Construction on a project has officially begun that will improve safety for vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Hillcroft Avenue in Gulfton.

The project will focus on three areas: a section of Hillcroft Avenue from Bellaire Boulevard to High Star Drive, the intersection of Hillcroft Avenue at High Star Drive and Westward Street, and Westward Street.

“The redesign of the Hillcroft area will provide safer transportation options for the Gulfton community, connecting commuters to different areas across town,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said during an April 13 groundbreaking announcement.

The project is part of a street safety neighborhood program called Houston Safer Streets Phase 1, launched in April 2019 through collaboration between Turner and Together for Safer Roads, a coalition of street safety-focused leading companies, such as AT&T, Lyft, PepsiCo, Walmart and others.

The project areas will be completed through four phases with Phase 1 targeting Bellaire Boulevard to Dashwood Drive. The expected completion date for the entire project is sometime in fall 2021, Turner said.

Contractors will redesign the section of Hillcroft Avenue from Bellaire Boulevard to High Star Drive to allow for bike lanes. In addition, contractors will widen sidewalks along that section to a 6-foot minimum while widening sidewalks along other sections in that area to 7 to 8 feet wide, if possible.

The second project area—the intersection of Hillcroft at High Star and Westward—will receive a new pedestrian plaza on High Star Drive. To improve safety at the intersection, contractors will add new pedestrian traffic signals, along with pedestrian crossings and bicycle accommodations.

Finally, in the third project area, contractors will install 10-foot shared-use paths along Westward to serve as hike and bike trails while also widening the existing sidewalk blueprint to a 6-foot minimum.

The construction project will cost approximately $3.4 million with funding from the city of Houston and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 20. The project joins Houston’s efforts to contribute to the international Vision Zero movement, which seeks to provide safe and accessible streets for various uses, including driving, walking, biking, using a wheelchair and riding transit.

“We are thinking about the people who live directly in this area who travel down Hillcroft to either get to I-59 or to travel through to get to Sharpstown or Meyerland,” said Edward Pollard, District J Houston City Council member. “This is a very very busy street, and our goal is to make it as safe as possible.”

Gulfton residents can expect pedestrian and traffic delays during the construction period.