Traffic

The West Loop to I-69 North Ramp is Open: Hallelujah!

The first chance to get rid of some of this? West Loop drivers hope so.
The first chance to get rid of some of this? West Loop drivers hope so. Photo by Doogie Roux
One of the worst and most dangerous intersections in the state of Texas opened its first new segment on Monday as the new offramp from the West Loop to the northbound lanes of I-69 finally opened. That faint sound of cheering you heard was from drivers forced to endure this nightmare of an intersection for decades. But, problems remain for the foreseeable future.

The good news is that TxDOT did manage to open this exit ramp, which should aid in congestion for drivers heading north on the West Loop and existing roadway onto the northbound lanes of the Southwest Freeway. It's understandable that they would open that segment first given the huge numbers of drivers who travel that way on a daily basis.

Traffic on the West Loop will also benefit from the fact that the METRORaid silver line — the rapid transit bus service in Uptown — was completed earlier this year. In fact, construction on the entire West Loop, which is scheduled to continue for several more years, is ahead of schedule thanks in part to the COVID pandemic, which reduced traffic flow in 2020 and allowed for more closures.

The bad news is, as we just mentioned, it ain't over. The project, which began in 2019, was scheduled to take seven years. That includes the complete reconstruction of the entire interchange at the Southwest Freeway. They finished one of the exit ramps, but there are still seven to go, and that is not counting the tangle of entrances and exits for Westheimer and surrounding streets.

At least we have seen the first glimpse of the light at the end of a tunnel and, for once, it isn't an oncoming train.
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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