Progress on the Hwy. 146 widening project from Red Bluff Road to Hwy. 96, which was previously a year ahead of schedule, has slowed.

Residents can now expect the widening to be complete in October 2023, which is five months ahead of the March 2024 contract completion, Texas Department of Transportation officials told Community Impact Newspaper. Will Bradley—senior project manager with Webber LLC, the construction contractor—previously said the project would be complete in May 2023.

Larry Millican, League City City Council member, said he first heard of project delays in July during a Transportation Policy Council meeting of the Houston-Galveston Area Council. TxDOT officials did not provide specific reasons for delays.

While his constituents often look at Hwy. 146, on which construction began in February 2019, as an inconvenience, Millican said the project is essential for industrial traffic and evacuation.

“The ability to remove people from harm’s way during a major event is very limited at best, currently,” he said. “We need to, as a region and the state, identify with that and make sure that it’s all hands on deck.”

The project is split into four phases, which are being worked on simultaneously. Alternating lane closures along FM 2094 and FM 518 started in March 2020, per the Hwy. 146 updates website.

The bents, which support the bridge structure, have now been constructed, but more closures are expected in the future for other work.

The project’s cost has remained at $201 million, with 80% of the funding coming from the federal government and the remainder from state sources, according to TxDOT Information Specialist Deidrea George. The city of Seabrook also contributed some funding and design services to incorporate their own minor plans into the project, she said.

“As with most projects, that number might change to reflect change orders during the project,” George said via email, regarding project cost.

FM 518 was closed for a majority of September but was set to reopen Sept. 24, per the Hwy. 146 updates website. As part of the project, a 5-mile stretch of Hwy. 146 between FM 518 and FM 517 will be widened from four to six lanes “to decrease traffic congestion; increase mobility; and improve hurricane evacuation, operational efficiency and safety along SH 146,” per TxDOT’s website.

The anticipated letting date—which is when bids will open for construction companies—for this section of Hwy. 146 will be in September 2022, but that is subject to change, according to George. This segment is still under design, she said.

As the project progresses, residents and business owners bear the brunt of the disruption, Millican said.

“The businesses along [Hwy. 146], those are the folks that are suffering,” he said. “People suffer, normal citizens suffer when you start talking about the commute time and getting from place A to B.”

Ongoing projects

Red Bluff Road widening

About 1.5 miles of Red Bluff Road between Hwy. 146 and Kirby Boulevard is being widened from three lanes to five. A new bridge over Taylor Lake is being built south of the existing one to allow for more traffic.

Timeline: December 2019-TBD

Cost: $15.1 million

Funding sources: Texas Department of Transportation, Harris County

Upcoming projects

North Landing Boulevard extension

About 1.7 miles of a four-lane, urban-divided boulevard will be constructed to connect Landing Boulevard to I-45 and alleviate FM 518 traffic. Sidewalks, a median, a roundabout and two bridges are included in this project, including one that will go over Clear Creek.

Timeline: September 2022-TBD

Cost: $49.5 million

Funding sources: federal government, city of League City