part of the project is still being ironed out with 2024 as the target date for completion.
TxDOT has been working with residents in the Afton Oaks neighborhood in the Galleria area to help reduce traffic into the neighborhood once the closure happens. When they let residents know about the closure, putting up temporary concrete barriers was one of the recommendations they made.
“I think I’m fine with it. It’s the only way to get around. They’re going to have to do infrastructure changes so for me it’s a good move, it’s the only way to go about it,” said Max Presenti, an Afton Oaks resident.
TxDOT says the concrete barriers were always part of the traffic control plan for this closure. They should go up sometime next week depending on when the closure takes place.
For more information, click here.