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Interstate 610 Texas

 

Routing

Interstate 610 composes the inner loop for the city of Houston. Known as the Loop or the 610 Loop, Interstate 610 is the inner circumferential highway of the metro area. The outer Beltway is a limited access highway known referred to as Texas Beltway 8/Sam Houston Tollway, depending on the geographical location in the metropolitan area.1

The Interstate highway provides connections to metropolitan arterial freeways such as U.S. 290/Northwest Freeway, U.S. 59/Southwest Freeway, Texas 288/South Freeway, U.S. 59/Eastex Freeway among the Interstate connections with 10 and 45. The northern half of the beltway retains non-reflectorized button copy signs from Interstate 10 to Interstate 45, and again at U.S. 59 as of early January 2003. The freeway is heavily traveled carrying six to eight lanes with elaborate stack interchanges at the major crossing highways.

History

Interstate 610 is an original Interstate highway, and it was approved by the Texas State Highway Commission in 1962. It was initially planned as Loop 137 for the southern, western, and northern portions of the beltway in the 1950s. The eastern section and the bridge that crosses the Houston Ship Channel were not included in the Loop 137 original plans, but they were added to the 1962 Interstate 610 approval. The entire loop route was completed and open to traffic by 1975.2

Highway Guides

Beltway - Houston, Texas
Zero Milepost - Texas 288 - south Houston, Texas
Perspective from Interstate 610 East
First set of guide signs for Exits 38C and 38A, the terminus interchange of the Interstate 610 beltway. Hazardous Cargo transporters are routed around the central core of the city of Houston via Interstate 610. As the sign indicates, Hazmats may not take Texas 288 north toward downtown. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Three-quarters of a mile from Exit 38A for Texas 288 southbound. Texas 288 is known as the South Freeway and continues outward from the beltway nine additional miles to the suburb of Pearland. Further south, Texas 288 progresses toward Lake Jackson and the Gulf of Mexico coastline at Freeport. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Interstate 610 as it enters the Exit 38 stack interchange with Texas 288. Mileposts count down from 38 beyond this interchange as the freeway continues east toward Pasadena and Galena Park. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Exit 38A for Texas 288 northbound into downtown departs to the flyover ramp at the right. The state highway travels five miles to the north where it terminates at U.S. 59 just outside of the Houston central business district. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Interstate 610 eastbound continues past Exit 38C for Texas 288 southbound. 54 miles to the south Texas 288 concludes at the Brazoria County town of Freeport. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Perspective from Interstate 610 West
Eight lanes of Houston Beltway exist at Exit 36A for Calais and Holmes Roads. Mileposts reset to 0 at the Texas 288/Exit 38A interchange, located 1.75 miles to the west. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Interstate 610 westbound at Exit 37/Scott Street. The northbound Texas 288 exit ramp also serves the Houston Zoo. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Unlike the eastbound ramps for Texas 288, all traffic to the South Freeway depart in harmony from Interstate 610 westbound. The next freeway to freeway junction of Interstate 610 occurs in seven miles at the U.S. 59/Southwest Freeway. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Western Parent Junction - Interstate 10 - west Houston, Texas
Perspective from Interstate 10 East
A three mile guide sign is afforded for eastbound Interstate 10 motorists for the pending Houston Beltway western junction. All hazardous cargo must utilize the beltway to bypass downtown as opposed to traveling eastward through the central business district via Interstate 10. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Two mile guide sign for Interstate 610, Exit 763. Note the remnant lighting bracket for the original sign that was in place here. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Interstate 10 eastbound expands to four lanes to allow for an exit-only lane to Exit 763/Interstate 610. As is the case with the eastern parent junction, no control cities are used for Interstate 610. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Reassurance guide sign indicating the left three lanes are allocated for the mainline of Interstate 10 eastbound. Note the hazmat ban sign affixed to the top of the panel. Downtown Houston is just five miles to the east. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
The downtown skyline of Houston coming into view, a diagram signage of Exit 763 is in place. Odd that a 2-digit Interstate gets a 3-digit shield and that a 3-digit Interstate gets a 2-digit shield... Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Exit 763 departs Interstate 10 eastbound. The next interchange for Interstate 610 northbound is that of the eastern terminus of U.S. 290, the Northwest Freeway. Interstate 10 will interact with Interstate 45 in five miles for a short parallel routing near downtown. Interstate 610 also crosses paths with Interstate 45 in five miles. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Ramp split for Interstate 610 north and south from Interstate 10 east. Interstate 610 southbound meets another freeway, U.S. 59, in three miles before entering the city limits of Bellaire. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 10 East
Interstate 45 5 miles at downtown Houston, TX
Interstate 610 12 miles at east Houston, TX
Interstate 210 142 miles at Lake Charles, LA
Perspective from Interstate 10 West
Westbound Interstate 10 at Exit 764 for Washington Avenue and Westcott Streets. Interstate 610 is allocated three lanes at Exit 764, quite a testament to the volume of traffic that the Houston Beltway sees. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Diagram overhead for the pending Interstate 10/610 interchange. Three lanes are given to Interstate 610 because of the close proximity of the Northwest Freeway - U.S. 290. This limited access highway begins just north of Interstate 10 and travels to the west to the capital city of Austin. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Interstate 10 and U.S. 90 (hidden at this point) continue westward to the suburbs of Addicks and Katy while as Exit 764 departs. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Exit 764 ramp split of Interstate 610. Interstate 610 northbound is briefly six lanes between Interstate 10 and the eastern terminus of U.S. 290. Three of the six lanes however, form the beginning of the Northwest Freeway. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 10 West
Interstate 410 182 miles at San Antonio, TX
Interstate 37 189 miles at San Antonio, TX
Interstate 35
overlap begin
191 miles at San Antonio, TX
Perspective from Interstate 610 North
Exits 9, 10, and 11 sign bridge on Interstate 610 northbound. This assembly includes the 2.50 mile guide sign for the western parent junction with Interstate 10. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Centerline upcoming exit sign 1.75 miles south of Interstate 10/Exit 10. The next interchange serves the Memorial Park area of Houston. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
One-half mile further north, Interstate 610 sees Exit 9 for Memorial and Woodway Drives. The Interstate 10 interchange is now 1.25 miles north. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Like the eastern parent junction, Interstate 610 maintains at least six lanes through the Interstate 10 interchange. Interstate 10 westbound sees San Antonio as the control city. The home to the Alamo is 182 miles to the west. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Diagram overhead of the Interstate 610/10 ramp allocation. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Exit 10 leaves for Interstate 10 as Interstate 610 turns northeasterly. The airport sign on the left-hand panel is for the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The facility is located off the Hardy Toll Road, accessible from Interstate 610 Exit 19B. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Two lanes are in place for Interstate 10 westbound to San Antonio, El Paso, and other westward destinations. Interstate 10 still sees another 15 miles of Houston metropolitan area before it treks through rural pastures en route to San Antonio. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Perspective from Interstate 610 South
Button copy signage still is found on Interstate 610 southbound near Exit 11B/Katy Road, 0.75 miles north of Interstate 10/Exit 11A. The ramp to the right brings U.S. 290 traffic from the northwest suburbs onto Interstate 610 south. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Traffic to Katy Road/Exit 11B departs as Interstate 610 enters the Exit 11A interchange. Traffic that does not exit to Interstate 10 will reach U.S. 59 in three miles and Texas 288 in 13 miles. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Two lanes for Interstate 10/Exit 11A depart Interstate 610 southbound. Although not displayed on any Interstate 10 guide signage, U.S. 90 is silently merged with the east-west freeway throughout the vicinity of west Houston. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/10/03).
Eastern Parent Junction - Interstate 10 - Jacinto City, Texas
Perspective from Interstate 10 East
Interstate 10 eastbound sees its first sign of the impending junction with Interstate 610 at Exit 773A for Alternate U.S. 90/North Wayside Drive. Alternate U.S. 90 sees its eastern terminus at this interchange as the mainline of U.S. 90 is silently merged with Interstate 10. The "alternate" routing begins near milepost 610 of Interstate 10 at Seguin. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Centerline upcoming exits sign on Interstate 10 eastbound, 1.25 miles outside of the Interstate 610 interchange/Exit 775A. Interstate 10 presently varies between six and eight lanes throughout the Houston metropolitan area. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (12/17/02).
Nearing Interstate 610 on Interstate 10 eastbound. This sign bridge shows the one-mile guide sign for Exit 775A. There are no control points given to Interstate 610 at either of the parent Interstate junctions. New reflective signage at these interchanges always utilizes 2-di width shields for Interstate 610. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
A pair of lanes is devoted to Interstate 610 for Exit 775A on Interstate 10 eastbound. The ramps depart in one quarter of a mile. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
The stack interchange with Interstate 610 looming on the horizon, traffic bound for the Houston Beltway departs from Interstate 10 eastbound. Beaumont, a city of over 100,000 people, is situated another 75 miles eastward of Houston via Interstate 10. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
The ramp partition to Interstate 610 from Interstate 10 eastbound. Six miles to the south Interstate 610 interchanges with Interstate 45. Six miles to the northwest the beltway encounters U.S. 59, the future Interstate 69. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 10 East
Interstate 210
west terminus
130 miles at Lake Charles, LA
Interstate 210
east terminus
139 miles at Lake Charles, LA
Interstate 49 208 miles at Lafayette, LA
Perspective from Interstate 10 West
Buffeted by suburban strip malls and other establishments, Interstate 10 makes its way toward Interstate 610 at Exit 775A. Exit 776A serves the community of Jacinto City via Mercury Drive. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Interstate 10 westbound at the ramp departure of Interstate 610/Exit 775A. Photos taken by Chris Patriarca (04/09/03).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 10 West
Interstate 45 6 miles at downtown Houston, TX
Interstate 610 12 miles at west Houston, TX
Interstate 410 194 miles at San Antonio, TX
Perspective from Interstate 610 North
Northbound Interstate 610 at Exit 28/Clinton Drive. Exit 26A for Interstate 10 is 2.25 miles to the north. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
A pair of lanes are allocated for Interstate 10/Exit 28A on Interstate 610 northbound. Interstate 610 will again cross paths with Interstate 10 15 miles to the west. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Interstate 610 sinks toward the eastern parent junction with Interstate 10 as Exit 26B for Market Street departs to the right. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Traffic for Interstate 10 via Exit 26A departs to the right as Interstate 610 begins its northwesterly turn. Interstate 610 interchanges with U.S. 90 in two miles and U.S. 59 in six miles. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Exit 26A splits for Interstate 10 east and west from Interstate 610 northbound. Downtown Houston sits just five miles to the west while Interstate 10 continues for another five miles to the east to an exit of the municipal boundaries of Houston. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Perspective from Interstate 610 South
Non-reflective button copy signage remains in place on the northern portion of the Interstate 610 Houston Beltway. This set of signs is placed at Exit 24, the departure of U.S. 90 eastbound. U.S. 90 silently merges with Interstate 610 southbound and coincides with the beltway through to the parent junction at Exit 26A. U.S. 90 there turns westward with Interstate 10 through downtown Houston. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Exit 25 for Gelhorn Avenue departs via a slip ramp as Interstate 610 prepares to enter the eastern parent junction interchange. Interstate 610 maintains six lanes of travel through the Interstate 10 stack interchange. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Center line diagram sign with button copy diagrams on Interstate 610 southbound. This type of diagram signage is common for the state of Texas at urban freeway to freeway junctions. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Exit 26A for Interstate 10 departs from Interstate 610 southbound. Unlike the signage in the above photos, fully reflectorized signage is now in place on this sign bridge. Note that the lighting fixtures were subsequently removed with the installation of the new reflective signage. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
A four level stack interchange facilitates traffic movements between Interstates 10 and 610. This is a rather "standard" interchange between an urban freeway junction in the Lone Star State. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).

Sources:

  1. Jay Maynard, email: "Two Comments on the I-610 Texas page" September 2, 2003.
  2. From Anywhere to Everywhere: The Development of the Interstate Highway System in Texas by Penny Beaumont, Rhonda Brinkmann, David Ellis, Chris Pourteau, and Brandon V. Webb, Texas Transportation Institute, pages 29 and 38.

Page Updated June 3, 2006.

 
Mileage

State Texas
Mileage 37.97
Cities Houston
Junctions Future Interstate 69, Interstate 10, Interstate 45, Future Interstate 69, Interstate 10, Interstate 45
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
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