City of Tomball plans major construction projects in 2014

The city of Tomball plans to begin construction work on two large projects in 2014 to keep pace with growth in the city and plan for the city's future mobility needs. The projects include extending Medical Complex Drive and building a drainage channel near Hwy. 249.

The city is moving forward with plans to help with mobility near Tomball Regional Medical Center, by extending Medical Complex Drive through to South Cherry Street, and eventually extending the street to Hwy. 249.

"It's going to be an east/west corridor that will provide gained access to the hospital and other medical facilities," Tomball City Manager George Shackelford said.

The Medical Complex Drive extension, which will cost a total of $50 million, is broken up into five phases. The city is first focusing on Phase 3, which involves connecting Medical Complex Drive from where it dead-ends in the hospital area through to Cherry Street. That part of the project is estimated to cost $6.4 million—funds the city has already secured, in part from, the Tomball Economic Development Corporation and funding in the city budget.

"It's in the bank, ready to spend," Shackelford said.

City officials are in the process of obtaining the land needed to complete the extension. There are still two pieces of property left to obtain.

"We are still lacking the right-of-way on Medical Complex," Shackelford said.

Once that process is complete, which is anticipated by the first part of the year, the city will move forward with the construction.

Sidewalks

The city is nearing completion on another medical area project meant to better connect the hospital and medical facilities in the area—the installation of sidewalks along Graham Drive and Lawrence Street.

The construction on the 4,000-feet of new sidewalk started in August and is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The city of Tomball budgeted $400,000 for the project, but it is under budget at about $300,000, Shackelford said. Funding for the sidewalk project comes from money generated through the city's red light camera system.

Shackelford said this project aims to improve life for hospital patients, as well as people who live and work in the area.

"The sidewalks tie all the doctors offices and clinics and homes and the hospital together," he said.

Existing sidewalks on Graham Drive have been extended to the front of the H-E-B on Business 249. Sidewalks on Lawrence run from Graham Drive south to Medical Complex Drive.

In addition to making it easier for patients and doctors to get around, Shackelford said, investing in the hospital area is vital as Tomball continues to see growth.

"The medical facilities are a huge economic factor for the city," he said.

Drainage

The city also expects to start construction in the first part of 2014 on the M121 drainage channel in Tomball. The channel, which will run along Cherry Street, will provide an avenue for water to drain from the downtown area into a detention pond. The M121 channel is budgeted at $10.8 million, Shackelford said.

The city is in the process of obtaining five parcels of land needed for the project. The city has closed on, or is about to close on, three parcels, and are still working on obtaining the two remaining pieces of land.

The drainage channel will take two years to build, Shackelford said.

"It creates a relief channel right through the center of town," he said. "This will relieve a lot of detention issues for future development."