The construction project at the front of Kingwood is about 15% completed, according to TxDOT. Last year, The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) began the construction of improvements to Loop 494 between Sorters McClellan Road and Northpark Plaza Drive. The project was budgeted to have a cost of approximately $14.3 million and had an estimated time of completion of 25 months. Construction of the project has been ongoing ever since the start date of July 8, 2019. 

TxDOT closed the intersection of Kingwood Drive and Texas Loop 494 Friday, April 17 through Monday, April 20, in order to work on improvements to the intersection. A news release from Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin’s office reads, “The scope of work [included] removing the existing dip located at the existing railroad track by raising the intersection of Kingwood Drive and TX Loop 494, 2 feet with asphalt.” 

According to Danny Perez, public information officer for the TxDOT-Houston District, the Loop 494 construction “is only 14.64% complete, [as of right now] we have completed the temporary transition work at the intersection.” Of the original $14.3 million budgeted for construction, “$12.25 million [of the costs] are current [and outstanding],” added Perez. 

The timeline for completion of the project given in 2019 was the fourth quarter of 2021, which remains on track. “The updated timeline for completion of the project is currently late 2021,” added Perez, which is on par with budgeted expectations. 

As far as the remaining tasks left to work on, Perez noted that the construction still requires the “removal of existing roadway, [the construction of a] storm sewer, and proposed pavement.” Together, these future steps account for the remaining 85.36% of the project completion. 

This project was initiated to counter the fact that Loop 494 only had two lanes available northbound and one southbound on a road that is used daily by Kingwood commuters, often creating significant traffic jams. The proposed project offered a continuous left-turn lane from Kingwood Drive to Crescent Springs Drive and a raised median from Crescent Springs Drive to Sorters-McClellan Road. The project aims for a total reconstruction of the Kingwood intersection, including an elevation of the intersection in order to remove the sudden dip at the railroad tracks. Lastly, the project intends to build sidewalks adjacent to developed areas for the convenience of residents. Several of these original planned improvements, such as the ones mentioned by Perez, are still awaiting construction. 

When completed, these road improvements will decrease traffic jams and improve the daily commuting experiences of local residents. 

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The project began with visible construction efforts along Loop 494 in April 2019. Now in late May, the status still has only the southbound completed (although not open to traffic yet) and the northbound side still in its original paving. Over 2...

The project began with visible construction efforts along Loop 494 in April 2019. Now in late May, the status still has only the southbound completed (although not open to traffic yet) and the northbound side still in its original paving. Over 2 years to build 2 miles of flat highway with only one major intersection and no bridges? I drive by many days seeing no one at work on the machines or the earthwork. I think the section of US59 with its feeder roads that parallels the loop was built faster than this project!

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Elizabeth Akers
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