Interstate 45 widening project moves into League City

A six-mile stretch of projects on I-45 south will widen the interstate to 10 lanes and demolish overpasses at El Dorado and Bay Area boulevards.

A six-mile stretch of projects on I-45 south will widen the interstate to 10 lanes and demolish overpasses at El Dorado and Bay Area boulevards.

The Interstate 45 widening project is creeping its way south, passing through League City along the way.

In June 2017, the Texas Department of Transportation began widening a two-mile stretch of I-45 between NASA Road 1 and FM 518. The work will widen the interstate from six to eight main lanes and aims to improve mobility, reduce congestion and make the area safer for motorists, said Danny Perez, TxDOT public information officer.

Other work along this stretch includes:

  • Reconstructing the FM 518 intersection, including adding designated right-turn lanes and shared-use paths.

  • Building new on- and off-ramps at Clear Creek.

  • Lighting and frontage road improvements along the length of the project.

  • Constructing three new detention ponds.

The $100 million project is expected to be done by 2021.

League City officials are happy the interstate work has reached them.

"All in all, I would say the construction’s going fairly well," City Manager John Baumgartner said. "We’re excited to see it going as fast as it’s going."

Officials expect construction will create longer commutes, however.

"It’s the nature of the beast. It’s construction. It is not perfect," Baumgartner said.

Still, the end result will be less congestion during peak driving times, he said.

But the work between NASA Road 1 and FM 518 isn't the only corridor of I-45 construction League City residents have to deal with.

Since November 2016, the interstate has been under construction from FM 518 to FM 517. That $122 million work includes lane additions, intersection improvements and the construction of a new storm sewer system with five detention ponds, Perez said.

The intersection of I-45 and FM 646 will be reconfigured so the interstate will pass over FM 646 instead of FM 646 passing over I-45 as it does now. U-turns, access roads and new traffic signals and sidewalks will be added in the area, Perez said.

In August, TxDOT expects work to begin even farther south as the interstate undergoes construction from FM 517 to FM 1764—a $231 million project. The goal is to widen I-45 all the way to Galveston, Perez said.

"This project will aid in facilitating the growth and development of Galveston County [and] Harris County and surrounding communities such as Webster and League City," Perez wrote in an email to Community Impact Newspaper. "This project will also improve the mobility for motorists while reducing congestion and improving safety along this heavily traveled corridor."

These projects come on the heels of other I-45 work further north. In June 2011, TxDOT began widening the interstate from south of Beltway 8 to NASA Road 1. By June 2017, the $180 million portion of the interstate widening project had been completed, Perez said.
By Jake Magee

Editor, Bay Area & Pearland/Friendswood

Jake has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper. Today, he covers everything from aerospace to transportation to flood mitigation.