SH 105 in San Jacinto, Montgomery, and Liberty Counties

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has proposed to reconstruct and widen State Highway (SH) 105 from 10th Street in Conroe to Business 105 in Montgomery, San Jacinto and Liberty counties. The total project cost is estimated to be $175 million and is State and federally funded. The existing SH 105 consists of (generally) a two-lane undivided roadway with 11-foot outside shoulders. The proposed project would include widening to a four-land roadway with a continuous turn land, constructing pedestrian and bicyclist accommodations, and converting the open ditch to curb-and-gutter. The improvements would require approximately 45 acres of additional right of way (ROW). According to TxDOT, displacements of businesses and residences are anticipated. ROW acquisition is currently underway.

Widening FM 1461

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.

Complete Map of Proposed Project

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.

High Speed Rail – Update

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: