After 4 years of construction and delays, upgraded SH-288 now open

Courtney Fischer Image
Monday, November 30, 2020
After 4 years of construction, upgraded SH-288 opens
After four long years of construction and delays, this is what the new and improved Highway 288 looks like.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The SH-288 toll lanes are open and you'll have to pay to use them starting today. Until now, the fees had been waived.

Adjustable pricing is based on time of day and volume of traffic.

In other words, if the lanes get too congested, toll prices will increase to control traffic.

"I think you have to realize that the tolls will be managed based on time of day. If you're in the tolls during peak, it will cost a little more. If you're driving off peak, it will be less. And that's how they're designed," said Raynese Edwards with Blueridge Transportation Group.

SH-288's 10.3 miles of new freeway, including huge flyovers and managed toll lanes, stretch from downtown Houston to Clear Creek.

The project broke ground in 2016. It was supposed to take 1,000 days from start to finish, but that original mid-2019 completion date got pushed back over and over thanks to repeated weather events, including Harvey and construction delays.

Instead of opening the roadway one segment at a time, the entire new project opened at once, including the brand new Southmore Bridge and the direct connectors at Holcombe going into the Texas Medical Center.

PREVIOUS STORY: Hwy 288 work to go beyond projected 1000 days of construction

The ongoing construction will stretch into 2020.

New drainage has been installed throughout the project.

"What we did was upgraded and put in brand new drainage along all 10.3 miles of the project in areas we put into drainage. We also added detention ponds. So you kind of look over here, you'll see the detention ponds and when you go back to 610, those are designed to help slow the flow of the water," said Edwards.

While you may be more familiar with a retention pond, which has a constant pool of water, a dry detention pond usually doesn't have a permanent pool of water and will remain dry until there's a storm.

But the developer told ABC13 if Brays Bayou is full, that water simply has nowhere to go. Still, it should be a lot better during the next hurricane season.

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The view from SkyDrone 13 video shows the flooding on Highway 288 after Tropical Storm Beta made landfall late Monday.