TxDOT is in the process of constructing a new state highway in Lubbock. The proposed Loop 88 bypass will be a controlled access facility consisting of a six-lane divided freeway (three lanes in each direction) with two-lane frontage roads. The Loop 88 project is approximately 37 miles long and will be constructed in four segments. Segment 3, which TxDOT is currently acquiring right-of-way for, will be the first to be completed. Segments 1 and 2 will follow.
Segment 1 begins at the intersection of US 84 and FM 2641 and connects with the beginning of Segment 2 at State Highway 114. Segment 2 stretches to the intersection of US 62 and US 82 at the beginning of Segment 3. The length of Segment 1 and 2 is approximately 16.05 miles. Segments 1 and 2 received final Environmental Assessment in the fall of 2020. The next step will be right-of-way acquisitions which are predicted to begin in 2022. The project will need approximately 850 acres of new right-of-way and is anticipated to displace 12 residential properties.
TxDOT is working on a major roadway project in Tarrant County. The Southeast Connector project will reconstruct and widen I-20, I-820 and US 287, including the three major interchanges for each highway. The project will also include the creation of bicycle/pedestrian accommodations including shared-use paths and sidewalks along frontage roads and at cross-street intersections. The total project length is 16 miles. The Southeast Connector project will require approximately 22 acres of right-of-way. TxDOT predicts that this could result in 23 residential displacements and 19 commercial displacements. The Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and the final environmental assessment were made available for public review in September 2020. The next steps for the project will be right-of-way acquisition.
SH 332 in Brazoria County is soon to be improved by TxDOT. The roadway project is 5.3 miles in length and spans from FM 521 to SH 288. The project includes three major improvements. The first improvement will occur at the stretch of the road from FM 521 to FM 2004 and will include the reconstruction and widening of the roadway from two to four lanes. The second major improvement targets SH 332 from FM 2004 to SH 288. This section of the road will be widened from four to six lanes. The third major improvement will be the reconstruction of the bridge over Buffalo Camp Bayou. The project also includes some minimal improvements, namely the construction of sidewalks and a new drainage channel.
TxDOT is in the final stages of their plans for SH 332. The final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) were released in the fall of 2020. The next step for the project will be the acquisition of right-of-way. The project would require approximately 70.4 acres of additional right-of-way. After right-of-way acquisition, TxDOT will start construction.
Since the late 1990s, TxDOT has been planning the improvement of the I-35E corridor in Dallas and Denton counties. In 2018, the first phase of the I-35E project was completed. Now, TxDOT is looking to complete the I-35E project with Phase II. These improvements are a part of a statewide strategic plan, the Texas Clear Lanes project, which aims to provide congestion relief in the five largest metro areas in the state.
The I-35E Phase II project will impact the segment of I-35E from I-635 to the Denton County line. The Phase II project will reconstruct and widen the road from six to eight lanes. Additionally, the project will improve intersections and reconstruct the two existing managed toll lanes. According to a project fact sheet, the project has $75 million allocated to acquiring Right of Way (ROW). TxDOT anticipates that construction on the project will begin in late 2021, but before then, it is likely that TxDOT will need to acquire additional ROW from Dallas County landowners.
TxDOT and Hidalgo County are working together to make improvements to Nolana Loop in order to improve mobility and accommodate current and future traffic flow. Improvements will be made to the stretch of Nolana Loop that spans from FM 1426 (Raul Longoria Road) to FM 88 (Texas Avenue). The project is 9.8 miles and will widen, reconstruct, and extend the roadway.
In August 2020, the Final Environmental Assessment and the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) were made available for public review. The next step for the project is the acquisition of approximately 82.6 acres of Right of Way (ROW), which is anticipated to force the relocation of several residences and one commercial structure. Once ROW is acquired, the project will begin construction.
In response to growth in Fort Bend County and in order to meet current design standards, TxDOT is preparing to widen FM 723. The project is 9.23 miles long and stretches from Avenue D to FM 1093. The proposed plans will transform FM 723 from a two lane road to a four lane road. The project requires TxDOT to acquire approximately 100 acres of Right-of-Way (ROW). As of fall 2020, TxDOT has been in the process of acquiring ROW and conducting appraisals on impacted properties. Once ROW is acquired, construction will begin.
TxDOT is preparing for future population growth in Denton County with their most recent plans to improve State Loop 288. The project extends 9 miles from IH 35 W to IH 35. The final product of the SL 288 improvements will be a newly located, four-lane frontage road system. Improvements will be completed in two phases. Phase one includes the construction of one frontage road which will be a two-lane, two way street. Phase one also includes securing right of way and constructing a sidewalk and median. In Phase two, there will be construction of another two lane frontage road, and both two-lane frontage roads will become one-way frontage roads. In August 2020, the project’s Final Environmental Assessment was issued by TxDOT for public review. The next step for the project is the acquisition of approximately 414.7 acres of Right of Way.
In 2019, TxDOT completed a study analyzing the I-10 El Paso Corridor, which is 55 miles long and extends from the New Mexico state line to FM 3380 (Aguilera International Highway). This stretch of highway is not only accommodating a growing population, but also helps facilitate international trade. The “Reimagine I-10” study identified four segments of the corridor and developed roadway solutions for each. Projects for each segment will be prioritized by TxDOT and will go through preliminary engineering (schematic) and environmental processes accordingly.
At this point in the Reimagine I-10 project, TxDOT has only prioritized improvements to Segment 2 which runs through downtown El Paso. The proposed Downtown I-10 project extends for 5.6 miles from Executive Center Boulevard to Loop 478 (Copia Street). The proposed improvements include reconstruction of the main lines, retaining walls, bridges, ramps, and cross streets. The project is anticipated to get environmental approval by 2024, which would be followed by ROW acquisitions and finally, construction.
Texas could become home to the nation’s first high-speed rail. Texas Central, a private company funded by foreign investors, is seeking to build a 240-mile, high speed rail connecting Dallas and Houston. The Texas High Speed Rail is modeled after and utilizes the the same technology as the high speed rail in Japan which connects Tokyo to Osaka. Texas Central has been met with strong opposition from some Texas lawmakers and rural landowners. Despite this opposition, the project is moving forward through the regulatory process.
In May of 2020, the Federal Railroad Administration released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the project. In September 2020, the Federal Railroad Administration released a pre-publication of its final ruling, the Rule of Particular Applicability and Record of Decision, which addresses safety requirements of the project.
Before construction begins, Texas Central still needs to acquire additional right-of-way needed for the project. The high-speed rail will have an unprecedented negative impact on the value of impacted properties. Additionally, the project must still be approved by the Federal Surface Transportation Board before construction can begin.
Williamson County and the City of Taylor are reconstructing County Road 101 as a part of the county’s Long Range Transportation Plan which is designed to meet the needs of the county’s growing population. The $13 million project is 3.2 miles in length and spans from US 79 to Chandler Road. CR 101 will be reconstructed with two 12-foot lanes and left turn lanes at the intersections of CR 394/CR368 and Chandler Road. Additionally, the project will include two bridges. Construction is anticipated to be completed in fall of 2021 and the County has already begun the process of acquiring Right of Way.