Heading downtown this weekend? Be prepared for major traffic delays (though if you are a Houstonian, you are pretty much always prepared for traffic delays).
In order to rebuild the Elysian Viaduct, which connects streets on the north and south side of Buffalo Bayou, the Texas Department of Transportation is shutting down all eight lanes of Interstate 10 between I-45 and I-69 (also called highway 59) between 8 pm Friday and 5 am Monday. Repairs include demolishing and rebuilding a bridge over the freeway, a big task to complete in a single weekend.
Drivers going east on I-10 will be detoured to 45 south and those going west on I-10 will be detoured to 69 north. Even if your weekend travel plans don’t include a stint on I-10, expect delays if you will be anywhere nearby. Adding to the chaos, the Astros will be busy beating the Yankees—we mean, playing home playoff games Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.
Not Harvey’s Fault, This Time
While many stretches of I-10 were damaged during Hurricane Harvey, this repair is actually unrelated to the storm. The $36.5 million project was already planned in order to allow Houston roads to better handle population growth and make it easier to travel between Downtown and Near Northside.
While the bulk of the work will be completed this weekend, TxDOT will have to close a plethora of appropriately inconvenient road ways, such as entrances, exits, and connector ramps in the near future to complete the work. But no worries; it will all be worth it. The new bridge will be wider then the existing one and have a five-foot sidewalk on the north side.
If you can avoid being in the Downtown area this weekend, it’s probably a good idea to do so. If not, be sure to allow plenty of extra time to get to your destination! While these kinds of projects are never convenient, such is the price of progress and living in a growing, thriving city.