Building Greater West Houston’s Next Great Transportation Corridor
TxDOT and Harris County Toll Road Authority have accelerated construction of the US 290 Corridor from I-610 to the Grand Parkway all to be underconstruction by 2014. The agencies will share the $1.8 billion cost of these improvements with TxDOT providing $1.4 billion and HCTRA, $400 million. Below are diagrams and status reports on the various sections plus historical information and news about the proposed passenger rail line in the corridor. For current construction status click here (My290.com).
With $784 million in projects committed, The us 290 corridor in northwest harris county is the west houston association’s number one project
03.15.2013 | TxDot lets to contract section from fm 529 to eldridge
As part of the massive reconstruction of US 290, The Texas Transportation Commission accepted a $58 million bid from Webber LLC to widen US 290 from FM 529 to Eldridge Parkway. The contract will likely be signed this falll with work to begin later in 2013.
11.30. 2012 | TxDOT Schedules public meeting on proposed us 290 managed use lanes
TxDOT will hold two public meetings to review the proposed managed use lanes on US 290. The meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, December 11, 2012 6p to 7p Open House. Presentation 7p
Sheraton Brookhollow, 3900 North Loop West and Thursday, December 13, 2012 6p to 7p Open House. Presentation 7p Berry Center, 8877 Barker Cypress Road.
04.10.2012 | TxDOT & Harris County hctra prepare MOu to develop us 290
TxDOT has agreed to invest an additional $400 million into the US 290 project (funds will come from a recent statewide supplemental pool of $2 billion) and HCTRA will invest up to $400 million to develop the US 290 toll and HOV lanes. US 290 will add an additional lane in each direction in addition to the 2-3 lane toll and HOV lanes.
02.24.2012 | More funds allocated to us 290 @ bw 8
An additional $78 million will be allocated to ROW purchases along US 290 @ BW 8 to advance widening of US 290 at that critical intersection. The Transportation Policy Council voted on Feb 24th to advance this project for allocation by TxDOT. Funds are from the Proposition 12 Rider 42 program for major metropolitan areas around the state. They are restricted to planning, design and ROW purchases. This allocation of $78 million will allow the $118 million for US 290 @ BW 8 construction to advance. (see below)
9.29.2011 | us 290 gets $118 million more for major new section east/west of beltway 8
The TxDOT Commission as part of the distribution of Prop 12 bonds to roadways in Texas has selected US 290 for additional new capacity. TxDOT’s discussion at this link. In Summer 2011, the Texas Legislature authorized TxDOT to go to contract on approximately $3 billion in general obligation bonds for highway improvements. Texas voters approved these Proposition 12 bonds, which are backed by the state’s general revenue not by fuel tax revenues, by a vote of 63 percent in November 2007. Additional sections:
|US 290 INBOUND West of FM 529 to E of W Little York
|US 290 OUTBOUND West of FM 529 to E of W Little York
The US 290/BW 8 interchange improvements will include construction of a continuous frontage road along BW 8 at US 290; construction of collector-distributor lanes on US 290 from West Little York to FM 529; and construction of the US 290 mainlanes and frontage roads from West Little York to FM 529. The total cost of these improvements is $114 million and will be funded as mentioned above. Construction will start July 2012.
In addition, US 290 will receive $6.5 million from locally designated federal funds for intersection improvements at SH 6, Spring-Cypress, Skinner and Cypress Rosehill-Fry. These improvements will include dedicated turn lanes to improve traffic flow. Also included are intersection improvements at the frontage road and Eldridge; the addition of an auxiliary lane eastbound on US 290 between Telge and Huffmeister; and the addition of US 290 westbound frontage road at Barker-Cypress.
Hempstead Corridor Commuter Rail Conceptual Presentation
The Gulf Coast Rail District received at their September 13, 2011 meeting an update on conceptual engineering for the commuter rail project within the Hempstead Corridor completed by Trans Systems and Klotz Associates. Ridership projections indicate that upon start up of the line with no CBD link will have daily boardings of 2,640. After build out of the line in 2,035 but with no CBD link boardings will be 5,952 daily. With a link to the CBD boardings in 2035 will reach 18,816. An upgrade of the 2035 build out anticipated in the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan would up daily boardings to 22,578.
Cost of the project is estimated to be $290.7 million for the 2019 build out stopping at Loop 610 and an additional $254 million for the line to reach the Central Business District.
TxDOT US 290 Overview Report. Download at this link (PDF)
US 290 Corridor Link to TxDOT US 290 Corridor site. The Corridor upgrade is designed to address overwhelming traffic congestion in this major mobility link Greater West Houston transportation system serving northwest Harris County from Loop 610 to beyond Hempstead, a distance of over 40 miles. TxDOT’s proposed improvements cover a corridor of varying width that is approximately 38 miles long, extending from the interchange area of I-10W/I-610/ US 290 northwest to FM 2920.
The overall vision for the US 290 Program includes:
Freeway capacity reconstruction and widening from IH 610 to FM 2920 to create:
–Five general-purpose lanes in each direction from IH 610 to just west of SH 6, plus auxiliary lanes where appropriate
–Four general-purpose lanes in each direction from just west of SH 6 to near the proposed SH 99/Grand Parkway, plus auxiliary lanes
–Three general-purpose lanes in each direction from near the proposed SH 99/Grand Parkway to the west study limit, plus auxiliary lanes
–Two- or three-lane frontage roads in each direction throughout the corridor
–A four-lane, two-way managed lanes facility along Hempstead Tollway from IH 610 to the proposed SH 99/Grand Parkway
–Two non-tolled frontage road lanes in each direction to be reconstructed along Hempstead Tollway from IH 610 to Beltway 8
–US 290 METRO HOV operations moved to the Hempstead Tollway managed toll lanes
–Proposed high-capacity transit corridor located along Hempstead Tollway
–Bicycle and pedestrian improvements
Phase I of US 290 construction includes the US 290/IH 610 interchange and US 290 out to W. 34th Street. Segment K of this phase is scheduled to go to construction in 2011, and that segment will be paid for with Proposition 12 funding. Click here to learn more about Proposition 12. Segment J-1 of this phase is scheduled to be put out for construction bid in Fall 2012, and will be paid for with Proposition 14 funding.
In addition, TxDOT has identified additional funding mechanisms that will allow the Department to advance construction areas on several areas of the Program Corridor. It is important to note that these funding mechanisms are limited, and will only provide for minimal construction at select locations. Click here to learn more about these newly funded projects.
At this time, funding the remaining portions of the US 290/Hempstead Corridor has not been identified, and time frames for construction remain unclear due to several factors including current state and federal funding challenges as noted here. The sooner funding can be secured the sooner construction on these phases can begin.
US 290 Funding Update
Additional Proposition 12 Funding allocated in 2011–See above
Proposition 14 Funding for Segment J-1
In October 2010, the Texas Transportation Commission awarded the US 290/Hempstead Corridor Program $140 million which will help build the very important IH 610/US 290 interchange.
Read the press release here.
Proposition 12 Funding for Segment K
In November 2009, the US 290 Program was awarded $314.6 million from voter approved Proposition 12, to advance design and construction activities to 2011 at the IH 610/US 290 interchange.
More Information on Proposition 12
Read the Proposition 12 News Release
In April 2010, the Texas Transportation Commission approved approximately $420 million in Category 2 funding for the US 290 Program through TxDOT’s Unified Transportation Program (UTP). The UTP is a ten-year forecast, not a budget nor a promise to build projects, and the revenue can only go to the program if it is available in the future.
See which portions of US 290 are tentatively funded here, and find more details about the UTP here.
County not ready to move on 290 toll lanes
June 22, 2010 Houston Chronicle
The long-talked about addition of toll lanes to U.S. 290 will wait at least one more year. Despite a citizens group’s pleas for action to relieve traffic on the freeway, Commissioners Court not to include any construction on the lanes in the next year’s construction plan. It is not that the Court does not see the need, County Judge Ed Emmett said.
“There’s no funding right now, and the design is still up in the air,” Emmett said.
Art Storey, executive director of the Harris County Public Infrastructure Department, confirmed that the county and the Texas Department of Transportation have not agreed on a design or how to pay for an expansion of 290 that would include new lanes, the addition of toll lanes and the necessary work on interchanges. Storey said there has been speculation that the total revamping of 290 could cost between $5 billion and $6 billion.
In a year when Harris County has identified more than $800 million in building needs, but could fund only $63 million in repairs and construction, the money is just not there, Storey said. “We’re doing all we can, considering fiscal responsibility, the public need and public safety,” Storey said.
US 290/I-610 Interchange Gets Infusion of Funds; Goes to Contract in May 2011
The Texas Transportation Commission selected the interchange of US 290 and I-610 to begin the reconstruction of the 290 Corridor. $315 million in proceeds from the sale of Proposition 12 Texas General Obligation Bonds will be allocated to design and build approximately 50% of the eventual crucial complex of three major freeways serving Greater West Houston. The WHA believes this is a critical first step in the eventual US 290 Corridor project. It is a keystone for access from the northwest of Greater West Houston to major activity centers inside Loop 610.
Commuter Rail to Help Solve Mobility Issues | Judge Ed Emmett
“Harris County is home to some of the most congested roadways in Texas. As the county’s population continues to boom, transportation will be an even bigger challenge. With financial and space limits on highway construction, additional solutions are needed to improve mobility.
Commuter rail on existing railroad tracks holds great potential. Improving air quality by taking cars off the road also makes commuter rail an attractive mode of transportation. Commuter rail differs from light rail and other forms of railway passenger service in a number of ways. Commuter rail normally involves traditional trains powered by diesel/electric locomotives operating on existing freight rail lines, while light rail operates in a dedicated right of way (as in Houston’s Main Street Red Line) and is powered by overhead electric wires.
Since commuter rail accommodates mostly long-distance trips within a region, usually between the outlying areas and the main metropolitan hub, stations are farther apart (around five miles), and trips peak at the morning and evening commute times. Recent studies for the Houston-Galveston Area Council have identified two key “early implementation” corridors for development as part of a long-distance commuter rail system in the Harris County region. The first, called the 290/Hempstead corridor, is located in northwest Harris County and is planned to use the existing Union Pacific Railroad “Eureka” line. It begins at the Eureka Junction at the intersection of Old Hempstead Highway and Old Katy Road near Interstate 10. This project has been identified as the most critical commuter transit project in the Houston region because of the tremendous growth in northwest Harris County.
A second identified corridor along State Highway 3 will connect Galveston and communities in southeast Harris County to the Houston area. This line not only will provide an alternative to congested freeway corridors, but will also provide additional means of emergency evacuation during hurricanes. Recently, the Union Pacific Railroad has offered to make these two rail corridors available for commuter rail. Working with the Gulf Coast Rail District, the goal is to have both lines in operation in time to connect to METRO’s expanded light rail system so commuters can experience seamless rail transportation to the numerous employment centers and other destinations in the greater Houston area.”
Overview of US 290 and Hempstead Corridor from Loop 610 to FM 2920
(Click Picture Thumbnails)
Following the completion of the management investment study (MIS) of the US 290 corridor, TxDOT completed a Draft Environmental Impact Statement which is awaiting approval by the Federal Highway Administration.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available at this link
TxDOT project website can be viewed at this link www.my290.com