The Oak Hill Parkway project, a proposed expansion of US Highway 290 and State Highway 71, recently received environmental clearance following the completion of a six year study evaluating the potential impact of construction along the two highways. The Final Environment Impact Statement, released on December 21st, concluded that Alternative A – a non-tolled 12-lane project – has “fewer social, economic and environmental impacts,” than other proposed construction alternatives for the highways.
More specifically, the Oak Hill Parkway project consists of three main lanes for through traffic and three frontage-road lanes in each direction on both highways. An overpass for the US 290 main lanes over William Cannon Drive would also be built, in addition to flyovers between US 290 and SH 71. Bicycle and pedestrian accommodations would also be incorporated throughout the corridor. The estimated construction cost of the Oak Hill Parkway project is $440 million, and the earliest the project could break ground is 2020. The project is expected to take four years to complete. More information on the project can be found at http://www.oakhillparkway.com/.
On September 5th, 2018 Kinder Morgan and EagleClaw Midstream announced that they have authorized $2 billion for the construction of the Permian Highway Pipeline Project. The pipeline will transport natural gas 430 miles from Fort Stockton in west Texas, to Katy, Texas near Houston. The Permian Highway Pipeline project is expected to carry up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day through a 42-inch pipeline.
Allen Fore, Vice President of Public Affairs for Kinder Morgan, stated that the pipeline will be buried at least four feet deep, and will require the pipeline company to purchase 50 foot easements from landowners, in addition to 25 to 50 feet work easements. Kinder Morgan also stated that construction on the project should begin in the fall of 2019, and become operational the following year. The pipeline company is already working on the construction of the $1.7 billion Gulf Coast Express pipeline, also running from the Permian Basin to Gulf of Mexico.
On July 30th, Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. announced an expansion of the western segment of its refined petroleum products pipeline system in Texas. This expansion, which will increase the capacity of the pipeline form 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 175,000 bpd, will be accomplished by three separate construction projects. First, Magellan will build a new 140 mile pipeline from Hearne to Alexander, Texas following Magellan’s existing pipeline route between the two cities. Secondly, Magellan will be expanding the diameter of this existing pipeline to take on a greater capacity of petroleum products. Lastly, Magellan will construct a connecting pipeline to ExxonMobil Pipeline Company’s terminal in Wink, Texas.
The western segment of pipeline to be expanded runs across Erath, Bosque, McLennan, Falls, and Robertson counties. Magellan estimates that the pipeline expansion project will cost approximately $500 million, and will be completed by mid-2020, depending on the receipt of necessary permits and approvals. The company is also considering the construction of new terminals in Midland and the Delaware Basin.
On June 12th of this year, Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. and Exxon Mobil announced that they had begun the process of constructing a new pipeline by signing a letter of intent to pursue the creation of a joint venture. The pipeline, which is still unnamed, will transport crude oil and condensate from Permian basin to the Texas Gulf Coast. More specifically, the pipeline is set to originate in Wink and Midland, Texas and have terminals in Webster, Baytown, and Beaumont.
Importantly, Plains Pipeline and Exxon’s announcement stated that, “a priority would be placed on using existing pipeline corridors to help limit potential community and environmental disruptions.” Based on information from property owners who have received surveying permit requests from Plains Pipeline, it appears that portions of the proposed new Plains / Exxon Mobil pipeline will run parallel to Enterprise Product Partners’ recent “Shin Oak” pipeline. Neither Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. nor Exxon Mobil has released any updates about the pipeline since their initial announcement in June.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) has proposed a construction project that would widen two segments of Interstate Highway 45 in the city limits of Huntsville in Walker County. The first of these two segments, Segment 2A, is 4.4 miles long and would run from 0.3 miles north of SH 19 to 0.9 miles north of SH 30. The proposed project would include widening IH-45 from four lanes to six lanes, reconstructing and realigning the main lanes and ramps of the highway, and improving existing frontage roads, crossroads, interchanges, drainage structures, and bridges. The project would also add collector-distributor roads to IH-45, which connect the main highway to frontage roads. The road widening project and its improvements would require 11.5 additional acres of right-of-way, displacing four commercial structures.
The second segment of the proposed project, Segment 2B, is 4.7 miles long, and would run from SH 30 to 0.7 miles south of FM 1696. The project would also widen IH-45 from four to six lanes, and includes the same improvements as Segment 2A, with the exception of adding in collector-distributor roads. This segment of the project would also relocate the interchanges of SH 75 to near San Jacinto Street (west of I-45) and Moffett Springs Road (east of I-45). TXDoT has not stated how many additional acres of right-of-way this segment would require. On August, 9th TXDoT held a public hearing in the Walker County Storm Shelter in Huntsville, Texas to gather public input on the proposed road widening project. Construction on Segment 2A is estimated to begin in the fall of 2021, while construction on Segment 2B is estimated to begin in the fall of 2023.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) is currently considering an expansion of US Highway-79, between I-35 and FM 1460 in the city of Round Rock in Williamson County. The proposed project would widen the stretch of highway by an additional lane in each direction, with the possibility for new overpasses to be constructed. Additionally, the project would include a raised median and intersection improvements, as well as modifications to driveways and access points along US 79 to improve safety and traffic flow. TXDoT will be holding an open house in the PFC Robert P. Hernandez Middle School Cafeteria on August 23rd at 5:30 p.m. to gain public input on the proposed improvements.
Round Rock residents have complained in recent years about the continually worsening traffic along US 79, which less than two decades ago was relatively traffic free. Unfortunately, the city’s quickly growing population has caused traffic in the area to skyrocket. From 2015 to 2016 alone, the number of cars traveling on US 79 just east of I-35 increased by 7.5%, while traffic on the same highway increased by 8.5% near FM 1460. TXDoT has already added a new left turn lane on US 79 to alleviate the increase in traffic, but has yet to announce specific start and end dates for the road widening project.
Sempra LNG & Midstream and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP are jointly developing the Permian 2 Katy Pipeline (P2K). The proposed pipeline will connect the Permian Basin to the Texas Gulf Coast and Mexico. The pipelines will harvest natural gas from the Waha Oil Fields near Pecos in Reeves and Ward counties. One of the terminal points will be southeast of Katy, while the other terminus will travel south of Rosenberg to the Houston Ship Channel. The project lists the potential benefit of shipping the exports to Mexico or beyond, given the demand for natural gas supplies. The pipeline will be 42-inches and 36-inches in diameter
In April 2018, the pipeline received its initial permit issued from the Railroad Commission of Texas. The permit lists the following counties that will be impacted by this pipeline: Austin, Burnet, Crane, Irion, Lee, McCulloch, Menard, Pecos, Reagan, Reeves, San Saba, Schleicher, Upton, Waller, Washington, Wharton, and Williamson. The pipeline is projected to be up and running by 2020, Quarter 3.
This post serves as an update on the High Speed Rail Project.
The Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail (HSR) System could allow for a 90-minute trip between the two cities, due to a travel speed of up to 205 mph. The HSR would be a “closed” system, which means that the train would not share any intersections with roadways or other train tracks. The HSR will require its own dedicated tracks.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Dallas to Houston High Speed Rail (HSR) Project. The draft states that the Speed Railway will use the Japanese N00 Tokaido Shinkansen technology. The proposed system would connect the 240-miles between Dallas and Houston.
The Draft EIS documents attempt to describe the FRA’s evaluation of the possible environmental impacts of the Project and recommends a preferred alternative from among six Build Alternatives between Dallas and Houston. The FRA will hold 10 public hearings in January and February 2018. The counties and dates of these public hearings are listed as such:
- Dallas County – January 29, 2018
- Navarro County – January 29, 2018
- Ellis County – January 30, 2018
- Leon County – January 30, 2018
- Freestone County – January 31, 2018
- Limestone County – January 31, 2018
- Harris County – February 5, 2018
- Madison County – February 5, 2018
- Waller County – February 6, 2018
- Grimes County – February 6, 2018
To get more information about the HSR Projects, the government’s website is: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0700
In May of 2017, the voters of San Antonio approved the six propositions of the $850 million bonds offered by San Antonio. The bonds will be used to invest in the infrastructure of the city, such as sidewalks, parks, drainage improvements, and roads. One of the projects will include improvements to the Broadway corridor, renovating the Hemisfair street grid, as well as some pedestrian bridges near Hardberger Park. The Hemisfair Park Streets projects will reconstruct Hemisfair boulevard and is expected to begin construction in June of 2019. Broadway Street Corridor is also expected to undergo improvements thanks to the approved bonds, with construction beginning in December of 2018.
South Bexar County will also benefit from the city’s approved bonds. Highland Oaks roads will undergo significant construction improvements. Eight streets will be constructed. They will have 12-foot lanes, with 4-foot paved shoulders. The engineer for the project predicts that the road construction project should be completed by fall of 2019.
In 2014, Texas Department of Transportation proposed the construction of a six-lane frontage road system between I-35E and I-45 through Dallas and Ellis Counties, Texas. The project will be constructed in three phases and TxDot will begin engineering and environmental studies for the section of Loop 9 from I-35 to I-45 (Corridor B) first. According to the TxDot, this initial section is approximately 9.5 miles in length and is expected to cost about $710 million.
Various public meetings have been held regarding Loop 9. A typical right-of-way for the Loop 9 project would vary from approximately 384 to 548 feet in width. Currently, TxDot predicts that due to the right-of-way acquisitions there will be at least 25 residential areas displacements, 7 commercial displacements and 68 other facilities such as carports, storage sheds, etc. displaced by the new frontage road. According to our records, TxDot has not yet finalized the route and those who will be affected. This is an ongoing project, and TxDot predicts that Phase 1 could be completed by spring of 2022.