AP NEWS

TxDOT collects comments on FM 529 widening

May 9, 2019

Melanie Royo is among more than 80 people who attended the April 30 Texas Department of Transportation open house on proposed plans to widen FM 529 between the Grand Parkway and FM 362.

“Something has to be done,” she said about the traffic. The former Houston and Katy resident moved about a year ago to the nearby Elyson subdivision.

Gilberto Royo said widening the road to six lanes would cause an adverse impact on development on either side. That led him to wonder aloud if developers were aware of the state’s plans to widen the road.

The state plan calls for widening the two-lane FM 529 to six lanes with an 18-foot raised median between Texas 99 and Katy Hockley Cut Off Road. Between Katy Hockley Cut Off Road and FM 362, the road would be widened from its current two lanes to four.

The project includes 12-foot outside shoulders, sidewalks on both sides of the road between Texas 99 and FM 362 with turn lanes at intersections and median openings at specified locations.

People have until May 15 to comment on the project to be a part of the official meeting record. People can email hou-piowebmail@txdot.gov to comment. Comments also may be mailed to TxDOT Houston District, Director of Project Development, Texas Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 1386, Houston, Texas 77251-1386.

People who attended the hearing at the Paetow High School Ninth-Grade cafeteria, received a handout that answered why the 12-mile, $120 million project is proposed.

There are two main reasons given:

“An evaluation of crash rates on FM 529 indicated that these rates from years 2014 to 2017 were higher than the statewide annual averages, indicating potentially unsafe travel conditions.”

“The existing capacity is inadequate to meet future year (2045) traffic volumes, resulting in increased congestion and reduced mobility.”

Prior to the meeting, Emily Black, a TxDOT public information officer, said “Widening from two to four lanes between SH 99 and Katy Hockley Cut Off Road would not be adequate to accommodate the projected traffic volumes for the year 2038 and 2045. The projected Average Daily Traffic(ADT) for the year 2038 is 52,450 and projected ADT for the year 2045 is 59,800.”

Black said the state started studying the road-widening project in July 2018.

The project timeline includes reviewing and considering public comments this spring. Another public hearing could be held in the fall of 2020 after proposed alternatives are recommended and an environmental analysis is finalized.

Construction timing is dependent upon financing, said Black, and right now the project is unfunded.

karen.zurawski@chron.com