Grand Parkway widening, FM 2920 improvements among top Greater Houston area road projects that could get federal funding

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After receiving 193 applications across the Greater Houston area, the Houston-Galveston Area Council released a draft ranking Jan. 16 of projects that could be funded with roughly $920 million—including federal funding and state and local matches—through 2028.

The H-GAC rankings span eight counties: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller counties. The group considered a variety of factors when ranking projects, including how much the project would enhance mobility, economic competitiveness, planning coordination and environmental factors.

Public comments will also weigh into the production of final rankings. Comments can be submitted online, by mail or by phone through Feb. 28. Public comments for the longer-term 2045 Regional Transportation Plan will be accepted from March 19 through April 16.

Following the public review period, H-GAC will make the final selection of projects for federal funding for the 2019-22 Transportation Improvement Program, the 10-year plan and the 2045 RTP. A series of public meetings will also be hosted around Houston, starting with a Jan. 24 meeting at Friendswood City Hall.

A list of the top ranked projects in the draft report in each major category can be found below. A draft list of all ranked projects and details can be found here.

Major investments: Projects that cost more than $100 million

Project: Inner Katy bus rapid transit and busway
Project scope: I-10 from Loop 610 West to the Katy Freeway HOV lane downtown connector ramp
Federal funding requested: $168.6 million by 2021
Details: Construction of a multimodal dedicated busway with grade separation and connections to high occupancy vehicle lanes and the Burnett Transit Center. The busway would provide routes for rapid transit buses between the Uptown/Galleria area and Downtown Houston, HOV commuters and regional express network buses between Park & Rides on I-10 and Hwy. 290 and Downtown.
Note: This project was the only project submitted to the “Major Investments” category that was recommended for funding by H-GAC in the 10-year plan.

Expansion projects: Adding capacity, completing new streets

Project: Purchase new buses for new service line along Hwy. 59 Southwest
Project scope: Hwy. 59 Southwest from First Colony AMC Theatre in Sugar Land to Downtown Houston
Federal funding requested: $4.1 million by 2020
Details: Purchase 28 new buses to establish a new Fort Bend County Transit commuter route connecting Fort Bend County to Downtown Houston. Funding would also support operating expenses for an initial three-year period. FBCT has proposed ordering the buses in late 2020.

Project: Grand Parkway Segment D widening
Project scope: Grand Parkway from north of KIngsland Boulevard to the Fort Bend County line
Federal funding requested: $6.8 million by 2022
Details: The highway would be widened from four lanes to six lanes.

Project: Grand Parkway Segment D widening
Project scope: Grand Parkway from the Harris County line to FM 1093
Federal funding requested: $30.4 million by 2022
Details: The highway would be widened from four lanes to six lanes.

Management projects: Access management, safety, transit

Project: FM 2920 access management improvements
Project scope: FM 2920 from Kuykendahl Road to Lexington Road
Federal funding requested: $965,000 by 2022
Details: Roughly 18,000 linear feet of raised medians. Dedicated right turn lanes on FM 2920 including: a westbound lane at the I-45 frontage road; an eastbound exclusive right turn lane at the I-45 frontage road; eastbound and westbound right turn lanes at Flavel Road; an eastbound right turn lane at Rhodes Road; and a westbound right turn lane at Kuykendahl Road.

Project: FM 1092 access management improvements
Project scope: Hwy. 6 to Hwy. 59
Federal funding requested: $1.5 million by 2022
Details: A variety of improvements including expanding FM 1092 south from Avenue E from four to six lanes, constructing a 13-foot raised median, installing sidewalks and bicycle lanes at various points and installing crosswalks and pedestrian signals at various points.

Project: Traffic management system in Bellaire
Project scope: Bellaire Boulevard, Bissonnet Street, South Rice Avenue, Newcastle Street
Federal funding requested: $548,000 by 2022
Details: Installation of a traffic management system to improve traffic incident detection, response and clearance times and better on-site management of incidents. Includes closed-circuit cameras, dynamic message signs and sensors at 14 traffic signals monitored by the city of Bellaire.

Maintain: Rehabilitation, reconstruction, resiliency

Project: South Loop 336 widening
Project scope: FM 1314 to I-45
Federal funding requested: $9.7 million by 2022
Details: South Loop 336 in Conroe would be widened from two lanes to a four-lane divided roadway.

Project: West Bellfort Park & Ride modifications
Project scope:West Bellfort Park & Ride, 11415 Roark Road, Houston
Federal funding requested: $18.6 million by 2021
Details: Updates are needed to meet increasing demand, including a site redesign to accommodate two more bus bays and the addition of parking spaces. The bus canopy will be replaced, and funding will also be used to support efforts to deter cars from parking illegally.

Project: I-45 /Hwy. 242 intersection improvements
Project scope: I-45 at Hwy. 242
Federal funding requested: $9.3 million by 2022
Details: Operational improvements would be made at the intersection.

Active transportation: Bicycle, pedestrian, public transit projects

Project: Accessibility improvements at bus stops
Project scope: The entire Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s service area
Federal funding requested: $90 million through 2025
Details: Installation of new sidewalks where there are none, reconstruction of sidewalks in disrepair and the installation of ADA accessible bus pads and ramps. METRO has requested $15 million per year to complete the upgrades.

Project: Pedestrian bicycle connection at Wheeler Transit Center
Project scope: Hwy. 59 from Graustark Street to Main Street
Federal funding requested: $1.4 million by 2020
Details: Construction of a grade-separated 10-foot-wide shared use path.

Project: Memorial Park bicycle pedestrian connection
Project scope: I-10 from Westcott Street to Cohn Street
Federal funding requested: $2.2 million by 2020
Details: Construction of a 10-foot-wide concrete shared use path.

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Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.
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