Interstate 610 in Texas


Get started Houston
End Houston
Length 38 mi
Length 61 km
  • → Freeport1A Alameda Road
  • 1B Fannin Street
  • 1C Kirby Drive
  • 2 Main Street
  • 3 Stella Link Road
  • 4 Post Oak Road
  • 5A Beechnut Street
  • 5B Evergreen Street
  • 6 Bellaire Boulevard
  • 7 West Park Drive
  • 8 → Victoria
  • 8B Richmond Avenue
  • 9A San Felipe Street
  • 9B Post Oak Boulevard
  • 10 Memorial Drive
  • 11 → San Antonio
  • 13 → Hempstead
  • 14 Ella Boulevard
  • 15 Shepherd Drive
  • 16 Main Street
  • 17A Airline Drive
  • 17B → Dallas
  • 18 Irvington Boulevard
  • 19 Hardy Toll Road
  • 20 → Lufkin
  • 20C Hirsch Road
  • 21 Lockwood Drive
  • 22 Kelley Street
  • 23A Kirkpatrick Boulevard
  • 23B Wayside Drive
  • 24 McCarty Street
  • 25 Gellhorn Drive
  • 26 → Beaumont
  • 27 Turning Basin Drive
  • 28 Clinton Drive
  • 29 High Level Road
  • 30A Manchester Street
  • 30B Lawndale Street
  • 30C → Baytown
  • 32 → Galveston
  • 33 Woodridge Drive
  • 34 Wayside Drive
  • 34A Long Drive
  • 35 frontage road
  • 36A Cullen Boulevard
  • 37 Scott Street
  • 38 → Freeport

Interstate 610 or I -610 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Texas, located in the city of Houston. The road forms a ring road in Houston 6 to 12 kilometers from downtown, and distributes traffic from the various radial highways to the industrial and residential areas around the center. The highway is known as The Loop or Loop 610. The I-610 is the boundary between the older residential areas and the large new residential areas further from downtown. The highway’s start and end point is at the interchange with SH 288 on the south side of town. The ring road is 61 kilometers long.

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Travel directions

The North Loop.

The highway begins at the 4-level stack interchange with SH 288, the South Freeway. From here run 2×5 lanes with a Frontage Road on both sidesto the west. The corridor has 16 lanes. After a few kilometers you pass a huge parking lot with an unused viaduct, remains of a now demolished amusement park. Then you pass through an office park. There are few parking garages in Houston, just large parking lots on each side of every office building. This makes for a messy highway environment. After a few more miles, the highway turns due north, straight ahead onto Braeswood Boulevard and Post Oak Road. Then you pass through Bellaire, an enclave in Houston. Due to the lack of zoning regulation, office buildings are also located next to houses here.

The I-610 in Midtown Houston.

A 4-level stack interchange crosses US 59, the Southwest Freeway, which runs from Houston to the Sugar Land suburb and beyond to Victoria. You then pass through a second center of Houston, with large high-rise buildings along the highway. This 2nd center is called Uptown, and traffic jams can regularly occur here. A third stack junction crosses Interstate 10, the Katy Freeway. After this, I-610 counts 2×6 lanes plus weave lanes. The frontage roads are missing here. After just a few miles, I-610 curves east, and straight ahead is US 290, the Northwest Freeway, which heads to the sprawling suburbs of the metropolitan area’s northwest. At this nodeis again an office park with some high-rise buildings.

This part of I-610 has 2×4 lanes. The Frontage Roads of Feeders are also present again. A fourth stack junction then crosses Interstate 45 or North Freeway, which runs from Houston to Dallas. After this, I-610 again has 5 or 6 lanes in each direction. One then crosses the Hardy Toll Road, a toll road that runs parallel to I-45, and is an alternative to it. I-610 then rises slightly to cross US 59 a second time, this time the Eastex Freeway leading to the northeastern suburbs. After this, only 2×2 and 2×3 lanes are available. At an industrial estate, I-610 turns south again, and at a fifth 4-level stack junctioncrosses Interstate 10, the Baytown East Freeway, which leads to the suburb of Baytown and toward New Orleans.

After this there are again 2×5 lanes, and you pass the shipping and petrochemical industry around the Buffalo Bayou or the Ship Channel. This canal is crossed via a 2×4 lane cable-stayed bridge. South of the bridge it crosses SH 255 or the Pasadena Freeway which leads to Pasadena, Deer Park and La Porte. The highway then turns west again, and a complicated interchange crosses Interstate 45, the Gulf Freeway that goes to Galveston. After this there are 2×4 lanes, and the I-610 ends again at the interchange with SH 288 or the South Freeway.

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Construction history

As early as 1931, it was determined that Houston needed a ring road so that through traffic would not have to drive through downtown. Houston had a population of 300,000 at the time and no suburbs. The plan was not developed further in the 1930s, but became topical again in 1940 with the Second World War. From a defense point of view, it may have become necessary to move large amounts of troops and equipment through Houston, and a route through the center would not be convenient. Plans from the early 1940s did not yet foresee a real freeway, but an urban arterial. In 1943, it was agreed to reserve a 150-foot (46-meter) right-of-way for the planned ring road, which was numbered Loop 137.

However, the project was not immediately implemented, and in the early 1950s a master plan was drawn up for freeways in and around Houston, including an entire ring road constructed as a freeway. When the route was established in the 1950s, Houston was already growing north. The suburbs were already 7 to 8 kilometers north of I-610 in 1953. Elsewhere, Houston had grown little beyond planned I-610, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long. In 1950-1954, the first section opened on the northeast side of Houston, between the Eastex and East Freeways. The rest of I-610 is quite fragmented, opening in many phases between 1960 and 1975. So I-610 was completed later than Houston’s other freeways. The last section opened on September 22, 1975 in northeast Houston.Beltway 8, also in northeast Houston in 2011.

Opening history

Graphical overview of I-610 openings.

From Unpleasant Length Date
SH 225 La Porte Freeway I-45 Gulf Freeway 2.5 km 00-12-1952
I-45 North Freeway Hardy Toll Road 2.3 km 00-00-1960
West Park Drive Richmond Avenue 1.6 km 24-07-1962
Ella Boulevard I-45 North Freeway 5.2 km 00-04-1963
Woodway Drive Jester Boulevard 5.2 km 28-10-1963
Richmond Avenue San Felipe Street 1.3 km 00-06-1964
Homestead Road I-10 Baytown East Freeway 5.9 km 00-12-1964
San Felipe Street Woodway Drive 2.0 km 00-11-1966
Jester Boulevard Ella Boulevard 1.2 km 02-02-1967
Braeswood Boulevard West Park Drive 4.3 km 19-03-1968
Wayside Drive Fannin Street 8.5 km 00-01-1969
Fannin Street Post Oak Road 5.3 km 16-05-1969
Reveille Street Wayside Drive 2.7 km 00-09-1970
Post Oak Road Braeswood Boulevard 0.5 km 00-04-1971
Clinton Road Manchester Street 2.3 km 02-03-1973
Manchester Street SH 225 La Porte Freeway 1.0 km 00-01-1974
I-10 Baytown East Freeway Clinton Drive 4.2 km 22-03-1974
I-45 Gulf Freeway Reveille Street 0.5 km 00-08-1975
Hardy Toll Road Homestead Road 5.1 km 22-09-1975


Traffic on I-610 increased sharply after opening, particularly on the western portion where The Galleria and Uptown Houston were being developed. In 1968, when the West Loop was completed, 90,000 vehicles passed through it daily. 3 years later in 1971, 146,000 vehicles passed through this section, making it Houston’s busiest highway, a title previously borne by the Gulf Freeway (I-45). Until 1991, I-610 was Houston’s busiest highway.

Between 1989 and 1992, the northern portion of the West Loop was widened to 2×6 and 2×7 lanes between the Katy Freeway (I-10) and the Northwest Freeway (US 290). This point was a classic bottleneck due to a lot of weaving traffic between the three highways. On October 13, 2014, a new braid opened between the Katy Freeway and Northwest Freeway. This reduced the extreme weaving. This was the first phase to widen I-610 to 33 lanes on site.

In the early 1990s, TxDOT wanted to widen the ring road to 24 lanes in some places, but this plan never got off the ground and the plans were scrapped in 1992. The department of transportation then built extra long weaving sections that de facto serve as extra lanes. Congestion temporarily eased after this, but I-610 West Loop is still considered Houston’s most congested highway.

As part of the widening of the Northwest Freeway (US 290), the northern portion of the West Loop was also widened in 2017 between the interchange with US 290 and the Katy Freeway (I-10). This part has been widened from 2×6 lanes and 2 separate HOV lanes to 4+5+5+4 lanes, plus frontage roads and connecting roads. In addition, there is a space reservation for a High Capacity Transit Corridor on the west side of I-610. The total cross section here counts up to 28 lanes.

Cross section of I-610 between US 290 and I-10.


West Loop

The “West Loop,” the section between I-10 (Katy Freeway) and I-69 (Southwest Freeway), has the most congestion of any highway in Texas. Plans to widen this section arose soon after opening, but were scrapped in 1992. Despite the strongly growing congestion, there were no concrete plans to tackle this bottleneck for a long time. There is still a left hard shoulder available, but a larger-scale expansion is actually necessary. In 2015, it was proposed to build express lanes on overpasses in the median strip of I-610 between I-10 and I-69. Along the ‘West Loop’ is Uptown, an important sub-center of Houston, with edge city characteristics, although certainly not on the edge of the metropolitan area.

I-610 / I-69 interchange

The stack interchange between I-69 and I-610 in Bellaire in southwest Houston is being reconstructed. Some flyovers are being rebuilt with a higher capacity. There will be two-lane flyovers from south to west and vice versa. From north to west comes a three-lane flyover and from north to east comes a two-lane flyover with better geometry. The viaduct of the I-610 also has to be replaced by a wider viaduct with emergency lanes. This project was originally planned to be completed in three separate phases, but an additional $132 million was made available in January 2016 to complete the reconstruction in one go. Work started on 20 November 2017 and should be completed by mid-2022. In April 2020, the first new flyover opened for traffic from I-69 north to I-610 south. The replacement of the node will cost approximately $260 million.

Traffic intensities

I-610 in Uptown Houston, the busiest part.

The data below are intensities after the relevant exit.

Exit Location 2007 2008 2009 2011 2013 2016
0 196,000 212,000 215,000 189,000 198,000 246,000
2 192,000 189,000 194,000 201,000 188,000 223,000
8 226,000 279,000 288,000 297,000 307,000 281,000
11 263,000 269,000 271,000 291,000 286,000 283,000
13 195,000 195,000 192,000 197,000 144,000 160,000
17 152,000 150,000 151,000 170,000 136,000 181,000
20 155,000 141,000 128,000 138,000 132,000 168,000
24 130,000 125,000 110,000 117,000 126,000 164,000
26 128,000 131,000 125,000 124,000 137,000 156,000
30 155,000 150,000 150,000 143,000 155,000 186,000
32 144,000 142,000 144,000 138,000 141,000 164,000

Lane Configuration

The 2017 widened I-610 between I-10 (Katy Freeway) and US 290 (Northwest Freeway).

From Unpleasant Lanes Remark
SH 288 US 59 2×5 southwest side
US 59 I-10 2×4 west side
I-10 US 290 2×7 northwest side
US 290 I-45 2×4 northwest side
I-45 US 59 2×5 north side
US 59 I-10 2×4 northeast side
I-10 I-45 2×5 east side
I-45 SH 288 2×4 southeast side

Interstate 610 in Texas