After over four years of work, the Texas Department of Transportation is on the verge of wrapping up a project to widen Hwy. 146 between Red Bluff Road and south of FM 518. It’s a project that Seabrook officials have said has been a pain point for residents and businesses alike.

However, before the project concludes, other Hwy. 146 work will begin to the north and south.

Starting in August, TxDOT will begin widening a 5.5-mile section of Hwy. 146 between south of FM 518 and Dickinson Bayou, south of Seabrook and Kemah, TxDOT Public Information Officer Bambi Hall said in an email.

This section of Hwy. 146 is currently four lanes wide and will be widened to six lanes. Additionally, TxDOT will construct a bridge on Hwy. 96 to tie into the new express bridge, Hall said.

The express bridge, which is still under construction as part of the ongoing Hwy. 146 widening project, will allow drivers to bypass local traffic, TxDOT officials have said.

The new widening project is expected to wrap up in late 2026. The project is expected to cost $198 million, Hall said.

“The widening of Hwy. 146 is for emergency evacuations, such as hurricanes,” she said.

Hall said Hwy. 146 from Red Bluff Road north to Spencer Highway will eventually be widened from four to six lanes as well. Seabrook Economic Development Director Paul Chavez said equipment has been placed alongside Hwy. 146 in preparation.

“The north project is currently awaiting an environmental permit to proceed, which we hope to have sometime in October, but it can sometimes take up to a year,” Hall said.

Chavez said he expects the northern widening project to be less disruptive than the widening through Seabrook and Kemah has been.

“Our cities were built right up to the highway, where north of that they’re mostly warehouses and such ... and mostly off the highway,” he said, noting TxDOT officials will not have to displace businesses to widen Hwy. 146 to the north as they did through Seabrook and Kemah.

Ongoing widening

Chavez said construction and traffic congestion have gotten more intense as workers approach the end of the Hwy. 146 widening project through Seabrook and Kemah.

Most of the work will be done by the end of the year, though crews may have to complete small items in early 2024, he said.

There’s debris beneath the bridge that will eventually need to be cleared, but crews’ main task is making sure the bridges are complete and stable, Chavez said.