History of Loop 610
Interstate 610 is an urban freeway that forms a forty-two mile loop around the traditional inner city of Houston, Texas. One smaller loop lies within it, created by Interstate 45, Interstate 59 and Interstate 10 crossing paths and encircling what is known as downtown. Two larger loops encircle it – one being Beltway 8 and the other Highway 6. The area within Interstate 610 is generally referred to as “Loop 610”.
Formal plans to construct a highway around Houston began to formalize in the 1940s during World War II. The highway was intended as a "Defense Loop" to aid movement of troops and materials around the City of Houston. On May 3, 1941, Harris County voters approved a bond to build the "Defense Loop". At the time when the highway loop was being planned, the proposed route would nearly encircle all of the original city and its annexed territory. The highway would literally be a "loop" around the city. Due to limited resources during the national war effort, construction of Interstate 610 did not begin until the 1950s. The final segment of Interstate 610 was completed in 1973.
Loop 610 is where much of Houston’s richness can be found. It is home to 26 educational institutions of higher learning, several of Houston’s major employment centers, the nation’s largest medical center, three major sports teams, a host of performing arts and a multitude of ethnic diversity