Traffic Reprieve

Traffic reprieve: San Felipe closing delayed until after Monday morning rush hour

San Felipe closing delayed until after Monday morning rush hour

Traffic along San Felipe inside the 610 Loop is expected to be mess for the next couple of weeks — but those traveling along the busy street have an extra day to use the route before  it is closed and construction begins.

The Harris County Flood Control District is replacing the 50-year-old San Felipe Street bridge located at the railroad tracks just east of Mid Lane as part of a $13.2 million drainage improvement project. Construction was scheduled to begin Sunday but heavy rains have delayed the start to Monday (Sept. 23) after the morning rush hour ends.

The street near the railroad tracks is expected to be closed for up to two weeks while the bridge is demolished and replaced. Motorists traveling west on San Felipe can detour at Willowick or adjoining streets, while motorists traveling east can detour at Mid Lane or nearby streets. 

Motorists whose ultimate destination is not in the immediate area are encouraged to use an alternate route, such as West Loop 610, Memorial Drive, Westheimer Road, Richmond Avenue or Kirby Drive.

The project includes rebuilding and enclosing the drainage channel from San Felipe to Richmond with dual 12-foot by 10-foot reinforced concrete box culverts and replacing the bridges at Westheimer and San Felipe. The Westheimer bridge replacement was completed in April.

The drainage channel flows northward from Westpark Drive inside West Loop 610 and runs parallel to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. It drains into Buffalo Bayou on the southern edge of the Memorial Park. Along its approximately 2-mile route, it crosses under U.S. 59, Richmond, Westheimer and San Felipe.

The Flood Control District launched a three-phase reconstruction project in 2004. The first phase, a $9.4 million project that replaced eroded sections of the drainage channel between San Felipe and Buffalo Bayou, was completed in 2006.

The second and current phase began in August 2011 and focuses on the section of the drainage channel from San Felipe to Richmond. 

The third phase, which has not yet been designed or funded for construction, will span the section of channel between Richmond and Westpark Drive.

San Felipe drainage project Harris County Flood Control District
The concrete drainage channel has been eroded over time. Photo courtesy of Harris County Flood Control District
San Felipe drainage project Harris County Flood Control District
The drainage channel will be enclosed in reinforced concrete box culverts.. Photo courtesy of Harris County Flood Control District