Interstate 45

About the Plan
  • Who: The Interstate 45 Contraflow Plan (PDF) will affect motorists evacuating from the Houston area.
  • Why: This plan was created to help move citizens safely and efficiently out of harm’s way during large scale evacuations.
  • What: If this plan is activated, Interstate 45 southbound lanes will be reversed to carry 2 lanes of northbound traffic. Traffic in the contraflow lanes will be able to exit Interstate 45 at selected locations.
  • When: The reversal will be considered only when the Houston area is threatened by a major hurricane and mandatory evacuations are issued. A decision to reverse Interstate 45 will be made by the Texas Department of Public Safety based on the strength of the storm and projected landfall.
  • Where: The contraflow operations will begin north of State Highway 242. Some northbound traffic will cross over to the contraflow side to travel northbound. Contraflow and other Interstate 45 motorists will have access to fuel stations at multiple locations along Interstate 45. The contraflow lanes will end at US Highway 287 near Ennis, Texas, 40 miles south of Dallas.
Interstate 45 Evacuation Plan
Important Tips
Your needs and those of your family should be the primary factors considered when determining the timing of your evacuation. If you must evacuate, do not delay your departure in anticipation of the opening of the contraflow lanes. Should the contraflow be activated, citizens will be advised through local radio and television stations. All citizens should prepare a plan well in advance of the evacuation. The following steps are recommended:
  • Assemble your disaster supplies kit.
  • Secure your home against disaster to help reduce damages. Cover windows with shielding materials. Secure or put up any loose objects from around your home.
  • If you cannot take your pets with you, make provisions for them.
  • Know your area’s evacuation plan/routes before you leave home. Visit the Texas Online Website for more information.
  • Fill your vehicle with gas as early as possible. Take only the vehicle necessary to transport you and your family to safety. Extra vehicles create congestion.
  • Bring extra cash in case banks are closed and ATMs are not working.
  • Notify family and friends, especially those out the area, of your plan and your destination.
  • Develop an emergency plan in case family members are separated. Instruct all evacuating family members of the name and contact information of your designated out-of-area friend or family.
  • Ensure children know how and when to call 911.
  • Evacuate and travel safely to your destination.
  • Expect travel times to destinations to be significantly longer than normal.
  • After the storm, listen to local officials for the all-clear signal before returning home. Check for information at
    Texas Online Website. Do not try to drive through standing water. Just a few inches can float a vehicle.