Archive for the ‘Viewer Mail’ Category

Viewer Email: 290 HOV Lane Violation
November 3, 2011

Q:  Jennifer,

I wonder if there are any plans to install a physical barrier (maybe something like the tall, flexible plastic rods used on the Sam Houston Tollway) between the new HOV lanes in the vicinity of Huffmeister and 1960?

I’ve had several vehicles jump from the stopped main lanes into the HOV lane since the new lanes opened and as a result I normally go 40-45mph in the HOV land through that section to give myself more time to react in case someone pulls into the HOV lane unexpectedly.


Buzz S.

A:  Hi Buzz,

I asked Metro and here’s their response:

We understand the safety concerns raised as they are a top priority for our team. In response, last month we dedicated a few MetroPD officers to this particular stretch of 290 and have seen a significant drop in drivers violating the double white line. Also, in the next couple of weeks, TxDOT will finish installing white metal traffic bumps as a reminder to motorists to stay in their lane and not violate the HOV diamond lane. -METRO

Viewer Email: 290 HOV
October 28, 2011

Q: Do you know of any reason why the 290 HOV lanes are the only ones that have a three person rule? Just curious…

Jenny D.

A: The occupancy requirement for the 290 diamond lanes is 2+ at all times (this is the non-barrier separated portion). The barrier separated HOV lane is 2+ most of the time, except during morning rush hours (6:45 a.m. – 8a.m.).  The 3+ requirement for the barrier separated HOV has been in place since 1999 due to the level of traffic on this corridor. We continue to monitor the volume of traffic but please note that per the Federal Transit Administration, we are required to maintain traffic flow at 45 mph or higher. – METRO

Viewer Email: North Belt and Hardy Tollway
September 30, 2011

Intersection Under Construction

Q: Construction at the Beltway 8/Hardy Road intersection appears to be at a standstill leaving the area in unsafe and unsightly state. It has been this way for months. The situation is creating a traffic problem resulting in accidents and delays. Is there some explanation for why the project has been abandoned? Are they just going to leave it in a mess indefinitely? There is no doubt something being mishandled. It appears our hard earned tax money is being wasted. 

Gary J.


Hi Gary,

Great question. It is my understanding that the project was going as planned. All of a sudden, the company contracted to do the job-defaulted! They simply went out of business. TxDOT, then had to restart the bidding process over. It’s like starting from day one, but with lanes blocked and commuters wondering why no progress is being made.

TxDOT says: “We are aware of the traffic issue and are working as fast as possible to move the construction forward. It may still be a few months before you see any activity at that location.”

Sorry about your traffic troubles, but stick to an alternate route. 🙂


Toll Fees on the Rise?
August 29, 2011

Q: Hey Jen,

Question? Is there something in the near future planning of raising the Toll way prices….? I heard that would be happening come Jan 2012….. Mr. Shorten

A: Uh-oh…this viewer heard correctly. Here’s what the Harris County Toll Road Authority said: 

The next scheduled toll increase will not occur until the first quarter of 2012. The exact date has not been established. – HCTRA

Viewer Mail: 45 North at Beltway 8
August 22, 2011

Q: Jennifer,

Could you ask whoever has responsibility for painting the lines on the roads to check out the ramp from I-45 North to Sam Houston Tollway North Loop East and the ramp from I-45 South to Sam Houston Tollway North Loop East.  These ramps merge and the lines are no longer visible for the drivers and therefore is un-safe.

Rey Velasquez

A: Rey,

Your email was forwarded to my office. This area is one we are familiar with. We have an ongoing construction project to add one lane on the Sam Houston Tollway east of IH 45 in each direction to eliminate a bottleneck.

The work will be done in the coming month , and we will restripe this section of highway.

I am providing this to our Area Engineer in charge of construction and we will review the location to determine if temporary restriping would be beneficial. Thanks for taking the time to report this location.

Stuart Corder
Director of Transportation Operations

Viewer Mail: Grand Pkwy/Westpark
August 17, 2011

Q: Ms. Reyna,

 During busy times of the day it can take upwards of 10 minutes just  to get through the intersection of Grand Parkway and 1093 (southbound on  Grand).

 I have heard there are plans to expand the Grand Parkway from the  I-10 area to 290. I would like to know when the mainlanes of the Grand Parkway over  1093 will be completed to reduce the traffic at the feeder intersections. Can you help find this out from TxDOT?  – Todd

A: The Fort Bend Grand Parkway Authority has started constructing the overpasses on the Grand Parkway between US-59 and through and over Westpark and FM-1093.   The first two projects, Riverpark and West Airport, began construction this week.  The remaining projects are still in design.  We expect to begin construction on all of them by late spring of 2012 with completion in 2013.

Specifically we expect design to be complete in May 2012 for the overpass over Westpark and FM-1093, construction would begin 45 days are so after design is complete.

The FBGPTRA will have a website up in the next month or so detailing the overall program and project specifics.  On that website we expect to show the map of the projects and the schedule.  – Michael Stone ; Professsional Project Management Services

Viewer Email: US 59@Grand Pkwy
May 19, 2011

Q:  Hi Jennifer,

I had a question about why txdot is closing one lane going northbound on 59 near the Grand Parkway. I also noticed they were also closing some alternate lanes last night causing some minor backups.


A: They are working to improve freeway drainage. They are installing trench drains to intercept more water than what has been out there. This is to better prevent hydroplaning. The same thing will be done on US 59 NB from Sweetwater to SH 6. I hope this helps!

Viewer Email:South Side Intersection
April 21, 2011

Blank Speed Limit Sign??
April 19, 2011

VIEWER EMAIL: Good Morning Jennifer, I wanted to send this photo of a speed limit sign that one of my coworkers pass daily. We were trying to find out if you have any idea what this means and just how fast can I drive before I get a ticket?  Thanks, Thomas B.

North Loop around Ella

Location: IH 610 (North Loop) frontage roads between IH 45 and Ella
On our major reconstruction projects, we install blank signs near the end of the job when the roadway is opened to traffic and then do speed studies to determine the new speed limit.  In this case, we did not add lanes or change the highway so the signs will be posted with the same limit ( I believe 45 mph through most of the project) using stickers.
On the major projects we commonly have a couple of weeks transition time regarding the speed limits. We are getting close to completion on this project.
The sign photographed appears to have a bandit bumper sticker placed on it.    -TxDOT

Viewer Mail: Museum District Parking
April 18, 2011

Viewer Email:North Eldridge Construction
March 4, 2011

Can you tell me WHO IS DOING OR NOT DOING THE PAVING, on North Eldridge at Emmett Road?
Somebody is going to have a wreck with all the uneven paving at this intersection.
Please help, your biggest fan!!

A: Planned improvements on North Eldridge Parkway, between West Little York and FM 529, include installation of a continuous turn lane, appropriate drainage conveyance system, incorporation of dual northbound/southbound left turn lanes on North Eldridge Parkway at FM 529, traffic signal and fiber optic interconnect modifications.

The $2,525,703 project and construction activity commenced September 20, 2010.  Construction activity is scheduled for completion by May 17, 2011.

Viewer Email: NE Beltway
January 25, 2011

A: 3 Lanes in each direction will become a toll road for EZ Tag riders only. The feeders will remain free. Please see other blog posting entitled NORTHEAST PART OF BELTWAY for more details. Thanks! -Jen


Woodlands Ramp: Viewer Email
October 28, 2010

A: IH 45 south of SH 242 and north of Research Forest is under construction for ramp reversal. On the southbound side we just closed the entrance ramp that was near St Luke’s Way and moved it to the south. The new southbound entrance ramp to IH 45, just north of Research Forest, was recently opened for traffic. Due to the short weaving distance between the southbound exit ramp and entrance ramps, the location of the permanent entrance ramp being in close proximity to the exit ramp and to the side street, and safety concerns, we decided to close the new entrance ramp just north of Research Forest.  

We are working to add temporary entrance ramp just south of SH 242. The contractor is trying to complete this temporary ramp by Thursday morning which should remedy the delays.    

NOTE: Ramp is open as of this Thursday morning as TxDOT indicated.

North Side Jam: Viewer Mail
October 20, 2010

A: This was an emergency closure to repair the roadway pavement (a series of potholes) over multiple lanes.  It was a safety issue and safety is our utmost priority, otherwise it would have waited until after peak travel times.  We could not risk having traffic driving on the pavement. – TxDOT

Damage Done: Viewer Mail
October 6, 2010

A: Yes, the trucking company does pay for damages caused to our highway system (roadway, guardrail, labor associated with repairs, etc). – TxDOT