‘Someone screwed up’: New signage along 290 has some drivers confused

HOUSTON – Corey O’Brien was recently driving on Highway 290 toward Cypress when he saw something he had never seen before and it puzzled him.

“It seems pretty obvious that someone screwed up,” O’Brien said.

The far-left outbound lane of 290 was now a high occupancy vehicle lane from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday.

“The signs seemed to be opposite for the time. Going outbound was during the morning. It just seemed backward to me,” O’Brien said.

KPRC 2 contacted Houston Transtar and Josh Shideler, a public information officer, said, “It looks like some HOV signs were placed incorrectly. Signs for the outbound lanes were placed on the inbound side and vice versa. So the times described appear as incorrect.”

KPRC 2 contacted TxDOT and the spokesperson who oversees the 290 project said the signage is correct.

“The HOV signage is correct. It’s an off-peak HOV lane ... for two-plus and buses. If we switched the hours, it would take away a general-purpose lane from the traveling public during peak travel times,” said Deidra George, a public information officer.

“How the public is supposed to know this, I don’t know,” O’Brien said.

KPRC 2 asked our viewers on Facebook if they’ve seen the HOV signs on 290.

Josh from Cypress wrote: “They recently added a lane to the left and the placement of the signs are confusing. Not sure if they refer to the actual barricaded HOV lane or if they are referencing the far left lane.”

David wrote he won’t drive on them out of fear of being ticketed.

“I’m in the Jersey Village area and I had to stop taking the HOV lane ... it’s confusing,” he said.

O’Brien said he’ll just go with the flow.

“It’s a new system to me. I’m all for learning that definitely,” he said.

TxDOT said it worked out a deal with METRO to have the lanes set up this way. The issue was discussed during a public meeting in October 2018. It wasn’t approved until after the public was allowed to comment.

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