City of Pearland officials are working on a project that will provide citizens improved access to the Hwy. 288 toll lanes between Broadway Street and McHard Road. The project will also place the West Pearland Community Center on a major thoroughfare.

The Smith Ranch Road widening project will upgrade the existing two-lane asphalt roadway from FM 518 to Hughes Ranch Road to a four-lane, divided, concrete curb-and-gutter roadway with an underground storm sewer system.

In addition, the project will include constructing a continuous 10-foot-wide shared-use path along the west side of the roadway with a pedestrian ramp. Workers will add landscaping, irrigation and fiber-optic cables from Broadway to the Westside Event Center.

The project will enhance overall safety in accordance with the city’s Major Thoroughfare Plan by converting narrow asphalt lanes with roadside ditches into a concrete curb-and-gutter roadway with medians. Most of the money for the project is not local, city officials said.

“The project is funded through the Transportation Improvement Program with [the] Houston-Galveston Area Council, so it's about 80% funded with federal dollars,” City Manager Trent Epperson said.

In fiscal year 2020-21, staff submitted a request to U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Richmond, for legislatively appropriated funding, according to agenda documents.

The request was approved, and the city’s proposed $2 million allocation for the completion of the Texas Department of Transportation-funded widening of Smith Ranch Road will help meet the local share of that federally funded project, according to agenda documents.

On June 26, Pearland City Council voted to amend a professional service contract with DEC, the contractor that has handled the design work for the project.

The design work is about 90% complete. The project should begin the bid phase by the end of September with construction expected to begin in early 2024.