Lower Westheimer improvement project is cut from latest Capital Improvement Plan

The city of Houston is planning to seek federal funding to bring improvements to Westheimer Road. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
The city of Houston is planning to seek federal funding to bring improvements to Westheimer Road. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Houston is planning to seek federal funding to bring improvements to Westheimer Road. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)

When the Houston City Council approved the city's annual Capital Improvement Program on June 24, several projects were removed, including a long-awaited street overhaul for the Lower Westheimer area.

"I'm disappointed that this project, which is so important for walkability, drainage and overall quality of life is being deferred again," District C City Council Member Abbie Kamin told Community Impact Newspaper. "I’m not giving up on lower Westheimer. I have a commitment from the Public Works department that they are going to be re-submitting this project specifically for federal dollars ... and we are going to look for any available funding to make the project happen."

In the fiscal year 2019-20 CIP, construction was forecast for 2023. The project has been on the drawing board since 2016, ranging in cost from $14 million to almost $18 million, and was intended to address issues with sidewalks, bus stops and car crashes. The proposed project targeted Elgin Street and Westheimer Road from Main Street in midtown to Montrose Boulevard.

The city put in a bid to the Houston-Galveston Area Council for grant funding in 2018, but was denied because it did not rank high enough to warrant consideration, according to previous Community Impact Newspaper reporting.

Kamin said that the project could fare better this time around because the ranking criteria has changed.

Officials have blamed Hurricane Harvey and increasing cost estimates for affecting some project schedules, and projects that are removed can return in subsequent years when funding becomes available.

The CIP lays out a $9.15 billion schedule of projects over the next five years, including $2.33 billion in fiscal year 2020-21. This includes projects directly funded by the city's dedicated street and drainage fees as well as tax-increment reinvestment zones, which oversee projects in their defined areas.

Emma Whalen contributed to this report.
By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


Novel at River Oaks
Inner Loop apartment rents tumbled by as much as 16% in 2020

"I would hope that these operators in those areas—at some point, you can’t lower rents anymore. They just have to wait for people to show up," ApartmentData's Bruce McClenny said.

The first-ever Houston Reads Day will take place March 2. (Courtesy Pexels)
Volunteers needed for inaugural literacy-focused Houston Reads Day

Volunteers will read to 10,000 kindergarten through third-grade students.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream is coming to Montrose Collective

"What attracted us to Houston was the incredible cultural and culinary diversity and the feeling of progress, growth in modernity the city radiates. The average daily temperature didn’t hurt either,” co-founder Ben Van Leeuwen said.

One local health system leader said he expects everyone, including those under age 65, will have access to the vaccine within the next 90 days. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Houston-area health system leaders talk progress, hurdles during COVID-19

Officials from CHI St. Luke’s Health and UTMB Health said community members must remain vigilant as case counts climb but that they expect the current surge to peak by early February.

During a North Houston Association meeting Jan. 20, Jazz Hamilton—first vice president with the Retail Brokerage Services Group for CBRE—discussed how the future of retail will likely be shaped by the conveniences to which consumers have become accustomed amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pandemic-induced retail conveniences are here to stay, official says

According to Jazz Hamilton, first vice president with the Retail Brokerage Services group for CBRE, between January and November of 2020, consumers spent almost $550 billion online—a 33% increase from 2019.

The estimated number of active COVID-19 cases in Harris County has surpassed 50,000, reaching 51,362 as of the most recent data Jan. 20, according to the Harris County Public Health Department. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Active cases top 50,000

See the latest trends on COVID-19 in Harris County.

Elysian Viaduct Bridge
I-10 to be closed both ways at downtown Houston this weekend

Work continues on the Elysian Viaduct Bridge north of downtown.

A winning bidder has been selected to buy out francesca’s clothing boutique store. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Winning bidder selected for francesca’s sale

Francesca’s was purchased for $18 million by TerraMar.

In addition to vaccine hubs, there are also smaller community vaccine providers throughout Texas, such as pharmacies, that may also have the vaccine available. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
EXPLAINED: When, where and how Texans can receive the COVID-19 vaccine

As Texas is still in the early stages of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, many Texans are still unsure about where, when and how they can get inoculated.

The barbecue eatery is the second Killen's Restaurant Group venture to launch in The Woodlands area. (Courtesy Killen's Barbecue)
Killen's Barbecue opens in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Mayor Turner and the honor guard.
Houston joins nationwide coronavirus memorial, lights landmarks

The memorial was planned as a component of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' inauguration.

Heights Waterworks
Houston Heights Association seeks award nominations for residential, commercial improvements

To be eligible, projects must have been completed between 2018 and 2020.