New I-69 ramp to be constructed at Spur 5
Plans to alleviate a stretch of habitual traffic congestion are underway as construction of a new ramp interchange connecting northbound Interstate 45 and Interstate 69, known in Houston as U.S. Highway 59, is expected to begin later this year, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The Texas Department of Transportation’s plan will place the new ramp from northbound I-45 at Spur 5, which means that drivers entering the highway from Scott Street and Cullen Boulevard will no longer be able to merge onto I-69.
The current layout of freeway connections forces drivers, including many UH students and staff, to quickly merge left if they wish to exit to I-69 South. The new connection is expected to lighten the traffic burden of the perennially gridlocked stretch of highway.
The new ramp will impact the commute for students and faculty.
According to the 2016-2017 institutional research report, 81% of undergraduate students at UH commute to campus. However, the University has not been included in the process.
“The University is supportive of TxDOT projects that improve the flow of traffic in and around campus,” said Shawn Lindsey, Director of Media Relations. “Interstate projects such as this one impact a large number of different constituencies — the city, businesses, commuters, residents and schools. So it’s not surprising that the University has not been included in the TxDOT planning process.”
The project, originally proposed in 2009, is slated to begin by the middle of year but will likely not be finished until 2020.
“We will be monitoring future construction plans and will communicate any changes to the campus community when necessary,” said Lindsey.
The prospect of a new interchange is a relief to some students whose daily commute includes the congested highway.
“The hardest part about 45 is having less than a mile to get over two lanes,” said senior MIS student Jacob Brijalba. “No one wants to let you over. It seems dangerous in the sense that I don’t know how someone will react when I have to force myself over because they’re not letting me in.”