Traffic

Carmageddon XXX: The Loop Ramp Closing

You think this is bad...just wait.
You think this is bad...just wait. Photo by Doogie Roux
You knew it would happen. We've all been expecting, nay, dreading this day and it is upon us. The continual work on the disaster that is the re-construction of the I-69-Loop 610 interchange is about to get...brace yourself...worse.

According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, TxDot is preparing to close the exit from southbound I-69 to southbound 610 for (and, yes, we are serious) two years. TWO!

If you are as directionally challenged as some of us, that is the exit to 610 heading toward Bellaire and Reliant Park from inside the Loop including West U, Montrose and the Museum District. No, your precious southbound exit to the Galleria is safe for now and in a couple months, they will re-open the Westheimer exit from 610 northbound, but it won't prevent the snarl of traffic that will ensue thanks to this closure.

TxDot says that it is necessary given how closely packed all these exits are. So far, the only real progress you can see from the project expected to take at least another four or five years is the exit to 69 South from 610 South. Still, getting to that exit is mostly a nightmare as the tangle of entrances and exits within roughly 50 feet (we're exaggerating...it's at least 100) forces cars to criss-cross each other as rapidly as possible.

And we know how polite everyone is at rush hour.

No doubt, this is going to make exiting to 610 North from 69 harder as well. It's only a single lane despite the massive number of cars that crawl through it at all times of the day and night. We swear we were stuck in traffic there at 3 a.m. once (don't ask us why) while cars raced as close to the point of final merge to cram themselves in front of everyone.

We totally get that this is a necessary evil. As pointed out in the story from the Chron, this is one of the worst interchanges in the state of Texas. Anyone who lives or works within a two-mile radius of the thing dreads crossing it about as much we fear those Slingshot amusement park rides (who gets on these things?). It's a nightmare and everyone knows it.

The best thing to do is avoid it, if you can. If that isn't possible, we can recommend a good moving service or a priest. You might want both for at least the next two years.
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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