Texas Department of Transportation gives updates on Highway 36
As commerce and the population continues to expand in the region, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials are scrambling to create greater mobility in the area. The widening and expansion of Highway 36 is intended to unburden congested thoroughfares, provide a direct route between Hempstead and Freeport and offer a better hurricane evacuation route for residents in Waller, Fort Bend and Brazoria counties. The project is already underway, and some of the improvements are complete.
77彩票网appThe 36A Coalition is comprised of local governments, elected officials, private businesses and area residents who are working together to develop a plan for the highway. At a quarterly 36A Coalition meeting on Jan. 31, Patrick Gant, an engineer from TxDOT, discussed project updates and detailed the progress of the highway.
77彩票网appSafety and connectivity
Most of Highway 36 is currently a two lane highway. According to Gant, increased commerce through the area means a greater safety risk to drivers. “We have tons of freight coming in through that corridor… you have the potential for head-on collisions when people come to places like Rosenberg and Fort Bend County to service those tremendous industries that are coming online,” he explained.
77彩票网appFreight coming into Freeport needs to be moved through the state, but currently, there are no direct northbound routes toward Hempstead, Gant noted. Freight carriers have to wind around through FM 359, Grand Parkway or FM 723. “There’s a lack of north-south connectivity,” he said.
77彩票网appThe lack of connectivity is about more than congestion and stifled commerce. According to Gant, a direct northbound route is vital to hurricane or emergency evacuation.
77彩票网appThe project is broken down into different segments, Gant explained. The first three segments, which connect FM 2218 to Hogg Ranch Road, were completed in September of 2019.
77彩票网appSections 8, 9 and 10, which will connect Needville Fairchilds Road through Hogg Ranch Road, are under construction with an expected completion date of 2023. The section is 27 miles long, just over half the total length of the highway.
77彩票网appSegment 15, which extends from the Brazos River to FM 1495, is slated for completion in December of 2020. Segments 11 and 12, which run from Hogg Ranch to South Highway 332, should be completed in January of 2022. Section 7, which connects Interstate 69 to FM 2218 and Sections 13 and 14, which connect FM 522 to Jones Creek, have an anticipated completion date of September of 2022.
“Looking at the entirety of the corridor, it’s really a tremendous undertaking,” Gant said.
Land acquisition and consideration
77彩票网appThe Right of Way Division of TxDOT is responsible for acquiring the land for the road expansion, Gant said. Nearly 500 parcels of land are needed for the expansion, and purchasing the land meant working closely with property owners to explain property appraisals and acquisitions.
Environmental considerations were also important, Gant explained. After environmentalists complained about the potential consequences of a major construction through areas teeming with wildlife, TxDOT reevaluated the project from a more environmentally friendly perspective. “We’re working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, because portions of 36 go through part of the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge,” Gant said. “We’re coordinating to see what kind of mitigation strategies we can deploy in those wildlife areas.”
As the work on Highway 36 progresses, TxDOT is asking the public to submit feedback on the projects. Gant encourages residents to get involved in the 36A Coalition and to follow along with the highway’s progression. For more information, visit .