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Beltway 8 / Sam Houston Tollway Stacks and Other Interesting Features

Beltway 8 has an outstanding collection of modern 4 and 5 level stacks - possibly the best in the country. The only competitor for that honor is the Century Freeway in Los Angeles. Beltway 8 is unique in that the feeder roads for both BW8 and intersecting freeways proceed underneath all the stacks, either at grade or one level below grade. The order of stacking is (from the lowest upward): feeders, intersecting freeway, BW8, direct connectors, direct connectors.

It should be noted that although there are four complete 5-level stacks and one under construction, the ramps typically do not intersect over a single point. This means that level 5, for example, may cross the level 4 ramps and a point where level 4 is not at its highest point. Nevertheless, Beltway 8 still has some of the highest and most massive connection ramps anywhere. Houston stacks are not sleek and beautiful like California stacks (the Century Freeway in particular), but if you like massive concrete and steel, you'll love the Beltway 8 stacks.

There's more stack construction underway and planned (see map).

BW8 Stack Map

US 290 1990 Massive concrete and steel. Possibly the biggest you'll find anywhere.
I-10 West 1989 This stack is built on extremely limited right-of-way, with ramps over the feeders.
Westpark Tollway 2003 The reverse stack. An unusual interchange with all connections below grade is planned.
US 59 South 1990,1998 A typical Beltway 8 stack.
I-45 South 1998 Sprawling, high flying ramps, symmetric. Could this be the perfect stack?
I-10 East 1995 This is the only 4-level at a major freeway.
US 59 North 1995 Phase 1 of this stack is under construction. See schematic and construction photos.
JFK Boulevard 1997 This interchange with a non-freeway is four-level with 2 direct connector ramps.
Hardy Toll Road 2002 One direct connector is under construction.
I-45 North 1969, 1998, 2002 Four ramps are currently under contruction to complete this stack. See construction photos.
249 2005 Four direct connectors are planned, construction to start in 2003 or 2004.

Views of the Main Lanes
West Sam Houston Tollway 1988, 1989   This was the first section of the tollway to be completed.
East Sam Houston Tollway/BW8 1982, 1994, 1996   This section features the Ship Channel Bridge and a freeway section.
South Sam Houston Tollway/BW8 1997   The most recently opened tollway section, and also the least interesting.

Other Features
Fault Crossing   1991    This normal street crossing has a ususual design to accommodate a fault.

 
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