Katy transportation updates: First Street reconstruction, Harris County Precinct 4 Tollways to Trailways projects

Katy transportation updates: First Street reconstruction, Harris County Precinct 4 Tollways to Trailways projects

First Street reconstruction and bridge

As per the $33 million mobility package Katy City Council approved in January, the city will reconstruct and widen First Street from Bartlett Road to Avenue D by creating a center turn lane. It will also add a bridge over Cane Island Creek. This project’s design phase is 90% complete, with bids scheduled to go out in July, officials at ARKK Engineers said.

  • Timeline: September 2022- August 2023
  • Cost: $2.71 million
  • Funding source: Katy Development Authority cash funds

New ways to commute

The Tollways to Trailways project will bring biking and walking paths to Harris County for local commuters to utilize.

  • 236 miles of trails will be added across Harris County.
  • 63 projects are envisioned for the Tollways to Trailways plan across Harris County’s four precincts.
  • $601 million in funding will be needed to cover the plan’s trailways.
  • $53 million in funding was approved for the project by commissioners May 10.

Harris County commissioners approved $53 million May 10 for the Harris County Toll Road Authority’s new Tollways to Trailways initiative, which will add 236 miles of new recreational trails across the county.

According to the HCTRA’s planning documents, most of the trails will be placed next to existing toll roads, giving access to existing parks, public transit hubs, schools and neighborhoods. A timeline for the work has not yet been announced, but the cost estimate for all 63 projects totals more than $601 million.

“Tollways to Trailways make the county healthier and more resilient by expanding healthy mobility choices, creating more local green spaces, and giving people transportation options that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve regional air quality,” the HCTRA’s plan reads.

The motion was approved in a 3-2 vote with Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle, who represents the Harris County area of Katy, dissenting.

Ramsey said he voted against the item because he believes the project has “too many unknowns.”

Meanwhile, Cagle said he would have preferred additional trails be funded by the county’s parks budget.

“While Commissioner [Cagle] is a major proponent of hike-and-bike trails and has considerably expanded their availability throughout Precinct 4, he voted against this measure because he believes it sets a bad precedent of diverting toll road money to projects not originally envisioned when toll roads were first pitched to Harris County voters,” said Joe Stinebaker, Precinct 4 director of communications, in an email May 17.

Nine of the 16 projects specific to Precinct 4 are defined as Community Connectors—intended to provide access to parks, transit, schools, neighborhoods or other destinations—and will likely connect to Network Spines, which are projects that traverse multiple communities within Harris County. In sum, the Precinct 4 projects will cover 29 miles and are estimated to cost over $122 million.

Three of the most expensive works in Precinct 4 include the Alief East Loop, Jersey-Addicks trail and the east segment of the West Park Trail projects. Combined, these would total $51.2 million and could benefit as many as 231,000 residents.

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