District C Council Member Abbie Kamin said the project has been a work in progress since June 2020, when she first went before the Houston-Galveston Area Council to advocate for funds. According to the ordinance, the funds were first sub-allocated by H-GAC on June 26, 2020, then were approved by the state and the Federal Highway Association as part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, TxDOT’s four-year capital improvement program.
“[The grant] is one of the first of its kind that our region has accepted,” Kamin said. “This is not only instrumental for the improvement of the entire corridor, but the fact that we were able to get $40 million for this type of grant is something we can replicate throughout the city. We could not be more grateful that this is moving forward.”
The infrastructure improvements are a partnership between the city and Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority, the ordinance said.
The broad project targets portions of the two roads between Loop 610 North and the Katy Freeway. The grant funds will be used on the portion of the project at 11th, 12th and 14th streets and between West 15th Street and the Katy Freeway westbound frontage road.
The project includes drainage improvements, new bike lanes, travel lane reconfiguration, improved pedestrian infrastructure, the planting of 600 trees and improvements to public utilities.
Houston City Council also approved an appropriation for $326,500 out of the city's dedicated drainage and renewal capital fund for an advanced funding agreement between the city and the state for the project. According to the ordinance, the agreement provides compensation to TxDOT for “costs of documentation reviews and oversight for the project.”