I-35 Widening in Central Austin

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is widening 8 miles of Interstate 35 (I-35) through central Austin from US 290 East to SH 71 / Ben White Boulevard  in a planned project called I-35 Express Central.  According to TxDOT, the project will require 41.7 acres of new right-of-way.

Many of the TxDOT takings will be total in nature (i.e.: TxDOT takes the entire tract of land).  TxDOT reports that the project will result in 107 total displacements, including 69 businesses and 26 residences.  Other takings will be partial, which means TxDOT will take some, but not all, of the property.  Partial takings often damage the value of the remaining land not taken.  

TxDOT has started to issue initial offer letters on certain priority properties. TxDOT will issue more initial offers to other property owners in the coming months. Property owners only get one opportunity to recover the constitutional just compensation owed for the taking. 

If you own property along I-35 that will be impacted by TxDOT’s taking, let the lawyers at Marrs Ellis and Hodge put their experience to work for you.  Contact our Austin office for a free consultation and to learn more about your case, including a courtesy evaluation of any offer you have received.     

US 29/SH 36 Interchange – Central Direct Connect

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will be making improvements to the intersection of US 290 at SH 36 in Brenham, Texas in a planned project called US 290/SH 36 Interchange – Central Direct Connect. TxDOT originally considered three concepts that were presented and shared with Brenham City Council and Washington County Commissioners Court. Based on feedback from the City and County, TxDOT developed two additional concepts for a total of five concepts. In Spring of 2021, TxDOT announced that Revised Concept B – Central Direct Connect was the selected alternative for further development. All concepts include the following: (i) the expansion of US 290 at SH 36 connection from one to two lanes; (ii) convert frontage roads one-way; (iii) update the entrance and exit ramps to current standards; and (iv) accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians within the urban settings.

TxDOT is anticipating a Public Hearing early 2023. TxDOT is currently undergoing its environmental review process which is an essential part to a finalized route. See the timeline below for anticipated dates of right of way acquisition (expected 2024-2025) and construction start date (expected 2026).

FM 646 in Galveston County

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is proposing design modifications and additional right-of-way (ROW) needs along FM 464 from Edmund Way to FM 3436 in Galveston County. The proposed project includes accommodating storm water detention ponds and improving access roadways at the proposed overpass at the railroad crossing.  According to TxDOT’s project page, approximately 20 acres of proposed right-of-way (ROW) will be acquired across the project’s total length of 4.4 miles.  TxDOT hosted a public meeting that was posted as a pre-recorded presentation on Thursday, February 15, 2022. According to that meeting, the next steps would be to update and finalize the environmental studies, design and ROW acquisition.

Widening I-20 in Harrison County 

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is proposing to widen I-20 in the cities of Hallsville and Marshall from FM 450 to SH 43 (CSJ: 0495-08-109). The project improvements would expand the existing two lanes to three 12-ft lanes in each direction, add one-way frontage roads between FM 450 and FM 3251, and include other mobility improvements. The improvements will run across 10 miles, and require 57 acres of new right of way. Currently, complete funding for the project has not been identified so TxDOT is planning to construct the project in phases. In February, TxDOT conducted an in-person and online public meeting in which they claimed that right of way acquisition is expected to occur from 2023-2026.  According to the project’s development and predicted timeline, the first phase of construction should begin in 2026.

Loop 9 in Dallas and Ellis Counties

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), through a project known as the Loop 9 Segment A project (CSJ: 2964-10-006), has plans to create a direct east west link between US 67 and IH 35E through Dallas and Ellis counties. The ultimate plan for the project is the construction of a six-lane new frontage road system across the projects 9.4 miles in length. The new location frontage road system would include an eastbound and westbound frontage road facility, each consisting of three 12-foot lanes, an 8-foot inside shoulder, and an 8-foot outside shoulder for bicycle accommodations within the rural section of the proposed roadway, all of which would require new right-of-way (ROW). However after consideration of the limited funding, TxDOT has split the project into two phases; phase 1 would construct a single two-lane, two-way frontage road, and phase 2 would construct the other side of the paired frontage road (if and when funding becomes available).

In March 2022, TxDOT conducted two in-person meetings and one virtual meeting to obtain public opinion and feedback. Currently, there are 4 schematic alternatives as well as 4 modification alternatives. Use the following link to access the project’s interactive map (https://maps.bgeinc.com/Loop9/). According to the timeline they provided, the next steps would be to finalize their environmental impact study by the end of 2023. Right-of-way acquisition is set to begin promptly after that study is complete and approved.

I-35 Improvements in Austin

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) of Austin will be making improvements to 28 miles of Interstate 35 from SH 45 North to SH 45 southeast though an on-going project known as the I-35 Capital Express Program. It is made up of three stand-alone projects – North, Central and South. The Central project is on a later time frame, while the North and South projects are generally ahead, and on the same timeline.

The North I-35 project’s improvements include, but are not limited to, adding one non-tolled high-occupancy vehicle managed lane in each direction (from SH 45 North to US 290 East), reconstructing bridges, and adding a diverging diamond interchange. TxDOT says that the project will require an additional 17 acres of new right-of-way (ROW), and will displace 5 commercial properties. Offer letters are currently underway and construction is expected to begin sometime this year. Similarly, the South I-35 project’s improvements include, but are not limited to, adding two non-tolled high occupancy vehicle managed lanes in each direction (from SH 71/Ben White Boulevard to SH 45 Southeast), reconstructing bridges, and adding pedestrian and bicycle paths. For the South project, TxDOT says an additional 13 acres of new ROW will be required. Final designs are out, and offers letter are currently being sent to affected landowners. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2022.

FM 529 in Harris and Waller Counties

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is proposing to widen FM 529 from SH 99 to FM 362 in Harris and Waller Counties. The proposed project involves widening the two-land roadway to a six-lane roadway with four-foot outside shoulders and open ditches. The improvements would require approximately 109 acres of additional right-of-way (ROW) and stretch 12.2 miles in length.  This project could potentially displace one commercial business and one non-residential structure while also affecting several other properties with smaller takings. TxDOT has held two public meetings to gather input of the public on this roadway issue. ROW acquisition and construction is estimated to begin within the next two years.

FM 428 in Collin County

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is proposing to improve FM 428 from Dallas Parkway to SH 289 (Preston Road) in Collin County, Texas. The project consists of the realignment and widening of FM 428 from Dallas Parkway to SH 289 (Preston Road) within the City of Celina for a distance of approximately 1.8 miles. The proposed improvements would include a four 12-foot-wide lanes (ultimate six) with an 18-foot-wide raised median, and 10-foot-wide sidewalks along both sides of the road within a variable right-of-way (ROW) width ranging from 138- to 348 feet. This would require 18 acres of new ROW, and could potentially displace three residents and one non-residential building.  There will be a virtual public meeting from February 10th, 2022 until February 25th, 2022 accessible through the project’s online project page on the TxDOT website.  There is also an in-person option on February 10th at 6pm at the Celina Campus (2505 Kinship Parkway Celina, Texas 75009) of Collin College in Room 110. 

Reimagine I-10

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) conducted an advanced planning study for the I-10 corridor from the New Mexico State Line south to FM 3380 (Aguilera International Highway) in EL Paso county. According to TxDOT, the results of the study identified the need for improvements in the corridor; as a result, TxDOT has sectioned off the proposed improvements into four segments. It is estimated that 700 parcels of land are to be affected by the totality of this project.  Segment 2, which runs through Downtown El Paso was determined to be of the highest priority and will be moving along faster than the other 3 segments.  Even so, segment 2 is still in its earlier phases of development as it is now refining the preferred alternatives and developing the environmental document. According to the project schedule, TxDOT expects to have final environmental approval by 2024.  

FM 1387 in Ellis County

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) plans to expand FM 1387 from North Midlothian Parkway to FM 664 in Ellis County. The existing right of way (ROW) varies from 80 ft. to 100 ft. wide while the proposed ROW varies from 125 ft. to 140 ft. wide. It is estimated that an approximate 200 parcels will be affected by this ROW expansion.  According to the project’s timeline released at its second public meeting in September 2020, the project recently received environmental clearance, and is currently obtaining the necessary right of way.