The I-69/I-610 interchange is a major connection point of two extremely busy highways serving the Greater Houston area. The $259 million project - $87.5 million of which is through Texas Clear Lanes - will improve safety and mobility while reducing congestion by widening the connector ramps to two lanes, increasing sight distances and vertical clearances, and providing remedies to eliminate weaving. The project also calls for adding shoulders on the I-610 West Loop mainlane bridge over I-69 and adding detention ponds.
Construction will be phased and will include night and weekend road closures. The project has incentives and disincentives to encourage the contractor to complete various phases sooner than anticipated. The project is expected to take about five years to complete. Road closure information will be posted at Houston Transtar. Follow @HOU610at69 on Twitter for updates and more on this project.
The purpose of the project is to improve safety and mobility, reduce congestion, and upgrade the interchange to current design standards. It addresses several issues: one-lane direct connectors that are over capacity, projected growth increasing demand, lack of shoulders, low vertical clearances, below minimum sight distances, and crashes in merge areas. I-610 West and I-69 South are heavily congested during peak hours, and though the I-610 West Loop is ranked as the #1 Most Congested Highway in Texas, this project aims to change that statistic.
Williams Brothers Construction has begun preliminary work on the I-69/ I-610 West Loop Interchange project with plans to start major construction early next year. This work includes moving utility lines and the building of various bridge columns.
During construction, TxDOT will use Smart Work Zone technology, which is the application of computers, communications, and sensor technology to freeway transportation. This system will provide the following:
- Real-time: The system obtains and analyzes traffic flow data in real-time, providing frequently updated information to motorists.
- Portable: The system is portable, hence allowing its installation (with minor modifications as necessary) at different locations.
- Automated: The system operates in an automated manner with as minimal supervision as possible by human operators.
- Reliable: The system provides accurate and reliable information, keeping in mind the serious consequences of misinforming motorists in work zone situations.
The system will better inform motorists and reduce their frustrations, encourage motorists to take alternate routes, reduce congestion and allow more freely flowing traffic. It will also help to clear incidents more quickly. It will certainly make work zones safer for highway workers and motorists.
Smart Work Zone Technology
Moveable trailer mounted systems that include:
- Sensors for real-time data collection
- Roadside cameras
- Cellular data/information communications capabilities
- Smart software to process/analyze data
- Provides information directly to the traveling public
- Web pages or directly to smart phones
- Roadside message boards
- Assists construction managers in traffic management decisions