Houston traffic alert: SW Freeway bridge construction over the Brazos River rescheduled until next weekend

UPDATE: The City of Sugar Land is reporting the project that would work on the bridge construction over the Brazos River on Southwest Freeway has been rescheduled until next weekend. Work is now scheduled to begin on Friday, June 14 at 9 p.m.


New road construction is about to really slow drivers using the Southwest Freeway at the Brazos River in Sugar Land. 

The river flows about 90 miles through Fort Bend County, and like every river, the water finds its own path. That path is now threatening the highway bridge that crosses over, and the Texas Department of Transportation has determined a repair is urgent.

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From above, the problem is unmistakable, where a bend in the Brazos has eaten away at closed turnaround lanes and the powerful, flowing water now threatens the bridge foundation taking traffic over the river. 

Up close, the river water and erosion looks even worse. It's why TXDOT will spend $53 million to replace and fortify the bridges of the busy highway. It's about bad as it sounds. 

Sugar Land City Councilman William Ferguson has been trying to help constituents know what's coming, and why, 

"If you don't have supports under the I-69 bridge, you don't have a bridge, because the Brazos River is not a gentle river."

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The continuing high water along the river is only further eroding the banks. To help combat that, and protect traffic along the Southwest Freeway, the bridge foundation will be moved about 1,000 feet to the north for the new spans. Ultimately, bridges for north and southbound lanes, and their corresponding feeder roads, will be replaced.

Once work begins, the most immediate effect for drivers, besides a new collection of traffic barrels, will be the closure of the entrance and exit ramps at University Boulevard. Traffic on the main lanes is expected to remain largely open during the day. But that will change on nights and weekends, as traffic will be diverted to the feeder road, which should be jam-packed at times. Unfortunately, there's just no other way around it.  

"Without the support of the I-69 bridge over the Brazos River, you're going to shut down commerce, you're going to shut transportation, you name it, I-69 carries it all," says Ferguson.

The project will begin Friday, June 7, when the northbound main lane traffic will be closed from FM 762 in Richmond to University Boulevard until Monday morning. That's so crews can install construction barriers and re-stripe the lanes. Separately, the banks of the Brazos will be reinforced, so that further erosion and danger to infrastructure can be minimized.

Construction is planned to take three years to complete.