Detours will await drivers this weekend while crews install a box culvert near the intersection of state Highway 96 and Interstate 45, officials announced Tuesday.

Starting at 9 p.m. Friday, crews will close traffic lanes going both directions on state Highway 96 at the northbound frontage road of Interstate 45 so they can install the storm sewer culvert, said Danny Perez, spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation.

The closure is expected to last until 5 a.m. Monday, Perez said.

While department officials on Tuesday said they’ll make make an effort to complete the work as soon as possible, the closure could contribute to growing traffic woes in the northern reaches of Galveston County.

Crews on March 1 closed the FM 646 overpass bridge spanning Interstate 45 as the first step in expanding the highway in that area, a closure department officials say should last six months.

That, combined with ongoing expansion work on Interstate 45 itself between FM 517 and FM 518 have led to long lines of cars during rush hour and discouraging many would-be shoppers. Businesses along the interstate this week began to complain that the closures were hurting their bottom lines.

Those closures are part of the department’s $120 million effort to expand the interstate between those two roads.

The plan to widen Interstate 45 through Galveston County is divided into several phases.

Department officials on Tuesday, however, said they would work to reopen the area near state Highway 96 as quickly as possible.

“Police officers will also be onsite to assist with traffic control,” Perez said.

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


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