As the population in the Houston area continues to grow, traffic demands have increased. When complete the bridge will provide four lanes in each direction, increasing capacity for future traffic demands. It will also add shoulders for stalled vehicles, emergency vehicles, and clearing accidents. The approaches to the bridge are designed to be less steep and increase visibility for drivers. The program is part of three construction contracts.
Construction began in March 2018 for the new southbound bridge. This part of the project is expected to take approximately three years. In late 2021, all traffic will be switched off the existing single bridge structure and onto the new southbound bridge, so that crews can demolish the old bridge. After demolition is complete, crews will build the new northbound bridge in the footprint of the old bridge structure. Following its completion, northbound traffic will be switched onto the new bridge and southbound traffic will be placed into its final lane configuration. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2024.
When complete in 2024, the new Sam Houston Ship Channel Bridge will have two bridges with four lanes as well as inside and outside shoulders. The approaches to the bridge are designed to be less steep which will provide drivers with increased visibility.
During the Design Phase, several types of bridge structure types were evaluated based on safety, design, long term maintenance, constructability, construction duration and cost. Based on this evaluation, the cable-stayed structure proved to be the best option.
The Sam Houston Tollway Houston Ship Channel is an all-electronic roadway. Drivers must have an EZ TAG or an EZ TAG Express or other interoperable Texas toll tag to use this section of the tollway.
Drivers who want the convenience of having their EZ TAG automatically replenished based on their usage can obtain an EZ TAG by opening a traditional EZ TAG account at http://www.hctra.org/.
Drivers who wish to continue using cash can purchase an EZ TAG powered by BancPass at participating H-E-B® stores. With an EZ TAG powered by BancPass, customers can reload the tag with cash at H-E-B®, Costco or CVS Pharmacy® locations. Visit www.BancPass.com for more details on how to sign up for this type of tag.