Hwy. 290 and Huffmeister Road: Updates on 5 mobility projects in Cy-Fair and Houston

1.Hwy. 290 projects J-1 and J-2

Projects J-1 and J-2  involve widening Hwy. 290 to five or six mainlanes in each direction from West 34th Street to the Loop 610 interchange as well as constructing the ramps that connect
Hwy. 290 to Loop 610 in Houston. Crews reopened a portion of eastbound mainlanes in November as well as a ramp connecting Hwy. 290 eastbound mainlanes to Loop 610. Crews also reopened the West 34th Street eastbound entrance to Hwy. 290 and the eastbound entrance ramp from Dacoma Street to eastbound mainlanes of Loop 610. The ramp openings represented a milestone in the Hwy. 290 project, which involves widening mainlanes between Loop 610 in Houston and the Harris County line.

Timeline: November 2012-end of 2018
Cost: $258.5 million
Funding source: Texas Department of Transportation

2. Cypress Rosehill Road widening

Harris County Precinct 3 completed a project this fall to widen a portion of Cypress Rosehill Road to a four-lane concrete boulevard from Lake Cypress Hill Drive to the Grand Parkway in Cypress.

The next portion of the project for Precinct 3 will be completed in three parts: It will involve widening the roadway to four lanes from the Grand Parkway north to Seidel Cemetery Road. Work on the northern segment began earlier this fall, and construction on the southern portion of Cypress Rosehill Road is slated to begin in December. Construction will begin on the remaining middle segment in January.

Harris County Precinct 4 is also working on a related project to widen Cypress Rosehill Road through to Decker Prairie Road. The Precinct 4 portion is in the design phase.

Timeline:  fall 2017-fall 2018 (Precinct 3 portion)
Cost: TBA
Funding sources: Harris County precincts 3 and 4

3. Grant Road widening

Construction is underway on a Grant Road widening project from Old Kluge to Spring Cypress roads in Cypress. The Harris County Precinct 4 project will widen the road from a two-lane asphalt roadway to a four-lane concrete boulevard. Harris County Precinct 3 is also widening the road from Old Kluge Road to Lakewood Forest Drive in Cypress.

Timeline: February 2017-first quarter 2019
Cost: $7.4 million
Funding sources: Harris County precincts 3 and 4

4. Huffmeister Road extension

Construction began in November on a Harris County Precinct 4 project to extend Huffmeister Road as a four-lane concrete pavement section from where the road currently ends at Hwy. 6 through to West Road in Houston. Harris County Commissioners Court awarded the construction contract to Unitas Construction Inc. in October, and construction is expected to last through May.

Timeline:  Nov. 13, 2017-May 12, 2018
Cost: $2.5 million
Funding source:  Harris County Precinct 4

5. Cypress North Houston Road widening and extension

Harris County Precinct 4 is acquiring right of way for a project to widen Cypress North Houston Road to four lanes from Jones Road to where it ends at Perry Road and then extend it through to FM 1960 as a four-lane concrete pavement section. County officials hope to send the project out for construction bids in the second quarter of 2018.

Timeline: second quarter 2018-TBD
Cost: TBD
Funding source: Harris County Precinct 4

How it works

FM road designations have pre-WWII roots

In unincorporated areas of Texas counties and less developed parts of cities, drivers may notice unconventional designations for roadways. Instead of highway, street, road, avenue or parkway, roads in these areas often have a FM—or farm-to-market—designation.

While these secondary roads are now generally used to connect homes to bigger roadways, in the years before and after World War II, these roads were of great importance to rural travelers, according to a U.S. Department of the Interior study, “Historic Road Infrastructure of Texas, 1866-1965.”

The development of FM roads was integral to providing transport of farm and ranch produce to market, ensuring regular mail delivery service, and providing access to schools, medical care, church and social gatherings.

The first “feeder” roads—which served as precursors to the FM road system—were constructed in the 1930s using Works Progress Administration funding following President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The Texas WPA spent more than any other state on these roads—46 percent of the state’s total funding allotment.

Construction on roadways slowed during World War II with a shortage of materials and laborers but was revived in the mid-1940s and then bolstered by the passage of the Colson-Briscoe Act in 1940, which provided expanded funding to improve secondary roadways across the state.

By the 1960s, Texas’ secondary road network was recognized as the most developed rural highway network in the country, according to the study.

All information on this page was updated as of 12/1/17. News or questions about these or other local transportation projects? Email us at [email protected].
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.