Six Spots Where Traffic Could Ease in 2020

The 69/610 intersection may be a nightmare, but there are glimmers of hope in Houston traffic for 2020.
The 69/610 intersection may be a nightmare, but there are glimmers of hope in Houston traffic for 2020. Photo by Doogie Roux
We're not going to lie to you. Traffic in Houston is not suddenly going to get dramatically better in 2020. There will still be massive projects on Interstate 45, the West Loop, 69 interchange and the East Freeway. Some of this construction will last years. However, there is a little good news.

A number of projects will reach completion in 2020. Admittedly, there is no certainty about this, but most projects are far enough along to at least feel comfortable about progress and, if not sing their praises, at least breathe a sigh of relief.

SH 288

Pearland residents should begin to feel their burdens ease with the expansion and added toll lanes for 288 as the project is slated to finish in the summer of 2020. For a freeway that has historically been an a fairly easy commute, popular neighborhoods along the corridor have ramped up traffic in recent years. This project is unlikely to fix that, but it should ease it a bit.

Final stages of Highway 290

Technically, 290 inside the Beltway was completed over a year ago. But, signage issues and a handful of on-ramp and drainage problems remain. In addition, the long anticipated bridge over 290 at FM 1960/Highway 6 will be completed this year, a huge boon for nearby residents. And much of the remaining stretch of 290 heading northwest should be completed this coming year.

Richmond Avenue Updates

How long have people been waiting for the crazy pothole-filled Richmond Avenue to be cleaned up? It feels like 100 years. Finally, there is hope in the form of a repaving throughout the inner loop. Some is already done and more is on the way, praise Jesus.

Shepherd Repaving

Similarly, Shepherd between 69 and I-10 now appears to look more like a normal road instead of the site of a war-torn apocalypse.

Rice University Area Construction

On the topic of side streets, the area around Rice has really seen huge changes for the better. There is still quite a bit left, but if you have the opportunity to drive down Greenbriar south of the campus recently, you know what was once one of the worst stretches of road in the city is rapidly becoming one of the best.

Bus Rapid Transit

Lest we overlook mass transit METRO's set to unveil its new Bus Rapid Transit service this year traveling through the Galleria area. It's not quite as stylish or hip as light rail, but the dedicated bus lane should improve commuting in one of the city's most congested areas.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke