The idea for I-610 goes back to around 1956, when a consultant firm proposed building a federal-aid highway along the current route next to an existing railroad. The proposed route would cut through City Park. During public hearings in 1958, there was a lot of debate about the highway cutting through the park.
The state purchased the right-of-way in City Park in 1966 and began construction of I-610 in 1971. In 1972, a lawsuit was filed, citing that the project violated a 1968 law forbidding the use of parkland as a route for highways unless there was no other alternative route and steps were taken to mitigate park damage. The state eventually prevailed and I-610 was completed in the late 1970s.