Transportation

Will New Connector Provide Relief For Highway 290 Commuters?

TxDOT prepares to open new direct connector to I-10 Katy Freeway.

 

 

Commuters headed into Houston on busy U.S. 290 are about to get significant relief as TxDOT prepares to open a new connector ramp at the 610 Loop.

TxDOT’s Karen Othon showed us the new ramp that will take drivers directly to the I-10 Katy Freeway eastbound and westbound. It will carry two lanes of traffic from U.S. 290 and two lanes from the 610 North Loop.

The interchange carries about a quarter of a million vehicles a day, and Othon says if you’re not in the correct lane, you have to make a quick decision as 290 meets the Loop.

“This new ramp is going to separate that weaving pattern so that those who are going to I-10 will make their decision further back on 290 around 34th Street, and further back on 610 the North Loop around Ella and T.C. Jester.”

Along with making things easier for drivers, TxDOT hopes the new ramp will cut down on crashes. The interchange sees about 250 accidents a year. Some of those wrecks can tie up the freeway for hours.  

TxDOT project manager Julio Salinas says the new connector should eliminate a lot of the driving behaviors that cause accidents.

“When weaving happens you slow down the lane next to you. People get cut off or they’re following too closely, or people force their way inside, and it’s an exponential factor that happens downstream.”  

TxDOT will start reconfiguring lanes on October 10 to prepare for the ramp’s opening. It should be open shortly thereafter. Portable message boards will advise drivers where they need to exit to access the connector.

Another ramp that takes drivers from I-10 to outbound 290 is set to  open in 2016. The 290 reconstruction project is expected to be finished in 2017.

Click here for more information on the U.S. 290 reconstruction project.

 

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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