Who builds roads around new developments? Plus: 7 road projects to know in The Woodlands for July

Transportation Updates

1. Kuykendahl Road bridge project

The dual bridge with two northbound and two southbound lanes on Kuykendahl Road over Spring Creek opened to the public July 6. The project widened the road from a single two-lane bridge to a dual bridge with a total of four lanes to enhance traffic flow between Harris and Montgomery counties. The project was originally scheduled to open May 17, but inclement weather pushed back the opening date to June 22 and again to July 6.

Timeline: October 2016-July 6, 2017
Cost: $6 million
Funding sources: The Woodlands Road Utility District No. 1, Montgomery County Precinct 3, Harris County Precinct 4

2. Research Forest Drive widening

This project will widen Research Forest Drive from two to four lanes with asphalt shoulders from FM 2978 to Branch Crossing Drive. The project was awarded to Cooley Construction and is expected to take approximately one year for completion. The clearing for the project has been completed, and road construction is underway, according to Don Dean, Montgomery County Precinct 2 operations manager.

Timeline: April 2017-April 2018
Cost: $8 million
Funding source: Montgomery County Precinct 2

3. Rayford Road widening

This Montgomery County Precinct 3 road bond project will widen Rayford Road from four to six lanes between Lazy Lane and the Grand Parkway. A six-lane bridge will also be constructed over the Union Pacific Corp. railroad tracks, new traffic signals will be installed and a raised median will be added to enhance the safety of left-turning motorists. Construction has begun on the bridge over the railroad tracks, and the contractor plans to continue working eastward.

Timeline: April 28, 2017-summer 2019
Cost: $60 million
Funding source: Montgomery County Precinct 3

4. FM 2978 widening

This Texas Department of Transportation project will widen FM 2978 from two to four lanes from FM 1488 to Dry Creek for
Phase 1 and from Dry Creek to Conroe Hufsmith Road for Phase 2. Construction on Phase 2 is scheduled to begin late summer 2017. Construction on Phase 2 could start as early as fall 2017, depending on utility relocations. Each phase will take about 30 months.

Timeline: TBA (Phase 1), late summer 2017-late 2019 (Phase 2)
Cost: $23.9 million
Funding sources: TxDOT, Forde Construction Co.

5. Gosling Road bridge project

Similar to the Kuykendahl Road bridge project, a $7 million dual bridge will be constructed on Gosling Road over Spring Creek as part of a future joint project between Montgomery County Precinct 3, Harris County Precinct 4 and TxDOT. Discussions between both counties and TxDOT about project initiation are still in progress.

Timeline: TBA
Cost: $7 million
Funding sources: Montgomery County Precinct 3, Harris County Precinct 4, TxDOT

6. David Memorial Drive

A $2.3 million Shenandoah Municipal Development District project will extend David Memorial Drive from Shenandoah Park Drive to Hwy. 242 in the Shenandoah area. Phase 1 was completed in late May. Phase 2, which will extend David Memorial Drive to the Shenandoah city limit, is under design.

Estimated timeline: October 2016-May 2017 (Phase 1), TBA (phases 2 and 3)

7. Birnham Woods Drive

(7A) Phase 1 of a two-part $1.2 million Montgomery County Precinct 3 project in Spring widened  Birnham Woods Drive from two to four lanes between Fuller Bluff Drive and the Grand Parkway. (7B) Phase 2 will widen Birnham Woods Drive from two lanes to four lanes with a center turn lane between the Grand Parkway and Waterbend Cove. A traffic signal will also be installed at the intersection of Birnham Woods Drive and Waterbend Cove. Phase 1 was completed in March. Phase 2 began June 12 and is on track to be completed by early August.

Estimated Timeline: February-March (Phase 1), June 12-early August (Phase 2)

Transportation UpdatesHow it works

Who builds roads around new developments?

As rapid population growth and development continue throughout the state, the Texas Department of Transportation and local entities create public-private partnerships to build roads around new developments, TxDOT officials said.

Developers often approach TxDOT about building or expanding roadways that connect to their developments or improving signalization on nearby traffic lights, TxDOT spokesperson Danny Perez said.

If the developer’s interests align with TxDOT’s goal of improving traffic flow, the two entities enter an agreement, with the developer contributing a portion or all of the costs of the project.

Perez said developers have funded a number of transportation projects—even a ramp reversal in one case. The
$2 million project swapped the location of an entrance ramp and exit ramp on I-45 in Galveston County two years ago to improve access to a business complex while also improving traffic flow and safety in the area.

Developers can also build roads themselves. The company would have to submit its plan to TxDOT—or whichever entity owns the roadway the new road would connect to—for approval to receive the appropriate permits. The developer would retain the right of way in this case.

After the road is built, the developer has the option to return the right of way to TxDOT or another entity for long-term maintenance of the road.


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