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Old 10-05-2019, 08:06 PM   #1
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Houston toll roads

We will be leaving for the Rio Grande Valley in late November and although we have driven through Houston three times we've said "Never Again!" as it was pretty hectic. Now, all of a sudden we are considering taking the outer toll road around it, I believe the number is 99. We are wondering if any of you RVers have taken this and how busy is it. We pull a 41' 5th wheel. I was thinking Thanksgiving Day might be a good day to go through or actually it seems it would be around the city. Any thoughts?? We do have other ways to get where we are going, traveling from Wisconsin to Alamo TX.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:04 PM   #2
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Why would you go thru Houston to go to Alamo if you are coming from Wisconsin? Seems out of the way unless you are going to Houston for other reasons.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:16 PM   #3
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if you can take another route then do it. but we're headed to phoenix from chicago in january and our plan is to head directly south as quickly as possible. for us that means I-57/I-55 to I-12/I-10 and that means eventually going thru houston. we do houston on a sunday. better odds for less traffic.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:19 PM   #4
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Jim, we are traveling from Gulf Shores, AL to Stephen F Austin State Park in 11-days and we’re planning on taking TX Hwy 105 at Beaumont to 99 (it’s called Grand Parkway) around Houston to I-10 near Katy to avoid both the city and the bridge on I-10 damaged in the most recent storm, a couple of lanes on the interstate are closed indefinitely.

I’ll report back after the middle of the month.

By the way, you’ll want to order a TX TollTag before your trip. It works on most toll roads in TX and some in Oklahoma, too. We have ours on our windshield right next to our EZPass transponder.

Many TX toll roads don’t have toll booths, they take a photo of your license plate and eventually mail you an invoice for a higher fee and a service charge. If you don’t pay promptly - like if you’re on the road - they charge a bigger penalty.
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Old 10-05-2019, 10:09 PM   #5
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We've gone through Houston on a Sunday three times in the morning. Hardly any traffic then compared to the weekdays when we've gone through.
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Old 10-07-2019, 05:10 AM   #6
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I just want to second the bit about downtown Houston being a ghost town on Sunday mornings, by noon things start picking up some though.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:43 AM   #7
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Fun in Houston

Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
.....we’re planning on taking TX Hwy 105 at Beaumont to 99 (it’s called Grand Parkway) around Houston to I-10 near Katy to avoid both the city and the bridge on I-10 damaged in the most recent storm, a couple of lanes on the interstate are closed indefinitely.

I’ll report back after the middle of the month.....
We make the run from West GA to Austin several times a year- most often along the I-10 corridor- and noticed now the I-10 San Jac river bridge is partially out of service. I really enjoy Houston travel about as much as I do Atlanta. Both are thrilling, leading me to grievous anxiety and stress that is sooooo difficult to cope with. Vitamins don't help and unfortunately we can't do weekend travel through Houston for various reasons.

I'm anxious to hear and see your report on your alternative. Would love to hear about traffic and any congestion , as well if there is significant stop and go on 105???? I assume you are taking 105 to I-69 south to 99. Any restrictions on a 39 footer with a toad on 99?

Also see getting on 99 headed westbound off I69 at that interchange has you exiting southbound rather far north on 69 to the the frontage road. Google doesn't define it well. Am I missing an exit ramp closer to 99?

Looking forward to hearing how it works.Many thanks

Joe
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:06 AM   #8
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I live in houston and drive these roads often with a 38ft class A and toad. Knowing them makes driving them much easier because you know what lanes you need to be in and when. 99 is new and usually empty. Got to warn you there are no toll booths and very pricey even with a toll tag so without it it's got to be expensive. It's a long way around but the faster speed you can go without the traffic can help make up for it. Less stressful for sure if you're not use to driving in the cities and with a bigger rig and toad. Keep in mind 7am to 9 am and 3:30 to 7pm are the worst on I 10 or any others so try to avoid the rush hour times, Sunday is usually a good travel day. So if you are in those hours 99 is the way to go for sure.
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:00 PM   #9
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I live in SW Louisiana about 50 miles north of I-10, so often go "the back way" when heading to points west. Depending on destination this often includes taking TX105, though I usually intercept TX105 about 25 miles west of Beaumont. Depending on my destination I will then usually stay on TX105 until Brenham then take US290 west towards Austin, if heading to the hill country west of Austin, I will cut down to Bastrop, then take TX71 on across to where it meets back up with US290 to avoid the heavy traffic and toll road section of US290 going through the center of Austin.


The route is good all the way to Austin (I can't say the same for US290 west of Austin), there are a few small towns to deal with (Navasota, and Brenham), but not much, only real potential for traffic is near where TX105 crosses I-45 in Conroe, but even this is not bad, just a couple of miles of stop and go traffic, and a few traffic lights, for the most part there is no issue as TX105 has at least 2 lanes of traffic going in each directions, 3-4 lanes in places. There is even a Buc-ee's with 96 pumps in Bastrop if you want to fuel up, get some BBQ, snacks, or just about anything else. (there are other fairly good size gas stations on the route too)
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:45 AM   #10
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105 it is!

Thanks folks. Issac-1 that looks like a great route and I think I'll give it a shot this next trip in a few weeks. 105 looks good on Google maps. I've used that Buc-ees in Bastrop on past trips and its a rather decent (but busy) place to fill up! I had a little struggle getting into the pumps with the crowds but it was worth it. I appreciate the advice.

I like Texas hiways in general but have not enjoyed I-10 in TX with the traffic around Houston and the construction on I-10. I-10 will probably be a nicer route when they finish working on it.

I think I'll catch 105 on the north side of Beaumont and follow your suggested route. Our target stop in Austin is always Austin Lone Star RV resort. Its convenient to our kids place so we usually plop the landing gear down there to set up our shop for a visit with the kids and grands.

Joe
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:59 PM   #11
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Well we drove today from LA to just outside of Houston. At the last minute we bailed out of taking TX105/99. It would have added 44-miles to our trip and Google Maps said the bridge closure was not an issue today. Sorry.

Here’s the story on the closure. We were headed Westbound and that side of the bridge is completely closed. You do a crossover about a mile before the bridge and this gives both Eastbound and Westbound traffic two narrow lanes each sharing the Eastbound-side of the bridge. After clearing the bridge you have another crossover about one mile down the road to your original side of the road. It was not an issue for us and had no effect on traffic movement.

However, at the we time crossed over - noon on a Tuesday - Eastbound traffic was severely effected and backed up for a number of miles before the lane reduction took place on that side of the road.

Also, traveling Eastbound, the Grand Parway/99 tollroad was available directly from I-10 before the bridge problem. So there is no need to tale TX105 at Beaumont at all. Simply stay on I-10 Eastbound and you’ll have the tollroad option just prior to reaching the bridge closure crossover.

Be aware that the tollroad goes pretty far North while bypassing the city.

We drove through Houston at 12:30pm. Traffic was moving at full speed. No slow downs BUT it was not pleasant at all and between the bad road conditions and the intense traffic it was very tiring.

Worse yet was ever present construction lane shifts and really bad transitions. It was terrible. Once we got out of Houston proper we were thrilled, only to be met with even more construction, lane shifts, closures, narrow lanes and tight shoulders.

In general it was not as bad as Chicago or Atlanta but it was miserable just the same.
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Old 10-15-2019, 05:51 PM   #12
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Many thanks Creativepart.

If you've passed through Katy westbound how was 10 to your cut off to the State Park? Seems (I think with my bad memory) there was some construction and lane shifts along that corridor between Katy and Columbus????

Safe travels

Joe
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:28 PM   #13
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We stopped in San Filipe for the night at a state park. There is certainly construction between Katy and Sealy. Buts that’s as far as we’ve been so far This trip. We head home to Spring Branch, north of San Antonio tomorrow morning.
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Many thanks Creativepart.

If you've passed through Katy westbound how was 10 to your cut off to the State Park? Seems (I think with my bad memory) there was some construction and lane shifts along that corridor between Katy and Columbus????

Safe travels

Joe
Pretty much all construction had stopped by the time we reached Sealy and there was smooth roads all the way to our exit in Seguin.

We had remembered a similar trip about 4 years ago and at that time Louisiana had terrible roads, especially on that long causeway through the swamp. But this time LA was delightfully smooth all most the entire way.

However Texas from the State Line through to Sealy on I-10 was rough, broken and in very poor shape. Again a surprise as we think that Texas generally has good roads.

We traveled just under 3,700 miles in 15 states. The worst roads were in Oklahoma and the best in Ohio and Alabama.

We got a North Carolina QuickPass/EZ Pass before out trip and this was a huge time saver and saved some cash too as tolls are discounted if you have a transponder.

We already had a TxTag pass for Texas and we were happy to see it worked in both the Dallas area and on the OK Turnpike. There were some Toll Roads around Houston where the TxTag was not accepted, however.
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