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City and Brazoria County partner to speed up 288 access road expansion

August 10, 2018

The city of Pearland has reached an agreement for Brazoria County to handle construction of the city’s planned improvements to Texas 288 frontage roads, which authorities say will hasten completion of the work by five or six years.

The planned work on the frontage roads will complement construction of four toll lanes in the median between the main lanes of Texas 288 from the Brazoria County line south to approximately County Road 58, according to a projection on a county project website. North of the Brazoria County line, Harris County is continuing the Texas 288 toll lanes into Houston.

“The concept was born to include (the frontage lane work) in our current 288 project because we’re already working in the corridor and there’s some economy of scale and funding opportunities to bump it forward,” said Matt Hanks, Brazoria County Engineer. “Plus you get it done in 2019 instead of 2025.”

The Brazoria County portion of the toll lanes are scheduled to open to traffic in July 2019, according to Brazoria County project webpage.

The county is spending $97 million on the toll road and is contributing $1.5 million to the cost of the frontage road project in Pearland.The cost for the frontage road project is $9.9 million, of which 80 percent is eligible for federal reimbursement.

The city proposed the access road project to provide additional roadway capacity and access to the retail area near the intersection. The work also would eliminate the need to enter the freeway to travel from County Road 59 to FM 518, would provide a southbound to northbound U-turn at County Road 59 and improve safety by reversing the ramps and eliminating traffic stacking into the freeway main lanes during peak traffic, according to a city press release.

The city, which approved the deal with the county on July 19, will retain responsibility for design work for the access road, which is in the early stages, city spokesman Joshua Lee said in an email statement.

“A schematic design has been submitted to TxDOT for review. Comments were received a few weeks ago and are being addressed by the engineer,” Lee said.

The city awarded the roadway design contract to HDR Engineering, a global infrastructure firm with offices in Houston, in late March for the design, and construction and work on schematic began in early April.

The City Council was scheduled to consider awarding a contract on Aug. 13 for a drainage plan regarding the area near the frontage road.

Design of both projects is scheduled to be complete in May 2019, and construction is estimated to begin October and be complete January 2020.

The drainage work would bid out and go to construction during the same period but separately.

The Texas Department of Transportation will oversee permitting, construction costs and associated drainage improvements. Brazoria County, as part of the agreement, will contribute $1.5 million to the project.

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