Commuters South Of Houston Are Getting A New Travel Option

Drivers are about to notice a lot of activity on State Highway 288 south of downtown Houston as construction starts on the area’s newest toll lanes.


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TxDOT held a ceremonial groundbreaking at 288 and the 610 South Loop

Silver shovels gleamed in the sun as officials broke ground for the new State Highway 288 toll lanes, a project designed to accommodate the growing population south of Houston.

Those lanes will be in the middle of the existing freeway, which will remain free to drive.

There will be two lanes in each direction for about a ten-mile stretch between U.S 59 and Brazoria County. There will also be direct connector ramps at the 610 South Loop, Beltway 8, and the Texas Medical Center.

The work will cost about $815 million. The bulk of the money comes from the private joint venture that will build the road, Blueridge Transportation Group and Almeda-Genoa Constructors.

Officials break ground for the new State Highway 288 Toll Lanes
Officials break ground for the new State Highway 288 Toll Lanes

TxDOT's Veruna Singh says those companies will recoup their costs through toll revenues under a long-term concession agreement.

"However our contractor-developer has thresholds," explains Singh. "If the tolls reach collection, reach a certain threshold, exceed it, then there's a sharing mechanism with the state. And that's over the 52-year life."

So what does construction mean for commuters? Singh says most of the work will happen in the median of 288 and not on the main lanes.

‘They will have for the majority of time of the 1000 days of construction, the same lane capacity they have today," adds Singh.

The 288 toll lanes are expected to be finished in the summer of 2019.

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Gail Delaughter

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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