In an effort to increase railroad traffic efficiency, Union Pacific has begun construction on its Glidden Subdivision line that runs from Houston to San Antonio. Union Pacific began phase one, which included installation of a second rail line alongside Hwy. 90 in Sugar Land, in early August. The construction will result in a series of closures at various crossings.
Closures begin Aug. 14 starting with the crossing at Wood St. Each closure is temporary for initial grading and leveling to be performed at each crossing and will last for approximately two weeks, according to city documents.
Other scheduled crossing closures between August and October in Sugar Land include: Brooks St., Ulrich St., and Main St. Dates for closures at Eldridge Road, Gillingham Lane, Schlumerger Drive, Industrial Blvd., and Dairy Ashford Rd. have not been announced.
Before each crossing closure, Union Pacific installs message boards two weeks ahead for drivers to plan alternate routes in advance.
"It's very important for us to maintain these lines of communication with the community," Union Pacific Media Director Jeff DeGraff said. "We want [citizens] to be aware of the work we're doing when coming into contact with our work."
Phase one construction is expected to be complete in spring 2015 before moving into phase two, which includes laying additional railroad track. Each phase of construction is geared towards expanding Union Pacific's capacity due to a surge in increased business activity and development in southeast Texas, DeGraff said.
The expansion in Sugar Land will connect with the newly laid track in Missouri City from Ulrich St. to Gessner Road. Construction in Missouri City wrapped up in 2013 between Gessner Road and Post Oak Road.
"We're looking to improve this rail line because we're seeing a good bit of traffic with increased development," he said. "It will increase capacity for us and it will increase efficiency."
DeGraff said a decrease in wait times at each crossing with fewer stops and slowdowns is a foreseen by-product of installing the new line. With the second track installed, Union Pacific has the ability to run two trains two and from Houston and San Antonio at any time.
"As you improve the efficiency in one segment it'll ripple across the area," DeGraff said.