Grant-funded Shepherd-Durham project expected to reduce crashes by half

Shepherd and Durham drives
Shepherd and Durham drives will undergo a massive overhaul thanks to $25 million federal grant. (Photo via Google Earth)

Shepherd and Durham drives will undergo a massive overhaul thanks to $25 million federal grant. (Photo via Google Earth)

The city of Houston was approved for a $25 million federal grant in November for the first phase of reconstructing the Durham and Shepherd drives corridor from I-610 to 15th Street. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant program is providing the funds, which will be matched by another $25 million by the Memorial Heights Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.

The project was previously submitted for funding from the Houston-Galveston Area Council in 2018, but it did not rank high enough to earn funds under that program.

In its project application, the TIRZ noted the corridor has sections in disrepair, has a crash rate nearly four times the state average and needs improved street drainage during heavy rain events. The project proposes improvements to the drainage system and road design, including reducing the road from four lanes to three, updating signals and signage, lengthening turn bays, improving sidewalk and intersection accessibility, and adding a dedicated bikeway.

Improvements will also be made to segments of 15th through 20th and 24th streets.

Based on an analysis provided in the application, these enhancements could reduce vehicle crashes by half and pedestrian accidents by two-thirds.

The proposed timeline of 2022-24 could change depending on when the project receives final approval from the federal transportation department, said Sherry Weesner, president of the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority.

The TIRZ will seek out partnerships with the city of Houston, H-GAC and others to fund the other phases of the project, she said.


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