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SH 146 upgrade to freeway, Kemah/Seabrook

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According to a tweet today by TxDOT (retweet, actually), the project will move forward when right-of-way is acquired, expected to be no later than 2018 and possibly sooner.

This project will extend the freeway from its current terminus at Red Bluff to FM 518, about 3 miles. Due to right-of-way constraints, mainly a high voltage corridor on the west side, about half of the main lanes is an unconventional design with four main lanes on an elevated structure overhanging the surface road.

The environmental assessment lists 53 buildings to be cleared for the project, mostly along the west side of the existing road. So I'm thinking the chances of an early start are probably low.

Official site has the environmental assessment with diagrams and details

This view shows some of the properties to be displaced at NASA 1.

This view shows the planned design to squeeze in the main lanes where the right-of-way is especially narrow (184 feet).

Wouldn't this technically be a sort of Grand Parkway project?

This section of TX-146 could indeed be a part of the Grand Parkway ring. The elevated 4 lane structure is the bare minimum of what could be done though. I'm guessing they might add variable tolls to the elevated structure to control traffic levels. I was pretty surprised when I saw these plans. Just 4 lanes? Really?

TX-DOT probably could have put 3 or even 4 lanes on the elevated structure in each direction if they cut the surface street down to 2 lanes in each direction. But the elevated highway structure would be even bigger with 2 columns of bridge pylons rather than just one. Local residents would regard that as more unsightly. However, a 6 or 8 lane elevated structure would definitely accommodate highway traffic counts for the long term a lot better than a minimal 4 lane structure.

The Houston Business Journal reports on the efforts in progress to relocate the 60+ business which will be displaced by the expansion

I drove along the corridor several months ago and did not see any right-of-way clearance completed or in progress. According the article, construction is scheduled to begin in Fall 2018. The TxDOT web site lists a $172 million project for bidding in May 2018

Here is a new update on the project

As the article reports, right-of-way clearance is proceeding. I was in the area about 3 weeks ago, and noticed the three fast food restaurants are now closed.

Perhaps more important, the article reports that an agreement has been reached Union Pacific for the railroad right-of-way.

So, everything is looking good for this project to move forward next year. It is currently listed at $178 million for May bidding


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