Updates on key transportation stories
TOP TRANSPORTATION STORY OF 2021
COMPLETED 1 I-69 North to Loop 610 South 2 Loop 610 South to I-69 North UNDERWAY 1 Loop 610 North to I-69 South 2 I-69 North frontage road 3 South Rice intersection 4 Newcastle intersection POTENTIAL CLOSURES IN 2021 1 I-610 South to I-69 South 2 I-69 South to Loop 610 North 3 I-69 North to Loop 610 North
While not yet open to trac, work was completed on the new Loop 610 South to I69 North ramp in November. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
Loop610 interchange project picks up the pace amid COVID19 For the Texas Department of Transportation, COVID-19 has meant fewer cars on the roads and more time to spend on projects such as the ongoing overhaul of the I-69 and Loop 610 interchange. And that means the entire project is now ahead of schedule. place from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. However, we were allowing them to close at 8 p.m. for example and open at 6 a.m.” Early 2024 is the target completion date for the $259 million project, with Phase 2 nearly complete, Perez said. The items remaining in that phase In the meantime, TxDOT has begun to shift its focus to the remaining three phases of the project. Motorists can expect some major closures in 2021, such as a reduction of the Loop 610 south- bound to I-69 southbound connector to a single lane, total closures of the I-69 northbound to Loop 610 connector, and potentially the I-69 southbound to Loop 610 northbound connector. “The good news is that 2021 will also bring the BY HUNTER MARROW
include the intersection at Newcastle Drive and the I-69 northbound frontage road, the intersection at South Rice Avenue and the I-69 southbound frontage road, and completing the remaining I-69 northbound frontage road between Westpark Drive and east of Newcastle Drive. These projects should be complete before the summer.
“Early on in the pandemic, we saw lighter trac conditions, and thus we allowed the contractor to extend closure hours to get additional work done,” TxDOT spokesperson Danny Perez said. “For example, if the contractor had a nightly closure in place, they would typically have the closure in
opening of the new I-610 northbound to I-69 south- bound connector as well as the newly congured I-69 southbound exit ramp to Chimney Rock Road,” Perez said.
OTHER PROJECTS TO FOLLOW IN 2021
N. BRAESWOOD BLVD.
CHIMNEY ROCK RD.
N. BRAESWOOD BLVD.
BUFFALO SPEEDWAY S. BRAESWOOD BLVD.
S. BRAESWOOD BLVD.
Chimney Rock Road/South Rice Avenue bridges Construction on new bridge spans over Brays Bayou at Chimney Rock Road and South Rice Avenue are set to begin by the end of January as part of Project Brays. Both bridges will be demolished, though not before two higher, longer and wider bridges are constructed—one for each roadway—between the existing bridges. Temporary lane closures are expected, though the existing bridges will maintain north and southbound pedestrian and vehicular trac. Timeline: January-December Cost: $22 million for both bridges ($11 million each) Funding source: Harris County Flood Control District
Bualo Speedway paving and drainage The Texas Department of Transportation has reviewed plans for a project that will bring drainage improvements and a road surface replacement to the 5300 block south of Bissonnet Street, the 6700 block north of West Holcombe Boulevard and to the West University Place Drainage Outfall south of that. The project was opened for bids in November. Once a contract is awarded, the contractor will begin work 60 days after. Timeline: October 2018-2023 Cost: $32.56 million Funding sources: city of West University Place, TxDOT, federal grants
Bualo Speedway concrete panel replacement As part of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Street Rehabilitation Initiative, Houston Public Works has authorized work to replace the concrete panels on Bualo Speedway, from South Braeswood Boulevard to Loop 610 West. The project contractor slated to replace the panels is Grava LLC. The panel replacement is a road-maintenance measure that does not involve redesigning road features, improving drainage or pedestrian facilities. Timeline: Dec. 15, 2020-March 15, 2021 Cost: $3 million Funding source: city of Houston
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