As congestion continues to increase on several of Kingwood’s main arteries, representatives continue to find alternatives and infrastructure improvements to ease traffic headaches.
The Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority’s plans for the widening of Northpark Drive and constructing an overpass at the railroad crossing are progressing. During the last meeting in May, the authority stated construction would start in 2020. The current infrastructure is built for a capacity of 27,000 cars a day. There are over 42,000 cars utilizing Northpark Drive on a daily basis, increasing accidents and congestion.
The need and desire for the widening of Northpark has been expressed by many residents through traffic studies and open public meetings.
The authority recently communicated with Union Pacific Railroad Company and submitted an agreement for preliminary engineering services and Exhibit “A,” showing where they would build the overpass over the railroad tracks. The project will consist of a grade-separated roadway as well as two, at-grade frontage roads. The preliminary engineering and other costs are an estimated $50,000.
The authority also approved a contract for acquisition services with Property Acquisition Services, who will aid in the annexation of the adjacent property along Northpark Drive needed for expansion.
The authority, along with Edminster, Hinshaw, Russ and Associates (EHRA), will meet with the Texas Department of Transportation and the City of Houston to ensure the Northpark widening project progresses and will update schematics to include a 10-feet sidewalk requested by the city to be included with the project. Since the project was broken into two phases, EHRA is also putting together drawings that show what Phase 1 would look like as well as the transition at Russell Palmer until Phase 2 begins.
Additionally, a Forest Cove resident, Kevin Monthes, addressed the extension of Hamblen Road to connect with Woodland Hills Drive which would increase the amount of traffic in Forest Cove.
In April, City of Houston Council Member Dave Martin sent an interoffice correspondence with the city’s Public Works and Engineering Director Dr. Karun Sreerama clarifying “Need Area Identification Priorities” such as road and infrastructure improvements within Martin’s District E. One of these priorities outlined is the expansion and widening of Woodland Hills. Currently, Woodland Hills is four lanes between Kingwood Drive and Northpark Drive.
According to Martin’s correspondence, “Extending this two-lane roadway to four lanes south of Kingwood Drive and connecting it to Hamblen Road would improve mobility as well as increase connectivity. This project was identified as part of a mobility study conducted by the authority in 2013.
“Our office has met with Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle to talk about different projects,” Martin said. “Cagle had an idea on how we can take the land near the railroad track, on the north side, around Forest Cove and do something differently and create a master plan. We are meeting with Cagle in August to discuss options and see what we can do. If the community agrees with our plan, we’ll proceed – if they don’t, we will not proceed.”
Forest Cove residents are encouraged to attend the meeting which will be finalized and communication will be sent out to residents regarding location, date and time.
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