Contact: Media Relations
Phone: (512) 463-8700
Date: Sept. 26, 2012
Legislative funding to speed up projects by decades on top congested highway
HOUSTON — Texans can expect to get some much-needed traffic relief on one of the top 25 congested roads in Texas. Thanks to $168 million in funding provided by state legislators and part of the additional $2 billion TxDOT identified earlier this year, some key construction projects along US 290 in Houston will be completed up to two decades earlier than originally scheduled. The completion of critical projects also means Texans will see a 40 percent decrease in time spent in traffic along US 290.
"This is a huge win for Texas drivers,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT Executive Director. "Not only will sections of this road be ready 20 years ahead of schedule, they could save drivers 20 minutes in commute time during peak hours on US 290 from IH 610 to SH 99." Wilson added, "Credit is due to state lawmakers and their vision to help TxDOT build the infrastructure so sorely needed in our great state."
TxDOT and the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) are working to finalize an agreement to provide the needed funding allocated by the Legislature. Under the agreement, TxDOT will contribute $787 million and HCTRA $400 million putting all US 290 projects between IH 610 and SH 99 (Grand Parkway) under construction by the middle of 2014.
"The US 290 project is a great example of how regional partnerships are helping TxDOT move forward with critical transportation options for Texas motorists," added Ted Houghton, Chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission. "This project is receiving broad community support, and we are grateful to our partners for helping us move full speed ahead on an important infrastructure improvement that will save Texans time and help them be more productive."
"Our economy and our quality of life depend on our transportation system and our ability to efficiently move people, goods and services throughout the state," Lt. Governor Dewhurst said. "We all want to see more roads built so that hardworking Texans can spend less time in traffic and more time at home with their families, but we must resist the natural urge to spend money on easy projects and instead spend our hardworking taxpayers' dollars on projects that will have the greatest impact on our economy and quality of life -- like the US 290 project. I compliment TxDOT and their new leadership, and I look forward to working with them to ensure that we meet the needs of our growing state and thriving economy."
Project plans include the reconstruction and widening of US 290 — four general purpose lanes for in- and outbound traffic and two to three reversible managed lanes in the middle carrying HOV and tolled traffic, and future construction of the parallel Hempstead Tollway. Plans also call for a bike trail and right-of-way preservation for a high-capacity transit system. Additionally, the completed projects along US 290 will bring about safety improvements that should reduce the number of accidents that typically cause big delays.
"Addressing congestion reduces frustration, time spent and potential collisions." Wilson said. "We appreciate the Lt. Governor’s leadership in helping TxDOT address these challenges to provide a safe and reliable transportation system."