By Asia Armour, Features Reporter with Community Impact
A $550 million proposed project to widen about 13 miles of the Katy Freeway, also known as I-10, is one step closer. The planned project will start at FM 359 in Waller County, passing through Fort Bend County and end at Mason Road in Harris County.
In June and July, the Texas Department of Transportation conducted a hearing on the project, which aims to improve mobility and safety in the area. TxDOT officials said they anticipate a nearly 40% increase in area traffic between 2025 and 2045.
During a July presentation, Lauren Munoz, a public involvement expert for the project, cited the rate of crashes in this area as higher than average for similar Texas highways, especially at Mason Road, Grand Parkway, Katy Fort Bend Road and FM 359.
To improve capacity, the TxDOT project team suggests adding two lanes and two general-purpose lanes from FM 359 to Hwy. 90 and extending frontage roads from Pederson Road to Hwy. 90. TxDOT will also add exit and entrance ramps from Pederson Road to Cane Island Parkway. TxDOT also proposed restriping from Hwy. 90 to Mason Road to add two lanes.
TxDOT also suggested multimodal improvements, such as 10-foot side paths for bicycles and pedestrians from Pederson Road to Hwy. 90, as well as expanding the right of way where reconstruction or drainage is needed, such as 12 acres for a potential detention pond east of Marino Road.
The next step in the implementation process is finalizing plans and curating environmental impact documents for review. Because the project is state- and federally funded, TxDOT is required to assess the potential impacts on the environment in accordance with federal standards, which includes public outreach efforts.
Pending the review, TxDOT will begin right-of-way acquisition in summer 2023 and construction will start fall 2023. The duration of the work has yet to be determined, but George said it will be completed in three or four phases, moving east to west.