The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will be reconstructing and widening FM 1461 from SH 289 to CR 166 within the cities of Celina, McKinney, and Proper in Collin County. The currently right of way (ROW) is 90 feet wide while the proposed ROW is 172 feet wide. It is estimated that an approximate 100 parcels will be affected by this ROW expansion. The project has completed its environmental assessment, and is now in the process of acquiring the necessary ROW. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2025.
Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration
The Coastal Texas Study (conducted by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) & Texas General Land Office (GLO)) is a comprehensive plan examining all Texas coastal communities in order to establish coastal storm risk management and ecosystem restoration. The study began in 2015 and has been gathering and collecting data in its evaluative and analytical phases ever since. That is, until recently when things began picking up speed in the project’s timeline. In April 2021, the Texas legislature passed a bill (SB 1160) that will establish the Gulf Coast Protection District, a regional district with eminent domain powers to decide on taxing and condemnation issues.
The official Coastal Texas Study website states that “impacts to homes and businesses will be avoided and minimized as much as possible during refinement and optimization of the alignments…voluntary relocations and acquisitions will be pursued, and eminent domain would only be imposed by a local sponsor as a last resort” (Texas Coastal Study, 2021). The Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) are being finalized and will be released to the public and submitted to Congress for authorization, funding, and construction in September.
Dripping Spring SW Connection
The Dripping Springs Southwest Connection is a project studying possible routes to extend the RM 150 Corridor from RM 12 around the Southwest side of Dripping Springs to connect to US 290. The project includes a four land divided road with a median in the middle. It would also include a facility for pedestrians and biking. The exact length and constructing details will be identified in a future design phase. The right of way needed will be approximately 150 feet, exact dimensions will be determined by the final design.
The route concept follows property lines and will impact several land owners with takings and possible relocations. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is currently in the process of developing a precise preliminary schematic that will be revealed to the public at its next open house this fall.
Loop 286 in Paris, TX
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is planning to make changes to Loop 286 in Paris, Texas. These include short-term and long-term roadway and operational improvements on the 15.5 miles that go around Paris, such as adding lanes and improving drainage. The improvements would take place from North of US 82W to South of 271.
The project is currently in the schematic and environmental phase of design and analysis, which is one of the early stages in the project development life cycle. According to TxDOT’s timeline (view here) found in their public meeting presentation that was held in July 2020, environmental clearance and schematic approval should have reached competition in spring 2021. TxDOT has stated that the project could potentially displace four residences and seven non-residential structures. Further, it is possible that up to 250 landowners could be impacted by the new ROW.
U.S. 69 Corridor – Beaumont District (Hardin & Tyler Counties)
The “U.S. 69 Corridor” also known as the “Gateway to the Big Thicket Segment” is a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) project in Hardin and Tyler Counties. The project consists in widening US 69 between FM 1003 in Kountze and FM 1943 near Warren from the existing two-lane, undivided roadway with shoulders and no median to a four-lane, divided roadway with shoulders, an evacuation lane on the northbound lanes, and a median.
The existing right-of-way (ROW) ranges from 100 feet – 120 feet depending on the exact location; whereas, the proposed ROW would be approximately 300 feet wide. Thus, the expansion would impact close to 100 landowners and potentially displace five residences along with two other non-residential structures. The current schedule on TxDOT’s website (view here) states that complete environmental clearance/approval should be given in early 2021 while finalization of plans and start of construction is expected to occur in September of 2023.
FM 741 in Kauffman County
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has proposed to improve FM 741 in Kaufman County from US 175 in Crandall to FM 548 in Forney. The project includes widening from the current two lane rural section to a four lane divided roadway. The existing right-of-way (ROW) varies from 70-100 feet in width, and the new ROW would be 140 feet wide from US 175 to FM 2757 and 120 feet wide from FM 2757 to the end of project.
According to TxDOT’s timeline (view here) from their virtual public meeting held in November 2020, the project’s schematic should receive approval in summer 2021. TxDOT anticipates ROW acquisition is to begin in early 2022.
Project Connect (MetroRapid Lines) in Austin
Last November, the residents of Austin approved funding for the construction of two light rail lines (Blue and Orange), a downtown transit tunnel, a commuter rail line (Green), a new rapid bus route (Gold), and three new MetroRapid throughout the city. The controversial project has received criticism for its $7.1 billion price tag and lengthy construction schedule. CapMetro and the City of Austin expect 45% of the project’s cost to come from federal funding, which still leaves $3.9 billion left to local investments and taxing.
The right-of-way (ROW) will expand and is expected to displace residents along the new rails paths. Within this $7.1 billion price tag, there includes $300 million for displacement issues to occur alongside the location of the new rails and rapid bus routes. Final design and procurement for MetroRapid Phase I is expected to reach completion by 2022.
RM 2243 (Hero Way) in Williamson County
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and Williamson County have proposed plans to widen and realign RM 2243. It is outlined to be built from U.S. 183A to Southwest Bypass. The project is a controlled-access roadway that will also include two three-lane frontage roads with access ramps on either side of the main lanes. At this point, there is only funding (through the 2019 Williamson County Road Bond) for the first phase which will be the construction of a single 3-lane frontage road to serve two-way traffic until the other frontage road is built. As of now, phase one construction is expected to begin in late 2022.
TxDOT and Williamson County hosted a virtual public meeting on May 25th, 2021 as its first round of public input. During the meeting, there was no mention on how much right of way will be needed; however, according to their plans the project will require significant additional ROW and displacements. The schematic provided at the meeting can be viewed [here].
North US 59 Loop – Webb County
In April 2021, TxDOT advised the public that the draft environmental assessment had been released for the US 59 project in Webb County. The project is approximately 5.9 miles in length and spans from International Boulevard to East Corridor Road. The improvements will transform the roadway into an urban interstate expressway, with three 12-foot lanes in each direction, a center concrete barrier, shoulders and on/off ramps. Additional improvements will include eight storm water detention ponds and sidewalks. The project will require the acquisition of approximately 192 acres of new right-of-way and could potentially displace two commercial properties. Before acquiring ROW, TxDOT must receive final environmental clearance. Project construction will be conducted in two phases, the first of which is estimated to begin letting in September 2022.
FM 664 from US 287 to Westmoreland Road
TxDOT has two upcoming projects that will improve FM 664 in Ellis County. Although the projects are distinct, both plans are following similar timelines. The less expansive of the two projects is TxDOT’s plans for the 8 mile segment of FM 664 from US 287 to Westmoreland Road in Ovilla, Texas.
The proposed project will include reconstructing, realigning and widening the roadway. TxDOT will transform the two lane, rural roadway into a four lane, urban roadway with a raised median. Additional improvements will include the elimination of 90 degree turns and the construction of 6-foot wide sidewalks. The plans received environmental clearance in the fall of 2020. The next steps for the project are the acquisition of approximately 87 acres of right-of-way, which may displace one residential and one commercial property.