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U.S.90 reaches IH-10, IH-610 Spring 2011

CROSBY – Texas Dept. of Transportation (TXDoT) indicates that the connection of U.S. 90 to IH-10 with IH-610 and the overpass at the railroad at FM 2100 are both scheduled to complete near the end of the first quarter of 2011.

Earlier this year, Quincy Allen P.E., East Harris County Engineer at TXDoT, stated “That will be one of the best and most popular projects we’ve done recently.” re,erring to extending U.S. 90 as a six lane highway from Beltway 8 to I-H10 and IH-610.

Both East Harris County engineers and TXDoT Media spokespersons expect that the anticipated connection of U.S. 90 to Beltway 8 from IH-610 and IH-10 (the U.S. 90 Gap) will finish in the Spring of 2011 rather than the Summer of 2011 as their last projections indicated.

Projections for the completion of the Overpass of the Union Pacific Railroad at FM 2100 near the cross streets of Kernohan and Jackson Bayou are predicted for April or May of 2011. The earliest projection of the completion of U.S 90 Gap is February 2011 but that seems optimistic.

The total price of the completion of U.S. 90 from Beltway 8 is to be $158.3 Million as stated by the Star-Courier in Nov. 2006. The construction is in three projects built by different divisions of Williams Brothers under three different contracts, according to TXDoT Media Consultant Rachel Lewis.

Lewis also indicates that all three of the contracts must be completed in order for the freeway to be open at any point, any projections that part of the freeway would be open before others would not meet the specifications of the builders.

But projections for completion back in 2006 were for August 2010 and that was pushed back a year by funding problems. U.S. Congressmen Gene Green (D) District 29 and Ted Poe (R) District 2 had put $1.6 M. more in the 2005 Highway Bill to expedite the project. The new projected completion (despite of what one might have read elsewhere) was then August 2011.

One might have read in January of 2009 the projection was set for completion in the Summer of 2010 Other’s apparent partial projections of $86 Million now seem laughable even though TXDoT saved $21 Million over original projections of $187M. Cost estimates on the most completed project due to some redesign efforts was pushed back from $62 M. to $41 M.

The project that actually links U.S. 90 to the other side of IH-10 specifically, the 6% elevation from Eastbound IH-10 to at Gelhorn to Mercury Drive was where the redesign was effective. Yes, there is a lot of steel in that project. Utility conflicts have caused some delay thus far and are expected to make the exact time of completion variable but “all of the time allotted in the contracts until the Summer of 2011 are not expected to be used.” stated Ms. Lewis on July 24 about the U.S. 90 Gap.

Utility conflicts are also at variance of about two months for the Railroad Overpass at FM 2100. TXDoT acknowledges that expectations of March of 2011 for completion of the Overpass of FM 2100 could hold things up through May.

“This is part of TXDoT doing our job.” said Lewis when asked how did they manage to keep the project on time. There are certainly many variables in completing highway projects and time schedules are probably as difficult to predict as any other engineering problem.