Road woes: Freeway hole exposes more problems

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Get ready for a massive traffic nightmare this weekend in the Galleria area as crews work to repair part of 610. A portion of the ramp lanes connecting US-59 northbound and southbound to 610 West Loop northbound crumbled, leaving a gaping hole in the left lane and exposing an even bigger problem.

The ramp connecting 59 to the West Loop northbound will be closed from Friday evening until 5 a.m. Monday. Richmond Avenue will also be closed in both directions beneath the 610 loop, and drivers are advised to take Westheimer or Westpark as alternate routes.

READ MORE: Emergency ramp repair causes slowdown during rush hour on Loop at SW Freeway

"It wasn't just that one area that we want to address, it was multiple areas," Danny Perez TxDOT spokesperson said.

Crews discovered the damaged area had been patched up in the past after a previous roadway failure.

"These areas may have been repaired before, but then the rain comes in and it mixes with that material and then you have vehicles that are constantly hitting it. It can break up," Perez explained.

This weekend, crews will return to the site to tear out and replace a 12-by-20-foot section of the ramp with brand new rebar and concrete. But even this more extensive ramp work is temporary -- the entire interchange is scheduled to be rebuilt, starting this fall. The three-year project will replace these more than 50-year-old ramps and add additional lanes with the hope of speeding up traffic.

"Sometimes I spend like an hour to an hour and a half and it's like really? For just two miles an hour and a half," driver Jasmany Yirai said.

Meanwhile, fighting freeway failure is a constant battle for TxDOT maintenance crews. TxDOT says crews routinely conduct inspections, but they also rely on drivers to report problems.

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