A total closure of the I-45 northbound mainlanes at Rayford and Sawdust roads is scheduled beginning Jan. 11 at 9 p.m., weather permitting, The Texas Department of Transportation announced in a news release Jan. 3. The lanes will reopen Jan. 14 at 5 a.m.
TxDOT began repairing the I-45 bridge at Rayford and Sawdust roads Jan. 2, which had been previously identified as Texas’ most-traveled, structurally deficient bridge by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association in 2014.
According to the ARTBA, while the northbound side of the bridge had a sufficiency rating—which indicates if a bridge is sufficient enough to remain in service—of 84 percent in 2014, the southbound side of the bridge earned a sufficiency rating of 68 percent. Bridges with a sufficiency rating below 80 percent are considered deficient, according to the study.
TxDOT Public Information Officer Emily Black said after the rating came out in 2014, TxDOT crews conducted an emergency repair, bringing the bridge back to satisfactory condition.
“We typically inspect bridges every two years, and in 2016 and 2018 the bridge was rated satisfactory, actually with decently high scoring of 84 on both sides of the bridge in the last inspection,” she said.
TxDOT began a further repair on the bridge Jan. 2. The $405,277 project will replace bearing pads under the bridge on the northbound side of the bridge and will fully replace the 633.6-foot bridge deck on the southbound side of the bridge, according to TxDOT. The project will also patch the drilled shaft where I-45 crosses Spring Creek.
“The project goal is to maintain and preserve the roadway and to ensure its safety in the future,” Black said.
Black said locations that will see closures during the two months of construction include the U-turns at Rayford Road and the mainlanes of I-45 both north- and southbound.
According to the news release, during the Jan. 11-14 closure motorists will be detoured by exiting I-45 northbound at the exit for Rayford and Sawdust roads and re-enter I-45 at the next entrance ramp north of Rayford and Sawdust roads. Police officers will be onsite to direct traffic.
The project is is 90 percent funded through federal dollars and 10 percent funded through state dollars.
Black said motorists can stay informed of lane closure throughout the project’s duration by monitoring the Houston TranStar website at www.houstontranstar.org.