WHAT WE REPORTED The Texas Department of Transportation plans in early 2019 to widen Hwy. 146 between Red Bluff Road and Hwy. 96 from four lanes with a shared center turn lane to at least six lanes. TxDOT also plans to build two two-lane express bridges that will run between Kenneth Royal Drive and Bel Road on the west side of the existing bridge so commuters can circumvent traffic heading to the Kemah Boardwalk and other local destinations.
The $201 million project will at least double the capacity of a major thoroughfare that has seen rapidly increasing traffic counts over the years. The project is expected to take five years to finish.
Dozens of businesses along Hwy. 146 have had to close or relocate to accommodate the widening project.
THE LATEST After a 180-day delay due to right of way acquisitions and relocations, construction is set to begin in March, TxDOT Public Information Officer Deidrea George said in an email to Community Impact Newspaper.
The average daily traffic count along the project is 46,200 vehicles. The project is necessary because that amount is expected to nearly double to 82,900 by 2048, George said.
Phase 1 of the project, which will take 18 months, will include widening the northbound side of the existing bridge, adding a 14-foot-wide protected bikeway and constructing a new two-lane northbound frontage road. Phase 2 will take two years and includes widening the southbound side of the bridge, constructing a new two-lane southbound frontage road and starting the construction of the express lane bridges, she said.
Phase 3, which lasts a year, includes widening the main lanes leading up to the bridge, constructing the Repsdorph Road overpass and more work on the express-lane bridges. The project will end with Phase 4, a six-month project to finish the express-lane bridges and miscellaneous work, George said.