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.
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.
The City of Houston is preparing for one of the biggest infrastructure projects in a generation. The project is called the North Houston Improvement Project (NHHIP) and it will reconstruct I-45 from Beltway 8 to Downtown. TxDOT’s goals for the project are to manage congestion, enhance safety and accommodate future growth.
NHHIP is 24 miles in length and will be separated into three segments. Segment 1 will include the widening of the freeway and additional new lanes from IH-610 N Loop and North Sam Houston Tollway. Segment 2 will widen and add new lanes of the portion of I-45 from IH-610 to downtown Houston. Segment 2 will also include a rebuild of the interchange between IH-45 and the IH-610 North Loop. Lastly, Segment 3 includes improvements to the segment of I-45 surrounding downtown Houston. Segment 3 includes the most expensive and all-encompassing improvements, as the entire 12 mile stretch of highway will be rebuilt (including four major interchanges).
The project in its entirety will take over ten years to complete. However, regional planning documents anticipate construction on Segment 3 beginning within the next two years. Segments 1 and 2 will begin construction in five to ten years. TxDOT is currently preparing the Final Environmental Impact Statement, which the public will have the chance to review for 30 days. Following the review period, TxDOT will reach a record of decision and start acquiring Right-of-Way before finally beginning construction.
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:
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.
Entergy Texas has plans for new transmission line in Montgomery and Walker Counties, Texas. Entergy has begun the filing process with the Public Utility Commission of Texas. This line is part of the Western Regional Economic Project designed to help support population growth in Texas. The new 230 kV transmission line is expected to be constructed by mid-2020 between the Lewis Creek Substation near Willis, Texas with one of the endpoints as either: A new Rocky Creek Substation west of Huntsville, Texas or a new Quarry Substation north of Huntsville, Texas. The new Rocky Creek or Quarry to Lewis Creek will require approval from the Public Utility Commission of Texas through a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity application. Currently, they are still debating the route option. You can check the possible routes here.
Three companies have teamed up to build the largest pipeline since 2008. The EPIC pipeline will stretch approximately 730 miles long from the Permian Basin Shale field to the Corpus Christi region. “EPIC” stands for Eagle Ford, Permian, Ingleside, and Corpus. The pipeline is projected to transport up to 440,000 barrels per day of crude oil. The three companies developing the EPIC pipeline are TexStar from San Antonio, Ironwood Midstream Energy Partners which is a Texas-based midstream company, and Connecticut-based commodities trader Castleton Commodities International. The EPIC pipeline will run a “batch system,” which means it will transport and store two types of crude from the Permian and one from the Eagle Ford. Construction is set to be completed by March 2019, two years after this pipeline was announced.
Epic Y Grade Pipeline LP also recently announced a new NGL line that will run for 650 miles and connect the Permian and Eagle Ford regions to Gulf Coast refiners, petrochemical companies, and export markets. This line is expected to run parallel to the 730-mile pipeline. Orla, Benedum, and Corpus Christi are some of the origin points the companies have announced as destinations for the line. Epic is actively acquiring rights of way. This pipeline is expected to be completed in 2019.
V-Tex Logistics, LLC owned by Valero Energy Corporation has announced that it will jointly build a new pipeline with the Magellan Pipeline Company, owned by Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. The new pipeline will span about 135 miles from Houston to Hearne, Texas. This 16 inch pipeline will be assisted by a separate V-Tex Logistics, LLC 12 inch pipeline that will stretch 70 miles to connect the new terminals in Robertson County and in Williamson County. Representatives for Valero have already begun survey activity for the V-Tex 70-mile pipeline passing through Williamson and Milam counties. The 70-mile pipeline will impact Robertson, Milam, and Williamson counties. This project is expected to be completed in 2019.