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: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0700

Texas Department of Transportation’s Plans for Loop 9

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.

SEC_StudyArea_A

New Epic Pipelines

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.

EPIC - 650 mi, 2 lines

Valero Energy Corporation and Magellan Midstream Partners Announce New Pipeline

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.

 

Buckeye Partners New Crude Oil Pipeline

Buckeye Partners plan to build a new crude oil pipeline that will connect the Permian Basin to Corpus Christi. This new South Texas Gateway line will deliver crude oil and condensate from the originators in Wink and Midland Texas to the existing Buckeye Partners refining and export facilities in Corpus Christi. Property owners in the following counties may be impacted by the Buckeye Partner’s pipeline project: Live Oak, San Patricio and Nueces.

The pipeline is expected to be 24 inches in diameter and have the total capacity of transporting up to 400,000 barrels per day with multiple segregations. Buckeye Partners expects the new South Texas Gateway pipeline to be in service by 2019.

In late 2015, the United States ended the ban that had once made it impossible to sell American oil to any country except Canada. Since the ban has been lifted, it  has led to a very large increase in oil exports, especially in 2017. Buyers from all over the world are purchasing the new American supplies. In Texas, Corpus Christi’s port has begun a $1 billion capital investment program that involves deepening and widening the shipping channel for bigger tankers to dock and load. Crude exports from Corpus Christi have already increased from an average of 68,000 barrels a day during the first half of 2016 to 384,000 barrels daily as of this past April in 2017, according to a report by RBN Energy.

Buckeye Partners is one of the companies that has made major investments in the area. Since 2015, Buckeye has invested $1.2 billion in docks and other export facilities in Corpus Christi. Buckeye told the New York Times that they still have plans to put more than $1 billion into additional investments, including the new South Texas Gateway pipeline.

 

Targa’s Plans for New Grand Prix Pipeline

Targa Resources Corp., a Houston pipeline company, announced plans for a new natural gas liquids pipeline called Grand Prix this past May. The newly constructed line will stretch about 635 miles long and transport natural gas liquids from the Permian Basin of West Texas in addition to the company’s North Texas system to the final destination of  Targa’s complex in Mont Belvieu, located in east Texas.

 

 

Targa’s new natural gas liquids pipeline will be able to transfer as much as 550,000 barrels per day. Targa in the Permian area of west Texas has about 1.7 billion cubic feet per day of current gas processing capacity. Representatives from Targa have stated that surveying is already underway. Grand Prix is expected to be in service by the second quarter of 2019. Numerous counties that will likely be impacted by the Targa easement takings, including Eastland, Evath, Hood and Johnson.