A series of construction-related lane and ramp closures are affecting portions of Interstate Highway 45 in southern Galveston County, and affecting access to Galveston Island during peak traffic periods. This week, UTMB Health and other regional officials
met with the Texas Department of Transportation to get a better understanding of these projects and their impact.
While many of the details are still in flux, this is what we currently know:
- This is a two-year project to replace two highway bridges (the “Santa Fe” bridges) on IH-45, east of Tiki Island and just north of the Galveston Causeway.
- The northbound bridge is in critical condition and will be demolished first, to begin a year-long rebuilding process. The demolition and reconstruction of the second bridge will follow.
- As the first bridge is prepared for demolition, all traffic on IH-45 will be concentrated to five lanes: two lanes headed southbound (toward island) and three headed northbound.
- All five lanes of traffic will be moved to what is currently the southbound bridge of the Galveston Causeway, starting at about Harborside Drive, and routed over the remaining Santa Fe bridge.
- The area affected by this work will stretch about 3 miles, and then northbound traffic will be moved back to its own side of the interstate.
- The main project will begin in 4 to 5 weeks.
In addition to the impact on UTMB commuters, our patients, emergency services and supplies, the work is impacting island residents, the Port of Galveston, cruise lines, special events, businesses, storm evacuation plans, and more.
TxDOT is working on strategies to alleviate impact on motorists, and UTMB officials are also actively reviewing plans and exploring options across all entities to help address the issue of island access and traffic bottlenecks.
A map will be released soon by TxDOT with additional project details (all still subject to revision), and we will share once available.
Please review the following sources for updates and road conditions, and allow additional time if needed to reach your destination:
* If you are reviewing Transtar freeway cams, check the date stamp to ensure the image is live. Cameras have been operating sporadically during construction.