Construction on FM 529 improvement project slated to begin fall 2012
NORTHWEST HOUSTON — Changes are coming next year to an eight-mile section of FM 529 from Greenhouse Road to Hwy. 290. Texas Department of Transportation officials hosted an open house event Oct. 19 to gather comments and show community members maps of the proposed construction project, which will convert the two-way middle turn lane into channelized turn lanes with a raised median.
“Channelized turn lanes essentially help keep traffic in separate lanes,” said Bill Tobin, a transportation program manager for the Houston-Galveston Area Council. “They prevent cars from making left-hand turns into oncoming traffic by guiding them into a channel to make guarded turns.”
TxDOT officials expect the project will reduce traffic congestion and accidents in the growing corridor. The average daily traffic on FM 529 from Greenhouse Road to Hwy. 290 is approximately 38,200 cars per day, according to TxDOT. That number is expected to increase to approximately 80,312 by 2035.
The FM 529 project is part of the Hwy. 6 Access Management Study, which was completed by H-GAC, TxDOT, Harris County and the City of Houston. At this point, funding has not been obtained for the Hwy. 6 portion of the project, which stretches from I-10 to Hwy. 249. However, the FM 529 portion of the project, estimated at $2.7 million, will be paid for by state funds.
Since the FM 529 improvements are within the right-of-way, businesses along the corridor should not have to relocate, Tobin said.
“The only impact may be that people will have to drive a little extra distance to turn around and get back to where they need to go, but traffic will be safer, there will be less congestion as a result of less crashes and it will be a good improvement in the long term,” he said.
Construction on the project is slated to start by fall 2012 and is expected to be complete one year later.