According to allcitycodes, State Route 288, commonly known as State Highway 288 or SH 288 is a state route in the US state of Texas. The road runs from Houston to the coastal city of Freeport in the south. The road is a major approach route in the Houston metropolitan area, where the road has been developed as a freeway, and continues as a 2×2 divided highway to Freeport. The route is 97 kilometers long.
SH 288 south of Houston, at SH 6.
State Highway 288 begins as a freeway just south of downtown Houston, where the highway exits from US 59. SH 288 is called the South Freeway here. The road has 2×4 lanes plus 2×2 express lanes in the middle. One passes first through the somewhat older residential areas and later also through the somewhat newer urban sprawl. After about 6 kilometers you cross the Interstate 610, the ring road of Houston. This node is a 4-level stack node. SH 288 is about the lower level here. After that, 3+2+2+3 lanes are available. Although SH 288 serves several suburbs, the immediate vicinity of the highway is still undeveloped. After a few kilometers you cross the Sam Houston Tollway, Houston’s toll ring road. This node is also a 4-level [[stack]. Further south, the express lanes continue to Croix Road in Houston’s southernmost suburbs. After that, the highway section ends, and SH 288 is a 2×2 lane semi-grade expressway. This leaves the Houston metropolitan area.
After that, the road has more level crossings, while there are emergency lanes present. Here too, there is a nice space reservation in the central reservation to allow the expansion to a wide highway in the future. Important intersections are grade-separated. The first city outside of Houston is Angleton, a regional city with 18,000 inhabitants. The landscape is a mix of meadows and small forests. Lake Jackson is a somewhat larger town with 27,000 inhabitants, where SH 288 is again a freeway. The road ends in the harbor town of Freeport. There are many oil industries here.
The South Freeway is one of the younger highways in the Houston metropolitan area, and although it was approved in 1953, construction was still decades away. As early as the 1960s, it became apparent that the eight-lane highways that were built at that time quickly became full due to the enormous population growth in the region, and were difficult to widen. That is why the South Freeway was designed for a 4-lane parallel system, for local and through traffic. The highway was opened between 1980 and 1984, and only the parallel lanes were built. The main highways have not yet been built, because the population growth in the south of Houston has not been as strong as on the west and north sides of the city. The parallel lanes should not be confused with frontage roads in this case, which do not have a freeway design. What is special is that the South Freeway is the only one in Houston that has been constructed without frontage roads.
Houston – Freeport
In the late 1980s, SH 288 extended as a grade-separated freeway to its junction with the Sam Houston Beltway. At that time connections were under construction a little further south. From the late 1980s or early 1990s, SH 288 opened further south as a divided highway with at-grade intersections south of Pearland. There were occasional grade separations south of Pearland, for example with SH 6. There were also a number of grade separated connections at Angleton, but no frontage roads. The first grade-separated intersections opened at Lake Jackson in the late 1990s, although the remainder of the route from Lake Jackson to Freeport was not opened as grade-separated until about 2012. In 2016, a grade separated junction with County Road 56 opened near Iowa Colony.
|US 59||Southmore Boulevard||1.4 km||20-11-1980|
|I-610||Bellfort Street||1.5 km||20-04-1981|
|Old Spanish Trail||I-610||2.4 km||00-06-1981|
|MacGregor Way||Old Spanish Trail||1.2 km||11-07-1983|
|Southmore Boulevard||MacGregor Way||1.2 km||05-09-1984|
The SH 288 South Freeway, with the space reservation for the express lanes used in 2016-2020.
State Highway 288 was designed from the outset with the idea of later adding additional lanes in the median strip, with a parallel system. This was eventually accomplished through the construction of express lanes, which run from US 59 to the future Grand Parkway south of Houston. A space reservation was already in place for this project. The express lanes are constructed with 2×2 lanes, so that State Highway 288 has 12 lanes. The toll lanes are 25 kilometers long and cost $1.4 billion to construct. The node with Beltway 8 has also been reconstructed into a full stack. This project was carried out as a PPP.
The 17-kilometer section in Harris County was awarded on February 26, 2015 for $800 million. Work began on November 16, 2016. On August 11, 2018, the first two new flyovers opened at the interchange with I-610, replacing the old flyovers. The express lanes were put into use on November 16, 2020. The project was completed a year later than planned. Tolls were by far the highest in the Houston area in 2022.
The section in Brazoria County was also constructed during this period, construction began in June 2017 and was completed in January 2020. This runs from the Harris County border to near SH 6, where it should interface with SH 99 (Grand Parkway). The part in Brazoria County was cheaper and cost $97 million. The use of the ‘Brazoria Express’ was higher than expected in the first year.
Houston – Freeport
Portions of SH 288 are still at ground level south of Houston, there are a number of country roads that connect to SH 288 at level and irregular intersections. This is the case between Pearland and Angleton, and from Angleton to Lake Jackson. Frontage roads are also missing here. This is fairly easy to convert into a freeway and is incorrectly marked as a freeway on some maps.
Traffic intensities south of the connection.
|US 59||I-610||4+2+2+4||express lanes|
|I-610||Southfork Drive||3+2+2+3||express lanes|
|Southfork Drive||Croix Road||2+2+2+2||express lanes|
|Croix Road||Freeport||2×2||partly ground floor|