Proposed Hwy 288 improvements receive mixed reactions from commuters

March 5, 2013 7:37:06 PM PST
Residents on Houston's south side are invited to a meeting tonight over proposed highway improvements on highway 288.

Plans are in the works to add toll lanes on a stretch of Highway 288 between Interstate 59 and Brazoria County.

If you ever take State Highway 288, you know what it's like.

"Seems like at 6 o'clock, it's bumper to bumper. So it's terrible, horrible," Pearland resident Pam Hayes said.

The Texas Department of Transportation estimates 177,000 people travel on 288 everyday. And that number is expected to reach 240,000 people by 2035.

"Right now we're looking at a 26-mile stretch of 288 and what improvements would be needed," TxDOT Spokeswoman Raquelle Lewis said.

TxDOT is proposing changes for the stretch of Highway 288 between Interstate 59 in downtown Houston and County Road 60 in Brazoria County. The agency wants to widen existing lanes and build some new ones. You could see connectors from 288 to major highways like the 610 Loop and the Sam Houston Tollway.

But perhaps the most controversial part of the plan is two toll lanes in either direction. TxDOT says these toll lanes help pay for the $1.3 billion project.

"While being able to do free lanes is great, there's a reality that the finances just aren't there," Lewis said.

But for those who sit in this traffic everyday, reaction is mixed.

"It's worth it for me because then at least I could get a little bit extra sleep," Pearland resident Adrian Gonzales said.

"I don't think it would change the congestion at all. As many lanes as it's got and the construction would just make it take longer," Pearland resident Susanna Velasquez said.

TxDOT is holding a series of public meetings before it makes a decision. The first meeting was held Tuesday evening at the DeBakey High School for Health Professionals on Shenandoah Street.

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