The Three Worst Houston Freeway Interchanges

Categories: Traffic

59-traffic.jpg
Photo by TexasDarkHorse via Flickr
Welcome to one of Houston's three circles of traffic hell.

UPDATE September 23, 2014: Good news: the interchange that took the top spot in this list is getting a makeover. The interchange where Highway 59 and Interstate 45 South merge going in to downtown is getting a two-year, multimillion-dollar makeover.

Last week when I wrote about the most treacherous on ramps to freeways, many of you suggested connections between freeways as possible additions. Since I was sticking with entrances from side streets, I skipped out on freeway interchanges, but there are three in particular that are such a mess, they deserve some attention.

At times, it feels as if our freeway system is just a massive tangle of concrete with little rhyme or reason. But little compares to where these arteries meet. I often wonder if the architect of these connections was inspired by an M.C. Escher painting, the design of roller coasters (ever exited Interstate 10 to the Beltway and felt as if you were 100 stories in the air?) or maybe he was just insane. Whatever the case, we are left with some of the most ridiculous and confusing interchanges in some of the city's most heavily trafficked areas.

There are certainly plenty of good examples of this spread out all over the city. But these three are the absolutely worst, a mixture of poor design and heavy use.


3. Highway 290, the North Loop and Interstate 10

The only thing that saved this from being No. 1 is the fact that it is under construction and the hopes that something will be done to repair this disaster that currently resembles a war zone. Not only does this convergence occur in one of the fastest growing parts of town, but it is extended almost a half mile as 290 and 610 meet I-10 to the south.

From every direction, this jumble is complicated to navigate, but the worst part is the stretch in between all three where a huge number of traffic lanes split off in multiple directions. Even with stenciled freeway names on the lanes, it is nearly impossible to discern exactly where to go. Worst yet, when trying to merge from say I-10 heading west onto 290 going north, you have to cross six lanes of traffic congested by people aiming for multiple exits ahead. Enter at your own peril.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
Becci Himes
Becci Himes

Definitely 59 N. to 288/I45. Do not use the inside two lanes to get ahead of everyone else and then expect me to let you in as you try at last minute to cross the median where those inside lanes split to spur 527.

Jeff Berlat
Jeff Berlat

If people learn to merge it won' t be a problem.

BrodoDiVitello
BrodoDiVitello

Try driving 59 and getting onto either Westpark or Westpark Tollway, it's a mish of impatient, multi-cultural drivers.

Daniel Rodríguez Daál
Daniel Rodríguez Daál

Whoever designed Houston's should be thrown in jail. Why is it that entrance ramp "dump you" into the left lane of the highway?

stinapag
stinapag

My husband and I call the 610, 209, I-10 thing "the clusterfuck."  

Dejan Petkovski
Dejan Petkovski

Definitly those who are responsible for creating intersections/interchanges posting road signs are not doing good job. I will fire all of them if I would have that power. I can guaranty you that I will improve the traffic in Houston for %100 just from my international experience for over 20 years on the roads around the world!

Anse
Anse

A friend of mine had a motorcycle wreck on Number 3 during rush hour one day. Somebody cut him off. The only thing that saved him was the car behind him grinding to a halt and stopping to block traffic. That stretch can be terrifying in a car, I can't imagine what it's like on a motorcycle. He sold the bike and gave up riding for good after that. 

h_e_x
h_e_x

I-10 to 45 South

No one knows how to merge and instead try to cut in at the last minute, causing wrecks. Drivers licenses need to be more difficult to get.

Schitt.C.Rumpney
Schitt.C.Rumpney

@h_e_x  

People know how to merge..they just think they each OWN the roads and we'd better move out their very important way!


Anse
Anse

@h_e_x  What's really infuriating are people who don't let cars merge. There are times when I'm just really glad I don't own a gun, because that sends me over the top. It's like they can't stand the idea of not getting to their destination .02 seconds faster or something. 

conatonc
conatonc

@Anse @h_e_x  It's one thing if you're a driver who doesn't let others merge in out of course. Then you're an asshole. 


The exception is the cars who drive all the way up the merging lane until it disappears and then expect to be let right in. Those people are the assholes and they deserve to sit there and rot rather than successfully cut in the line in front of all the drivers who did it correctly.

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...