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Beltway 8 / Ella Boulevard

Last updated November 12, 2000

BW8/Ella BlvdElla 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 interchange.

BW8/Ella fault
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.

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