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Building Bridges

Westheimer & San Felipe both set for major road work, long lane closures: Get ready for traffic hell

If Galleria-area traffic doesn't already scare you away, then this news just might: The Harris County Flood Control District revealed on Tuesday that both Westheimer Road and Richmond Avenue will undergo staggered closures early this year. 

The culprit is "HCFCD Unit W129-00-00," a drainage channel that runs parallel to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and whose concrete slopes have crumbled and eroded over the years, compromising infrastructure.

 San Felipe bridge work is expected to begin in the summer — all lanes will be closed for up to two weeks.   

The first phase of the project, which was completed in 2006, enclosed a stretch of the channel that runs between the Buffalo Bayou and San Felipe Street (you can make out its southern end here).

Phase two, the current phase, began in Aug. 2011 and encloses the stretch from San Felipe to Richmond — and part of that process requires the demolition and reconstruction of existing 50-year-old bridges.

Work on the Westheimer bridge is scheduled to start in March, and HCFCD said that traffic flow will be limited to one lane in each direction for up to a month. San Felipe bridge work is expected to begin in the summer — all lanes will be closed for up to two weeks. 

If the likely traffic nightmare isn't enough to deter you from passing through during construction time, perhaps a warning from the HCFCD to "avoid the area while bridges are under construction" will. 

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