A project to widen FM 1486 between FM 1774 and Jackson Road is not anticipated to begin construction until at least early 2028, said David Balmos, vice president of WSB consulting, during a public meeting held April 4.

Montgomery County held a public meeting on the proposed widening April 4, at which attendees were able to view a prerecorded presentation, review project materials, ask questions and submit written comments.

In a nutshell

The county is proposing widening a 7.7-mile stretch of FM 1486 between FM 1774 and Jackson Road from two to four lanes, according to meeting materials. The widened roadway would include:

  • Four 12-foot-wide travel lanes, two in each direction
  • A 40-foot-wide raised median
  • 10-foot-wide outside and 4-foot-wide inside shoulders
  • A 10-foot-wide shared-use path for bicycle and pedestrian use
  • Drainage via roadside ditch

The road’s existing right of way varies from 91 and 190 feet, with the proposed right of way for the project being 220 feet, according to meeting materials. There are three alternatives for how to widen the road:

  • Alternative 1 would widen the road with 120 feet of right of way from the west
  • Alternative 2 would widen the road with 60 feet of right of way from either side
  • Alternative 3 would widen the road with 120 feet of right of way from the east

Balmos said avoiding displacements and environmental constraints is the goal when it comes to the right of way.

Sorting out details

Balmos said this project is aiming to address safety and prepare for the anticipated future development, which will include an estimated 24,000 new homes.

“There’s going to be a huge number of rooftops built along this corridor that, quite simply, a two-lane road can’t handle,” Balmos said.

Montgomery County is funding the project development, while the Texas Department of Transportation along with federal funds are expected to pay for construction, Balmos said. The widening is expected to cost around $120 million.

In terms of timeline, Balmos said they hope to begin right-of-way acquisition at the end of 2025.

“After we complete all the right-of-way acquisition, we then have to move utilities,” Balmos said. “Buying right of way and moving utilities can take two years. So the earliest that we’d be available to start construction would be probably [the] beginning of 2028.”

What they’re saying

Diana Walker, who has lived in the area with her husband, Henry, since 2007, said she didn’t understand why there is roadway repair being done now on FM 1486 when this widening project is coming up.

“We’ve already been inconvenienced for weeks now with the road torn up, and we’re still doing regularly one-way traffic, and this is sitting out there waiting,” Walker said.

Walker also said increased flooding is one of her concerns.

“We’re just going to have more of the same [flooding] in more places because between all this new development they’re putting in, that’s more concrete,” Walker said. “Whereas the trees used to soak it up.”

Victoria Garcia, who has lived in the area for two years, said she wondered how much future developments are contributing to the project financially.

“My question is, how much are those neighborhoods contributing to this project so it doesn’t cost taxpayers as much,” Garcia said. “Because this is all being done for them. It’s not being done for us.”

What else?

Balmos said while this specific widening stops at Jackson Road, there will be another project to widen the remainder of FM 1486 to Hwy. 105.

“We run these [projects] independently so that one project doesn’t hold up the other,” Balmos said.

Learn more

Following the public meeting, Balmos said they will evaluate all the comments received, evaluate the alternatives and come up with one preferred solution for widening the road that will minimize impacts and displacements.

View virtual presentation materials about the widening by visiting www.isaniconsultants.com/fm1486.

The map below is an estimate of the boundaries of future developments and may not reflect exact locations.