How do I drive through Houston?

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Gulf Coast Departures

Galveston, Gulfport,Houston, Mobile & New Orleans
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#1
Nebraska
31 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
We will be driving through Houston on our way to the Galveston port. We are coming in from the north. Both of my suggested routes take I-45 through the heart of Houston. I've been reading that Houston's traffic is horrific. I'm a small town gal. Should I take I-45 or take HWY 8, which is a longer route but goes around the heart of the city? Maybe another route is better? We will be coming through mid-afternoon the day before we embark.
#2
Texas
121 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
I live in the Dallas area, and have made the drive through the heart of downtown Houston on 45 numerous times. The last time was 2 years ago, and there was a lot of construction just south of downtown that took FOREVER to get through. I'm strongly considering the 8 route for the upcoming drive this summer. The mileage doesn't look all that significant a difference. I'll wait to see what others chime in about that route.
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#3
Texas
2,498 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
Originally posted by PernFan
We will be driving through Houston on our way to the Galveston port. We are coming in from the north. Both of my suggested routes take I-45 through the heart of Houston. I've been reading that Houston's traffic is horrific. I'm a small town gal. Should I take I-45 or take HWY 8, which is a longer route but goes around the heart of the city? Maybe another route is better? We will be coming through mid-afternoon the day before we embark.
Keep in mind that Highway 8 is a tollway. If you are using GPS as you drive, it will take traffic into account, and offer an alternative route if it calculates it would be faster.
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#4
Galveston
230 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Suggest you keep it simple and just stay on I-45 all the way through town to Galveston. The traffic is not that bad outside of rush hours. BW-8 is a confusing and potentially expensive mess for those without a toll tag and looking to pay cash.
#5
Nebraska
31 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by fresnel468
Suggest you keep it simple and just stay on I-45 all the way through town to Galveston. The traffic is not that bad outside of rush hours. BW-8 is a confusing and potentially expensive mess for those without a toll tag and looking to pay cash.
Thank you! That is exactly what I needed to learn.
#6
Nebraska
31 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by VideoTech
Keep in mind that Highway 8 is a tollway. If you are using GPS as you drive, it will take traffic into account, and offer an alternative route if it calculates it would be faster.
Thank you! Looks like I need to dig out my Garmin.
#7
Nebraska
31 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by dmet0225
I live in the Dallas area, and have made the drive through the heart of downtown Houston on 45 numerous times. The last time was 2 years ago, and there was a lot of construction just south of downtown that took FOREVER to get through. I'm strongly considering the 8 route for the upcoming drive this summer. The mileage doesn't look all that significant a difference. I'll wait to see what others chime in about that route.
Please update your post after your summer drive. I would be interested to know what you did.
#9
Texas
121 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by PernFan
Please update your post after your summer drive. I would be interested to know what you did.
I'm lucky if I can remember to do something next week much less 3 months from now after a week on a cruise, but I'll sure try.

After I posted yesterday, I also checked recommendations on Trip Advisor. There was a post on there about the following website, which helps identify trouble spots and construction zones:

https://traffic.houstontranstar.org/layers/

I'm still leaning towards the 8 route since I have a Tolltag, but it's all subject to change based on time of day and the website above.
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#11
Montgomery, Texas
73 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
I live North of Houston and drove to Galveston last weekend it's much better to go through town even with the construction. The Beltway 8 takes you to far around town and endless it is also very costly. I would suggest 6-10 East Loop around to 45 South to avoid downtown traffic and construction plus it's free. You can also use WAZ app it gives up to date traffic information and direction.
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#12
3,991 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
As to construction on 45 south of Houston expansion is completing.
From beltway 8 to NASA ONE , NOW has out bound 5 lanes completed, and inbound WILL have 5 lanes in a matter of days or few weeks completed on that 10 lane section of construction. . Traffic has really eased up with completion that section of construction . Past Nasa road one outbound and inbound construction has begun and progressing to eight lanes but the volume of traffic is not high presently in time and there are six existing lanes already .
#13
1,844 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Take I45 straight through to Galveston. Beltway 8 sounds like a good alternative until you actually do it. Its like walking around the block to get to 7-11 instead of just walking across the street. Sometimes the alternative is not as effective and efficient as you thought it would be.

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#14
Texas
3,891 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
I've lived in Houston since the earth cooled. The Gulf Freeway (I 45 from downtown to Galveston) has been under construction somewhere since it was started in 1954. 😏 That being said, just do I 45 from North of Houston all the way to Galveston. If you have a toll pass for any of the Texas toll roads, the Sam Houston is long and out of the way but doable. Don't even think of it if you have to get in line at every toll booth.
#15
Charleston SC
2,105 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Don't overthink this. Just stay on I45 until it ends and you are pretty much where you need to be. (a couple left and right turns on the island is all you will have remaining).
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#18
Palm Springs, Calif
40,476 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Due to better connections from Palm Springs, we are renting a Car from the Dollar Car Rental out of IAH, I have Googled the directions down to the Marriott Couryard by the NASA Space Center and it tells me to come off JFK BLVD unto TX 8 Beltway & merge onto 69/59 South. Is this the best way.
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#19
Charleston SC
2,105 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Originally posted by Desert Cruizers
Due to better connections from Palm Springs, we are renting a Car from the Dollar Car Rental out of IAH, I have Googled the directions down to the Marriott Couryard by the NASA Space Center and it tells me to come off JFK BLVD unto TX 8 Beltway & merge onto 69/59 South. Is this the best way.

You will exit the car rental center (all the car rentals are in one giant location. you take a bus from the airport terminal to the car rental place) and go south on JFK blvd. Then get on TX 8 (the beltway) east and take I69/US59 (same road) south . Now depending on the time of day you can either stay on 69/59 to you get to I45 (they intersect downtown in the area of the baseball for a general reference) and take that south to your hotel. Or, if during rush hour, take 59/69 south to I610 and go east, it then turns south, you will cross the ship channel then jump on I45 south. You will hit traffic either way during rush hr(s) but you can avoid some of it by taking 610. If between rush hrs or weekends then you can just stay on 69/59 till 45 to keep it simple.
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#20
Palm Springs, Calif
40,476 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Thank you, our AA Flight gets in at 1:38 PM June 30th. We are meeting a couple for dinner from our August TA before heading to NASA Marriott, they live in S Houston and she will give me the name of the Restaurant off I 69/US 59 soon, so we can pull off and eat then go right back on again. Until she gives me the name I don't know the Exit. Your directions are what I got off Google. Our flight home is at 2::35 July 9th. We plan to do Self Disembarking, get the shuttle back to the EZ Lot and head back to IAH. I decided to keep us at the Marriott an additional night after touring NASA on July 1st when our Galveston Hotel changed names and canceled all the Reservations. We will head into the EZ parking Lot in the morning after breakfast.. Thank you again.
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