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Interstate 610 (abbreviated I-610) is a freeway that forms a loop around the downtown sector of city of Houston, Texasmarker. Interstate 610, colloquially known as "The Loop", "Loop 610", "The 610 Loop", or just "610", traditionally marks the border between the inner city of Houston ("inside the Loop") and its surrounding areas. It is the inner of the two Houston beltways, the other being Beltway 8 (Sam Houston Tollway). Interstate 610 also runs through the city of Bellairemarker.

Route description

Major segments of Interstate 610 are known as the North Loop, the South Loop, the East Loop, and the West Loop. The North Loop runs from U.S. Highway 290 to U.S. Highway 90. The East Loop runs from Highway 90 to State Highway 225. The West Loop runs from Highway 290 to the South Post Oak Road spur, and the South Loop runs from South Post Oak Road to Highway 225. Sometimes, a direction is added as a suffix to denote a more specific part of a portion of the loop. For example:
  • North Loop West refers to the portion of the North Loop between Highway 290 and Interstate 45. North Loop East refers to the portion between Interstate 45 and Highway 90.
  • East Loop North refers to the portion of the East Loop between Highway 90 and Interstate 10. East Loop South refers to the portion between Interstate 10 and State Highway 225.
  • South Loop East refers to the portion of the South Loop between State Highway 225 and State Highway 288. South Loop West refers to the portion between State Highway 288 and the South Post Oak Road spur.
  • West Loop South refers to the portion of the West Loop between the South Post Oak Road spur and Buffalo Bayou (which is just south of Interstate 10). West Loop North refers to the portion between Buffalo Bayou and Highway 290.


Lane configurations

I-610 seen from the HQ of Cameron International Corporation (North Post Oak and IH-610) in Houston.
View toward South and toward the interchange with US-59
I-610 "West Loop South" just South from IH-10 West
Starting at U.S. Highway 290, moving in a clockwise direction, mainlane counts are as follows:
  • 4 lanes each way between U.S. Highway 290 and Interstate 45
  • 6 lanes each way between Interstate 45 and U.S. Highway 59
  • 4 lanes each way between U.S. Highway 59 and Interstate 10
  • 5 lanes each way between Interstate 10 and State Highway 225
  • 4 lanes each way between State Highway 225 and State Highway 288
  • 5 lanes each way between State Highway 288 and South Post Oak Road spur
  • 5 lanes northbound, 4 lanes southbound between South Post Oak Road spur and Bissonnet exit
  • 5 lanes northbound, 5 lanes southbound between Bissonnet exit and Bellaire Boulevard exit
  • 4 lanes northbound, 5 lanes southbound between Bellairemarker Boulevard exit and Woodway Drive
  • 5 lanes each way Woodway Drive and Interstate 10
  • 6 lanes each way between Interstate 10 and U.S. Highway 290


History

I-610 "West Loop South" just South from IH-10 West.
View toward North from the HQ of Cameron International Corporation
The concept of building a bypass highway around Houston was first proposed in 1931, but plans did not begin to formalize until 1941. The loop was initially proposed to transport troops and materials around the city. On May 3, Harris Countymarker voters approved a bond to build the "Defense Loop". It was officially designated as Loop 137 in 1942, and the North Loop was approved by the Texas Transportation Commission. World War II delayed construction of the Loop until the 1950s.

In July 1953, the city of Houston asked the Texas Transportation Commission to include 2 new sections of Loop 137 (the West Loop and the South Loop) as part of the state's highway system. It was initially rejected, but in October 1954, the North Loop was upgraded to a freeway, and the West and South Loops were approved as freeways.

When the Interstate Highway system was authorized in 1956, the then C-shaped Loop 137 (now designated Interstate 610) was adopted into the plan. The East Loop would not be approved until 1960. That segment was finished in 1973 with the opening of the Sidney Sherman Bridge over the Houston Ship Channelmarker.

Construction on the North Loop began in 1950. Construction was sporadic throughout the 1950s and 1960s. It was completed in 1976 with the interchange that connects Loop 610 to Interstate 10 east of Houston.

In the early 1990s, TxDOT proposed a widening project for the West Loop, which at the time was the busiest freeway in Houston. One of the proposals was for a dual-dual freeway with a total of 24 lanes in some places, which would have made it the widest freeway in the world. Amid vocal opposition and little apparent support, the plans for expansion were cancelled.

In the late 1990s, the need to repave and reconstruct portions of the West Loop became evident. The reconstruction project was approved, but only as a "no-capacity-added" project; only safety and structural improvements could be made. However, some Houston residents have noted that merging lanes and exit and ramps are particularly long and in effect, serve as additional lanes.

Exit list

The entire roadway, which forms a complete loop, is located in Harris Countymarker.
Location # Destinations Notes
Houstonmarker 1A Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
1B Fannin Street
1C Kirby Drive
2
3 Stella Link Road
4A South Braeswood Boulevard, North Braeswood Boulevard
4B South Post Oak Road
5A Beechnut Street Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
Bellairemarker 5B Evergreen Street Counterclockwise exit is via Exit 6
6 Bellaire Boulevard
7 Fournace Place, Bissonnet Street Clockwise exit is via Exit 6
Houstonmarker 7 Westpark Drive Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance
8A
8B Hidalgo Street, Richmond Avenue Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
8C  – Westheimer Road The non-FM 1093 segment and the FM 1093 segment of Westheimer Road meet here
9 San Felipe Road, Post Oak Boulevard Signed as Exits 9A (San Felipe Road) and 9B (Post Oak Boulevard) counterclockwise
10 Woodway Drive, Memorial Drive
11A Signed as Exit 11 clockwise
11B Katy Road, North Post Oak Road, Silber Road Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
12 West 18th Street, Hempstead Road No clockwise entrance
13B
13C West T.C. Jester Boulevard, East T.C. Jester Boulevard
14 Ella Boulevard
15
16 North Main Street, Yale Street Signed as Exits 16A (Yale Street) and 16B (North Main Street) clockwise
17A Airline Drive Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance
17BC Signed as Exits 17B (north) and 17B (south)
18 Irvington Boulevard, Fulton Street
19A Hardy Street, Jensen Drive Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance
19B
20 Signed as Exits 20A (north) and 20B (south) counterclockwise
20C Hirsch Road Clockwise exit is via Exit 21
21 Lockwood Drive
22 Homestead Road, Kelley Street
23A Kirkpatrick Boulevard
23B North Wayside Drive, Liberty Road
24 Counterclockwise end of US 90 overlap, signed as Exits 24A (US 90) and 24B (Wallisville Road) counterclockwise
25 Gellhorn Drive Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance
26A Clockwise end of US 90 overlap
26B Market Street Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
27 Turning Basin Drive No counterclockwise exit
28 Clinton Drive
29 Port of Houston Main Entrance
30A Manchester Street Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance
30BC Signed as Exits 30B (east) and 30C (west)
31 Broadway Boulevard
32 Signed as Exits 32A (I-45 South) and 32B (I-45 North, SH 35 South)
33 Woodridge Drive, Telephone Road
34A South Wayside Drive, Long Drive
35 Crestmont Street, M.L. King Boulevard, Mykawa Road
36A Calais Road, Holmes Road, M.L. King Boulevard
36B Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
37 Scott Street
38A Signed as Exits 38A (north) and 38C (south) counterclockwise


References

  1. Clearing up confusion of multiple highway names Houston Chronicle, November 20, 2005.
  2. North Loop Fwy W Google Maps, accessed September 7, 2006.
  3. North Loop Fwy E Google Maps, accessed September 7, 2006.
  4. East Loop Fwy N Google Maps, accessed September 7, 2006.
  5. South Loop Fwy E Google Maps, accessed September 7, 2006.
  6. South Loop Fwy W Google Maps, accessed September 7, 2006.
  7. West Loop Fwy S Google Maps, accessed September 7, 2006.
  8. West Loop Fwy N Google Maps, accessed September 7, 2006.
  9. Notes and Index Houston Freeways, Erik Slotboom.
  10. The Loop, Interstate 610. Erik Slotboom, Houston Freeways. Last accessed December 15, 2006.
  11. Reader worries drivers will take turn for the worse. Rad Sallee, Houston Chronicle. December 3, 2006. Last accessed December 15, 2006.
  12. More buildings checked for 'stray' Metro current. Rad Sallee, Houston Chronicle. November 26, 2006. Last accessed December 15, 2006.


External links



See also

I-610 Ship Channel Bridge


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