With construction workers exempted from stay-at-home order, Cy-Fair road projects move forward

Crews work on a project to build a Hwy. 6 flyover bridge March 26. (Danica Smithwick/Community Impact Newspaper)
Crews work on a project to build a Hwy. 6 flyover bridge March 26. (Danica Smithwick/Community Impact Newspaper)

Crews work on a project to build a Hwy. 6 flyover bridge March 26. (Danica Smithwick/Community Impact Newspaper)

Officials with Harris County precincts 3 and 4 and the Texas Department of Transportation expect construction and planning on Cy-Fair-area road projects to stay on track despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Most residents in Harris County have been urged to stay home under the county's Stay Home-Work Safe order put into place by County Judge Lina Hidalgo March 25. However, construction is considered an essential industry under the order, and road construction crews have been allowed to continue working on projects, said Jennifer Almonte, a field engineer with Precinct 3.

"All of our contractors are still working, as are county inspectors," Almonte said. "We are exercising caution, maintaining social distancing wherever possible and [are] no longer meeting inside our field office."

Work in Precinct 3 includes a widening project on Cypress North Houston Road that is still on track to be completed around April, Almonte said. The $3.2 million project involves widening the road from two lanes to four lanes from east of Greenhouse Road to west of Barker Trace Road in Cypress. Crews are completing final work on a bridge as well as final grading. Following that work, striping and signs will be installed.

"Given the current situation, there is obviously the potential for that to be delayed, however, we are staying optimistic," Almonte said.

TxDOT Public Information Officer Deidrea George said the department has not halted any ongoing project work in the Houston area, including work on a flyover bridge that will connect FM 1960 to Hwy. 6 over Hwy. 290. However, she said TxDOT has implemented higher safety protocols and is staying in constant contact with state health and emergency management officials to follow any guidance issued.

Construction crews are aiming to finish setting concrete steel beams near Hwy. 290 around the end of March, George said. Crews are also looking to finish work by the end of next week on the drill shafts on FM 1960 between Wortham Boulevard and North Eldridge Parkway.

In Precinct 4, Director of Capital Projects Pamela Rocchi said construction efforts are ongoing, and bi-weekly meetings between the county, the construction company and the engineer are being conducted via conference call, she said.

Several Cy-Fair projects are in the design phase and are slated to go out for construction bids this year, she said. A project to widen Cypress North Houston Road between Jones Road and Perry Road and extend it through to FM 1960 will go out for bids in the second quarter of 2020; a project to connect two segments of Louetta Road over Little Cypress Creek near Telge Road will go out for bids in the third quarter; and a project to extend Gessner Road from Fallbrook Drive to West Road will go out for bids in the fourth quarter, she said.

"The majority of Harris County’s engineering staff and engineers of record are working from home on capital improvement projects in the study or design phase," Rocchi said in an email. "The engineering community is able to communicate with the county’s project managers, and the decision making process is not hindered."
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.