NASA 1 Bypass Freeway
Last updated March 23, 2001 (add link to NASA construction photos)
The Saturn V, Redstone, and Altas rockets are visible from NASA Road 1.
As its name suggests, NASA Road 1 leads to NASA's Johnson Space Center in far southeast Houston.
By 2003, the NASA 1 bypass should finally be under construction. It will be short - only
about 2 miles long - but it should permanently solve the chronic traffic problems that
afflict NASA Road 1 in the section just east of I-45. The freeway will have 4 lanes, no feeders, and a narrow right-of-way
(45m = 147 ft). There will be two
direct connectors at the I-45 interchange.
It's been a painfully long wait for the improvements to NASA Road 1. Construction was set to start in 1989, but
the City of Webster stalled in paying its 10% share of right-of-way and utility relocation costs, which amounted
to $1.7 million. On May 2, 1992, Webster voters rejected bond money to pay for the project by a margin of
16 votes, putting the project on indefinite hold.
See a news article from May 25, 1992, detailing the fallout.
By 1994, TxDOT and the City of Webster agreed to build a bypass
on the south side of the city. Public hearings were held in about 1996. The resulting design is a limited access
freeway bypass with direct connectors to I-45. Construction is set to begin in December 2002, a 14-year
delay from the original schedule.
A TxDOT press release from
September 18, 2000 gives more details. Projected construction start date is December 2002, but could be
accelerated if right-of-way acquisition is completed sooner. Project construction cost will be about
Photos taken November 24, 2000
NASA Road 1 at the intersection with State Highway 3. Between I-45 and Highway 3,
NASA Road 1 is a four-lane undivided roadway on a very narrow right-of-way.
NASA Road 1 near the eastern end of the bypass. This traffic light will be replaced with
The Manned Spaceflight Center (now the Johnson Space Center)
becomes the focus of the Apollo moon landing effort.
||The Clear Lake City real estate development takes shape,
increasing traffic pressure. The development was built-out by the mid 1990's.
The critical stretch of NASA 1 between I-45 and TX3 remains in a rural configuration.|
||Construction originally set to begin.|
||On May 2, 1992, a $1.7 million bond issue to pay for right-of-way and utility relocation
is defeated by 16 votes in Webster.|
||The City of Webster agrees to a new location bypass south of the city on
January 15, 1994.|
||Public hearings on the bypass route.|
||Projected letting of the contract for the NASA 1 bypass freeway. Estimated cost is $32 million.|
The NASA 1 bypass freeway at the I-45 intersection will have two direct connectors.
Notice the wide I-45 bridge, with about half of the pavement area striped off.
I-45 will be widened to 10 mainlanes and 2 HOV lanes at some point in the future
(probably between 2005 and 2010), and the new bridge will be built wide enough for the future
The eastern end of the bypass where the bypass freeway merges back with the existing
NASA Road 1.