AP NEWS

Loop 494 expansion could cause delays on Kingwood roads this summer

April 5, 2019

This summer, more traffic jams are coming to Kingwood.

Peak time drivers will be impacted when construction on the Loop 494 expansion from Kingwood Drive to McClelland Road begins in June, said Adam Galland, who serves as the Texas Department of Transportation’s Montgomery County Area Engineer.

The $15 million project recently got fast-tracked after being idled due to funding and acquisition issues, he noted in his presentation to the attendees of Kingwood BizCom on Thursday at Kingwood Park High School. Construction on the 1.835-mile project could take two years to complete.

“Kingwood (Drive) will be down to one lane going through there — it’s going to be rough,” Galland said. “Instead of closing the intersection down completely, this is pretty much the alternative we have. We’re going to have detours, and we’re going to shift traffic across.”

He added that work will be done on weekends, and Northpark Plaza will be the starting point. Listed as new elements, once construction is completed, are: an upgraded intersection at Kingwood Drive, additional lanes and sidewalks, new driveways for businesses, a center median, improved drainage and a heightened road profile.

The Herons

Leah Manlove Howard of the American Advertisers Federation — Houston and Michelle Hundley of Stratus Consulting were present to update attendees on the much-debated high-rise project developed by Romerica Group. Hundley was also at the town hall session on March 18.

Howard emphasized that The Herons was a project conceived five years prior to Hurricane Harvey. She also reiterated Romerica’s CEO Gabriel Haddad’s pledge that no construction will happen before solutions addressing the sedimentation problem of the surrounding waterways and Lake Houston are presented.

“Yes, this is an economically viable project, but we’ve got to fix the problem,” she said. “We’re actually working, right now, in legislative session — we’ll be in Austin on Monday and Tuesday meeting with leaders that can make something happen.”

Additional inquiries can be sent to questions@TheHeronsKingwood.com, the same means of contact given at the March community gathering. Howard added that answers to the 40-plus questions they received will be published on the development’s official website — theheronskingwood.com — “next week.”

When Jenna Armstrong, CEO and president of the Lake Houston Area of Chamber of Commerce, asked about a time frame of the project’s if it gets built, Howard said that progress will come in phases — residential, commercial and then marina — and “two days ago” she received an email with comments from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“After that, most likely this will go into a public hearing,” she said. She also estimated that a date for that could be “four months from now.”

Hundley said the public’s comments remain a crucial source of information and that they welcome any input.

Forthcoming festivities

Blake Roberts, general manager of The Clubs of Kingwood, took a humorous approach when he recalled the damage Harvey dealt to the property in 2017 and changes since.

“We actually cook out of a 38-foot cook trailer — we did that all the way until February of this year,” he said of the kitchen for the Lakeside Terrace venue, which returned to operation in December. “If you don’t know your cooking partner, you will by the end of the time you’re in that trailer. Four guys in a trailer on a daily basis was quite fun.”

Nine more projects are on the way, he added. They are just waiting for capital funds to proceed toward an estimated “middle of June” completion period.

On May 31, The Clubs of Kingwood will host the Party on the Green event from the LHACC.

Jennifer Carney, owner of Carney’s Tutoring, went up next to remind attendees of the 2019 Humble ISD Education Foundation Gala, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. next Friday at the Humble Civic Center.

Since the ticketed event’s theme is “Our Future is So Bright,” attendees should wear radiant attire, Carney said. There will also be an exclusive drinking glass featuring a base with neon lights and the Humble ISD’s 100 years logo on it at the event, purchasable for $20.

“We’re going to have great food, great entertainment,” Carney said. “That is also where we’ll announce the ‘District Teacher of the Year.’”

Humble’s The Hometown Chef Catering Co. will provide the food this year. The gala will benefit the school district’s Education Foundation’s Innovative Education Grant program.

The next Kingwood BizCom will be on Aug. 1 at Kingwood High School.

nguyen.le@chron.com