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Study Hopes To Ease Congestion For Southwest Freeway Commuters

H-GAC seeks input from the public on low-cost solutions.


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The Houston-Galveston Area Council wants ideas from the public on how to ease congestion on the Southwest Freeway.


The Houston-Galveston Area Council is seeking input from the public on how to ease congestion on one of Houston’s busiest freeways.

U.S. 59 Southwest Freeway carries about 300,000 vehicles a day from I-45 to Beltway 8. The segment from the 610 Loop to downtown ranks third on the state’s list of most congested freeways.


variable speed limit

H-GAC transportation planner Bill Tobin says a lot of the delays are caused by ramps that aren’t configured to carry heavy traffic. Tobin was at a meeting hearing comments from the public.

“There’s also some weaving that occurs when you’re merging on to the road and merging off,” Tobin says. “We think that those kind of issues are creating some of this congestion.”

Tobin says building additional lanes isn’t an option, so they’re looking at lower cost solutions. That includes things like new message boards.

Planners are also looking at quicker ways to clear accidents.

Rosalind Pipes says relief can’t come fast enough. She lives in the Afton Oaks neighborhood and sees a lot of spillover traffic when the freeway gets congested.

The neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks, and Pipes says there were some scary moments when she took her grandchild for a stroll.

“And I can’t tell you how many times people would speed through trying to get a shortcut to Richmond, and I would have to pull over to the side with my grandbaby and I’d say ‘slow up.’ I’d yell that at them, and you know what people do when you make them angry.”

Click here for more on the Southwest Freeway study.


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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

News Anchor

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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