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U.S. Route 290 (or U.S. 290) is an east–west U.S. Highway located entirely within the state of Texas. Its current western terminus is at Interstate 10 near Harper, and its eastern terminus is at Interstate 610 in northwest Houston.[1] It is the main highway between Houston and Austin and is a cutoff for travelers wanting to bypass San Antonio on Interstate 10. Throughout its length west of Austin, US 290 cuts across mountainous hills comprising the Texas Hill Country and the Edwards Plateau; between Austin and Houston, the highway then travels through gradually hilly grasslands and pine forests comprising the Gulf Coastal Plains.

US Highway 290 marker

US Highway 290
Route information
Maintained by TxDOT
Length261.187 mi[1] (420.340 km)
Existed1927[1]–present
Major junctions
West end I-10 southeast of Junction, TX
  US 87 at Fredericksburg, TX

US 281 at Johnson City, TX
I-35 at Austin, TX
US 183 at Austin, TX

US 77 at Giddings, TX
East end I-610 at Houston, TX
Location
CountiesKimble, Gillespie, Blanco, Hays, Travis, Bastrop, Lee, Fayette, Washington, Waller, Harris
Highway system
SH 290SH 294

Route descriptionEdit

US 290 begins from I-10's exit 477 roughly 12 miles (19 km) southeast of the small town of Segovia. It begins to travel due east through rural farmlands in the Texas Hill Country before reaching Harper, where it is the main west-east road in the town. Afterwards, US 290 begins making slight curves as it crosses through several creeks and tributaries amidst additional farmland, where it eventually joins US 87 and runs as Main Street through Fredericksburg. The two highways travel together for eleven blocks in downtown Fredericksburg before US 87 splits south of US 290 at an intersection directly south of the National Museum of the Pacific War. Traveling due south, US 290 returns to an eastward path after crossing the Pedernales River, where it serves as an important artery for Fredericksburg's agricultural district, including Wildseed Farms. The highway then runs parallel to the Pedernales River, and after passing Stonewall, serves the south side of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park's ranch area. As the Pedernales River arcs further north, US 290 continues east through several wineries before approaching Johnson City and bordering the north side of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park's city unit. US 290 is designated as Main Street throughout downtown Johnson City as it joins US 281 and heads south.

After traveling through additional hilly terrain, US 290 splits east from US 281 and twists through slopes in the Edwards Plateau, where an intersection with RM 3232 in the unincorporated community of Henly provides access to Pedernales Falls State Park. US 290 then makes a sigmoid curve to serve downtown Dripping Springs, and then serves various residential areas as it crosses into southwest Austin. The highway then begins a concurrency SH 71 at a series of traffic lights and travels through Austin's Oak Hill district before becoming a five-to-six-lane freeway. In the community of Sunset Valley, US 290 has interchanges with Loop 1 (MoPac Expressway) and Loop 360 (Capital of Texas Highway) providing access to the Barton Creek Greenbelt, and is then designated as Ben White Boulevard while it travels through south-central Austin, crossing the Missouri Pacific Railroad in the process. Shortly afterward, US 290 splits north from SH 71 in a stack interchange to run concurrent with I-35 via exit 230.

 
The west end of US 290's concurrency with SH 71 is located near the Oak Hill district in Austin.

Upon beginning its concurrency with I-35, US 290 travels through the suburban Riverside and Travis Heights districts while also serving St. Edward's University. After crossing the Colorado River, I-35 and US 290 cut between downtown Austin and the Govalle district, being the only major highways to serve the Austin Convention Center and the Texas State Capitol. Just prior to bordering the east side of the main University of Texas at Austin campus, I-35 and US 290 split into two decks for about 2 miles (3.2 km), resurfacing close to the former Mueller Airport. US 290 then splits due east from I-35 exit 238B southeast of the former Highland Mall as a four-lane freeway. Not long after, US 290 has an interchange with US 183 and promptly becomes a tolled freeway designated as the Manor Expressway. It then travels through much of industrial Austin before reverting to a four-lane divided highway after an interchange with SH 130, less than a mile shy of Manor. US 290 then makes its way through rolling meadows dotted with suburban areas in northeast Travis County, then travels through downtown Elgin where it forms a brief concurrency with SH 95. Passing through the town of McDade, US 290 cuts through piney woods north of the Lost Pines Forest and has an interchange with SH 21 west of Paige. US 290 continues east, running parallel to the Austin and Northwestern Railroad east branch until approaching Giddings, where the highway is designated as Austin Street, intersecting US 77 near the town's center.

 
US 290 approaching its eastern terminus at I-610 in Houston.

US 290 travels southeast to Ledbetter, where it then travels through additional grassland before bounding northeast to Burton. The highway then enters Brenham, where it briefly joins SH 36 to serve Blinn College and bypass the city as a four-lane freeway. After exiting Brenham, US 290 runs parallel to the old Washington County Railroad and goes through Chappell Hill to serve every historic landmark there, then crosses the Brazos River to move through a rural auto-industrial area. SH 6 joins US 290 north of Hempstead, where the two highways become a four-lane freeway notable for its role as a hurricane evacuation route. Running parallel to the Houston and Texas Central Railway from the north, US 290 finally comes right next to it roughly 3 miles (4.8 km) prior to intersecting SH 99. The highway is then designated as Northwest Freeway (legally as the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway[2]) as it travels through the suburb of Cypress, later splitting off SH 6 to the south in the suburb of Jersey Village. Following an interchange with the Sam Houston Tollway, US 290 serves several businesses and neighborhoods in northwest Houston before terminating at an interchange with I-610 exit 13A west of the Lazybrook/Timbergrove district.

HistoryEdit

U.S. 290 originally had an eastern terminus in San Antonio before 1935 when it was re-routed further north and extended eastward. The old highway into San Antonio was redesignated US 87.[1][3]

Prior to the Interstate era, it extended nearly 300 miles (483 km) farther west to an intersection with US 80 (now Interstate 20) before Interstate 10 supplanted it. Much of the old route near Sheffield became SH 290. Other former alignments that are part of the state highway system include the Fort Stockton and Balmorhea business routes of Interstate 10, RM 1312 between Ozona and Sonora, RM 3130 between Sonora and Roosevelt, and RM 1674 between Roosevelt and Junction.[4][5][6][7][8][9]

Prior to construction of the Northwest Freeway, U.S. 290 through Houston followed Hempstead Highway, which runs parallel to the freeway approximately one-half mile to the southwest. The eastern terminus of US 290 was also approximately one mile to the southeast at the intersection of Hempstead Highway, Washington Avenue and Old Katy Road. There is a small directional T interchange at this intersection.

Because of truncations in its length, US 290 no longer intersects with its "parent" route, US 90.

In 2011 two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Culberson and Michael T. McCaul, asked TxDOT to advocate for the relabeling of US 290 as an interstate highway.[10]

AustinEdit

 

290 Toll Road
LocationAustin, Texas
Existed2014–present

In Austin, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Manor Expressway along US 290 from Austin to Manor, opened on May 17, 2014. The Manor Expressway is signed as the 290 Toll Road.[11]

HoustonEdit

Prior to construction of the Northwest Freeway, US 290 through Houston followed Hempstead Highway, which runs parallel to the freeway approximately one-half mile to the southwest. The eastern terminus of US 290 was also approximately one mile to the southeast at the intersection of Hempstead Highway, Washington Avenue and Old Katy Road. There is a small directional T interchange at this intersection.

The interchange with IH 610 and first part of frontage roads opened in 1963. The first freeway section opened in 1975. In 1982, freeway main lanes completed to just inside Beltway 8. In 1990, the stack interchange with Beltway 8 were completed. From 1984 to 2005, the main lanes outside Beltway 8 were completed.[12]

The freeway was constructed to only 3 lanes in each direction, but a major investment study in 2002 requested expansion to 5 lanes in each direction inside Beltway 8 and 4 lanes in each direction from Beltway 8 to the proposed Grand Parkway. It also recommended to build a new tollway along Hempstead Highway.[12]

FutureEdit

Due to heavy congestion on US 290 in Austin's Oak Hill district, CTRMA has plans to upgrade US 290 to a freeway between the east intersection of Circle Drive and the existing end of the current freeway at Old Fredericksburg Road.[13]

In Houston, the Harris County Toll Road Authority is planning to construct toll managed lanes along and adjacent to the US 290 right-of-way, to be called the Hempstead Tollway.[14]

Business routesEdit

US 290 has three business routes.

BrenhamEdit

 

 

Business US Highway 290
LocationBrenham, Texas
Length4.59 mi[15] (7.39 km)

Business U.S. Route 290-F is the original routing of US 290 through the town of Brenham. The route is 4.59 miles (7.39 km) in length. The route was designated as Texas State Highway Loop 318 from US 290 to US 290 on January 18, 1960. On February 28, 1973, The section from then-SH 90 westward became part of SH 105. It was established in 1990 when the mainline of US 290 was rerouted along with SH 36 around the western and southern sides of Brenham.[15] The routing begins to the west of town at an intersection with SH 36. The business route continues east into downtown on Main Street. Before reaching downtown, the route splits into two parallel one-way streets: Main Street carrying westbound traffic and Alamo Street carrying eastbound traffic. It passes through downtown, meeting the business routing of State Highway 36 and the western terminus of SH 105. At this intersection, the business route turns south on Market Street, and continues out of Brenham, rejoining the mainline US 290 near an intersection with FM 577.[16][17]

An earlier route, also designated as Loop 318, was designated on April 23, 1957, as a loop along the old route of US 380 (now SH 6). On July 18, 1957, this became part of FM 880 and a spur connection.

Hempstead–HockleyEdit

 

 

Business US Highway 290
LocationHempsteadHockley, Texas
Length16.991 mi (27.344 km)

Business U.S. Route 290-H is the original routing of US 290 through the towns of Hempstead, Waller, and Hockley.[18] This route was designated between 1995 and 1998 in stages as a limited-access bypass route was constructed to the north of these towns.[19]

CypressEdit

 

 

Business US Highway 290
LocationCypress, Texas
Length1.396 mi (2.247 km)

Business U.S. Route 290-L is the original routing of US 290 through the town of Cypress.[20] The route was designated in 1993 as a limited-access bypass was built to the northeast of the original routing.[21]

Major intersectionsEdit

The entire route is in Texas. All exits are unnumbered.

CountyLocationmikmDestinationsNotes
Kimble0.00.0  I-10 – San Antonio, JunctionWestern terminus; I-10 exit 477
12.119.5    RM 479 to I-10 / FM 2169
13.221.2   RM 385 north to US 377
GillespieHarper16.726.9  RM 783 south – KerrvilleWest end of RM 783 overlap
17.027.4   RM 783 north / FM 2093 east – DossEast end of RM 783 overlap
Fredericksburg38.962.6  US 87 north – MasonWest end of US 87 overlap
39.663.7  RM 965 north (Milam Street) – Enchanted Rock, Cross Mountain
40.064.4  SH 16 south (Adams Street) – KerrvilleWest end of SH 16 overlap
40.164.5  SH 16 north (Llano Street) – LlanoEast end of SH 16 overlap
40.465.0  US 87 south (Washington Street) – San AntonioEast end of US 87 overlap
41.066.0  RM 1631 east (Olive Street) – Cave Creek
45.773.5  RM 1376 south – Boerne
Stonewall53.886.6  RM 1 east
54.988.4  RM 1623 northWest end of RM 1623 overlap
55.188.7  RM 1623 south – Albert, BlancoEast end of RM 1623 overlap
56.691.1  PR 52 north – Lyndon B. Johnson State & National Historic Park
Blanco59.896.2  RM 1 west
61.699.1  RM 1320 north – Sandy
Johnson City70.2113.0  Spur 356 north (Nugent Avenue)
70.7113.8  US 281 north – Marble Falls, BurnetWest end of US 281 overlap
70.8113.9  RM 2766 east – Pedernales Falls State Park
76.2122.6  US 281 south – San AntonioEast end of US 281 overlap
85.4137.4  RM 3232 north – Pedernales Falls State Park
HaysHenly86.8139.7  RM 165 west – Blanco
Dripping Springs95.0152.9  RM 12 – Wimberley, San Marcos
TravisAustin  RM 1826 south – Driftwood
  SH 71 west – Lake Travis, LlanoWest end of SH 71 overlap
Old Fredericksburg RoadInterchange; west end of freeway; no direct westbound exit
Monterey Oaks Boulevard / Industrial Oaks Boulevard
  Loop 1 / Brodie Lane / Southwest Parkway
West Gate BoulevardNo direct westbound exit (signed at Loop 343)
   Loop 343 (Lamar Boulevard) / Loop 360 (Capital of Texas Highway)
Manchaca Road / Pack Saddle Pass / Victory DriveNo direct eastbound exit (signed at Loop 343)
  South First Street / Banister LaneAccess to South Austin Medical Center
  Loop 275 (South Congress Avenue)Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
    I-35 south / SH 71 east – Bastrop, San Antonio, AirportEast end of SH 71 overlap; west end of I-35 overlap; US 290 west follows exit 230
Woodward Street / Ben White BoulevardWestbound exit and eastbound entrance; I-35 exit 231
see I-35
51st Street / Cameron RoadEastbound exit and westbound entrance; I-35 exit 237B
   I-35 north / RM 2222 west (via Spur 69) – WacoEast end of I-35 overlap; US 290 east follows exit 238B
Berkman Drive / Cameron Road
   US 183 – Lampasas, Lockhart, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
  290 Toll Road east / Tuscany Way / Springdale Road – HoustonEast end of freeway; west end of 290 Toll Rd.
  290 Toll Road / Arterial AAccess point
  290 Toll Road / Giles Lane / Johnny Morris RoadAccess point
  290 Toll Road / Harris Branch Parkway / Decker LaneAccess point
    SH 45 Toll / SH 130 Toll / 290 Toll Road – Waco, San AntonioSH 130 exit 437
  FM 734 west (Parmer Lane) / Old Highway 20
Manor  290 Toll Road west – AustinEast end of 290 Toll Rd.
  Loop 212 (West Murray Avenue)
   FM 973 / Loop 212 – Taylor, Manor
  FM 1100 east – Kimbro
BastropElgin  SH 95 north – Coupland, TaylorWest end of SH 95 overlap
   Loop 109 north to FM 1704 – Historical District
  SH 95 south – BastropEast end of SH 95 overlap
  FM 696 east – Lexington
McDade  Loop 223 (Waco Street) – McDade
   Loop 223 south (Columbus Street) / FM 2336 – McDade, Swiftex
  SH 21 – Bryan, BastropInterchange
Paige  Spur 186 (Gonzales Street)
  FM 2104 south – Serbin, Smithville
LeeGiddings  US 77
  FM 141 north (Orange Street) – Dime Box
  FM 180 north – Nails Creek State Park
FayetteLedbetter  FM 1291 south – Fayetteville
Carmine  Spur 458 south – Round Top
Washington  SH 237 south – Roundtop, La GrangeInterchange
  FM 2502 south – Greenvine
Burton  FM 390 east – Burton
  Spur 125 west – Burton, Cotton Gin Museum
  FM 1948 north
  FM 2679 north – Zionsville
Brenham    
   Bus. US 290 east / SH 36 north – Brenham, Somerville
interchange; west end of SH 36 overlap; west end of freeway
Old Mill Creek Road
  FM 389 – Blinn College, Industrial Park
Lubbock Street / Industrial BoulevardWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
  
   SH 36 south / Bus. SH 36 north – Bellville
East end of SH 36 overlap
    
   Bus. US 290 west / FM 577
Interchange; east end of freeway
  FM 2447 east
  FM 1371 south
  FM 1155 – Washington
  FM 1371 south
Waller  FM 1736 east
Hempstead  SH 6 north (US 290 Bus. east) – College Station, Bryan, HempsteadInterchange; west end of SH 6 overlap; west end of freeway
  FM 1488 – Hempstead, Magnolia
  FM 359 – BrookshireNo direct eastbound exit (signed at FM 1488)
Prairie ViewLiendo Parkway
  FM 1098 – Prairie View
James Muse Parkway
  FM 362
HarrisWallerField Store Road
  FM 2920 – Waller, Tomball, Klein, Spring
Binford Road
HockleyKickapoo Road
Kermier Road
Hegar Road
Badtke Road
Roberts Road / Katy Hockley Road
Becker Road
Bauer Road
  SH 99 Toll (Grand Parkway)Interchange
CypressFairfield Place DriveWestbound access only
Mason RoadWestbound entrance is via the Fairfield Place entrance
Mueschke Road
Cypress-Rosehill Road / Fry Road / Spring-Cypress Road
Skinner RoadNo direct westbound exit (signed at Barker-Cypress Road)
Barker-Cypress Road
Telge Road
  Hempstead Road / Huffmeister RoadWest end of reversible HOV/toll lane; access to North Cypress Medical Center; Hempstead Road not signed westbound
Jersey Village    SH 6 south / FM 1960 eastEast end of SH 6 overlap, access to Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center
Eldridge Road / West RoadNo eastbound exit (closed until November 2020)
290 Express Lane
NW Station Park & Ride
Jones Road
  FM 529 / Senate Avenue
  Sam Houston TollwayInterchange
Houston  Beltway 8 (Frontage Road) / West Little York Road / North Gessner RoadNo eastbound entrance (closed until September 2019)
West Little York Park & RideInterchange for 290 Express Lane
Fairbanks-North Houston Road
West Tidwell Road / Hollister RoadNo westbound entrance (closed until September 2019)
Pinemont Drive / Bingle Road / West 43rd StreetSeparate exits for West 43rd & Bingle/Pinemont westbound, opened in October 2017.
Antoine Drive / West 34th Street
  I-10 (US 90) – San Antonio, DowntownI-10 exit 763; I-610 exit 11; eastbound exit only.
Mangum Road / Dacoma StreetNo eastbound entrance
  I-10 east / Hempstead Road / Katy Road – NW Transit Center, DowntownEastbound exit for 290 Express Lane; east end of HOV/toll lanes at I-10, exit 763.
  I-610Eastern terminus; I-610 exit 13A; redesigned tri-stack interchange.
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "U.S. Highway No. 290". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  2. ^ "Bill: HB 540 Legislative Session: 79(R)." Texas Legislature. Retrieved on February 12, 2009.
  3. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "U.S. Highway No. 87". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  4. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "State Highway No. 290". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  5. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Business Interstate Highway No. 10-F". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  6. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Business Interstate Highway No. 10-G". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  7. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Ranch to Market Road No. 1312". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  8. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Ranch to Market Road No. 3130". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  9. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Ranch to Market Road No. 1674". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  10. ^ Foster, Robin (September 20, 2011). "Officials favoring upgrade by TXDOT". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 1, 2011.
  11. ^ "290 East Manor Expressway Toll Road". CTRMA. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  12. ^ a b Houston Freeways
  13. ^ "About the Oak Hill Parkway - Oak Hill Parkway". CTRMA. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  14. ^ "Hempstead/US 290 Managed Lanes". HCTRA. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  15. ^ a b Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Business U.S. Highway No. 290-F". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  16. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (2014). Texas County Mapbook (PDF) (Map) (2014 ed.). 1:120,000. Texas Department of Transportation. p. 452. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  17. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (2014). Texas County Mapbook (PDF) (Map) (2014 ed.). 1:120,000. Texas Department of Transportation. p. 453. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  18. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (2014). Texas County Mapbook (PDF) (Map) (2014 ed.). 1:120,000. Texas Department of Transportation. p. 475. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  19. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Business U.S. Highway No. 290-H". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  20. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (2014). Texas County Mapbook (PDF) (Map) (2014 ed.). 1:120,000. Texas Department of Transportation. p. 496. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  21. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Business U.S. Highway No. 290-L". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 10, 2013.

External linksEdit