Katy and Fulshear-area drivers can expect a major traffic switch in the coming summer months along FM 1093 and the Westpark Tollway, according to Fort Bend County Engineering Richard Stolleis.
The traffic switch will occur this July along Phase 2A, which is under construction now and runs from FM 1463 to Cross Creek Boulevard, according Stolleis.
Eastbound lanes along Phase 2A will be constructed as a two-way roadway to allow crews to build westbound lanes. Once the westbound lanes are completed, traffic will be redirected back to the westbound lanes to finish the eastbound side.
“With construction and weather, some of those dates move a little bit,” Stolleis said. “But their goal is to try to have everything open to traffic [by]maybe Thanksgiving. That’s the target, but definitely before Christmas.”
The entire Phase 2A portion is scheduled for completion by March 2019.
While the project has been in the works for over a decade, plans for extending the project are still underway.
The entire project, which consists of making FM 1093 a two-lane frontage road in each direction on either side of the Westpark Tollway, is expected to eventually allow for additional toll road lanes extending west to Fulshear.
Phase 1 of the project extended toll lanes west of Spring Green Boulevard from the Grand Parkway. That phase was completed in November 2017 and had a total project cost of $64 million.
“As far as the Westpark [Tollway] goes, the thing to understand is the outside lanes, which are traditionally frontage road lanes, are actually FM 1093,” Stolleis said.
Phase 2A of the project, which includes the area set to experience the major traffic switch this summer, also includes plans to add future toll lanes. Stolleis said the county has environmental approval to build the toll lanes, but an economic feasibility study still needs to be done to assess whether toll lanes are actually a necessity for the area.
“We will continue to watch the traffic out there, and in some point in the future, the toll road authority will make a decision that its financially feasible,” Stolleis said.
Stolleis said while it is still early to tell, he expects traffic to increase.
“The growth out west of Fulshear is tremendous,” Stolleis said. “There is a lot going on out there.”
Stolleis said work is already being done in preparation for the future toll lanes, including putting in storm drainage and detention.
“We’ve done a lot of prework that’s there that can be used, or that will be used by the toll road,” Stolleis said. “So, there is an investment already in the ground. But in terms of when, I really think that it’ll be at some point again where it makes financial sense, and that will be when enough people will get on the toll road to pay to drive.”
Phase 2B would run from the future Texas Heritage Parkway west to James Lane in Fulshear and also plans to add two-lane frontage roads on either side of the tollway. Stolleis said the Texas Department of Transportation will bid the project in July of this year, and construction could start as early as September. The estimated project cost is $21 million, according to Stolleis.
Funding for the project has come from the Toll Road Authority, TxDOT and Fort Bend County Precinct 3 County Assistant District No. 1.
“Since it’s a state highway, the goal was to not put any general tax revenues into it,” Stolleis said.
Stolleis said he expects Phase 2B construction to last 12 months.