Despite pandemic, Bay Area transportation projects making progress

Those anxiously awaiting the end of stay-at-home orders have another thing to look forward to: progress on several transportation projects around Clear Lake and League City. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Those anxiously awaiting the end of stay-at-home orders have another thing to look forward to: progress on several transportation projects around Clear Lake and League City. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Those anxiously awaiting the end of stay-at-home orders have another thing to look forward to: progress on several transportation projects around Clear Lake and League City. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Those anxiously awaiting the end of stay-at-home orders have another thing to look forward to: progress on several transportation projects around Clear Lake and League City.

Despite the coronavirus outbreak, contractors are making progress on transportation projects around the Bay Area. The COVID-19 pandemic has not delayed road work, officials told Community Impact Newspaper.

While the estimated completion dates of some phases of the widening of I-45 from NASA Bypass to Galveston were recently pushed back, they were not due to the outbreak. In fact, the outbreak may lead to some parts of the project being completed sooner, said Danny Perez, a Texas Department of Transportation public information officer.

“We agree that lighter traffic on our roadways potentially presents some opportunities to advance some of our work, and that is being assessed on a case-by-case basis,” Perez wrote in an email. “That said, there are a few opportunities where our contractors have already been able to advance some of their work.”

Due to lighter traffic, some contractors are asking for extended road closure times to speed up their work, Perez wrote.


“In such cases, the contractor is being allowed to work in some areas for longer stretches of time, specifically because peak travel periods are not as congested as they would be under ‘normal’ circumstances,” Perez wrote.



Additionally, the widening of Hwy. 146, another TxDOT project, is unaffected by the coronavirus, according to online schedules of road closures.

The widening of El Dorado Boulevard between Clear Lake City Boulevard to Horsepen Bayou was on the cusp of starting before the outbreak. There have been delays but not due to the coronavirus, said Katherine Cunningham, the chief of staff for Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin.

“[Contractors] pushed back the temporary street lighting installation, which began March 30 and is expected to be completed by April 13,” she wrote in an email to Community Impact Newspaper. “They are also waiting to hear back from [Clear Lake City Water Authority] on the approval of their drainage plans.”

Workers are still at the site of the project as usual, waiting to begin widening the road, she wrote.

In League City, several road projects are underway and unaffected by the pandemic.

Calder Road from Ervin Drive to Cross Colony Drive is being converted from an asphalt, open-ditch roadway to a concrete curb-and-gutter roadway with widened lanes and new sidewalks. The work, which began March 16, is still underway, City Manager John Baumgartner said.

“Contractor is out there, working every day,” he said.

The Ervin Street connector that a contractor is building so Hobbs Road connects to Calder Road, which will allow for two-way traffic in and out of nearby subdivisions, is a “success story,” Baumgartner said.

The project has been expedited so crews can more quickly begin working on widening and otherwise improving Turner Street and Butler Road nearby. Two lanes of Ervin Street could be open as soon as mid-April, Baumgartner said.

“We haven’t seen a slowdown of activity by either of those contractors,” he said of both projects.

As for improvements to Dickinson Avenue, there have been delays on the north side of the project due to necessary utility relocations that have pushed the estimated project completion date into the summer, but the coronavirus outbreak hasn’t affected work.

Additionally, League City has a reinvestment program to rehabilitate asphalt roads throughout the year. That program has also not slowed amid the pandemic, and $3.8 million is being spent to fix about 3.4 miles of road, said Baumgartner and Angie Steelman, director of budget and project management.

“I think from our perspective, the construction industry has continued to rise to the occasion and continued to work,” he said. “Everybody’s working, and we’re happy.”
By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.

<

MOST RECENT

Most of the electric grid in Texas is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which is not linked to other interconnected national electrical systems. (Courtesy Electric Reliability Council of Texas)
Leaving the Texas power grid 'not likely to be an option' for Harris County, official says

Just two weeks after severe winter weather dropped Harris County temperatures below freezing for three consecutive days, which led to widespread power outages, loss of water and the deaths of at least 50 county residents, Harris County Commissioners Court called for major reform at the state level regarding the Texas power grid and related energy policies.

Mayor sylvester turner
Houston expanding vaccine supply as 6,000 Johnson & Johnson doses arrive March 2

The first shipment will be sent to the mass-vaccination site run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at NRG Stadium. The site vaccinates individuals who sign up for doses though the Houston Health Department’s vaccine waitlist.

Hank's Crab Shack gets and sells several hundred pounds of crawfish daily, especially during the peak of crawfish season. (Morgan Theophil/Community Impact Newspaper)
Hank's Crab Shack serving Katy; 16 Spring-Klein business updates and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

District officials shared storm damage photos at a Feb. 22 board meeting. (Courtesy Clear Creek ISD)
Clear Creek ISD updates: 82% of campuses sustained damage during winter storm, quarantine practices revised

District safety officials briefed trustees at a board meeting Feb. 22 about the extent of damages and gave other details related to CCISD’s storm responses. Of the 42 campuses, 37 sustained damages requiring immediate action, officials said.

key in door lock
Evictions continue in Houston as new measures aim to stem tide

Over 32,000 eviction cases were filed in Harris County courts in 2020.

Houston City Hall in rainbow lighting
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrates five years of service

The organization is open to all and serves members throughout the Greater Houston area.

Reedy Chapel, one of more than a dozen historically Black churches in Galveston, is a stop on the tour. (Courtesy Clayton Kolavo/GICVB Marketing)
Galveston tourism app guides visitors through city’s historically Black institutions, monuments

The interactive app, offered by the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, allows visitors to customize a tour itinerary based on interests and time allocation.

(Courtesy Reunion Court of Clear Lake)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: Reunion Court of Clear Lake coming soon and more

Here is a roundup of Clear Lake and League City business news.

The new Fort Bend Epicenter multipurpose facility could be used as a spot for trade shows and sporting events, could act as a large-scale shelter for county residents in an emergency and more. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Large multipurpose complex coming to Fort Bend County; Sugar Land to widen University Blvd. and more top Houston-area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.