US 290 Program Reaches Milestone
Construction Contract "Construction on the IH 610/US 290 interchange begins this summer."
HOUSTON - The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) took bids earlier today for the US 290 Program's first major construction project located at the IH 610/US 290 interchange. Williams Brothers Construction Company, Inc., had the winning low bid of $151.5 million. The Texas Transportation Commission will award the project at their May 26 meeting.
Work on this first contract, known as Project K, includes constructing an inbound direct connector from US 290 and the IH 610 North Loop to IH 10 Katy Freeway, thus eliminating the traffic weaving currently present on the IH 610 West Loop southbound mainlanes. In addition, workers will reconstruct the IH 610 North Loop from Ella to the US 290/IH 610 interchange. Construction is expected to begin this summer and be completed early 2015.
The US 290 Program Office opened in October 2006 and it is from there that all design, right-of-way, utility relocation and public involvement is coordinated for the 38-mile corridor from the IH 610/US 290 interchange to FM 2920. The Federal Highway Administration granted the program environmental clearance through a Record of Decision in August 2010, allowing the program to move forward with right-of-way and construction activities. TxDOT's Houston District Engineer, Delvin Dennis, P.E., adds, "The beginning of construction signifies a major accomplishment for the US 290 Program. This long awaited project will relieve congestion and improve safety on a portion of the IH 610/US 290 interchange. Motorists will realize peak travel time savings of nine minutes on eastbound US 290 and six minutes on westbound IH 610."
Although TxDOT is excited to begin the major reconstruction of US 290, the reality of the transportation funding crisis still presents real obstacles for advancing the Program. With the projected cost of the US 290 corridor improvements totaling $2.8 billion, there is still approximately $1.5 billon of the program unfunded. The program's next funded project is tentatively scheduled for construction in late 2012 and will build the outbound direct connector at the IH 610/US 290 interchange, from IH 10 to US 290 and the IH 610 North Loop. There is also funding programmed for fiscal years 2014-2019 which would allow construction at the US 290/Beltway 8 interchange and portions of US 290 between Beltway 8 and W. 34th Street. However, at this time there are no construction funds for the US 290 projects west of Beltway 8.
Despite having currently allocated funding, the US 290 Program continues to move forward with corridor wide design plans, which will allow the projects to be ready to go to construction once funding is available.
For more information regarding the US 290 Corridor Program, please contact Karen Othon, US 290 Public Information Officer at (713) 354-1532 or visit the program website at www.my290.com.