Road work to be done 20 years early?


Highway 290 is one of the 25 most congested roadways in Texas -- iIf you drive on 290 during rush hour, you know. But transportation safety officials say that won't be the case for long as change is coming; 20 years sooner than expected.

TxDOT engineer Michael Alford explained, "We will be able to deliver these projects in about four years from now."

The projects stretch along Highway 290 between I-610 and FM 2920 and include widening 290 to 11 lanes -- four inbound, four outbound, with two to three reversible middle lanes for HOV and a toll lane.

"I think it will improve the traffic flow tremendously," said driver Lisa Byrd.

Also part of the plan is preserving right-of-way for a bike trail and eventually building a Hempstead Tollway, parallel to 290.

"These initial dollars that we have will take us out to the Grand Parkway area," Alford said. "Then we'll start working west of the Grand Parkway as funding becomes available."

TxDOT will contribute $787 million. The Harris County Toll Road Authority is pitching in $400 million. State lawmakers plan to continue the push for funding because, they say the pathway to economic health starts right here.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst said, "I want to keep the state growing, you want to keep the state growing. We can't do it without excellent infrastructure."

All of the projects we talked about will be under construction by the middle of 2014.

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