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
30 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
112 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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Carnival Freedom - July 8, 2017 (Galveston, Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay)

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Rhapsody of the Seas - June 20, 2004 (Galveston, Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel)
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Carnival Freedom - May 18, 2013 (Ft. Lauderdale, St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola, Nassau)
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Carnival Triumph - June 6, 2015 (Galveston, Progreso, Cozumel)
#3
Texas
2,447 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
223 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
30 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
30 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
30 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
112 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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Upcoming Cruise

Carnival Freedom - July 8, 2017 (Galveston, Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay)

Past Cruises

Rhapsody of the Seas - June 20, 2004 (Galveston, Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel)
Carnival Conquest - July 3, 2011 (Galveston, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel)
Carnival Freedom - May 18, 2013 (Ft. Lauderdale, St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola, Nassau)
Carnival Triumph - August 22, 2013 (Galveston, Cozumel)
Carnival Triumph - June 2, 2014 (Galveston, Progreso, Cozumel)
Carnival Triumph - June 6, 2015 (Galveston, Progreso, Cozumel)
#11
Montgomery, Texas
64 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
3,919 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
1,772 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
3,835 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
2,058 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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