TxDOT seeks to modify West Loop-Southwest Freeway interchange draws criticism from nearby residents

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The busiest freeway interchange in Texas will soon be getting a major facelift.

The West Loop/I-610 at the Southwest Freeway can be frustrating to travel. Tens of thousands do so everyday. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) wants to make improvements.

"To not only expand the roadway but to enhance safety in that area," said Danny Perez, TxDOT Spokesman.

Thursday night, TxDOT hosted a public hearing at Bellaire City Hall to explain the three-phase, $310 million project and listen to public comments and concerns. Eventually 5 out of the 6 connector ramps will be updated. The ramp of most concern connects the Southwest Freeway northbound to 610 southbound. A so-called flyover exit would prevent drivers from exiting at Fournace and Bissonnet. Instead, they'd have to go to Bellaire Boulevard and make a U-turn to head back north.

"You're basically shifting someone's problem and making it someone else's," said Cindy Siegel, a former Bellaire mayor.

"My request is to reconsider this closure that's all," added another resident.

The construction would also add a lane to the ramp connecting the Loop northbound to the Southwest Freeway southbound. It is a major problem area where Bellaire police respond to accidents almost everyday.

"Why it took how many years and why it wasn't dealt with 15 years ago?" asked one resident.

Construction on phase one will start in 2017. It is the only phase funded so far.

To see all of TxDOT's propsed changes, visit the agency's website. null
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