The TxDOT funded Loop 494 expansion project is currently delayed and expected to be completed sometime in 2022. The project had recently been delayed into the third quarter of 2021, but ongoing circumstances have caused a further delay.
The original start date was July 8, 2019 and the project had an estimated completion time of 25 months (a completion date somewhere in the second quarter of 2021). Due to several variables, such as inclement weather issues and challenges in relocating a water line, gas line and telecommunication lines, the project has seen a delayed due date.
“[The project is currently requiring the contractor] to tunnel a drainage tunnel under Kingwood [Drive] in order not to impact traffic,” said Emily Black, TxDOT public information officer. “This work is critical and due to safety reasons, very hard to complete with all the rain [that has recently occurred]. It was also affected by numerous utilities at the intersection of Kingwood [Drive] and Loop 494. Once this work is complete, we can switch traffic and work on the other side of the roadway,” said Black.
According to Black, the project is currently 65 percent complete. The contractor is continuing in his construction of subgrade, concrete paving, driveways, and sidewalks on the southbound side of the road.
Additionally, according to Black, the cost of the project has increased from its original value of $14.3 million to $15.1 million, due to a partial redesign that resulted from utility issues.
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 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.
When completed, these road improvements will decrease traffic jams and improve the daily commuting experiences of residents.