Tag Archive for: Union Pacific Railroad

City Council Approves Northpark Expansion Agreement with Union Pacific

Last Wednesday, 11/1/23, Houston City Council approved an agreement with the Union Pacific railroad that will give contractors the right of entry so that private utilities can continue to relocate their facilities. Utility work must be completed before construction of two at-grade crossings over the UP tracks at Loop 494. Now that City Council has approved the agreement, the Mayor and UP need to approve it. That will likely happen before next week.

The at-grade crossings are a separate issue from the bridge that will be built over UP’s tracks. TxDoT requires ground-level turn lanes for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who want to turn onto and off of 494 from Northpark and vice versa.

Utility Work Already Making Way for Extra Turn Lanes

Contractors have already started rerouting utilities for the extra turn lanes on both sides of Northpark.

Looking N across Northpark along UP tracks. Note utility work on right on each side of Northpark.
Looking SE from over railroad tracks. Closer shot of utility work.
Looking E from over tracks down Northpark shows current extent of utility work.

Change in Plans: 3-Day Road Closure

The at-grade crossings will require new traffic control gates and signals. Given the longer trains that UP is running these days, UP wants to coordinate the Northpark signals with those at crossings from Kingwood Drive all the way north into Porter. But the new one-piece system will stretch cross both east and westbound lanes of Northpark.

That will require shutting the entire road down for three-days at some point in the future. This represents a change in plans. Earlier, LHRA/Tirz 10 indicated that Northpark would also have at least one lane of traffic open in each direction.

However, the new system should improve safety for both the railroad and the public.

Sidewalk Extension West of 59

De Leon indicated that the signing of the agreement with the railroad should accelerate construction in this area.

Farther west, sidewalk construction has started on both sides of Northpark immediately west of US59.

Looking West from over 59. North sidewalk almost complete. South sidewalk is being prepped.
Closer shot of south sidewalk.

Next Up

In the meantime, contractors are:

  • Continuing work on the 6×5 RCB at Outfall B
  • Continuing work on the 8″ waterline south of Northpark from the Railroad tracks east to King’s Mill
  • Continuing work on the sidewalks west of I-69

In other developments, the Redevelopment Authority website shows:

  • 12″ waterline testing has been pushed to the last week of November
  • 8″ waterline will be tested the week before Thanksgiving
  • Work will begin on the temporary detours on LP 494 the week before Thanksgiving.

Excavation of Detention Basins at Northpark Not Yet Started

Excavation of two stormwater retention basins at Northpark has not yet begun. Contractors will not start excavation until they start to build the new lanes between 494 and Russell-Palmer Road. They will use the recycled dirt to fill in under the two new lanes. If they started excavation now, they would have to store the dirt somewhere and move it twice, or pay to have it hauled off and then purchase more dirt when it’s needed.

Dirt from stormwater retention basin excavation at entry will fill in over concrete culverts in the median east of 494 (top center).

For More Information

For more information about the project including construction plans, visit the project pages of the LHRA/Tirz 10 website. Or see these posts on ReduceFlooding:

LHRA/Tirz 10 Board Meeting

The Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority (Authority), and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Ten, Lake Houston Zone (Zone), will hold a joint board meeting on  November 9, 2023, at 8:00 a.m., at the Kingwood Community Center, 4102 Rustic Woods Drive, Kingwood, Texas 77345, and is open to the public.

This board packet contains three change orders. One calls for a temporary stoplight at Russell-Palmer. The reason: contractors must remove the existing pole in the center so that they can continue installing culvert. The temporary light will serve the intersection until a new permanent one on an arm which extends over the roadway can be fabricated. Those reportedly take months.

Another change order increases the amount allocated for tree transplantation by $239,000.

Have questions or concerns? Voice them at the meeting.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/5/2023

2259 Days since Hurricane Harvey