Construction on the Northpark Drive overpass project in Kingwood is projected to begin April 23 following an April 13 groundbreaking ceremony for the long-awaited project that was first proposed in 2015.

Project details: According to officials with the Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority, also known as Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 10, the roughly $76.2 million project will:
  • Expand Northpark Drive from four to six lanes between Hwy. 59 and Russell Palmer Road;
  • Add an overpass over the Union Pacific Corp. railroad tracks and Loop 494; and
  • Create an additional evacuation route in and out of Kingwood.
Quote of note: “The cost [of the Northpark Drive overpass project] has escalated tremendously, not only because of the materials, but because of what happened during Hurricane Harvey,” Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin said. “[Kingwood] became an island. We couldn't get people out. We couldn't get Red Cross in here, so one of the things that [Mayor Sylvester Turner] charged us with doing was build a new evacuation road. The Northpark Drive overpass project will provide a tremendous amount of safety.”

Project benefits: Once completed, LHRA officials said the Northpark Drive overpass project will:
  • Decrease traffic delays and travel time;
  • Elevate Northpark Drive over the 500-year floodplain;
  • Increase drainage capacity; and
  • Include the installation of amenity ponds near Hwy. 59, landscaping improvements, corridor lighting and pedestrian sidewalks.
Project background: The Northpark Drive overpass project was first proposed following the completion of the 2015 Kingwood Area Mobility Study. According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s 2022 Most Congested Roadways in Texas report, Northpark Drive from Sorters McClellan Road to Mills Branch Drive ranked as the 114th most-congested roadway in the state.

The project was initially projected to cost around $52 million, but officials said inflation and supply-chain issues have driven up the cost. Officials noted the city of Houston is contributing roughly $9.5 million toward the project, with TIRZ 10 picking up the remainder of the bill.