Photo by Andrew Richardson
The Texas Transportation Commission approved June 28 a $1.9 billion allocation in transportation funds which will help move forward several projects in Northwest Houston.
More than $360 million of the allocation will go toward Hwy. 290 improvements, ranging from reconstruction of the Hwy. 290 and Loop 610 interchange to widened lanes along the corridor.
These new funds will accelerate the construction start times to earlier than originally planned, said Karen Othon, Hwy. 290 public information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation. All of Hwy. 290 between Loop 610 and the Grand Parkway is slated to be under construction by 2014, and it is estimated the project will be complete by late 2016.
The additional funds will make it possible to widen Hwy. 290 to 12 main lanes from west of Pinemont Drive to west of W. 34th Street. The highway will be widened to 10 main lanes with auxiliary lanes from east of W. Little York Road to west of Fairbanks N. Houston Road, widened to 12 main lanes west of N. Eldridge Parkway to west of FM 529, and widened to 10 main lanes with auxiliary lanes east of Telge Road to west of N. Eldridge Parkway.
In May, Harris County Commissioners Court approved a memorandum of understanding with TxDOT to install managed lanes on Hwy. 290 from Loop 610 to the Grand Parkway. The proposed $1.3 billion project—which may move forward faster now due to the allocation—calls for building a two or three-lane reversible managed lane facility for high occupancy vehicles and toll traffic, and includes the addition of a general lane in both directions.
"In partnership with Harris County Toll Road Authority, TxDOT will be able to move forward with needed improvements to the [Hwy.] 290 corridor from Loop 610 to the [Grand Parkway], which includes the proposed managed lane concept," Othon said.
In addition, several areas around the Hwy. 290 corridor will benefit from the newly allocated funds. The FM 1960 and Hwy. 290 intersection will be reconstructed west of N. Eldridge Parkway, along with the Hwy. 6 and Hwy. 290 interchange on the opposite side of the roadway.
The transportation commission was able to allocate the $1.9 billion due to Texas Mobility Fund bond proceeds, anticipated federal funding and savings on construction projects already underway, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.