The easy answer to avoiding a traffic headache between now and the Super Bowl on Sunday is to stay out of downtown and away from the NRG Stadium campus on the 610 Loop. But that won't be possible for thousands of Houstonians who live and work in those areas.
Many streets in the Discovery Green area will be closed this weekend, including:
- Polk (Between Austin and LaBranch)
- Dallas (Between Austin and LaBranch)
- La Branch (Between Walker and Bell)
- Portions of Avenida De Las Americas, McKinney and Lamar along Discovery Green.
Super Bowl LIVE planners urge drivers to avoid the east side of downtown, since street closures may force drivers to take roundabout routes.
If you're driving in for one of the free concerts or to check out the exhibits at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Super Bowl LIVE has published a list of ingress routes:
From the west:
I-10 to Smith
From the east:
I-10 to Fannin
From the north:
I-45 to McKinney, U.S. 59 to Jackson
From the south:
TX 527 to Louisiana, TX 288 to Gray, I-45 to Pease or St. Joseph Parkway.
But many Houstonians are going to be trying to get the hell out of downtown during these events. Super Bowl LIVE has not published a list of recommended exit routes, but here are our pro tips:
To the west:
Memorial or Preston to Washington, Main to Bissonnet, Milam to U.S. 59, Fannin to West Gray
To the east:
Navigation (to EaDo and Second Ward), Navigation to Jensen to Clinton
To the north:
Houston Avenue, Elysian (to Near Northside), North Main (to the Heights), Hardy Street (if you're going north of I-610).
To the south:
Fannin to Main, Leeland to Telephone, La Branch to Cleburne to Almeda
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The Loop around NRG (between exits 1 and 3) will be jammed as it usually is when the Texans play — except a much larger proportion of fans will be coming from area hotels and grossly overpriced AirBnb rentals, since our beloved team was eliminated by the Patriots.
Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, but expect the area to be a zoo all day. If you absolutely must travel through that part of town, West Bellfort, Stella Link and Buffalo Speedway may be a better bet than certain gridlock on the highway.
Jeff Balke contributed reporting.