Houston's 10 Most Treacherous Freeway Entrance Ramps

Categories: Traffic

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They are kidding with that stop light, right?
When discussing Houston traffic, it is unfair to compare the city with more compact places around the country. We are spread out, more like LA than Chicago. That means freeways and lots of them.

Unlike places in the northeast, the vast majority of these multi-lane deathtraps are not toll roads;meaning lots of places to get on and off, but not always with ease. In fact, there are some entrance ramps to freeways around Houston so complicated and dangerous, it's a wonder they were built in the first place. The problem is worse when those entering the freeway decide to do so like they were driving through a school zone.

In order to determine the worst, I narrowed it down by excluding freeway-to-freeway interchanges. Those offer their own brand of hell. I also eliminated exit ramps. Most of us are just thrilled to be getting off the freeway in the first place, and getting on means accelerating at a sometimes breakneck speed. If you think we've missed any, please let us know in the comments.

10. I-45 northbound from El Dorado

The Clear Lake "narrows," as I've written about before, offers its own special brand of traffic torture, but the real danger her lies in getting on the freeway. Really, you could take your pick between Bay Area Boulevard or El Dorado. The entrance ramps for both are awful as one lane serves for both getting on and off the freeway, a special nuance found at many exits around town.

9. I-10 westbound and eastbound from Taylor (tie)

Any freeway entrance that incorporates an incline is probably asking for trouble, especially in a mountain-challenged city like Houston. Both entrances are pitched slopes into the mess that is I-10. On the eastbound side you have the added bonus of navigating the I-45/I-10 interchange.

8. US 59 southbound from Weslayan

Yet another exit/entrance combo, this spot has the added benefit of being just south of one of the busiest freeway interchanges in the city at 610 and 59. Trying to avoid hitting people exiting at Newcastle -- thinking they can avoid Galleria traffic when they are really just plunging themselves deeper into it -- is difficult enough. Trying to weave across three lanes of freeway to get to 59's southbound lanes is a fool's errand. Suck it up and get on the Westpark Tollway.

7. 610 eastbound from Airline Drive

Much like No. 8 on our list, the entrance from Airline drive onto the North Loop is complicated by the proximity to the ramps leading to I-45 south. If you intend to try and skate all the way across to the North Freeway exit, you take your life and the lives of countless others in your hands. Take Airline all the way to 45 instead and the life you save might be mine.

6. I-45 southbound from Patton

Another descent into madness is exacerbated by a stop light (see photo above), an incredibly short distance to the freeway and no merge lane. I've seen cars sitting in the median holding up traffic on the ramp because they are terrified to try and enter the main lanes. And if that weren't enough, the entrance is a favorite of semi-truck drivers coming from the truck stop on Patton.


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45 comments
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

It is called "The Revenge of the C- Student."


When I have nightmares, Houston freeways are often involved.

Taresa Mikle
Taresa Mikle

Around downtown....the entrances to 45 - having to merge onto freeway traffic. Scary!!!!

Kevin Gee
Kevin Gee

The one in downtown when you're on Milam and entering 59. Whoever designed that entrance ramp needs to be bitch slapped.

Eileen Palmer
Eileen Palmer

Weslayan on 59, race track. No one understands what a blinker is or uses one.

Ray Hadfield
Ray Hadfield

All of them...the idiots who don't understand to merge close to the same speed as the freeway traffic....

Elisa Flores
Elisa Flores

Any on ramp you have to merge into right lane and not because of on coming traffic from freeway but because of stupid drivers in front of me who come to a complete stop, how you gonna merge at a compete stop? And no I'm not talking about during rush hour...I'm talking about when traffic is flowing.

Kevin Lacobie
Kevin Lacobie

the Allen Parkway ramp onto I45 is awesome! Awesome scary that is, especially if your vehicle is tail-heavy on a slick road. Both Chimney Rock to 59N and Weslayan to 59S should be closed, as not meeting highway engineering standards for minimum distances from a highway interchange. The most deadly intersection in the city, though, is likely 610N to 59.

Cindy Featherston
Cindy Featherston

The 59 South exit and double merges onto 610 northbound. Made more difficult because newbies don't know how it works, through no fault of their own... it's a crazy design.

Rachel Doyle
Rachel Doyle

getting on i 10 at yale or heights blvd -_-

bdscarbo
bdscarbo

Naw, naw, naw. You totally missed a really bad one! It has the same short merge distance of the #1 and #2 on this list and no dedicated merge lane, and a shorter merge distance than the #3 (W Dallas SB to I-45). Like #5 and #6 and #7, it also has a metered ramp with a stoplight.

What makes it worse than most or all of the others? Because of the elevated lanes from Spur 5 and the rollercoaster structure of the freeway (elevated to at grade to elevated again in only a 1/4 mile), traffic entering the freeway can't glance over and see if there's traffic in the right lane of the freeway. Traffic on the freeway also can't see entering traffic until the last moment.

What is this terrible ramp? SCOTT STREET TO I-45 NORTHBOUND. It should probably be ranked #3 in terms of degree of difficulty, and maybe only #4 because the W Dallas ramp is more heavily used.

Also keep in mind that all of the people who drove their pickup trucks in the left lane since Galveston are all suddenly trying to cram into the right two lanes in order to keep traveling north on I-45.

Don't just take my word for it though. There is a multi-vehicle accident on I-45 NB just north of this ramp in a short 1/2 mile stretch about once per week. I've seen several accidents up close in this small section that involved 4 or more vehicles; there were certainly many more that I missed.

JBIII
JBIII

Glaring omission of the ramp between 59S and 45N near downtown... it's seldom used, but a clear #1 to anyone that's ever been on it.

Mark Braun
Mark Braun

West Belfort and Sam Houston Tollway North 1/4 mile before both lanes merge to Highway 59

Scott Newby
Scott Newby

I don't like that one from Allen Parkway eastbound to I-45 going south. It will spit you out right into the center lane and has no acceleration lane. I did it once, never again!

Brandy Bird
Brandy Bird

#1 I've almost been smothered by a semi. Never again!

Amanda Johnson
Amanda Johnson

#1....Unfortunately I've been that rocket with a death wish who almost plowed into that person at a dead stop at the end of the ramp. I will drive 15 extra minutes around town after that incident just to enter 45 south via another means.

Joy Gracey
Joy Gracey

#1 super scary. I have nightmares about that one

Owen Miller
Owen Miller

The one that scares me the most is right downtown. Coming down 59N to merge onto I45N.....Deadly Indeed

Daniel Rodríguez Daál
Daniel Rodríguez Daál

Every entrance ramp that "DUMPS" you onto the highway (1/2 of the entrance ramps in Houston)

Mary Walker
Mary Walker

The blind left-lane merge onto 45N from 610 under that Gulfgate tangle. It spits you right into the fast lane.

Nader Islam
Nader Islam

I hate the Milam entrance to 59 from downtown. It should its own lane. Also the entrance from 45 unto 59 in downtown is just criminal. Whoever designed both of those should be fired and roadways fixed immediately.

Tom Kennedy
Tom Kennedy

I hate the Shepherd curve entrance. Its one of the major choke points for the North Fwy.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

I know there is a purpose for them, but those traffic signals on the freeway entrance ramp are just about one of the most useless things ever.  Who really thinks that entering a highway from a dead stop is a good idea? There's not enough acceleration room and if you have a 4 cylinder wonder like me, forget it.  Methinks the highways in Houston were designed by those who think everyone in Texas drives a pickup truck with an engine that go to freeway speeds in a handful of seconds.

The Allen Parkway ramp? Jesus, that is one scary ramp.  I don't know how many times I have had to slam on the brakes because I get a Nervous Nellie who stops instead of merging into the lane.  That is the reason why I will go drive into downtown and take another entrance ramp to my highway of choice.

JLWM
JLWM

Honorable mention should go to the onramps to 288 south from Jackson St. and Hamilton St. Both have a lack of acceleration lanes, but the Hamilton St. ramp appears to be the worst of the two. The Hamilton St. ramp is complicated by its proximity to the ramp from US 59 north to 288 south, and by the little stub ramp that feeds into it from Chenevert. That stub ramp from Chenevert to the Hamilton St. ramp seems to be a favorite of little old ladies in 1994 Buick LeSabres who enter at 15 mph, and cut off everyone else trying to accelerate fast enough to enter 288 without being squashed by an 18 wheeler.

BobbyFreshpants
BobbyFreshpants topcommenter

Getting off 59 South at Chimney Rock is a fucking joke.

The other problem is people in Houston don't know how to use their blinkers and that ruins me! Stop changing in and out of lanes in front me and giving me the evil eye. How am I supposed to know what is going through your mind you...(insert lots of profanity). And when I do let you in, give me a thank you wave! 

Damn, I just had some road rage!

jeffbalke
jeffbalke topcommenter

@JBIII  Note that in the first part of the story I said that I wasn't including any interchanges between freeways. This is strictly for ramps coming onto freeways from feeders and side streets.

Markh
Markh

@BobbyFreshpants      Blinkers????   Are those the things you use to claim a parking space???  or when on the freeway, blinkers are the signal to tighten up!  don't let that sucker in!

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