The state’s ongoing widening of Interstate 45 in League City has some drivers concerned about dangerous conditions and more wrecks during commuting hours because of temporary exits and unclear signage.

“I feel like the construction here is very dangerous,” said League City resident Athena Rice. “There are some abrupt changes with very little warning, and workers are often very close to traffic.”

But construction crews must contend with limited areas to work and Texas Department of Transportation workers have done what they can to limit danger, state officials said.

Two different construction projects are ongoing in the League City area — one between FM 517 to FM 518 and the second from FM 518 to NASA Road 1 — as part of the interstate widening project, said Danny Perez, spokesman for the department.

Crews are reconstructing I-45 to eight lanes of traffic, up from six lanes, in Galveston County, officials said.

There have been 340 crashes between FM 517 and FM 518 on I-45 since January, according to Texas Department of Transportation data.

The construction causes long backups during commuting hours and temporary exits near FM 646 and closed exits are leading to lots of driver confusion, residents said.

The northbound exit from the interstate onto state Highway 96 also is causing problems, residents said.

“It would be nice if there was a sign or something before the new and temporary entrances on the highway, saying there’s a temporary entrance,” said League City resident Scott Guzman.

The exits cause less of a problem in the mornings because people see the construction, but the problem is worse at night, Guzman said.

“I just wish there was more signage,” he said.

Department crews do, however, place signs and other markings along construction zones to alert drivers and they design work zones to maximize safety, Perez said.

“The traffic control devices, signs and pavement markings that are present along the corridor to delineate and identify these work zones have been placed per the construction plans and design standards,” Perez said.

Department officials also have reduced the speed limit in the area so drivers can navigate the construction and have kept the left turn lanes open at the I-45 and state Highway 96 intersection to improve conditions, Perez said.

“As a part of this commitment, we regularly review the site conditions along the corridor and make improvements when and where possible,” Perez said.

But crews could add more lighting and other devices to improve safety in the area at night, residents said.

Crews will finish work on the interstate between NASA Road 1 and FM 518 in late 2021, Perez said.

But crews will demolish the FM 646 overpass and construct an I-45 overpass so freeway traffic flows on top and FM 646 flows under.

Officials considered starting the project sometime in the fall, but won’t begin until January because businesses requested that, Perez said.

“It is always our mission to work with our stakeholders to minimize impacts on the traveling public and entire community,” Perez said.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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(10) comments

Randy Chapman

One big problem is the speed drivers go through this area. They don't understand that you have less time to make decisions at higher speeds. Then there is the issue of the idiotic habitual lane changers that think they will get to their destination sooner, while they endager everyone around them with their constant inconsiderate maneuvering.

Ray Taft

Things might go quicker with TxDOT’s work if instead of three guys watching one guy work, they all pitched in! Lol.

Probably in another ten years TxDOT will decide to route I45 back under the cross roads like it was! Lol.

TxDOT is full of bluster. TxDOT is so big, so bureaucratic that it is caught up in red tape, rules and regulations that prevents it from using common sense to solve problems. That’s why every job they do ends up becoming a menace for drivers.

Michelle Aycoth

TxDOT the gift that keeps giving.
The concrete divided barriers just north of 518 on I-45 caused during Harvey the creek to rise 2 - 3 feet higher Upstream of I-45 along Clear Creek than it would have been otherwise. That caused hundreds of homes to flood that otherwise would have not.
Now because of lack of thought and planning a safe route during construction hundreds of accidents and even deaths have occurred.
It is a down right disgrace!
Andrew Aycoth

Randy Chapman

Certain things are required during road construction. Yes, it probably contributed, but the bottom line is we had 50 inches of rain and most of us did nothing to prepare. The new bridges will be higher when finished.

Rusty Schroeder

The whole stretch of road between 517 and Nasa Rd 1 is a nightmare. We have talked before about the elevation change on the Harris County side of the county lines. The mess they have there now is incredible and the exit is atrocious. Better pray for no storms that dump half as much rain as Harvey did. There will be some flooding then,,,on the Galveston County side.

Leigh Cowart

340 crashes!!! That's crazy! Only when someone, who's directly related to the control tower that oversees this stretch of construction, gets in a serious accident ...will things change. League City and Dickinson police are a damn disgrace allowing speeding through there. I see Texas City on the South side giving tickets....yay for them!
Slow the hell down people!!!

Kay Fritz

I get off of freeway at Dickinson and stay on feeder to 96. It is just crazy and scary.

PS Robbins

"“It is always our mission to work with our stakeholders to minimize impacts on the traveling public and entire community,” Perez said"......you failed in this mission

Blanca Bell

340 crashes since January. This must be the most dangerous stretch of highway in the nation.

George Croix

Some of the problem could be alleviated if people driving would drive, and do their phone communicating later.
But, that's hopeless....
Looong ago when I worked for the THD there were regularly road repair area site checks to be sure that temporary signage was in place which, while not as good as regular, at LEAST gave some warning or notice.
Evidently that has become passe' these days.....
It was also back then a big no-no to leave 'lane closed ahead' or whatever kind of temporary warning signs up when that was NOT the case at the time.....
That, too, is the stuff of yesteryear.....

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