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They put up signs with Toll information. I’ll try to get photos next time I’m not driving 

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I noticed what look like straddle bents going over the 610 WB feeder just before Almeda. I guess that's for the direct connector from the interchange to Almeda Rd.?

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This shows the new SH 288 northbound main lanes nearing completion. The southbound main lanes were shifted to the new alignment a few weeks ago. Photo taken today.

20200502_029-1600.jpg

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On 3/16/2020 at 1:37 AM, JLWM8609 said:

I noticed what look like straddle bents going over the 610 WB feeder just before Almeda. I guess that's for the direct connector from the interchange to Almeda Rd.?

I would say the connection is not "from the interchange" but rather is from the westbound 610 main lanes. The exit will have a flyover to go over the connections from SH 288. This project will extend the 610 bridge over Almeda to also go over Cambridge. I drove through the area today and all traffic is on the south side of the existing pavement to allow work to start on the new westbound bridge over Cambridge.

 

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20200502-cambridge.png

 

20200502_024-1600.jpg

 

 

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On 5/2/2020 at 5:39 PM, MaxConcrete said:

I would say the connection is not "from the interchange" but rather is from the westbound 610 main lanes. The exit will have a flyover to go over the connections from SH 288. This project will extend the 610 bridge over Almeda to also go over Cambridge. I drove through the area today and all traffic is on the south side of the existing pavement to allow work to start on the new westbound bridge over Cambridge.

 

20200502-alemda-ramp.png

 

20200502-cambridge.png

 

20200502_024-1600.jpg

 

 

Is this part of the 288 project or a separate project?

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1 hour ago, JLWM8609 said:

Is this part of the 288 project or a separate project?

It's a separate project from the 288 toll lanes and adjacent interchange. The $117 million contract was awarded to Williams Brothers in September 2018 (not 2019). I was wondering if the contract actually proceeded since nothing happened for over a year. Now I'm thinking it was delayed to allow the interchange work to be completed, and/or to avoid interference between contractors.

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/bidtab/09063002.htm

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17 hours ago, MaxConcrete said:

It's a separate project from the 288 toll lanes and adjacent interchange. The $117 million contract was awarded to Williams Brothers in September 2018 (not 2019). I was wondering if the contract actually proceeded since nothing happened for over a year. Now I'm thinking it was delayed to allow the interchange work to be completed, and/or to avoid interference between contractors.

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/bidtab/09063002.htm

I can't tell from the schematic, but are they extending the current Almeda overpass structure, or constructing an all new overpass structure over Almeda and Cambridge?

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Didn't get any pics, but they switched the 288 NB traffic to the new NB lanes today. It'll be a while before people get used to the 610 exit being in the left lane. People were backed up at Yellowstone trying to make a u-turn back to 288 SB to 610.

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On 5/4/2020 at 3:02 PM, JLWM8609 said:

I can't tell from the schematic, but are they extending the current Almeda overpass structure, or constructing an all new overpass structure over Almeda and Cambridge?

I got my own answer today. I saw them demolishing the WB overpass.

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Awesome progress on this ramp.  Looks like a freeway exit ramp onto Holcombe Blvd? Forget the name of that building, it's some type of 288 maintenance control room.

 

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South Loop near Almeda. Demolition has been going on for weeks.  Always wanted to drive by and get pictures.

 

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I know the construction has been a mess with the different stages they're doing things in, but I honestly think that after its all finished that this could end up being the best designed highway in Houston. I really like how the entrance, exit ramps for the interchanges come up on the left side, in between the free lanes and the toll lanes so they can both merge together up onto the ramp instead of ending up with a mess like the Katy Tollway where you exit off the toll lanes and then have to cross over a half dozen lanes of traffic to get to the exit on the far right. Sure it'll take a while for some people to get used to the exits being on the left of the main lanes, but its a much smarter transition to get both the toll lanes and the main lanes onto the interchanges for the Beltway, 610, etc.

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1 hour ago, cspwal said:

Why does that bulldozer look sad?

Because it wishes it was a Cat and not a Deere.

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You would have thought the pandemic would have allowed them to speed up the construction, but instead its sorta just continued. The Southmore bridge is way passed the promise date, and its just sorta been sitting at the same point for a while. They have finalized entrance and exit ramps during this time, and part of the south 288 in and around pearland, so I wonder if they are rushing to get that done, and then working their way up, which seems like an OK strategy. 

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Apparently the workers have been getting sick

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Texas-288-tollway-opening-pushed-to-end-of-year-15450155.php

Quote

 Since March, dozens of workers have tested positive for the coronavirus or quarantined as a precaution.

“If one person is sick or has a fever, it affects that entire crew,” Edwards said.

 

At peak in late June, Edwards said 74 workers were sick, representing 10 percent of the workforce.

 

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All I see when I drive by construction sites is guys holding up shovels. Well, someone invented a shovel that stands up by itself, so that many guys aren't needed anymore  :)

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6 hours ago, X.R. said:

You would have thought the pandemic would have allowed them to speed up the construction, but instead its sorta just continued. The Southmore bridge is way passed the promise date, and its just sorta been sitting at the same point for a while. They have finalized entrance and exit ramps during this time, and part of the south 288 in and around pearland, so I wonder if they are rushing to get that done, and then working their way up, which seems like an OK strategy. 

 

The Southmore bridge was torn down at least a few months before I moved away from that area in July 2018... I hadn't been over there in a while, so when I was driving down 288 the other day I was shocked to see it still wasn't finished. I think I remember them saying it would be closed for about one year, and now it's been well over two.

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According to that Chronicle article, it should open "soon" but there's a separate pedestrian bridge that won't be open - so if you want to walk across the freeway tough luck

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Quote

When work wraps up in a few months and motorists make their way onto the lanes, they will do so under far different conditions than when the project was conceived. Freeway traffic remains about 10 percent below typical volumes — significant enough along Texas 288 that the northbound morning commute just inside the Sam Houston Tollway has been virtually delay-free. Even if congestion increases slightly, traffic could move smoothly enough to keep drivers in the free lanes.

 

Edwards said the private firms behind the tollway, part of a $2.1 billion, 52-year deal with the state, still are assessing the effect any changes in demand will have on the revenues raised by the project in the early years.
Conceding past estimates were too ambitious, builders of the tollway in the center of Texas 288 from Interstate 69 to Brazoria County say the pay lanes will open by the end of the year, as some minor work continues into 2021

 

While they say its because people are getting sick, and I don't doubt they are and that is terrible (and raises a separate discussion if construction should have been allowed during COVID), the real reason is probably the above: that they "overestimated" demand and because of COVID/stay at home work/layoffs the economics of the project is thrown into whack. So now they might want to slow play it and potentially dial back some because the estimated tolls is lower.

 

I think the damning thing is that "even if congestion increases slightly," because of all the work they've done on the free lanes, traffic will be smooth and they'll have a tollway that is used at a lower rate than their estimation, probably much lower. What a great article, some good insight into how traffic is affecting tollways. 

Edited by X.R.

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42 minutes ago, X.R. said:

 

While they say its because people are getting sick, and I don't doubt they are and that is terrible (and raises a separate discussion if construction should have been allowed during COVID), the real reason is probably the above: that they "overestimated" demand and because of COVID/stay at home work/layoffs the economics of the project is thrown into whack. So now they might want to slow play it and potentially dial back some because the estimated tolls is lower.

 

I think the damning thing is that "even if congestion increases slightly," because of all the work they've done on the free lanes, traffic will be smooth and they'll have a tollway that is used at a lower rate than their estimation, probably much lower. What a great article, some good insight into how traffic is affecting tollways. 

 

Unlikely they are dialing back the construction schedule because tolls might be less than expected.  In addition to the possible daily delay penalties imposed by the contract, they don't start collecting tolls until the project is done.  They have already committed/borrowed the money to build it.  Their payoff is collecting tolls. No doubt, they are more eager than anyone to get the thing completed and operating.

Edited by Houston19514
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