Regional Boards > Mid-South

US-290 between Austin and Houston thread (future freeway-ish upgrades when?)

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Plutonic Panda:
TxDOT just doesnít seem to have the money. Itís not hard to figure out when you see much needed like I-345, I-30(Canyon), I-35 Austin central, and NHHIP not starting until later this decade or even the 2030s.

MaxConcrete:
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I've *never* heard or read of any organization advocating for highway improvements between Houston and Austin, both SH 71 and US 290. That includes business interests, transportation/logistics interests, governments, cities (Houston, Austin and everything between) and TxDOT itself. No advocacy, ever. The only place I've seen the idea promoted is in this forum.

In the meantime, there are well-organized advocacy groups for I-69 and all those pie-in-the-sky Interstate proposals in West Texas. For example http://i69texasalliance.com/, which has been lobbying for I-69 for a very long time.

As Plutonic Panda noted, there's never enough money to meet all needs. Politics and advocacy steer a lot of the available funding. Nothing is steering funding to highways between Houston and Austin.

I drive between Houston and Hempstead on an occasional basis, and I'm nearly always surprised by the heavy traffic. Traffic does seem to drop substantially west of Hempstead. Looking at the TxDOT traffic charts, it is around 40k vpd east of Hempstead, 25k vpd west of Hempstead, and around 13k vpd east and west of Giddings.

Bobby5280:
What about the traffic counts on US-290 in the Austin area from Manor to Elgin? I'd bet there is considerably more than 13k vehicles per day using that segment. I'm surprised there appears to be no effort on improvement that highway segment compared to some spot upgrades taking place on TX-71 just to the South. The Manor to Elgin segment of US-290 has similar levels of development compared to TX-71 between the Austin airport and Bastrop.

Even without a specific, concentrated effort on creating one or two 100% limited access freeway corridors from Austin to Houston it's still surprising to see the lack of effort going East out of Austin compared to the far greater efforts going Northwest out of Houston.

rte66man:

--- Quote from: MaxConcrete on November 08, 2022, 08:18:58 PM ---I've said it before and I'll say it again. I've *never* heard or read of any organization advocating for highway improvements between Houston and Austin, both SH 71 and US 290. That includes business interests, transportation/logistics interests, governments, cities (Houston, Austin and everything between) and TxDOT itself. No advocacy, ever. The only place I've seen the idea promoted is in this forum.

In the meantime, there are well-organized advocacy groups for I-69 and all those pie-in-the-sky Interstate proposals in West Texas. For example http://i69texasalliance.com/, which has been lobbying for I-69 for a very long time.

As Plutonic Panda noted, there's never enough money to meet all needs. Politics and advocacy steer a lot of the available funding. Nothing is steering funding to highways between Houston and Austin.

I drive between Houston and Hempstead on an occasional basis, and I'm nearly always surprised by the heavy traffic. Traffic does seem to drop substantially west of Hempstead. Looking at the TxDOT traffic charts, it is around 40k vpd east of Hempstead, 25k vpd west of Hempstead, and around 13k vpd east and west of Giddings.

--- End quote ---

I would assume the majority of that traffic is heading north on TX6 to College Station and Waco.  I go that way when I have to be in the west Houston metro. Anything to bypass I45.

Bobby5280:
Austin is a far larger metro than College Station. Austin has nearly 1 million residents just for its city limits population and over 2 million in its metro area. The Austin metro is almost as populous as the San Antonio metro, and the Austin metro might be growing faster. Houston has direct Interstate links with DFW and San Antonio but not Austin. San Antonio has its own N-S and E-W Interstates (I-10 and I-35), but not Austin. I guess various planners think Austin is no bigger than Waco.

Regardless if there has been no public cheer-leading effort to get an Interstate link built between Austin and Houston it's still weird as hell just from the perspective of highway network management. The northern part of the Austin metro has all sorts of wishful plans for super-highway corridors in the future (with not nearly enough effort put in to preserve ROW). But the main arterials going East out of Austin toward Houston (US-290 and TX-71) don't have a lot of future-proofing being done, especially US-290. It's a mess and it's weird as hell.

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