In Tomball, a $28.6 million project adding raised medians, drainage, signal improvements and sidewalks from Business 249 to Willow Street is scheduled to go out for construction bids in September 2022 alongside a $1.37 million project for the same span to install new infrastructure, according to TxDOT information.
The projects are funded, TxDOT engineer John Elam said, and follow a design-build process, meaning projects are let for bids and built as each piece of the project is designed.
As FM 2920 extends through downtown Tomball, a small business hub, chamber President Bruce Hillegeist said it will be important to keep business access top of mind during construction.
“We want to minimize impact [to businesses],” Elam said.
Elam said installing a raised median complicates access to businesses, yielding many complaints from residents and business owners, but it helps reduce the number of vehicle collisions. According to TxDOT's Access Management Manual, studies have shown that roadways with a raised median have an average crash rate of about 30% less than roadways with continuous two-way left turn lanes.
“Traditionally most businesses don’t like raised medians,” he said. “The raised medians improve safety and circulation of traffic. Once people get used to that, all the complaints go down.”
Further east, access management improvements are slated between Willow Street and I-45, totaling $2.33 million, and a $2.99 million project to add a raised median is also planned for FM 2920 between Hwy. 99 and I-45, both of which are set to go out for construction bids in February 2022, according to TxDOT information.
Projects that are currently unfunded are also under development to improve FM 2920 in the Tomball area.
The projects would widen FM 2920 from two to four lanes between Business 290 and Cypress Rosehill Road—totaling $165.7 million—and from four to six lanes between Cypress Rosehill Road and Hwy. 249, totaling $63 million, according to TxDOT information. A project is also under development to widen FM 2920 between Business 249 in Tomball and I-45 from two lanes to six divided lanes, a project estimated to total $116 million. Construction timelines are unknown for these projects, as funding has not yet been obtained.