Katherine Whaley gets answers for your 290 questions

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There's good news and bad news for commuters on the northwest side of Houston (KTRK)

If you commute along US-290, you're used to spending hours in traffic every week, especially with 28 miles of the freeway under construction. We took your 290 questions to Karen Othon of TxDOT. She says many of our viewers' questions are the ones she hears every day from other drivers she encounters. The most common question -- when will the project finish?

"The 290 construction is a long project, our estimated completion is going to be 2017, so it's going to be here for a couple of more years, so just bear with us," Othon explained.

The construction got a bit of a boost with additional funding potentially coming from the recently passed Proposition 1. The additional money could help speed up the timeline for the last three of the thirteen segments of construction.

Drivers also have many questions about the freeway closures that happen overnight. Valerie Fruge drives on 290 in the evenings, and she says the lane closures slow down her commute.

"We have traffic at nighttime, too, not just going to work and coming back from work every day," she explains.

Othon says the total freeway shutdown is necessary to keep workers and drivers safe, especially while crews are moving heavy materials. "We can't hang those beams over live traffic. It's just too much of a hazard," Othon said.

Until February 5, there will be a total closure of the US-290 inbound mainlanes at 610, from 9pm until 5am, nightly.

Several viewers also asked about the changing lane configurations during construction. On Facebook, Bruce Carter asked, "Are they going to get rid of hazardous merges, like the 100-foot one at the HOV entrance inbound at Eldridge?"

Othon explains that by the end of the project, there will be a dedicated HOV lane all the way down the center of the freeway, so the merge will go away.

For more information on freeway closures, be sure to check online or on our Eyewitness News App.
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