Four years ago, the long-serving mayor of the City of Humble, Donnie McMannes, talked about the things that he thought were really exciting about Humble’s future going forward.
“We have the biggest and most projects going on right now than we have ever had. There’s the Wilson Road drainage and improvement project, a 4.5 million-dollar job, and we have about 18 million dollars in road projects that will take several years starting in April (2014). South Bender will have drainage improvements,” McMannes said. “It will all be paid for by cash we already have and no bonds.”
McMannes was right in 2014 and he still is today. The projects have continued through good times and bad, including the flooding rains of 2015 and 2016, and Harvey in 2017. The mayor is now Merle Aaron and the council has evolved, but the city has delivered on its plans as McMannes envisioned. Humble has expanded and – along with Houston’s inevitable encompassing growth – it continues to impact the city’s often-aging infrastructure. Through it all, the Humble City Council, and City Planning and Public Works departments have never wavered from moving forward in the long-term objective of updating city infrastructure, especially its roads, streets and sewers.
Over the life of these projects, Barry Brock, Humble’s director of Public Works, has been in charge of the renovations that are having such a positive impact. He has 24 years of experience with the City of Humble and a total of 43 years in city administration, including in Liberty, Lockhart and Burnet.
“The major water improvements, the streets and storm drains, started in 2013,” said Brock. “They started with an asphalt pavement improvement program that included Wilson Road from Will Clayton to Atascocita [Road]. It included asphalt improvements from Avenue D South of Staitti Street, Avenue A to Granberry, on Granberry from Avenue H to Houston Avenue. It included Janna Ranch and we also did some storm sewer work in Blue Jay Circle.”
Brock explained that the estimated cost of that initial project was over $5 million and was finished in May 2016.
“It was done by funds that were through the metro reimbursement,” he said.
The next project was the 2000 concrete pavement project.
“It included concrete pavement on Charles Street from Higgins to First Street, on Bender to Township, and also Higgins Street from Railroad Avenue to Highway 59/69,” said Brock. “It included Davis Street from South Houston to Main Street and it included Windswept Drive to the Harris County Flood Control Ditch and included Anne Avenue.”
Brock noted that if any underground utilities needed replacement due to age they were done at the time of construction. The project was completed in September 2016 at a cost of about $7 million.
“In 2016 we had the pavement improvement phase 2 project,” he said. “It included the area bounded by First Street, Charles Street, Seventh Street and North Houston Avenue.”
He explained that this included all new streets, new water and new sewer infrastructures within the bounded area.
“It also included new traffic lights and cost a little over 6 million dollars. The target date was December 2017 and we are still working on final punch-list items due to the disruption of Harvey,” Brock said, noting that it is substantially complete.
“The newest project is the Townsen West improvement project. It is under construction now. It starts over by Walmart on Townsen West; from there it now goes from a four-lane to a two-lane road,” Brock said.
He explained that it will be four lanes all the way to where Townsen turns east and becomes a four-lane road going toward Costco and Highway 59/69. The project is targeted to be completed in August 2018 in time to handle traffic to and from the new Aldine ISD middle school currently under construction along that section of road.
Going forward, Brock expects the infrastructure projects to aggressively continue.
“There will be a new elevated (water) storage tank,” he said, and explained that additional specific projects will be based on the City Council’s decisions and its dedicated concern for meeting the needs of the future.