TxDOT’s reconstruction of the IH 610-West Loop in June 2001 encompassed almost a five-mile stretch of freeway, from US 59-Southwest Freeway to IH 10-Katy Freeway. The reconstruction included the renovation of the existing main lanes and frontage roads, the addition of new entrances or “HOT LINKS.” These HOT LINKS provide direct and exclusive access into and out of Uptown, while removing traffic from the West Loop main lanes, dramatically reducing congestion.
The $225 million reconstruction of the West Loop resulted in a 25 percent increase in lane miles. Increase in movement and capacity is far greater because the improvements ease congestion where it counts: at the bottlenecks like IH 610 at US 59 and IH 610 at IH 10.
The project delivered a number of additional positive improvements to the Houston transportation system:
- At US 59 and the West Loop where there were 16 lanes, there are now a total of 24 lanes, which include two tollway lanes at Richmond.
- At the West Loop and I-10, where there were 15 lanes, there are now a total of 20 lanes.
- New West Loop frontage roads under US 59.
- Direct access to the new Westpark Tollway.
TxDOT and Uptown Houston formed a strategic partnership to ensure that the West Loop reconstruction project was managed in the best possible way to minimize the effects on commuters and Uptown residents, workers and visitors. In addition, Uptown Houston implemented its own traffic/construction management program to monitor contractor activities and ensure that traffic disruption was minimized. Uptown Houston also initiated a public information program to continuously alert Houstonians of what was happening and provide drivers with the necessary tools and information to guide them, such as real-time information on closures and alternate routes in and out of the area.
West Park Tollway
Just as the Sam Houston Toll Road has transformed development on the west side of Houston, the Westpark Tollway has forever changed traffic patterns and development in Uptown Houston.
Beginning and ending in Uptown, the Westpark Tollway opened in May 2004. The first of its kind for Harris County, the Westpark Tollway is limited to EZ TAG users only. Funded and constructed by the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA), the $229 million Westpark Tollway extends from the intersection of Post Oak Boulevard at Richmond to Highway 6.
Rapidly growing west and southwest Houston communities are benefiting by receiving direct and exclusive access to the central part of the city, including Uptown Houston. In addition, the Westpark Tollway allows inbound commuters from US 59 to quickly and conveniently enter Uptown Houston while avoiding the IH-610 West Loop, US 59 interchange.