Carmageddon II: The Constructioning

Remember that scene in the movie Speed where they had to do this with a bus and then jump over a missing bridge section? If you can't do this, best avoid Houston highways for a while.
Remember that scene in the movie Speed where they had to do this with a bus and then jump over a missing bridge section? If you can't do this, best avoid Houston highways for a while. Screen Capture
It seems almost like a hysterical irony that April Fool's Day is Monday. Because if you don't feel like a fool climbing into your car and setting forth on area freeways now, you probably will by the start of next week.

Look, man, we don't want to harsh your buzz, but the construction on area highways this weekend is going to be a total bummer, dude. Like, gnarly AF. So, get ready, fool, cause it's rough out there.

Please note that some of the closures below began before this weekend. And we didn't list every nightly closure that is occurring with regularity or closure to an alternate lane or single left lane, or whatever, because we would run out of words in the dictionary and the internet would break. We tried to cover some of the more substantial closings. But, suffice it to say virtually every freeway is in some degree of disrepair and yay, Houston!

I-10 Westbound connector to I-45 South and I-45 Northbound connector to I-10 West
Total Closure from Friday at 9 p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m.

This is the only one specific to this weekend, for better and worse. We all know the re-structuring of I-10, I-45 and IH-69 through downtown is going to be going on for at least three to four generations. Someday our grandchildren's grandchildren will smile and think, "We don't have to deal with this mess again for at least 10 years!" That will be a glorious day, indeed. Until then, this is the kind of foolishness we are stuck with. If you are heading into downtown on the Katy Freeway or trying to head to out west from downtown, avoid this area.

It should be noted that traffic onto the Pierce Elevated going south from I-10 is pretty much always a nightmare anyway because there is exactly one exit lane. We assume this weekend will only serve to deepen the problem especially because so many people are confused about entering and exiting downtown. If you find a row of cars just pulled over to the side of I-10 with passengers weeping, don't be too shocked, but also, don't stop. Save yourself.

288 Northbound connector to Loop 610 South
Total Closure until February 4, 2020 (you heard me!)

This has been ongoing for a little while now, but the date that TxDOT lists for completion is just too funny (tragic?) not to be underscored here. If you just had a nice bite to eat at Killen's in Pearland and you decided, "Hey, why don't we head into town and go over to look at the giant empty lot that used to be AstroWorld just for old time's sake," you better find a way to get there that doesn't involve this interchange. And you may want to store your alternate route in your phone for the next couple years.

I-10 Eastbound connector to East Loop
Total Closure until September 4

The poor folks who live out east of town have had so much crap to deal with lately. First, the bridge over the San Jacinto River has had problems that resulted in the perpetual closing of at least one lane I-10 inbound daily. Then, the ITC fire. On top of that, there is the crazy construction to the Baytown East Freeway to contend with including the total closure of the connector ramp to the East Loop from I-10. In case you are unfamiliar with the area, this includes access to the East Loop South and the Ship Channel Bridge, which has some interestingly apocalyptic views of the refineries at night — think Blade Runner without the flying cars and, also, real.

I-45 Northbound connector to IH-69/288 South
Total Closure until July 5

Then, there is the south side of downtown. As if not to be out done by the closure on the north end at I-10, there is this total closure coming into downtown from the Gulf Freeway. Essentially, every highway exit after the University of Houston (Go Coogs!) has been reduced to rubble and is shut down until July. Note that it supposedly re-opens July 5, not the Fourth in time for people coming into town for fireworks or coming back from Galveston. Opening it before then would make too much sense and also inflict only minimal amounts of pain. Because, if you haven't guessed, while the completion of construction is meant to make our lives easier, the construction itself is just the opposite. We can't confirm this, but we suspect contractors get bonuses the more drivers suffer. Pretty sure that's a law.
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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