Beltway 8 / Ella Boulevard
Last updated November 12, 2000
Ella Boulevard is a regular arterial street in north Houston, just west of I-45.
However, the Beltway 8 overpass is far from regular. Look at the extensive steel
steel structure of the overpass and the wide clear span of the steel structure.
Why was all this additional expense incurred?
Well, there is a fault running underneath the highway at this point, and the designers
of the overpass decided to use a design that would not be affected by the fault. This is
not a California-style fault that causes earthquakes. In fact, the Texas Gulf Coast (
and the Gulf Coast in general) is one of the most seismically inactive parts of the country.
Houston faults show a gradual shift in the ground. The Long Point fault is probably Houston's
best known fault. Houses built on this fault were destroyed by the ground shift. In fact,
the Long Point fault runs underneath the
Beltway 8/I-10 west interchange, and there
were accommodations in the design to ensure that the shifting ground does not damage the
The Beltway 8 main lanes over Ella include an extensive steel structure with a wide
clear span over the fault. This view looks northeast. Photo taken 30-September-2000.