As Construction Begins on Congested I-45 Ramps, Get Ready to Change Your Commute (and Sit in Traffic)

There's a chance you're going to have to rethink your commute, because starting tonight, construction crews are closing down some of the most heavily traveled I-45 entrance ramps in the city.

If you use southbound I-45 ramps at Rusk and Memorial, Houston Avenue, or Allen Parkway, then get ready for the headache: Starting at 7 p.m., those ramps will close for the next several months, likely until November, as Texas Department of Transportation construction crews break ground on redesigning the ramps to make them safer.

Yeah, that means if you use Rusk, Memorial or Houston to hop onto the Gulf Freeway service road in order to access Jefferson Avenue, Pierce Street, Dallas Street or Bagby Street — which conveniently dump you into Midtown or downtown — those shortcuts will be closed off, too.

Perhaps the changes will mitigate some of the dangers of Houston traffic, however. After all, in our 2014 feature scarily titled "Trapped: There Are No Simple Solutions to Houston's Traffic Crisis," we did rate the I-45 South ramp at Allen Parkway the most treacherous entrance ramp in the city. What we said about it: 

There is no better place to look fear and death in the eye on Houston freeways than this roller-coaster entrance onto I-45 just north of the Pierce Elevated. It is common to see a person sitting at the end of the twisting and turning ramp, dead stopped and praying to God for mercy after having chosen to take this route. It is equally as common to see a lunatic with a death wish rocket onto the freeway as if he'd been fired out of a pistol. How this ramp continues to exist is a mystery to me and a constant terror to anyone who must use it or drive near it.

Looks like our writer, Jeff Balke, is finally getting some answers from TxDOT about that mystery.

To visualize the short-term pain the construction will cause, check out this map that the Houston Chronicle put together.

Correction, July 7: An earlier version of this article misstated the author of the Houston Press feature on traffic.

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