Regional transportation updates

Tomball | Magnolia Regional transportation updates Texas central[/caption]

Tomball | Magnolia Regional transportation updates Texas Central—the proposed high-speed rail system from Houston to Dallas—received approval in August from the Federal Railroad Administration to use the utility corridor along Hwy. 290 as its route.


The private railway company has since begun a series of meetings with local officials and property owners to appease residents neighboring the route, Texas Central Vice President Travis Kelly said.


The company hopes to learn the concerns of residents who could be affected after the project faced some opposition for its possible use of eminent domain in Montgomery and Grimes counties.


“There was a lot of anxiety [about Texas Central], but the more people learn, the more productive the conversations [became],” Kelly said.


Texas Central hosted the meetings as
a precursor to the process of attaining rights of way in the second quarter of 2016 when the FRA environmental study is completed, Kelly said.


Texas Central announced an agreement with Archer Western Construction and Ferrovial Agroman U.S. Corp. in October to provide engineering, cost-estimation and construction-related activities for $130 million. Combined with $75 million raised in capital in July, the company is halfway toward its goal of securing $400 million before starting construction, which is expected to begin in 2017.   


Texas Central plans to start selling tickets in 2020 and give its first ride in 2021.




Tomball | Magnolia Regional transportation updates Hwy. 249 corridor extension[/caption]

Tomball | Magnolia Regional transportation updates Hwy. 249 corridor extension[/caption]

The 1.5-mile, $175 million Tomball Tollway Phase 2 extension will span six lanes just north of FM 2920 to the Harris County line at Spring Creek. The project is expected to begin construction in January 2017 and should be complete in early 2019, said John Tyler, Harris County Toll Road Authority deputy director of engineering.


The next section of Phase 2, which will extend six lanes from Spring Creek to the area near Woodtrace Boulevard in Pinehurst, could begin construction in mid-2017 and should be complete in early 2019, said Danny Perez, Texas Department of Transportation Houston District public information officer.


TxDOT is constructing the remainder of the 24-mile
Hwy. 249 extension in two segments—Phase 3 runs from near Woodtrace Boulevard to FM 1774 near Todd Mission and Phase 4 is from FM 1774 to Hwy. 105 near Navasota.


Phase 3 will be constructed as a four-lane tollway, and Phase 4 will include two lanes with an intermittent passing lane. Pending a public hearing in Grimes County, the segments could open as soon as summer 2019, Perez said.




Tomball | Magnolia Regional transportation updates Hwy. 290[/caption]

Tomball | Magnolia Regional transportation updates Hwy. 290[/caption]

Plans to widen Hwy. 290 from Loop 610 to FM 2920 will continue throughout 2016 as construction crews are expected to cross Beltway 8 and start focusing more on projects in the Cypress area.


The $1.3 billion project was launched
in 2011 by the Texas Department of Transportation to ease the congestion created by the more than 250,000 vehicles that travel the highway daily.


“We have been focusing a lot on what’s inside the Beltway—and there is so much progress being made at the Loop 610/Hwy. 290 interchange—but it’s exciting to see what’s happening farther out,” TxDOT spokesperson Karen Othon said.


The project will provide five general-purpose lanes from Loop 610 to Hwy. 6, four general-purpose lanes from Hwy. 6 to the Grand Parkway and one high occupancy vehicle lane in each direction from Loop 610 to Mason Road when complete.


The project is expected to be complete in its entirety—from Loop 610 to the Harris County line—by late 2017.