I was fortunate enough to get some photographs of the Northwest Mall parking lot before any of the construction began in the area. I first heard about the upcoming changes in early 2011, so I made sure to get pictures of areas that would soon be in the path of the new 290/610 interchange. In addition to reconfiguring the aged design, there would also be improvements added such as a direct connector ramp from inbound 290 to the 610 Loop South. Previously this connection had not existed, as the frontage roads paused at Hempstead Road, and resumed on the other side of the railroad.
There would also be a direct route along the 290 main lanes allowing a transition to IH-10 without having to merge onto the loop. This chaotic intersection had been a lane changing nightmare for millions of motorists over the years, and it was finally agreed that the original plan of 290 to connect with I-10 turned out to be the best option after all. It would keep traffic moving on the Loop, and eliminate the need to change multiple lanes in a short amount of time while dodging cars on the right to make the IH-10 exit in time.
: Facing east along Hempstead Rd. towards Demeri's Barbecue, still open at the time of this photo. This is where the exit ramp from 290 to Hempstead Road would later come to a brand new intersection, and in this photo the direct connector ramps to 610 South have not been built over Hempstead Rd.
: Facing north along the northeast boundary of Northwest Mall. The El Chaparral night club in the distance was originally the Northwest 4 movie theater, a free standing movie house that opened in the late 1960's when Northwest Mall was still new.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Aug 2012a 168.jpg
: One of my favorite photos, showing what was left of the old east exit drive after the new freeway alignment cut through the parking lot. This stub of driveway and a few sickly palm trees are all that remains of the east driveway, which once extended to the 290 frontage road.
https://webzoom.freewebs.com/theoldcopperfield/Feb 2013a 057.jpg
: The new exit ramp from 290 to Hempstead Rd. (through the old parking lot) is now open. This photo was taken sitting at the newly installed intersection at Hempstead Rd., facing east where the direct connector ramp will eventually pass over Hempstead Rd.
AUGUST 2013 (AERIAL PHOTOS TAKEN FROM A CESSNA 172)