July 24, 2007
Last public comment event for US290 widening today

If you want to give some feedback on the planned US290 expansion that's looming on the horizon, this is your last chance for this stage of the project.

The last of three public comment sessions on plans to expand traffic capacity in the city's Northwest Corridor will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Berry Center, 8877 Barker Cypress in Cypress.

The Federal Highway Administration and Texas Department of Transportation are soliciting comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project, which includes widening of U.S. 290 and construction of toll lanes adjacent to Hempstead Highway.

From 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. there will be an open-house format with displays and people on hand from the two agencies to answer questions about the expansion. The hearing begins at 7 p.m.

You also can mail comments to TxDOT Houston District, P.O. Box 1386, Houston, TX 77251-1386, attention Project Development Director. Or go to www.dot.state.tx.us/contact_us/?id=hou-email and send an e-mail using the link.

You know how much fun the I-10 widening has been? Those of you out northwest will soon have the opportunity to share in that fun. Stay informed so you'll know what to expect. An excerpt from a CTC email about this is beneath the fold.

TxDOT, HCTRA, and their consultants have spent the last 21 months or so revising the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the US 290/Hempstead corridor expansion project. Now it's time for members of the public to assess the project planning TxDOT has done so far, and provide feedback at public hearings and in writing.

Federal law requires TxDOT and other agencies to conduct formal public hearings regarding the environmental impacts of each federally-funded project. Unlike the "open houses" you may have attended in Oct 2005, this public hearing is our formal opportunity to speak publicly to the agency -- at an open microphone -- and hear and learn from our neighbors.

The 290/Hempstead project definitely includes the expansion and conversion of Hempstead Rd. into elevated "managed (tolled) lanes" with frontage lanes. It also includes the expansion of US 290. See a map of the project area for reference.

But CTC members are raising many other questions:

  • Will the project include complete grade separations at the railroad tracks, or will traffic on local roads continue to wait as freight trains pass?

  • Will the project replace the current HOV lanes with comparable high-quality transit, including free access to carpools and vanpools, and direct connector ramps to all existing and planned park-and-ride lots?

  • Will the project include commuter rail in the near future, or only years from now after all the new highway lanes are built?

  • Will the project allow for safe bicycle and pedestrian access, including both pedestrian access from one side of the highway to the other, and also hike-and-bike access parallel to the highway?

  • Will the 290 project include 90-foot tall ramps like the ones recently built for the IH-10/IH-610 interchange?

  • Will the project include noise mitigation, landscaped buffers, detention basins that double as park space, etc.?

  • If the 23-mile Katy Freeway expansion has cost more than $3 billion, how likely is it that the 40-mile 290 expansion will cost just $1.5 billion?

Your participation will make this project better for neighborhoods. You can ask questions about the project, review the schematics and project documents, and present your comments at any one of three public hearings in the next two weeks:

Mon July 16 - Sheraton Brookhollow (map)
3000 North Loop West Houston, Texas 77092
Tues July 17 - Dean Middle School (map)
14104 Reo St. Houston, Texas 77040
Tues July 24 - Berry Education Center (map)
8877 Barker Cypress Rd, Cypress Texas 77433

TxDOT must receive public comments by Wed Aug 8, 2007. You can submit your comments in writing:

by email to TxDOT's Pat Henry: phenry@dot.state.tx.us,

via TxDOT's online form (send to "Houston district"), or

by mail to PO Box 1386, Houston, TX 77251-1386 (Attn: Director of Project Development).

You can download and review the 290 DEIS executive summary (64 kb PDF).
You can also download the PDFs for each section, appendix, and exhibit in the full 290 DEIS report from TxDOT's 290 EIS webpage.

Preliminary engineering is scheduled to begin in Sept 2007 and right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin in 2008. Construction is slated to begin in 2011. In the meantime, please share your questions and comments in CTC's online forum!

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 24, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

My thoughts in my blog:


Posted by: Christof on July 24, 2007 9:28 AM