CLIENT: Pearland Economic Development Corporation
PROJECT: SH 288 Branding, Beautification, and Monumentation

Establishing a memorable and distinctive identity through branding, signage, and landscaping improvements to improve aesthetics along a major Houston corridor.

288 Pear Sculpture (2)

The Scene

A popular transportation corridor linking downtown Houston to the Gulf Coast, SH 288 caters to a vast array of commuters, commercial trucking, and travelers. It also provides direct access to The Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world. SH 288 transects Pearland, a vibrant and growing community southeast of Houston. In 2014, the Pearland Economic Development Corporation initiated a beautification master planning effort with the goal to develop a comprehensive city-wide branding and signage program, including primary and district gateways, city facility markers, and park and trail signage. The plan also prioritized landscaping enhancements like water elements, paving, lighting, and abundant planting to make Pearland more attractive for residents and economic development.

The Project

The master plan envisioned major improvements along the three-and-a-half miles of highway traversing through Pearland. These enhancements include eliminating visual clutter, consolidating utilities, improving drainage and curb appeal, enhancing pedestrian and vehicular safety, and implementing visual identity markers. The changes will significantly improve this corridor and provide a safer, more visually appealing experience.   

Considering Houston’s repeated flooding issues, inadequate drainage systems result in significant damage to homes and businesses. By implementing effective drainage solutions along SH 288, the risk of flooding is reduced, and the corridor is equipped to handle weather events, especially considering it is a hurricane evacuation route.     

Another component of the master plan was a beautification strategy to complement the gateways and markers planned for key entry points into the city. This included 3,946 contract-grown trees and 70,000+ shrubs and groundcover plants. 

The process

Beginning at the McHard Road intersection, a series of 42’ tall monuments were designed to distinctively identify Pearland. The massive monuments feature custom-designed, mixed materials of stone and metal, as well as a 9’8” lighted pear. A total of 16 monuments will be installed along SH 288 at key intersections along the stretch of highway. We worked closely with various agencies throughout the installation process to successfully coordinate every detail to ensure precision, accuracy and, most importantly, safety.

TxDOT was a critical partner for this complex project. Our design team worked with the agency to design custom MSE walls to reflect the newly established identity of the city. The project also required extensive coordination for the highway improvements, elements within the right-of-way and placement of the monuments. 

Large fountains were designed and installed along the corridor, providing a dramatic arrival sequence at two of the city’s busiest intersections. Bounded by lush landscaping, shrubs, and trees, these key areas serve as a welcoming attribute for the once-barren spaces. Sixty-five additional streetlights and 16 column-attached underpass lights now illuminate the intersections of FM 518 and McHard, providing a safer route for travelers.

The result

The master plan's branding and identity elements now boast a stronger visual impact for those journeying south on SH 288. This boost in curb appeal has significantly improved aesthetics and supported the city's ongoing economic growth.  

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