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Hearing set on proposed road in League City, Webster

November 29, 2018

A proposed extension of North Landing Boulevard to NASA Road 1 aimed at increasing mobility in League City, Webster and other communities will be the topic of a Dec. 13 public hearing by the Texas Department of Transportation and the city of League City.

Scheduled from 5:30 at Johnnie Arolfo Civic Center, 400 W. Walker St. in League City, the hearing will cover how the proposed 1.7-mile extension would provide an additional north-south roadway to ease congestion on FM 518, Bay Area Boulevard and Interstate 45, said Susan Oyler, the city’s senior project manager.

In addition to hearing from the public, TxDOT and city officials will offer details on the project. The open house portion of the meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. when engineering displays and environmental documents will be available for review, and a formal public hearing begins at 6:30 p.m.

The work, which is in the preliminary design phase, would extend North Landing Boulevard, which now ends in a cul-de-sac just north of FM 518 in League City, to NASA Road 1 at a roundabout intersection west of Interstate 45 in Webster.

League City and TxDOT have partnered on the project, which would cost $15.5 million for construction plus $1.5 million in engineering and design costs. A ground-breaking is proposed for 2022.

The road would mostly consist of a raised 2,800-foot bridge over Clear Creek, Newport Ditch and undeveloped park land known as Myrtle Park, all of which are in a floodplain, Oyler said.

“Based on preliminary assessment, approximately 4.3 acres of the project is within a regulated floodway and approximately 10.8 acres lie within the 100-year floodplain,” reads a description of the project on League City’s website.

The proposed project could possibly impact up to approximately 3.21 acres of wetlands, the description says.

“The roadway won’t be running through Myrtle Park,” Oyler said of the 50-acre plot of undeveloped land that the city intends to use as a park. The land hugs Clear Creek on the south side, just west of Challenger Seven Memorial Park. The road, however, will span part of the park via a bridge.

““The utility of the area will be impacted, but no car traffic through the park,” she said.

“We can’t proceed with final design phase til the final environmental clearance,” she said. “Which is what this public hearing is a part of.”

The road would be divided by a raised median varying in width from 4 to 16 feet and include two 12-foot lanes in each direction. It would also feature a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on one side of the roadway and a 10-foot-wide shared-use path for cyclists and walkers on the other side. A 100-foot bridge would span a narrow drainage channel, according to information from League City’s website.

In addition to involving acquisition of less than an acre of the proposed Myrtle Park, the road extension would require 25 acres of new right-of-way and could potentially displace one commercial property.

The degree of the road project’s interaction with the floodplain and the wetlands should not impact flooding, Oyler said.

“It’s a bridge structure that will be spanning over that 100-year floodplain. But there will be support structures that will be in it,” she said. “There wouldn’t be any displacement of the actual floodplain.”

The portions of the road on either side of the bridge would be at ground level and outside of the floodplain, Oyler said.

TxDOT spokesman Danny Perez said the the environmental assessment is taking place concurrent with the preliminary design phase and that the final design would not take place until the project received clearance through the National Environmental Policy Act, which is anticipated for early 2019.

NEPA is a process overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which makes its own assessment of environmental impacts.

The wetlands that are impacted will be mitigated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which could include work to compensate for any loss to wetlands for the road, Oyler said.

Wrote Perez, “We do not anticipate this project to worsen flooding.”

League City has hired WSP, a transportation and infrastructure consultant firm, for the project. The firm has been coordinating with Harris County Flood Control District through the development of the design.

For those who cannot attend the public hearing, comments are accepted by mail to TxDOT Houston District Office, 7600 Washington Ave., Houston, TX 77007, via email to hou-piowebmail@txdot.gov or in person at the Houston office and must be received no later than Jan. 4 to be a part of the official public hearing record. Include the TxDOT Houston District project number of 0912-00-519.

jaimy.jones@chron.com

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