Houston taking new approach to citywide street repairs, including sidewalks

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced his new street rehabilitation initiative Sept. 15. (Courtesy HTV)
Mayor Sylvester Turner announced his new street rehabilitation initiative Sept. 15. (Courtesy HTV)

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced his new street rehabilitation initiative Sept. 15. (Courtesy HTV)

Houston’s most beleaguered streets are beginning to see rehabilitation projects led by a new prioritization system in place from Houston Public Works, officials announced Sept. 15.

The effort began with a new prioritization system to find streets with the most critical needs in each of Houston’s 11 City Council districts and plan out repairs for most of the streets rather than full replacement. The system will allow public works to complete projects more quickly and stretch limited public funds further, Houston Public Works Director Carol Haddock said.

“When we rehabilitate a street, we spend about $400,000 per mile if it's a major thoroughfare and $160,000 for a local street,” Haddock said. “If we were to completely reconstruct that roadway, we would spend about $3.2 million ... we can do almost six to eight times as many streets in single year.”

The new system aims to repair or replace every city street every 40-70 years, improving on public works’ previous estimate of reaching every street every 110 years, Haddock said. Compared to other cities, however, Haddock said, a standard goal is to reach every street every 15-30 years.

The savings generated by making surface repairs will allow each street project to extend to the sidewalks alongside it, Haddock said. In some cases, public works will also fill in gaps between sidewalks.

As written in city code, Houston’s sidewalks are considered the responsibility of private property owners, which has resulted in a patchwork of poorly kept sidewalk infrastructure in many parts of the city as well as stretches of property with no sidewalks at all.

Previously, city officials said taking on the responsibility of sidewalk work beyond individual requests would present too steep of a financial burden for the public works department.

Mayor Sylvester Turner however, said improving the city’s street rehabilitation process was a goal of his second term.

“People with disabilities make up 9.4% of people within the city of Houston, so it's exciting that we are looking at infrastructure from a holistic standpoint,” said Gabe Cazares, director of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

Turner’s original promise to address the issue within 60 days of his inauguration in January was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

The first projects will take place primarily in north and south Houston until the end of 2020. Council districts are given priority based on the number of miles of streets within their boundaries.

This year, public works aims to complete 300 lane miles of street repairs, which is double what the department completed in 2019 and four times as much as the department completed in 2016, Haddock said.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


New statewide maps will go into effect Jan. 18, 2022. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
Gov. Abbott approves new voting maps for state legislature, Congress, school districts for next decade

The maps will go into effect Jan. 18, 2022, after the state legislature passed them during a 30-day special session.

Houston nonprofit Theatre Under the Stars will look to open a new education and arts center as an anchor tenant in the new Ion District in Midtown. (Courtesy Melissa Taylor/Theatre Under the Stars)
Theatre Under the Stars announces eventual opening of new education, arts center at Midtown Ion District

The nonprofit has announced it is seeking to build a new building that will eventually serve as an anchor tenant in Midtown’s new Ion District.

The statewide job fair will connect veterans to employers as well as other resource providers. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Statewide job fair aims to connect Texas veterans and their families to employers

The job fair is coming to local Texas Workforce Solutions offices, some of which are having early admission for veterans and their families.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Texas Medical Center coronavirus updates: Average daily hospitalizations continue decline, drop below 100 since early July

For the first time since early July, the average number of daily coronavirus hospitalizations at Texas Medical Center hospitals has dropped below 100.

Teso Life currently has a location in Carrollton near another 99 Ranch Market and other Asian businesses and restaurants. (Matt Payne/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Japanese department store Teso Life coming to Frisco; New Braunfels’ Gruene Hall set as backdrop for Scotty McCreery music video and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 25.

Child on a computer.
Texas Education Agency accepting applications for $1,500 grants for students in special education

To be eligible for the grant, students must be enrolled in pre-K through 12th grade in a Texas public school and served by a special education program.

Dustin and Addie Teague are celebrating the 5-year anniversary of the River Oaks-based Relish Restaurant & Bar. (Courtesy Relish Restaurant & Bar)
Relish Restaurant & Bar celebrates 5 years in River Oaks, plans renovations

Among other renovations, a new boxwood-lined patio is in the works for 2022.

Amazon is hiring for thousands of seasonal jobs statewide across its operations department. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon hiring for thousands of seasonal jobs throughout Texas

It is that time of year when people look for seasonal jobs as the holidays approach. Amazon aims to meet that demand by hiring for thousands of seasonal positions throughout Texas.

The first-ever Williamson County Fair and Rodeo opens its gates to guests Oct. 21 with live music, carnival rides, food vendors, rodeo events and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo underway; delivery drones coming to Frisco and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 22.

Artist Joni Zavitsanos is looking to bring faces to the names of those who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with her exhibit that will be on display through Jan. 31. (Courtesy Joni Zavitsanos)
Commemorative COVID-19 exhibit opens at The Health Museum

Houston-area residents who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are being memorialized in a new exhibit now on display at John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Science in Houston.

From left: Laura Ryan, Eliza Paul and Craig Raborn discuss the future of the Texas Department of Transportation. (Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Department of Transportation discusses I-45 expansion, vehicle fatalities at annual event

The Texas Department of Transportation held its fifth annual State of TxDOT event Oct. 21 to discuss the I-45 expansion, plans for the future and safety issues facing Texans.