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59 - 610 Interchange Partial Rebuild

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Man it seems they reconstructed the interchanges not to long ago. Hopefully they try and preserve the remaining trees that have grown mostly on the western portion of the interchange.

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until they decide to delete the Westheimer exits (both sides) and the Richmond/Hiidalgo exit (southbound) it will continue to be fubar. then consider deleting the Chimney Rock exits both ways on 59 so traffic has to flow further from the interchange before being able to get off.

that worked pretty well to increase traffic flow on northbound 610 to northbound 59 and on 59 itself when the Newcastle exit was deleted. might also consider forcing northbound 610 exiters to n&s 59 to get to the right much further south than at present, maybe around the Bellaire overpass.

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Wow we just keep sinking money into this, don't we. The 59 south to 610 north ramp is always backed up, and for the life of me I can't figure out why. There's no merges, and there's plenty of time to change lanes before the Westheimer exit. I guess it's just typical Houston driver stupidity.

They re-did this interchange roughly 10 years ago I think? And now TxDOT is spending away again, only to do the same thing in another 10 years. They need to do it right, or not do it at all.

Edit: Looking more closely at the specific things TxDOT is doing, I wish they would specify a little more. Are they just rebuilding the bridges? Adding another lane?

Hopefully they can finish the job they started a decade ago.

Edited by mfastx
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In the rebuild from a few years ago - they redid some of the connectors but not all of them, and on others only redid a part of them or expanded them. Maybe it's a full-blown rework of the connectors. What they did a few years back, was a 100% improvement over what was previously there.

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In the rebuild from a few years ago - they redid some of the connectors but not all of them, and on others only redid a part of them or expanded them. Maybe it's a full-blown rework of the connectors. What they did a few years back, was a 100% improvement over what was previously there.

Right. I remember a few years back they re-did the intersection but left some of the old bridges intact. I guess they left it for another day.

Glad that they are finishing the job, hopefully they do their homework on traffic flow and this interchange won't have to be rebuilt in another decade or so.

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until they decide to delete the Westheimer exits (both sides) and the Richmond/Hiidalgo exit (southbound) it will continue to be fubar.

Deleting the Westheimer exits will just move the congestion to another point. People will still need to get to Westheimer from 610 somehow.

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I agree the plans look vague... part of the issue is that it's a rainbow orgasm of an engineering diagram... my eyes can't super impose the final design over the top of the right-of-way lines, shifted lane configurations, and overlapping ramps. If I even get it half right, it looks like 610 SB gets it's own chimney rock exit (along with an improved 59 NB/SB split) that merges with a pre-exited 59 SB lane to avoid the merge while existing 610 SB to 59 SB braids over the top. It also looks like 59 NB to 610 SB will braid over exiting 610 SB at Fournace, with something similar happening going NB. For that matter, it looks like the ramps are going to be lofted about half a mile in advance of the stack, a la west 8 @ 10. Finally (hopefully) it looks like they may also braid over the 610 SB to 59 NB stuff, which would solve the cluster at Wesleyan.

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Hopefully the folks in Afton Oaks will be up in arms about this...

And hopefully they will be completely ignored.

Or better yet, a cloverleaf put through Afton Oaks.

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What is interesting, is that they are considering this so soon after the last rebuild. I wonder if it is being driven by congestion on the West Loop vs. 59. Because coming in 59 is SO much better than it used to be. Yes it backs up in the morning, but it really is not bad till the Hillcroft curve which is not a great distance. (unless there is a wreck - then all bets are off).

Now outbound in the evening is far worse. And the interchange that actually needs work is the Beltway 8 - 59S interchange. It backs all the way up to the Hillcroft curve the other way outbound. As soon as you pass Beltway 8 - the freeway opens up. Hopefully with them adding a lane on the Southbound Tollway - that will decrease the backup on the connectors to 59.

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I'm pretty sure the interchange was not completely rebuilt the last time around (the West Loop project that was completed circa 2007). As is often the case, the interchange is a major choke point for both the Southwest Freeway and the Loop.

What is surprising about this plan is that it does not appear to address the major backups on the 59 Southbound to Loop Northbound ramp.

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It wasn't completely rebuilt. The connectors were partially rebuilt/added on to. And they added the flyover lanes on the from the southbound West Loop frontage road to the southbound West Loop. And tunnelled the West Loop frontage roads under 59.

But - before and after results was like night and day. That's why I am so surprised that they are revisiting it so soon. It is nowhere near the problem it used to be. Not that I am complaining - if they can improve flow, I'm all for it.

Is it a cascade effect from running the Uptown line off Westpark under 59 to Post Oak? Or maybe the sections they did not replace last time are obsolete/unsafe and since they have to rebuild - they might as well make improvements?

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Is it a cascade effect from running the Uptown line off Westpark under 59 to Post Oak? Or maybe the sections they did not replace last time are obsolete/unsafe and since they have to rebuild - they might as well make improvements?

I think it's a combination of both. I think they are mostly doing this so soon to accommodate the light rail line, but some of the bridges (for example the 610 overpass) are very old, even with the partial rebuild.

That being said, there are other interchanges that I think are in greater need of a re-do. 45 and 610 on the northside comes to mind.

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Some of the work from the previous redo looks unfinished, particularly the 59-N to 610-S ramp. The barricades are all out of whack.

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The interchange is spalling concrete. I seem to recall a news story about 6 months ago where a semi got struck by a chunk on the 59N fly-under to 610N.

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The interchange is spalling concrete. I seem to recall a news story about 6 months ago where a semi got struck by a chunk on the 59N fly-under to 610N.

Ugh, and undoubtedly the company that did the construction has since gone bankruptcy styles.

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Ugh, and undoubtedly the company that did the construction has since gone bankruptcy styles.

If it's the older portion that is spalling, then it's pretty much par for the course. It's just what reinforced concrete does, eventually. If it's the newer stuff, then there's no excuse for that.

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mfastx... are they not redoing the 610-45 debacle with the rest of the work on north 610? If not, that's a real travesty.

Not quite sure, but it doesn't appear so. They have already finished the portions of 610 east and west of the interchange. Possibly they are saving it for last (?) but I doubt it. It probably wont' be re-done until 45 gets an overhaul, sadly

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Deleting the Westheimer exits will just move the congestion to another point. People will still need to get to Westheimer from 610 somehow.

yes, that was my point, move the congestion further away from the interchange, which theoretically would allow for smoother, faster flow through the interchange itself.

if you have traveled northbound 610 over 59 almost anytime of day since the rebuild what you find is radical differences in lane speeds caused by both exiters and last-second lane changers (both cutting into the line or moving out at zero mph into 60mph lanes). it's even worse on the southbound side b/c of the Westheimer entry and Richmond exit only yards apart and so close to the 59 exit, although better than it was before the redo. the difference in speeds is not just a primary cause of congestion, but insanely dangerous as well, as the ridiculously high accident count at 610 northbound to 59 illustrates.

the notion that drivers must be allowed to exit freeways at every major surface street is just stupid in a town with as rational a n/s/e/w surface street grid as Houston.

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Not quite sure, but it doesn't appear so. They have already finished the portions of 610 east and west of the interchange. Possibly they are saving it for last (?) but I doubt it. It probably wont' be re-done until 45 gets an overhaul, sadly

Everything I've heard points to the N610 and 45N interchange being redone when 45N gets redone.

No sense to redo that interchange until that time anyway as 45 will still be the mess that it is.

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Not sure if this is related to the rebuild plans or not, but at the northbound lanes of 59 over Chimney Rock - they have busted out the outside barrier wall and off to the side they have formed up the rebar for what looks like concrete support columns. It almost looks like they are going to add a lane or two to the main freeway lanes over Chimney Rock.

Anybody know what is going on?

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Thanks for the quick response. Makes sense. The traffic merging onto the freeway has to mix with and cross the traffic simultaneously exiting Chinney Rock. Whenever I don't take the bus in the morning, I exit the freeway there - it is always a take-your-life-into-your-own-hands proposition during morning rush hour. It also causes the Chimney Rock exiting traffic to back up the right two lanes of the freeway just at the Westpark curve.

That whole stretch from Westpark to Newcastle has a lot going on in a short space.

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I have to believe that this plan (59 / 610 partial rebuild) and the Post Oak redo are somewhat intertwined as part of the right of way acquisition around Richmond seems to require a re-alignment of Post Oak. Hopefully the two teams are talking to each other and it all gets knocked out at one time.

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Here's the latest information about the project

http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/houston/59-610.html

 

The 59/69 SB to 610 NB ramp will still be 1 lane wide. I wonder why they didn't take this opportunity to expand that ramp to 2 lanes wide? Every other ramp that's currently 1 lane wide will become 2 lanes wide. 

Edited by JLWM8609
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I read elsewhere that it was because they couldn't acquire the ROW for the extra lane.  Seems like it would be useful enough to justify whatever the expense would be, though.

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4 hours ago, kennyc05 said:

I thought every ramp was being rebuilt?

As JLWM8609 noted, the 59/69 SB to 610 NB ramp is staying as-is at one lane. All other ramps are being rebuilt, some with major realignments.

 

I don't know the reason for leaving the 59/69 SB to 610 NB ramp as-is, but I think lane balance is a factor. The west Loop northbound cannot absorb another lane of traffic, so the ramp is maintained as 1 lane and traffic will continue to back up onto the Southwest Freeway.

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3 hours ago, MaxConcrete said:

As JLWM8609 noted, the 59/69 SB to 610 NB ramp is staying as-is at one lane. All other ramps are being rebuilt, some with major realignments.

 

I don't know the reason for leaving the 59/69 SB to 610 NB ramp as-is, but I think lane balance is a factor. The west Loop northbound cannot absorb another lane of traffic, so the ramp is maintained as 1 lane and traffic will continue to back up onto the Southwest Freeway.

A bit late, but I think I have an idea of how that ramp can be improved to prevent backups onto Southwest Freeway. It's easy. They close off Newcastle Road north of the eastbound frontage road. It's already not a highly-used intersection anyway (no ramps to the west of the road anymore, and a wall was installed at Newcastle and 59 north of the freeway some years ago). They add one lane to the south of the existing westbound US-59 frontage road, putting plastic bollards between the frontage road and the exit. Then that ramp elevates back up to the current level of the exit ramp, and connects to it. Done. It prevents traffic from backing up on Southwest Freeway by having them exit earlier, and it eliminates an extra exit.

 

Traffic would be informed to access Newcastle via Westpark Drive.

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Thanks for bumping the thread.

 

Not sure if it's related but I just noticed several construction signs on 610 near the Bellaire/Bissonnett/Fournace exit. Think the signs specified "Construction begins in the next 1/2 mile"

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No property being taken from the Afton Oaks neighborhood to help make mobility in the entire region better? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!

 

I won't be sad when the people that live in Afton Oaks choke on the exhaust fumes of all the cars that are sitting in traffic.

Edited by samagon
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Is that a big piece of machinery in the middle of 59/610?  See if every day while I drive to work. Can't be an irresponsible driver and take a photo :P

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http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2017/11/20/251866/houston-to-redesign-congested-interchange/

 

Construction will begin in February on a $259 million project to redesign the congested interchange where I-69/US 59 meets the 610 West Loop. Texas Department of Transportation currently ranks it as one of the state’s biggest traffic choke points.

 

Dignitaries were on hand Monday for a groundbreaking ceremony on the Southwest Freeway HOV lane. Mayor Sylvester Turner was there along with Congressman John Culberson and members of the Texas Transportation Commission.

 

As for what the project entails, one-lane connector ramps will be upgraded to two lanes. TxDOT District Engineer Quincy Allen said the big thing they hope to eliminate is sudden lane changes.

 

“Somebody has to stop and weave, or needs to weave, usually their first reaction is to take their foot off the accelerator and slow down,” said Allen. “When we rebuild these ramps we’re going to improve the operational efficiency of them. How much time you have to make a decision when you change lanes.”

 

Other improvements include shoulders for the 610 West Loop bridge. Also detention ponds will be added to help keep water off the mainlanes. TxDOT said vertical clearances will also be increased.

 

The work is scheduled to take between five and six years but TxDOT hopes to finish sooner. Allen said lanes of traffic will be kept open through the construction zone while that work is underway. He added crews will work on a seven-day-a-week schedule, and if they have to close the mainlanes at any point they’ll do it at night or during the weekend.

 

Yd59SGd.jpg

https://twitter.com/Gail_HPM

Edited by Twitter1
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Is it just me or does CenterPoint's new towers include red blinking lights? That's crazy. They spread out so far! I only thought two towers were built. It's more like 6?

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I drove by yesterday and saw some rebar going up for support columns for what I assume will be the 610 mainlanes.

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Who says we're complacent? Just the opposite. We tear down our history with no abandon. I love that Houston is an incubator for creativity. Granted that we get some ugly ass stuff, but we get some great stuff too. I like the recent trend of "modern" style over the throw back fake historical look. Houston has always been a forward looking city. Wish the common architecture embraced it not just the big dollar projects.

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Any ideas on what's going on with the Fournace exit? Is it closed due to this project?

 

Off topic, but this morning's traffic was terrible!

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On 1/29/2018 at 3:18 PM, texas911 said:

Who says we're complacent? Just the opposite. We tear down our history with no abandon. I love that Houston is an incubator for creativity. Granted that we get some ugly ass stuff, but we get some great stuff too. I like the recent trend of "modern" style over the throw back fake historical look. Houston has always been a forward looking city. Wish the common architecture embraced it not just the big dollar projects.

 

And since we tear down our history with no abandon, it means the ugly ass stuff won't last forever

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Nothing is as permanent as a temporary solution. :ph34r:

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On 2/2/2018 at 9:41 AM, cspwal said:

 

And since we tear down our history with no abandon, it means the ugly ass stuff won't last forever

 

Hopefully. I look over in Austin and see some really nice "common" architecture going on and wonder why can't Houston have the same.

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