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TxDOT to present plans for FM 1463 widening on Dec. 8

December 7, 2016 GMT

It’s been more than a year since Katy businessman Skip Conner attended a Texas Department of Transportation open house on proposed widening of FM 1463 between Interstate 10 and FM 1093.

He’s planning to attend the Dec. 8 open house and hearing at the Merrell Center to get an update on the project.

In the time between the hearings, Conner said traffic has gotten worse.

“More people are moving out in the area. It (FM 1463) is still a two-lane road to get on the interstate.”

He said traffic backs up at the new traffic light at Spring Green.

“You can easily have traffic backed up passed that curve; it just backs up that far,” Conner said.

TxDOT traffic counts for FM 1463 at I-10 record 20,435 vehicles per day and 10,262 at FM 1093, based on 2015 data. Those traffic counts also show traffic on I-10 near FM 1463 at 89,486.

In comparison, 2013 traffic count figures showed 15,900 vehicles per day on FM 1463 near I-10 and about 9,400 closer to the city of Fulshear.

A member of the Katy Development Authority, Conner said the KDA has committed $1 million to the FM 1463 segment in the city.

“It’s a TxDOT-led project,” he said, explaining that the city and other agencies are waiting on the state.

From I-10 to Spring Green Boulevard, the total estimated project cost is $10.48 million, said Danny Perez, TxDOT spokesman. From Spring Green Boulevard to FM 1093, the total cost is $42.456 million. FM 1463 consists of a two-lane road with no median and open ditches on both sides.

In a summary of the Feb. 26, 2015 open house meeting, TxDOT said, in part, “Six lanes are proposed from IH 10 (W) to Spring Green. Although this is a high traffic area, it is anticipated that the future Cane Island Parkway will provide access to IH 10 (W) and divert a portion of the traffic off of FM 1463, reducing the need for additional lanes. In some areas, six lanes may be warranted based on traffic projections but business and homes would be displaced to accommodate the necessary right-of-way. In these cases, TxDOT has limited the road to four lanes.”

The proposed 6.7-mile project would require 28 acres of additional right of way, but the state says no residential or commercial displacements are anticipated.

The project would include a raised median and 5-foot sidewalks on both sides, according to TxDOT.

Fort Bend County also is working on projects to connect roads in the northern part of the county that could help with traffic flow.

“Any improvement will help with traffic flow,” said Janet Burkett, marketing director for the 1,400 Firethorne community developed on both sides of FM 1463. “It’s not affecting our home sales.”

Of the proposed TxDOT widening, Burkett said, “Till I see what they’re going to do, I have no comment.”

She said the master-planned community will have someone attending the TxDOT open house and hearing.

The open house will be 5:30-6:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Merrell Center, 6301 S. Stadium Lane. The public hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Deidrea George, TxDOT spokeswoman, said “Katy ISD was gracious enough to allow us the use of the Merrell Center. We do anticipate a large turnout and have made provisions to accommodate the crowd.”

Conner was among nearly 200 people who attended the February open house at Shafer Elementary about the FM 1463 project.

At that time, he said, “I think it’s a very needy project for that part of Fort Bend County. Traffic is extremely heavy. Anything they can do to help move traffic would be good.”

George said that meeting was held at the very beginning stage of the project to get early feedback.

“We did not expect so many people to strongly advocate for the immediate implementation of this project!” said George.

Conner is among those who said he wished the start of construction was a lot sooner than 2017.

TxDOT anticipates the project will be completed in 18 to 24 months.

Visit http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/houston/120816.html for project information.

Written comments may be submitted either in person at the hearing or by mail to the TxDOT Houston District Office, Director of Project Development, Texas Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 1386, Houston, Texas 77251-1386, or emailed to HOU-PIOWebMail@txdot.gov.

Comments must be received or postmarked on or before Jan. 3, 2017 to become part of the official hearing record.