Construction on Northpark Drive could begin in 2020
Although construction on the expansion of Northpark Drive to six lanes from from Loop 494 to Woodland Hills Drive was previously expected to begin in 2019, work on the project is slated now for 2020 after a delay by the Houston-Galveston Area Council.
The TIRZ is seeking a spot on the H-GAC's Call for Projects for Northpark Drive, which will help the project secure funding from the federal government. The timeline for the Call for Projects was moved from early 2017 to Fall 2017, TIRZ and LHRA Chairman Stan Sarman said. A infrastructure project in the region can receive federal funding after it is selected for the Call For Projects.
It will take a year to formulate the shortlist of projects and a determination of funding will be announced in Fall 2019, extending the construction timeline to sometime in 2020, he said.
However, Houston City Council Member Dave Martin is petitioning Houston mayor Sylvester Turner to shift funds earmarked for the the expansion of Kingwood Drive to get construction started sooner, said Jessica Beemer, North Sector Manager for the office of Houston City Council Member Dave Martin.
Intersection improvements in Kingwood
Construction will begin this summer on a designated turn lane and traffic signalization at the intersection of West Lake Houston Parkway and Northpark Drive, and another at the Kings Crossing Drive and West Lake Houston Parkway intersection. The $1.2 million project will take 60-75 days to complete, Sarman said.
Passengers traveling east on Northpark Drive will be able to turn right onto West Lake Houston Parkway. Meanwhile, passengers traveling north on West Lake Houston Parkway will receive a dedicated right-turn lane onto Kings Crossing Drive.
Lifespan extension talks
The Kingwood TIRZ and LHRA are in talks with the city of Houston to extend its lifespan past 2027. Without the expansion, the entity will not be able to purchase bonds that will fund the expansions of Northpark and Kingwood drives, he said. Twenty and 30 year bonds are often necessary to fund large projects.
The TIRZ is seeking a 30-year extension, Sarman said.