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25Jan
SH-288: an innovative highway
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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.

Project highlights

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.

Speed Highway 288

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.

Plan of State Highway 288 divided by construction segments | Drive 288
Plan of State Highway 288 divided by construction segments | Drive 288
Design of BW8 Interchange | Drive 288
Design of BW8 Interchange | Drive 288
Design of Texas Medical Center Connectors | Drive 288
Design of Texas Medical Center Connectors | Drive 288

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.

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14Dec
Let’s light this Christmas
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Some weeks ago, we proposed an internal contest, “Draw a Christmas Card “

And today we announce Raúl Ortega’s creativity has been the winner 😊

Raúl Ortega

Here we share some information of his process:

Can you explain to us what you wanted to reflect on this Christmas Greeting?

The creative idea rises from this atypical year that we have all lived.

The company has been able to give the necessary tools to each and every one of us to be able to work remotely from home.

Does it represent a specific moment?

It does! In  my draw we can see a starry night in December (which could be Christmas Eve) in which each family is at home – alone or accompanied, of course, always complying with the law 😉 – and safe.

Some of our clients know our offices in Madrid, but not all of them. Can you explain us what the illuminated buildings are?

In the upper right we see the two headquarters of the companies of “Grupo Álava” in Madrid, both crowned by their logos, simulating stars and with flashes of light.

That lights represents the union of all of us who are part of Grupo Álava, despite the distance and where offices are.

Tell us more about the little details…

In the very meticulous detail of the drawing we can see family scenes through the windows, hanging clothes, parks in the distance, shutters down, lights on, roofs of churches… or remarkable buildings such as the four towers of Madrid. But what I intended to transmit with this drawing is that it could  be from any other city.

What technique have you used?

It’s done in pencil and colored with wood paints. I have also used some cutouts since collage was allowed and I think that this way it also gives it more realism.

Did you do it yourself, or did you have help?

I had the help of my sister, working together during these last days, and it was a really nice experience 😊
From the brainstorming to the final result has been very fun, I send you some images of the process.

Thank you Raúl for participating and telling us about your experience, but specially for your time.

And you… have you made a Christmas card for your loved ones?

Would you like to share it with us?

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