This past November 16th, the State of Texas inaugurated one of the greatest infrastructures built in the Lone Star State.
We are talking about the expansion and improvement of the Speed Highway 288. A structural highway that runs 61 miles through the southeast of the state of Texas, from Huston to Freeport.
SH-288 is of vital importance for this continuously developing region.
It not only serves as a communication route for commuters and transport of merchandise, but also as an evacuation route in case of hurricanes. Also, it will improve access to Texas Medical Center.
Although the original design dates back to 1939, the route has been modified several times because of the population growth in the Counties of Brazoria and Harris.
Even so, the increase in traffic during the past years made the project to expand and improve this infrastructure a necessity.
After these improvements, SH-288 connects the cities of Houston, Pearland, Fresno, Manvel, Bonney, Chenango, Angleton, Richwood, Lake Jackson, Clute and Freeport.
The design of this expansion and improvement project includes three interesting aspects we wish to highlight: a new section of the highway, the integration of a toll road within the infrastructure itself, and the improvement of interchanges and connectors.
One of the main attractions of the Project is the construction of a toll road to lighten the road congestion.
The design took advantage of the space used by the median of the initial project to introduce four toll lanes (two in each direction).
The total extension of the project is 15 miles, with an additional future expansion of 9 miles. Its magnitude is such that it is now popular by the name of the Brazoria County Highway.
But perhaps the greatest complexity of the project is the improvement of the interchanges and connections with the US highway network. We want to highlight three interchanges because of their magnitude and complexity.
One of the interchanges that has been greatly improved is the one for the Texas Medical Center, a large hospital complex of the city. The project includes two direct connectors from the toll road to the complex, which saves valuable time for the users.
Other interchange that has been greatly improved is the one at SH-288 with Interstate 610, known as The Loop. This highway consisting of 38 miles serves as a central road for the city and outlines the boundaries of the suburbs of the city.
The demolition and reconstruction of the existing bridges and infrastructures and also the
construction of 8 new connecting ramps were necessary to achieve this.
The last interchange we want to highlight is the connection between SH-288 and the Texas Highway Beltway 8. This 88 miles beltway road around the city of Houston is one of the main arterial roads of the city.
8 new connectors have been built to connect these two infrastructures, which add up to almost 5,5 miles of bridges and roads.
Along their 9 miles, these three connectors are a great improvement to the accesses of the south of the city of Houston.
These improvements were crucial to reduce traffic stress in the main city of State of Texas.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) entrusted the design and development of this project to Blueridge Transportation Group (BTG).
It is a joint venture that groups together both local and international companies, among which is the Spanish ACS.
The construction work of the project counts with a lead contract, the Almeda-Genoa Constructors group. This group is led by Dragados USA, along with Pulice Construction and Shikun & Binui Concessions.
Alava International participated in this project from the first stage of the job by collaborating with the lead contractor to develop surveying services.
SH-288 is Alava International’s first project in the United States, opening the door to many other projects.
In addition, it is also the first collaboration in America of Alava International with two of the largest construction companies in the world: ACS and Dragados.
Construction and remodeling works began in August 2016 with an expected duration of three years.
In order to meet these deadlines, the road was divided into six segments, and the work was done simultaneously.
Alava International’s surveying services were rendered during the first stage of the project until the validation work.
Due to the complexity of the design, especially at the connections’ nodes, the surveying services became increasingly necessary for the project, to the point that four labor teams were created throughout the road.
Finally, and in compliance with the plans, the job was completed on time, and on November 16, 2020, the entire section of the toll road was inaugurated.
A PROJECT DESIGNED FOR THE FUTURE
Consequently, we can say that SH-288 is an example of infrastructure innovation thanks to the integration of the toll road to the conventional infrastructure.
And it is not just that, its new layout and improved interchanges make it a very valuable element for structuring of the territory of the state of Texas.
This is not all regarding SH-288. The project’s design anticipates future expansions if these improvements are not enough to address the needs of a developing region.
Specifically, a future expansion of two new side lanes is planned for all sections of the conventional highway.