A transportation project in the Katy area that has been in the works for about 15 years will soon start construction, a project spokesperson and two public officials said.
Texas Heritage Parkway will break ground in May, said attorney Rich Muller, who is representing nine landowners involved in the project. Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers and Fulshear Mayor Aaron Groff also confirmed the project would begin construction mid-2019.
The motivation for this new corridor stems from West Houston’s growing population and the need for another north-south thoroughfare to connect the Westpark Tollway to I-10, Muller and Meyers said. A public-private partnership was pursued to accelerate the construction timeline of the road, they said.
When complete in July 2020, the 6.4-mile, 200-foot-wide thoroughfare will have two lanes in either direction and a median from I-10 at Pederson Road to McKinnon Road just south of FM 1093 near downtown Fulshear, he said.
Development is expected to follow, Meyers and Groff said. A 2015 market study found the new road would increase property tax and sales tax revenues to the county, Katy and Fulshear by $815 million over a 25-year period, Muller said.
Half the project will be funded by the landowners, while the other half will be funded by Fort Bend County, the city of Fulshear and the city of Katy. The landowners are also paying for a $3.3 million roadside trail.
Meyers said without the private-public partnership it would have taken a decade to complete the road.
The partnership also allowed flexibility in design, Muller said. Traditional road projects similar to the Texas Heritage Parkway would have had traffic lights installed along intersections. But thanks to public and private input the upcoming parkway will have roundabouts, which will cut the travel time from about 25 minutes to about 8 minutes because the traffic is continuous, he said.
“This is new and different, both in terms of the design and the way we structured the deal,” Muller said. “This is a great example of public-private partnership really working. If we can make this work ... I think this will be a model of how roads like this get built in the future.”