Whether you’re a native Houstonian or have been here a short while, one of the things we all quickly learn is Houston is a growing and thriving city. And with growth comes the need to adapt and develop. That holds true for our roads and thoroughfares for sure. Fortunately, it’s usually a temporary inconvenience for long-term improvement and safety.
We’re all looking forward to all the benefits of accessibility and enhancements the construction project along Allen Parkway will bring to our quality of life. Those living and/or working around the Heights are about to experience the same short-term headache for a huge long-term infrastructural benefit with the Yale Street Bridge replacement, not only for cars but for more active forms of transportation as well.
Early next week, the Yale Street Bridge will close down for at least 18 months as the old bridge will be knocked down to make way for a new one. This will mean detours and traffic challenges in the area. The new bridge completion is expected right around the end of 2017 or the very beginning of 2018.
Bricks and lamppost from the historic bridge will be incorporated into the new structure, which will have wider lanes, be able to carry heavy trucks, and have 5-foot-wide shared-use sidewalks for pedestrians and bicyclists in each direction. Talk about a serious improvement in safety and non-automobile transportation options.
The Yale Street Bridge, which crosses White Oak Bayou, just south of I-10, was originally built in 1931 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a designation meaning that certain pieces like the balustrades of the bridge might also be preserved and repurposed.
There has been serious talk about the need to replace the bridge since 2012, when trucks weighing over 3,000 pounds per axle were not allowed to cross it because of safety concerns. Although improvements to the bridge were made in 2013, it was ultimately decided that a complete replacement is in order. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) approved a $2.8 million replacement plan in September of last year.
The suggested detour route beginning next week will send drivers heading south on Yale from I-10 to the Heights bridge, while northbound traffic on Yale will have to take a left on Koehler and head west before taking a right on Bass to get back to the service road.
We know you want to do your best to avoid all the traffic so we’ve listed even more suggestions for alternate routes connecting the Heights to other parts of the city south of I-10 below. We used our Heights office as a starting point and took each of these routes south of I-10 to Memorial.
- Travel Time to where Heights turns into Waugh: ~ 9 mins. without traffic.
- Pros: Hands-down the most scenic route with views of the latest art on the esplanade and iconic Heights architecture, this takes you right into the heart of Montrose.
- Cons: As the most obvious alternative route, this is bound to be the most congested at least in the outset of construction and travel times will be unpredictable. Additionally, with construction on the long-awaited Heights Mercantile and Heights Central Station underway in the next year, expect slowdowns as trucks enter in and out.
- Travel Time to Shepherd Dr. bridge over Memorial/Allen Parkway: ~10 mins. without traffic.
- Pros: With lots of lanes and faster-moving traffic, this route is probably best for getting to River Oaks or Upper Kirby…
- Cons: …but if you’re trying to get to Montrose, this probably takes you a little out of the way.
- Travel time to Studemont bridge: ~10 mins. without traffic.
- Pros: Already rehabilitated Studewood/Studemont is a smooth ride out of the Heights and puts you closer to 45 & Downtown.
- Cons: Just south of I-10 on this route is already prone to congestion, with the coming construction at Studemont Junction sure to slow things down further.
- Travel time to Sawyer ramp onto Memorial: ~12 mins without traffic.
- Pros: For an array of easterly destinations like Sawyer Heights, First Ward, or Downtown, Watson-Taylor-Sawyer can be a winning combination with any lost time spent at stoplights really only happening near the Sawyer Heights shopping center.
- Cons: The train.
- Travel time to Houston/Memorial-Texas: ~10 mins. without traffic.
- Pros: If it was Downtown all along that you were seeking and you might have normally turned at Yale to get to 45, your best bet is to take 11th-Pecore to Houston Ave. and ride the wide/fast-moving lanes of Houston under the train and straight to the gates of Downtown.
- Cons: Going this route, it can be tricky to get anywhere other than Downtown.
- Travel time to Westcott/Memorial: ~13 mins. without traffic.
- Pros: If you’re ultimately angling for Energy Corridor, Rice Military, Uptown, or Tanglewood, best to travel westward to TC Jester while you’re still in the Heights and enjoy bayou views before easing over I-10.
- Cons: A little out of the way if you’re headed anywhere other than west.
Follow the routes on the map.This entry was posted in Rediscover, Reinvent
- alternative routes
- Heights boulevard
- Houston Ave
- TC Jester
- White Oak Bayou
- Yale Street
- Yale Street Bridge