Tomball’s Main Street reconstruction project is moving forward after City Council chose its preference for the project at a March 20 meeting, with construction anticipated to begin in 2025-26.

Following two public meetings last year and resident feedback, the city selected Alternative 2—preliminary design plans featuring a raised median near the railroad crossing at Elm and Sycamore streets instead of medians from Pine to Elm streets. The preferred design will also make Oak and Walnut streets one-way roads, according to the preliminary design.

Tomball City Manager David Esquivel said next steps for City Council include conveying the design change to the Texas Department of Transportation to begin putting contracts together to advance the project, which is anticipated to cost around $28.61 million.

“The chamber believes that this could be one of the last times that [downtown] Tomball is given a chance to be enhanced and renovated,” said Bruce Hillegeist, president of the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s going to be a new facelift for Old Town.”

Spearheaded by TxDOT, the FM 2920 reconstruction project was first identified as a need through the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s access management study from 2007-08 and Livable Centers Study in 2009, Community Impact previously reported. The goal of this project is better mobility and crash reduction.

With the project spanning from Business 249 to Willow Street, the Alternative 2 design applies to the downtown Tomball portion—from Pine to Sycamore streets. In addition to minimizing medians, this plan includes updating the sidewalks, replacing the trees lining Main Street, and updating crosswalks at Pine, Cherry, Elm and Sycamore streets.

“That’s what, in my opinion, the definition of Tomball needs to be, is like a mini Fredericksburg of Harris County that attracts [people] from all over Texas,” Mayor Lori Klein Quinn said. “Our shop owners have really good ideas on things that will attract [people], and that’s what I hope this area will [do].”

The road to a plan

In March 2022, Tomball and TxDOT officials held the first public meeting on the FM 2920 reconstruction project and were met with overwhelming opposition toward the proposed raised medians, Community Impact previously reported.

Following that meeting, two alternatives to the original plan were shared during a second public meeting in December. Alternative 2 features a raised median near the railroad crossing, while Alternative 3 featured raised medians at Sycamore, Walnut, Elm and Oak streets.

Out of 101 submitted public comment cards and online surveys, 39 people—which was the most out of any option—expressed their support for Alternative 2.

Scott Moore, owner of Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue on Elm Street and Tejas Burger Joint on Main Street, said he voted in favor of the design.

“FM 2920 is congested, and in the Old Town district in particular, sidewalks are in disrepair,” Moore said. “We need to make it safer for traffic and pedestrians. This plan will help do that.”

Moore said he believes the new design will make the area more accessible and safer for everyone.

“People insist on taking a left turn onto Main Street all the time, and it’s a pretty rough left turn with no stoplight,” Moore said. “This will make that problem much safer, as will more crosswalks. I see people cross the street all the time, so hopefully this will encourage people to cross safely instead of in the middle of the street.”

Position 2 Council Member John Ford said he believes Alternative 2 seemed like the best choice.

“The one thing that we heard from both businesses and the community was that the medians were not wanted down the middle of Tomball,” Ford said. “And so the choice, No. 2, had the fewest medians.”

Old Town Tomball’s future

With a design chosen, the city is entering the contract phase of this project with construction several years out, Esquivel said.

Public Works Director Drew Huffman said construction will likely begin in 2025 or 2026 after traffic impact analysis and environmental studies are done, and the engineering documents are put together.

The projected cost of the project is $28.61 million, funded primarily by the state and federal government, according to city information. Tomball is expecting to shoulder the design, utility relocations and 10% of the right-of-way acquisition cost.

In an email, Assistant City Manager Jessica Rogers said the city has designated $3 million for FM 2920 from its Capital Improvement Program.

“I don’t want to speculate how much it would be [now] because it’s too open-ended at this point, but we know that it’s going to be more ... [than] that $3 million figure,” Esquivel said.

Rogers said any additional funds needed for the project will be discussed with City Council once the project is further along.

Hillegeist said the chamber is already discussing ways to keep downtown businesses accessible during the construction phase including using different access points such as back entrances.

Huffman also said he expects the city’s alleyway project to be completed before construction on FM 2920 begins. The alley project’s Phase 1—which encompasses the 100 blocks of downtown—is anticipated to cost around $1.2 million and will renovate the alleyways downtown to be more walkable and have amenities such as seating, Community Impact previously reported.

Esquivel said the city is reviewing the first bid for the first phase of the project as of late April.

“It’ll be a very pedestrian-friendly, walkable, inviting environment in the downtown area,” Huffman said. “And with that being completed before [FM] 2920 is constructed [and] the parking lots along our downtown area [that] will not be affected during this project so people will still have the ability to park, they’ll still have the ability to walk. Hopefully we’ll have as minimal business impact as possible with [the FM 2920 project].”

Aaron Edwards, executive director of the Tomball Renewal Center and Re:Bar Cafe & Juicestillery on Main Street, said he believes improvements to Old Town will help Tomball become more of a destination.

“I think the renovations that they are talking about are going to be really great in the long run,” he said in an interview. “Improved sidewalks, doing some work in the alleys, things like that will be nothing but positive for us.”

In addition to traffic improvements, Esquivel said he expects the FM 2920 project to improve accessibility downtown after the intersections are made Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant and the sidewalks are widened.

“It’s going to have a direct impact not only aesthetically, because it’s going to be new there, but also the accessibility with wider sidewalks,” Esquivel said. “It’s going to be much nicer and pleasant to walk downtown. And I think that’s going to have a huge impact.”


Will the traffic pattern stay the same?

Yes and no. The traffic pattern on FM 2920 will stay the same while Oak and Walnut streets will become one-way streets.

What will happen to the trees along Main Street?

The trees that line Main Street will be removed. However, TxDOT will replace them as part of the project. The size of the new trees will be 4-6-inch caliper trees—or 22-30-feet tall. The species is still to be determined.

How much will this project cost?

This project will cost $28.61 million in total, with $22.89 million coming from the federal government and $5.72 million coming from the state. The city will be responsible for design, utilities and 10% of right-of-way acquisition.

When will construction begin?

Construction is not anticipated to begin until 2025 or 2026.