Highway 290 construction means headaches for some commuters

January 20, 2012 5:39:06 PM PST
It's a means to an end, but right now many drivers find it hard to see the upside a major road improvement project. Commuters who travel along the Loop 610-Highway 290 interchange say they're fed up with all the closures connected to the construction.

Many drivers say they're frustrated and some businesses along the frontage road say they've hurting because of it. TxDOT says in the long run, this construction will make the area a lot safer.

"It gets really backed up, all the way to 45," commuter Erica Egure said.

Drivers passing through this area say they're dealing with big problems daily.

"It's been very congested on the north side here for a while. I try to avoid it when I can," commuter Marty O'Connor said.

And now a major construction project there seems to be causing some commuters and others more headaches and delays.

"Oh, it's been pretty bad. The congestion's been almost like LA," commuter David Patrick said.

You see contractors have been busy in this area since the summer. They're working to build direct connector ramps from 290 to I-10, which would allow drivers to bypass the weaving patterns and congestion they normally find around the 610 loop.

"The 610 area from I-10 to I-45 is No. 9 on TxDOT's top 100 most congested roadway segments," said Karen Othon with the Texas Department of Transportation.

Othon says the direct connector ramps could also cut down on the accidents that average every other day at this interchange.

"People will be able to access that ramp, just east of 34th Street. They'll get on that ramp, there will be a two-lane ramp and it will take them all the way around the 610 West Loop and connect them over to I-10," Othon said.

Many drivers are calling the 290 project a good idea.

"I think that's beautiful. I think that's great. They need to do that. They need a corridor for that," Patrick said.

Until the first phase, or Project K, is completed, commuters traveling through this area will have to continue dealing with some ramp and lane closures among other things.

"That's good, a little inconvenience now will pay off later on down the road," O'Connor said.

TxDOT says the first phase of this construction project is expected to be finished by early 2015. Later this, year it will begin construction around 290 and Beltway 8.