Jump to content
HAIF - Houston's original social media

Houston's Freeway Infrastructure


Recommended Posts

Does anyone think that Houston's freeways should use the asphault (darker color road) as opposed to concrete? I noticed driving in cities like DFW, Denver, Atlanta, Charlotte, they use the asphault roadtop which is a little bit more attractive. Using the concrete tends to appear dirty faster from exhaust, rain, and etc. For example, the road dividers in the HOV lanes look dirty, muddy, and just gives the overall appearance that this city is old and hasn't spent much money on beautification for the infrastructure.

I will however give Houston credit for the amount of greenspace in the city, such as the planting of trees along 45 and 288, but the infrastructure could use alot of improvement like the work being done on Katy Freeway. I-45 should look like Katy freeway since that is the more than likely the first freeway that most visitors would see passing through town. Over there off I-45 and cullen, they really could really stand to paint the HOV road dividers since the paint is chipping. Looks really tacky!

I would like to see 45 resemble something beautiful like North Central Expway (75) in Dallas. It just looks everything outside of West Houston and Galleria/Uptown has been let go?

Any thoughts on this?

P.S. I know this topic has probably been discussed before but i'm a little too lazy, not to mention busy to rummage through old topics.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone think that Houston's freeways should use the asphault (darker color road) as opposed to concrete? I noticed driving in cities like DFW, Denver, Atlanta, Charlotte, they use the asphault roadtop which is a little bit more attractive. Using the concrete tends to appear dirty faster from exhaust, rain, and etc. For example, the road dividers in the HOV lanes look dirty, muddy, and just gives the overall appearance that this city is old and hasn't spent much money on beautification for the infrastructure.

concrete done properly is a better material long term. so look on the gulf freeway in the vicinity of south wayside and see if you think that asphalt is aesthetically pleasing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The main problem I have with the concrete freeways is just how noisy and bumpy they are. It's very difficult to have a phone conversation (even with a headset) due to the road noise unless you have a really well insulated vehicle. Asphalt roads are just a lot quieter. As for the ugliness, I'm not sure how much of a difference asphalt would make.

Also, most of the freeways in Dallas are similar and are primarily made of concrete.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me concrete is a much more sturdy medium long-term as compared to asphalt (which expands/shrinks more with changes in temperature).

I-45 is absolutely hideous. But I don't think that will change for a long time.

The I-10/610 interchange on the other hand is very well done... the overpasses look nice, there's millions of ever-green saplings that should look even better as years pass, it looks like they incorporated trails, etc. I-10 and a portion of 610 are how freeways should be done (except rail should have been included on I-10).

And we should note, we have Mayor White and his friends to thank for the mass tree plantings...

Link to post
Share on other sites
( rail should have been included on I-10).

And we should note, we have Mayor White and his friends to thank for the mass tree plantings...

so true. this was one of many times the city had an opportunity to do something right and then they messed it up.

Edited by Subdude
Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone think that Houston's freeways should use the asphault (darker color road) as opposed to concrete? I noticed driving in cities like DFW, Denver, Atlanta, Charlotte, they use the asphault roadtop which is a little bit more attractive.
The main problem I have with the concrete freeways is just how noisy and bumpy they are. It's very difficult to have a phone conversation (even with a headset) due to the road noise unless you have a really well insulated vehicle.

These have to be two of the worst reasons for selecting a road material. Asphalt has higher maintenance costs. Hang up the phone.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only concrete section of freeway I have a problem with is Pierce Elevated, I guess because it is ribbed (but not for our pleasure). No problem when you drive 80, but during typical Pierce Elevated speeds it is really irritating.

Asphalt is really nice when it is new, but it doesn't stay new for more than a few months, and then it deteriorates really quickly in our climate.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Concrete is the better way to go, especially if it's a highway with a lot of truck traffic.

I have, however, seen some states where asphalt is laid over old concrete. I think that's a cheap way of smoothing out the road rather than properly fixing it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The main problem I have with the concrete freeways is just how noisy and bumpy they are. It's very difficult to have a phone conversation (even with a headset) due to the road noise unless you have a really well insulated vehicle. Asphalt roads are just a lot quieter. As for the ugliness, I'm not sure how much of a difference asphalt would make.

Also, most of the freeways in Dallas are similar and are primarily made of concrete.

I don't feel bad since I had someone drive me into the left lane today because they were yakking on the phone. I wish I hadn't gone with my first instinct because I forgot to honk my horn long enough so it would get through to the other end of that phone conversation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So is it only a matter of $ for better materials when they want the surface to last? I'm thinking of bridges like the I-10 Atchafalaya basin bridge - it was built in the 60s, and I know I haven't been around forever, but I don't see how they could repave it even if they wanted to, and it's fine. Do they just money up for bridges to where they never have to redo the surface, or is there some stealth night crew with magical concrete patching? I have seen concrete patching before, but usually it is obvious where they've done it and I haven't noticed this on the basin bridge.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a bad way to build roads, but don't you just love fresh ashpalt? Like driving on buttah! Anyone that does 1-10 going east knows what I mean-- you get those torn up parts and then all of a sudden, the cones are gone, shiny black ahead, and ahhhh, smoov.

So is it only a matter of $ for better materials when they want the surface to last? I'm thinking of bridges like the I-10 Atchafalaya basin bridge - it was built in the 60s, and I know I haven't been around forever, but I don't see how they could repave it even if they wanted to, and it's fine. Do they just money up for bridges to where they never have to redo the surface, or is there some stealth night crew with magical concrete patching? I have seen concrete patching before, but usually it is obvious where they've done it and I haven't noticed this on the basin bridge.

Off topic, but do you ever get creeped out on that bridge? Even as an adult, in the back of my head, there's a little voice talking about bridge collapse and alligators.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Off topic, but do you ever get creeped out on that bridge? Even as an adult, in the back of my head, there's a little voice talking about bridge collapse and alligators.

I've never been creeped out, but I have many times thought about it being a great place to toss a body over the side. Then again water levels have been lower in recent years, you are probably better off near the spillway between LaPlace and New Orleans or hwy 90 just outside of Morgan City.

Gators are fun, when we used to wakeboard in the intercoastal canal we would pass by them. Just don't fall right now...nothing fancy til they are out of sight.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I have, however, seen some states where asphalt is laid over old concrete. I think that's a cheap way of smoothing out the road rather than properly fixing it.

Just about every rural stretch of interstate in Texas has undergone that type of treatment. Just drive down I-10 from the Brazos River crossing into San Antonio. Not a spec of concrete anywhere, even most of the bridge decks have been "slathered" over. A few freeways in Houston have undergone that treatment too, like the old 6 lane Katy Freeway, 288 south of 610, portions of 225, portions of 610 (now being properly rehabbed with all new concrete), and the North Freeway between I-10 and 610.

I have a feeling that the Southwest Freeway between 610 and BW8 will be next to get the asphalt treatment. There's a few sections between Hillcroft and Fondren that are really starting to show their age now, with expansion joints cut into the left lanes and filled with some sealant, and concrete patchwork.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Off topic, but do you ever get creeped out on that bridge?

I hate driving over that bridge. My biggest fear was having car trouble, since there is a minimal shoulder and only 1 or 2 exits in the middle. Then, lo and behold, it happened one night at 3AM. That was not a fun experience. <_<

Edited by Dan the Man
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

The I-10W/610 interchange is crazy... great landscaping, beautiful colors... it feels like you're suddenly in Dallas. US 59 south near montrose is also very nice for a trench. Hopefully as time goes on, Houston will replicate more roads like those projects. 290, I-10E and I-45 really need HELP

Link to post
Share on other sites

Asphalt only works better where the soil is stable and temperature variations are moderate. That is why most of the freeways in Atlanta are asphalt.

Concrete, however, is better (if properly maintained) in the long term for roads with heavy traffic. New technology makes todays brand new concrete interstates able to last for 50-60 years before a complete rebuild. Many of the expressways and tollways here around Chicago are being rebuilt with this new concrete, and it works wonders!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Now concrete is fine if you don't mind laying down a new surface every 10-12 years...

Concrete lasts much longer than that. There are concrete sections of the Gulf Freeway feeder road from the original construction that are 60 years old and the road surface is still fine for the most part.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Concrete lasts much longer than that. There are concrete sections of the Gulf Freeway feeder road from the original construction that are 60 years old and the road surface is still fine for the most part.

Seriously? Cool. I thought nothing of the 1948 construction was left. What sections in particular?

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's probably important to note that not all concrete is equal (probably true for asphalt, too). The concrete used to build a bridge through a swamp is probably much tougher than the concrete used to build a sidewalk.

I remember as a kid when we'd drive up NY17 to see the relatives the expansion joints in that old concrete highway were spaced so that if you went 55 MPH it kept the time to "99 Bottle of Beer on the Wall."

Later when I had to drive it as an adult I found the concrete expansion joints made driving harder. In an old Econoliner van the cadence developed into a bouncing that made it hard to control, and if you've ever driven one of those vans you know they were built top heavy and really squishy to drive. I almost bounced an entire load of Russians into a river once.

I've seen in a couple of cities where the roads are asphalt, except for the lane immediately in front of a bus stop. I assume this is because a braking bus puts a lot more pressure on the road than a rolling bus. I've seen lots of bus stops where the asphalt is in waves from bus wear.

Link to post
Share on other sites

arisegundo,

The sections of the Gulf Freeway that still have the original feeder roads from the late 40s and early 50s are the sections between Broadway and 610, from 610 to Griggs (NB side only), from Cullen to Dowling (NB side only) and from Dowling to the double deck entry ramp (SB side only). You can tell they're old because they have frequent expansion joints in them, something rarely seen in TxDOT construction today aside from bridge decks.

Edited by JLWM8609
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...