TxDOT project to relieve FM 1960 traffic pains delayed to early 2020

New turn lanes on FM 1960 near Willowbrook Mall are planned in 2020.

New turn lanes on FM 1960 near Willowbrook Mall are planned in 2020.

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A $16.37 million Texas Department of Transportation project on FM 1960 originally scheduled to go out to bid a year ago will not begin in 2019 and has been pushed back to February 2020, according to a TxDOT official.

The project, which will likely take two years to complete, seeks to address congestion on FM 1960 near Willowbrook Mall by adding right- and left-turn lanes between Cutten Road and Centerfield Drive, TxDOT Public Information Officer Danny Perez said. FM 1960 was named one of the state’s 100 most-congested corridors, according to a 2018 Texas A&M Transportation Institute study.

The project was originally scheduled to go out for bid in January 2018, but TxDOT needs additional time for right of way acquisition, Perez said.

“[Right of way acquisition] is the main reason we are needing additional time before the project lets,” he said.

Several local utility districts have expressed opposition to TxDOT’s plan. Officials with Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 191, which serves a section of the construction zone, said parts of the project are too disruptive for businesses in the area.

In 2017, MUD 191 proposed an alternative to relieve congestion but reduce adverse effects such as detours, MUD 191 President Robert Price said. In 2018, Cy-Champ Public Utility District presented a similar plan to TxDOT.

“Like the earlier alternative, it would shorten the ‘orange barrel time’ and other impacts,” Price said. “It would make funds available to help the rest of FM 1960.”

As of late 2018 the status of the proposals was not clear, Price said.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


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