Attention Southeast Houston Commuters: congestion on the interchange of Interstate 610 Loop and Interstate 45 South will get worse before it gets better. The Texas Transportation Commission approved five new construction projects in Southeast Harris County during their recent August meeting. The projects awarded totaled more than $78 million.
The largest of the five projects set to begin construction by the end of the year is the long-awaited construction of four direct connectors for the I-45/610 and I-45/SH 35 interchange. The direct connectors set for construction are:
- I-610 South Loop eastbound to I-45 Gulf Freeway northbound direct connector
- I-45 Gulf Freeway southbound to I-610 South Loop westbound direct connector
- I-45 Gulf Freeway southbound to SH 35 northbound direct connector
- SH 35 northbound to I-45 northbound direct connector.
The addition of the interchange facility for direct connectors will greatly improve safety, increase mobility and reduce congestion as a result of eliminating a route that included street-level traffic. While the direct connectors will accommodate current and future traffic growth in the area, those who utilize these exchanges can expect greater congestion until the improvements are complete. The direct connectors are scheduled to take 42 months to complete.
The Commission also awarded $3.8 million to Angel Brothers Construction for pavement repair on the Spur 330 eastbound entrance ramp at I-10. Work is anticipated to begin by the end of the year and take about six months to complete.
Altus Construction received $3.35 million for a bicycle/pedestrian improvement project along Brays Bayou. The new addition will stretch from MacGregor Park to Wheeler Avenue and connect to other hike-and-bike systems in the area. Construction is scheduled to take approximately eight months to complete. Additionally, the Commission also approved $500 thousand for landscape development and maintenance along SH 146 from J.B. Lefevre Road to the Union Pacific Railroad. The contract was awarded to Yellowstone Landscape-Central Inc. and will take about five months to complete.
Lastly, Arandas Brothers received $600 thousand to upgrade Ashland at Elgin Street and Shaland at Proctor Street. The work will include upgrading pedestrian facilities, the underground storm sewer, and signing and pavement markings.