Major construction projects lead local businesses to question timing | The city government

From Interstate 10 through Interstate 45, the Texas Department of Transportation has major construction projects planned for the area in the coming years.

And, as engineers envision a future where wider roads mean less traffic, at least a few neighborhood businesses are wondering what construction might mean for them in the meantime.

“The key issue will be time,” said Emmett Doherty, one of the owners of Nationwide Tools & Supplies, a supply company headquartered at 6100 N. Shepherd Drive. “How many messy months will this be?”

Doherty, in a phone conversation with the chief this week, said while he had questions about the department’s plans, he was not yet concerned or upset about the plans.

“I’m not going to worry too much yet,” he said. “I have always felt that TXDOT has done a fair job historically in meeting business needs.”

Representatives of the North Shepherd Community Alliance are expected to contact department officials soon to set up a meeting to discuss four pending projects that could impact the area – the Interstate 45 expansion, work on the Interstate 10 and construction along Shepherd and Durham leads, according to meeting minutes provided to the chief.

“We are concerned that it will be difficult to get in and out,” said alliance member Kelly Hakes.

Much remains unknown about the details of these projects. For example, the US Federal Highway Administration halted the $7 billion plan to widen Interstate 45 from downtown north to Beltway 8 in Houston due to civil rights concerns.

It is not yet known when the project could resume.

The department, however, held a public meeting late last month to unveil plans to raise Interstate 10 through part of the area to keep it out of the floodplain.

The $347 million project would raise the freeway’s main lane elevation above the White Oak Bayou floodplain in the 1.8 miles between Heights Boulevard and Interstate 45, according to a fact sheet. department information. Crews would also construct a 21.7-acre retention pond on the north side of the freeway between Taylor Street and Houston Avenue, as well as a 10-foot-wide path along White Oak Bay or between Studemont Street and the ‘Interstate 45, according to the sheet.

Construction site on the. The project is tentatively expected to begin in the summer of 2024, according to the department.

Finally, work began earlier this year on Shepherd and Durham’s major capital project – a $115 million initiative that will renovate the two streets between North Loop 610 and Interstate 10, while adding trails bike lanes, new and wider sidewalks, landscaping and underground water infrastructure. , sewage and stormwater drainage.

The project could take at least five years, according to Sherry Weesner, president of the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority.

Companies living in the shadows of these construction projects want more information about how they might affect traffic in years to come, Hakes said.

But Doherty said he was cautiously optimistic that conversations with the Texas Department of Transportation later this month would answer his questions.

And he added he was sure the department would work with the companies if they explained their concerns.

“Sometimes you may have to bring them back to the real world and let them know the reality – that it can affect millions in sales,” he said. “But there must be a meeting this month. After that, I think we’ll have a better idea of ​​the plan.

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