A call for projects has been issued by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), a relief to the board members of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority who have been anticipating the request for nearly two years.
The Authority will submit a proposal asking for $40 million.
The H-GAC is a region-wide voluntary association of local governments which works with local government officials to solve problems across the area, particularly mobility issues. The H-GAC allocated federal dollars for transportation projects and the Authority has been preparing for months to be ready.
– Authority to ask H-GAC for $40 million –
“We have been working on this for one-and-a-half to two years,” Jim Webb said of the Goodman Corporation, a firm hired as a transportation consultant to the Authority.
Webb said H-GAC wants assurance that there is local funding available to match the federal dollars and that there are entities (such as the Authority) existing to manage the projects before they grant funding. Authority Chairman Stan Sarman added that Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner indicated he wants to see applications for projects that include “flood resiliency.”
“Northpark will be flood resilient,” Sarman said.
The improvement project to Northpark Drive has been separated by the Authority into two parts, but the total cost is approximately $80 million. The Northpark Drive Reconstruction Project covers one portion of the overall plan – from Russell Palmer Road to Woodland Hills Drive. This project will work in tandem with the western portion of the plan, known as the Overpass Project, which consists of the reconstruction and widening of Northpark Drive from U.S. Hwy. 59 to Russell Palmer Road. The Overpass Project is anticipated to be let in 2020 by TxDOT, in conjunction with a partnership with the Authority.
The City of Houston will contribute financially and the Authority will likely issue bonds to cover the remainder.
Sarman said design work should begin in 2019 and construction in 2020.
The Authority went on to discuss their 2019 annual operating budget and the 2019 to 2023 Capital Improvement Plan budget.
Rachel Ray-Welsh, an engineer with Walter P. Moore, reported that the completion of the intersection improvement at Northpark and W. Lake Houston Pkwy. has been delayed by the delivery of an incorrect piece of equipment. The correct one is expected soon and the improvements will be completed.
A subcommittee of the Authority, charged with prioritizing smaller, less extensive Kingwood improvements, is expected to recommend which three mobility projects should be undertaken next. The list of improvements came from responses from Kingwood residents who participated in the mobility study undertaken by the Authority several years ago.
The Authority next meets Aug. 9.