Transportation

Why Is Houston’s Traffic So Bad After Harvey?

As Houston works to recover from Harvey, drivers are seeing lots of congestion. It’s not just on the freeways but also on some local streets. We looked at one of the reasons why.

Traffic builds after an accident on I-45 North.

That lingering high water in west Houston is causing much of the problem and it’s spiraling out to the rest of the city. Some major north-south routes are closed, like North Eldridge and Dairy Ashford. Crews have also had to pump water off Beltway 8 and now there’s a big sinkhole near Memorial Drive.

Those detours are sending commuters in all directions, according to Dinah Massie with Transtar.

“This forced them to go east to the Loop and then take the West Loop or go west to the Grand Parkway,” explains Massie.

And familiar trips to work have now turned into something else.

“Now it’s pieced together on roads that were already fully used, fully supporting traffic,” adds Massie.

And what about that sinkhole? TxDOT’s Karen Othon says they’ve already started repair work and it should take about a week.

“The plan of action is to get the concrete out and then put in some fill material and then repave to rebuild that road,” says Othon. “Because all that fill underneath the original pavement washed out when the water receded.”

And until all those west Houston roads are reopened, commuters are advised to give themselves extra time to get to work.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

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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