The Texas Department of Transportation is in the process of purchasing right of way for the Magnolia Relief Route project, which will span around the city of Magnolia from Hwy. 249 to FM 1488, Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley said in a Jan. 9 interview.

“The need for this project is to keep as many people as possible out of that intersection at FM 1488 and FM 1774,” Riley said.

The plan is to begin engineering and design work in the first quarter of 2023, Riley said, but no figure has been determined yet for the project’s cost.

“We are anticipating a four-lane road now instead of a two-lane road,” Riley said. “The same surveys that we’ve done for years and years and years keep telling us that somewhere between 65%-70% of the people ... going through that intersection are going through. ... So this makes perfect sense to build around that intersection so that the people that are trying to get somewhere else, they don’t have to sit in traffic at that intersection.”

He said he hopes TxDOT will have purchased all the right of way needed by the third quarter of 2023.

“We’ll be in the process of doing preliminary design as [TxDOT goes] about the right of way purchase,” Riley said. “As long as we can continue doing things that we can do right now, even though we don’t have the right of way, that’s how we’re going to proceed with this project.”