U.S. Route 290
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 southeast of Segovia, and its eastern terminus is at Interstate 610 in northwest Houston. 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
US 290 highlighted in red
|Maintained by TxDOT|
|Length||261.187 mi (420.340 km)|
|Counties||Kimble, Gillespie, Blanco, Hays, Travis, Bastrop, Lee, Fayette, Washington, Waller, Harris|
US 290 originally traveled from US 80 in Scroggins Draw to terminate in San Antonio; though the highway still retains its designation from southeast of Segovia to Fredericksburg, I-10 and US 87 replaced much of the old routing. US 290 also received several minor re-routings east of Austin that moved it further north, eliminating the old SH 20; the old routings were replaced by SH 71 and SH 21. Because of the aforementioned truncations in its length, US 290 no longer intersects with its "parent" route, US 90, apart from two ramps at the highway's current eastern terminus in Houston.
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 with 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.
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 East Cesar Chavez 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 East Austin and Daffan 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 southern 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 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) 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.
Texas State Highway 20 and Texas State Highway 20A (1917-1951)
On June 21, 1917, the department's Office of State Highway Engineer issued a proposal for the state highway system. The proposal included SH 20 originally planned as the Austin-Houston Highway between Austin and Houston by way of Bastrop, Giddings, Brenham, and Hempstead. On July 17, 1917, the planned route was extended from Austin to Brady by way of Burnet, Llano, and Mason. On December 17, 1918, SH 20 was rerouted away from Bastrop, with the section from Austin to Bastrop transferred to SH 3A. The section of SH 20 from Hempstead to Houston was cancelled as it was already part of the Gulf Division Branch of SH 2.
On November 19, 1917, an intercounty highway from Austin through Johnson City to Fredericksburg was designated.On January 20, 1919, this was changed to an auxiliary route of Highway 20, Highway 20A. The highway routes remained unchanged in a 1922 proposal that rated both routes as "second class" under a three-tier system.
On August 21, 1923, SH 20 in the new highway system was routed over the previously proposed Highway 20A from Fredericksburg to Austin and then over the proposed Highway 20 to Hempstead as a second class highway. The old route to Leander was cancelled, and northwest of there became part of SH 43 when it was extended southwest. In 1924, the state highway department assumed responsibility to maintain all state highways which were previously maintained by the counties. The following year, state lawmakers vest the department with the authority to acquire right of way, survey, plan, and build highways. On August 10, 1925, SH 20 was given a third class extension to Kerrville. On February 20, 1928, SH 20 was given an auxiliary route SH 20A from Fredericksburg to a point on the highway between Kerrville and Junction. All of the highway from Fredericksburg to Hempstead was classified as a "secondary federal highway". The portion between Fredericksburg and Kerrville along with the new auxiliary route were classified as "state highways" eligible for state aid only.
On March 19, 1930, the SH 20 designation was dropped over the Fredericksburg to Kerrville highway (replaced by an extended SH 81) and extended instead over the auxiliary route SH 20A. In 1933 the road was described between Fredericksburg and Hempstead as paved except for the portion in Hays County around Dripping Springs and a short portion west of Elgin that were described as surfaced. The portion west of Fredericksburg toward Junction was graded earth. In 1935, US 290 was routed over SH 20 except for the portion between Austin and Paige where US 290 was routed further south through Bastrop. By 1936, the formerly surfaced portion west of Elgin had been paved, but the Hays County portion remained merely surfaced. West of Fredericksburg, the Gillespie County portion had been surfaced while the Kimble County portion remained as an improved earth road. On September 26, 1939, the SH 20 designation was dropped along all portions of the route running along US 290 as a result of that day's general redescription of the state highway system, leaving SH 20 as a greatly shortened route running from Austin to US 290 near Paige. On May 23, 1951, US 290 was relocated away from Bastrop northward along SH 20 which was then decommissioned.
Other original routings
In its original designation in the late 1920s, US 290 traveled from an intersection with US 80 northwest of Scroggins Draw to an eastern terminus in San Antonio. On March 1, 1935, US 290 was re-routed further north to terminate in Houston, and the previous alignment from Fredericksburg to San Antonio was redesignated as US 87. Following the 1935 re-routing, US 290 traveled through much of its present-day routing, with the exception of a designation traveling through Austin and Bastrop before following the Old San Antonio Road to Paige. On May 23, 1951, US 290 was rerouted further north to Elgin, while the original routing was transferred to SH 71 from Austin to Bastrop, and SH 21 from Bastrop to Paige.
Through Austin, US 290 originally followed Lamar Boulevard and Cesar Chavez Street to I-35 (then US 81). On May 30, 1951, US 290 and SH 71 were both rerouted onto their present-day designations on Ben White Boulevard, and the old designations were transferred to Loop 343.
On November 21, 1991, the US 290 designation was deleted between Scroggins Draw and its current western terminus southeast of Segovia due to being supplanted by I-10. 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.
Freeway upgrades in later years
290 Toll Road
In Austin, US 290 initially received two different freeway upgrades; the first took place circa the 1970s from the north interchange with I-35 near Highland Mall to US 183 east of the Coronado Hills district, while the second took place in the late 1990s and early 2000s from the Williamson Creek crossing in the Oak Hill district to the south interchange with I-35 near St. Edward's University. In 2012, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority began constructing a third freeway upgrade from the existing interchange with US 183 to the crossing at Gilleland Creek west of Manor; this designation, known as the Manor Expressway, was completed on May 17, 2014.
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.
The interchange with I-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.
The freeway was constructed to only three lanes in each direction, but a major investment study in 2002 requested expansion to five lanes in each direction inside Beltway 8 and four lanes in each direction from Beltway 8 to the then-proposed SH 99.
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.
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.
The entire route is in Texas. All exits are unnumbered.
|Kimble||||0.000||0.000||Western terminus; I-10 exit 477|
|Gillespie||Harper||17.692||28.473||West end of RM 783 overlap|
|18.047||29.044||East end of RM 783 overlap|
|West end of US 87 overlap; route follows US 87's mileage|
|587.356||945.258||West end of SH 16 overlap|
|587.488||945.470||East end of SH 16 overlap|
|East end of US 87 overlap|
|55.903||89.967||West end of RM 1623 overlap|
|56.144||90.355||East end of RM 1623 overlap|
|West end of US 281 overlap; route follows US 281's mileage|
|East end of US 281 overlap|
|109.393||176.051||West end of SH 71 overlap|
|Old Fredericksburg Road||Interchange; west end of freeway; no direct westbound exit|
|Monterey Oaks Boulevard / Industrial Oaks Boulevard|
|West Gate Boulevard||No direct westbound exit (signed at Loop 343)|
|Manchaca Road / Pack Saddle Pass / Victory Drive||No direct eastbound exit (signed at Loop 343)|
|Access to South Austin Medical Center|
|Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|East end of SH 71 overlap; west end of I-35 overlap; US 290 west follows exit 230|
|East end of I-35 overlap; US 290 east follows exit 238B|
|Berkman Drive / Cameron Road||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; no westbound entrance for Cameron Road or Berkman Drive; eastbound exit for Berkman Drive only|
|East end of freeway; west end of 290 Toll Rd.|
|SH 130 exit 437|
|Manor||133.411||214.704||East end of 290 Toll Rd.|
|West end of SH 95 overlap|
|East end of SH 95 overlap|
|interchange; west end of SH 36 overlap; west end of freeway|
|208.717||335.897||Old Mill Creek Road|
|210.021||337.996||Lubbock Street / Industrial Boulevard||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|East end of SH 36 overlap|
|Interchange; east end of freeway|
|Interchange; west end of SH 6 overlap; west end of freeway|
|||232.754||374.581||No direct eastbound exit (signed at FM 1488)|
|James Muse Parkway|
|Field Store Road|
|Roberts Road / Katy Hockley Road|
|Fairfield Place Drive||Westbound access only; no eastbound exit or entrance|
|Mason Road||Westbound entrance is via the Fairfield Place entrance|
|Cypress-Rosehill Road / Fry Road / Spring-Cypress Road|
|Skinner Road||No direct westbound exit (signed at Barker-Cypress Road)|
|Telge Road||No westbound entrance|
|West end of reversible HOV/toll lane; access to North Cypress Medical Center; Hempstead Road not signed westbound|
|East end of SH 6 overlap, access to Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center|
|Eldridge Road / West Road|
|206.403||332.173||290 Express Lane|
|263.120||423.451||NW Station Park & Ride|
|Beltway 8 signed on eastbound exit only; westbound exit does not provide access to Beltway 8|
|West Little York Road / North Gessner Road||No eastbound entrance or westbound exit|
|Houston||268.435||432.004||No eastbound exit or westbound entrance, (closed until September 2019)|
|266.408||428.742||West Little York Park & Ride||Interchange for 290 Express Lane|
|Fairbanks-North Houston Road||No westbound entrance (closed until October 2019)|
|West Tidwell Road / Hollister Road|
|Pinemont Drive / Bingle Road / West 43rd Street||Separate exits for West 43rd & Bingle/Pinemont westbound, opened in October 2017.|
|Antoine Drive / West 34th Street|
|273.404||440.001||I-10 exit 763; I-610 exit 11; eastbound exit only.|
|Mangum Road / Dacoma Street||No eastbound entrance|
|N/A||Eastbound exit for 290 Express Lane; east end of HOV/toll lanes at I-10, exit 763.|
|274.372||441.559||Eastern terminus; I-610 exit 13A; redesigned tri-stack interchange.|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
US 290 has three business routes.
Business US Highway 290-F
|Length||4.590 mi (7.387 km)|
Business U.S. Highway 290-F (Bus. US 290) 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 throughout its entire length 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. 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.
Business US Highway 290-H
|Length||16.991 mi (27.344 km)|
Business U.S. Highway 290-H (Bus. US 290) is the original routing of US 290 through the towns of Hempstead, Waller, and Hockley. This route was designated between 1995 and 1998 in stages as a limited-access bypass route was constructed to the north of these towns. It begins at the interchange with US 290 and SH 6 and travels south into Hempstead along 10th Street. At an intersection with SH 159, the business route turns east onto Austin Street and subsequently runs parallel to the adjacent railroad after leaving Hempstead city limits. It intersects several amenities in Prairie View before serving downtown Waller while designated as Hempstead Road. After passing through several industrial facilities and serving downtown Hockley, the business route becomes US 290's southbound frontage road just prior to the interchange with Badtke Road.
Business US Highway 290-L
|Length||1.396 mi (2.247 km)|
Business U.S. Highway 290-L (Bus. US 290) is the original routing of US 290 through the town of Cypress. The route was designated in 1993 as a limited-access bypass was built to the northeast of the original routing. At roughly 1.3 miles (2.1 km), it is US 290's shortest designated business route, serving the south side of Cypress's shopping area near the Fry Road and Spring Cypress Road interchanges.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "U.S. Highway No. 290". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- "Bill: HB 540 Legislative Session: 79(R)." Texas Legislature. Retrieved on February 12, 2009.
- "TxDOT Minute Order 003676699" (PDF).
- "TxDOT Minute Order 003676716" (PDF).
- Map Showing Proposed System of State Highways (Map) (June 1917 ed.). ¾"=25 mi. Cartography by John D. Miller. Texas State Highway Department, Office of State Highway Engineer. July 1917. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- "TxDOT Minute Order 003676784" (PDF).
- "TxDOT Minute Order 003676739" (PDF).
- "TxDOT Minute Order 003676785" (PDF).
- Highway Map, State of Texas (Map) (October 1, 1919 ed.). 1"=25 mi. Texas State Highway Department. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- Highway Map of the State of Texas (Map) (December 1, 1922 ed.). 1"=20 mi. Texas State Highway Department. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- "TxDOT History: 1917–1930". Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- "TxDOT Minute Order 003676912" (PDF).
- "TxDOT Minute Order 003676988" (PDF).
- Official Highway Map of Texas (Map) (1928 ed.). 1⅛"=20 mi. Texas State Highway Commission. Revised to March 1, 1929. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2010. Check date values in:
- Official Map of the Highway System of Texas (Map) (June 15, 1933 ed.). ⅞"=30 mi. Cartography by R. M. Stene. Texas State Highway Commission. § M16-N24. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "U.S. Highway No. 290". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- Official Map of the Highway System of Texas (Map) (Centennial ed.). 1"=29 mi. Cartography by R. M. Stene. Texas State Highway Commission. Corrected to March 1, 1936. Retrieved July 21, 2010. Check date values in:
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "State Highway No. 20". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "U.S. Highway No. 87". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "State Highway No. 21". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "State Highway No. 71". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "State Highway Loop No. 343". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "State Highway No. 290". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Business Interstate Highway No. 10-F". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Business Interstate Highway No. 10-G". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Ranch to Market Road No. 1312". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Ranch to Market Road No. 3130". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
- Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Ranch to Market Road No. 1674". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
- "Construction to cause road-closure on I-35". newspaper. Austin Daily Texan. August 1, 2000. p. 6.
- "290 East Manor Expressway Toll Road". CTRMA. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
- Houston Freeways
- Foster, Robin (September 20, 2011). "Officials favoring upgrade by TXDOT". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 1, 2011.
- "About the Oak Hill Parkway - Oak Hill Parkway". CTRMA. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
- "Hempstead/US 290 Managed Lanes". HCTRA. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
- Texas Department of Transportation (2018). "Statewide Planning Map LRS Readout (ArcGIS)". Retrieved October 4, 2019.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.