Kingwood Drive Construction

Kingwood Drive Construction Bottlenecks Evacuation Route One Month Before Peak of Hurricane Season

Exactly one month before the peak of hurricane season, Kingwood Drive construction has kicked into high gear. Kingwood Drive is one of the area’s primary evacuation routes and experiencing construction bottlenecks.

peak of hurricane season
Source: National Hurricane Center. Data applies to Atlantic Basin.

Luckily, the National Hurricane Center expects no tropical activity in the next seven days. NHC does not forecast beyond seven days.

Aerial Photos Show Traffic Constrictions

Reconstruction of Kingwood Drive between Loop 494 and US59 has begun in earnest. TxDoT has narrowed traffic to one lane in each direction. And according to the City of Houston, TxDoT now estimates that construction may last until October. Previously, TxDoT estimated September.

Dave Martin, City of Houston Mayor Pro Tem, told a board meeting of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority this morning that he has asked the City, County and Humble ISD to supply traffic-control officers for the duration of Kingwood Drive construction to help reduce traffic snarls. But just before noon today, inbound traffic was backed up from all the way from 494 to 59.

I took the photos below on Thursday 8/10/2023. They show traffic constrictions in all directions.

Looking N from over Loop 494. Note 494 is still under construction. Number of lanes varies by area.
Still looking N. Kingwood Drive bisects the frame L to R and is down to one lane in each direction.
At noon, inbound traffic from 59 was backed up to freeway.
Outbound traffic on left was less congested. But that part quickly opened up to four lanes at this point today. Note how sidewalk and shoulder on left are being demolished. Focus of construction is on right side.
Looking eastbound toward 494. Note fresh concrete in lane on left.
Looking SW toward Insperity.
Workers are laying rebar in preparation for a concrete pour in upper right corner. Note recent pours in lower right.

The last shot above captures the confusing traffic in this area. Despite the addition of officers, I plan to avoid this area as much as possible until construction is complete.

At the moment, Northpark Drive makes a decent alternative despite construction there, too. Northpark traffic is still two lanes in each direction. And the project manager says it will remain that way throughout construction.

Grand Parkway Construction Went Much Faster

I sure hope that if a hurricane heads this way, TxDoT hustles up. Loop 494 construction started at Kingwood Drive in 2019, four years ago – exactly when TxDot started extending the Grand Parkway east from 59 to Baytown. Grand Parkway crews finished the 33-mile extension to Baytown 15 months ago. The project above covers 3 miles. Reportedly, TxDoT has switched contractors after problems with the first one.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/10/23

2172 Days since Hurricane Harvey