Anyone coming south on 290 trying to get on I-10 knows what a hassle it can be: You come in right at the point where the North Loop becomes the West Loop, then you have to handle all the lane-switching that goes on between people headed Galleria-way and those, like you, trying to just get to the Katy.
Good news: A magic-carpet dedicated ramp will take drivers directly from 290 to I-10, bypassing the Loop.
Bad news: It's going to take awhile.
TxDOT officially took bids on the project yesterday and is expected to give the $151.5 million contract to (of course) Williams Brothers, who build all the highways around here.
"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," the agency said. "In addition, workers will reconstruct the IH 610 North Loop from Ella to the US 290/IH 610 interchange."
Expected completion date on the job, which will begin this summer: 2015.
The blue line in the above illustration shows a bit of the new ramp (the blue line). Right around HISD's Delmar Stadium complex, drivers heading for the Katy will leave 290 and enter a ramp that will parallel the Loop down to I-10 without mucking about with it.
Like we say, sounds good. But it also sounds like it could be a long four years.