Earlier this month, work began on the $1 billion project to rebuild and replace the aging Ship Channel Bridge on the Sam Houston Tollway. This project, which is expected to take six years to complete, is just one component of a larger effort to widen the tollway so that it will be able to comfortably accommodate more than 150,000 vehicle crossings per day.
The new bridge’s cable-stayed design will not only be aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also expected to be more durable and corrosion-resistant than the current bridge. The bridge will span a total of 1,320 feet across the channel and include four lanes of traffic in each direction. The cable-stayed design will also reduce the number of pylons that are required to support the bridge, making it easier for crews to dredge the ship channel in the future.
The tollway bridge project will take place in three phases. First, the southbound bridge will be built adjacent to the existing bridge. Then, the old bridge will be torn down and the new southbound bridge will temporarily serve traffic in both directions. Finally, the northbound bridge will be constructed in the last phase of the project. The completed bridge will closely resemble the nearby Fred Hartman Bridge on TX-146.
Project completion is tentatively scheduled for 2024. Commuters can expect some rush-hour slowdowns on the bridge over the course of the next six years, but the new bridge and widened roads will ultimately relieve congestion on the Sam Houston Tollway and make it far easier to navigate during periods of heavy traffic.
Check out a few progress photos of the bridge from a recent commute below!