By Lewis Spearman
CROSBY Phases of construction for the overpass here are coming that will make changes in traffic flow, eventually leading late next Summer to a four lane overpass with frontage roads on both sides and access in both North and South for intersecting roads.
Ultimately, an overpass will stand at the railroad tracks with square columns with an arch at the top, with reveals and striations like a limestone surface. The facade at the middle will look much like the design commonly associated with the Alamo.
In spite of numerous utility issues, finding three undocumented gasoline tanks, and a wet month of June NBG Constructors, Inc. is hoping to move ahead with switching northbound traffic to the new East side frontage road of FM 2100 later this month.
Plans indicate that this switch, called Phase 2 of Step 1, is to begin the weekend of August 25. That plan is based on being able to complete the change of the intersection of Wahl St., (where the traffic light is at Crosby ACE Hardware) and put in some paving on Riedland Ave., plus sidewalks and driveways.
That seems a lot to get done in the next couple of weeks and it could lapse over into the following weekend, according to David Boehm. Boehm is over the entire project for N.B.G Contractors, Inc. General/Highway Contractor and works with the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) to fulfill the design specifications for an overpass of the railroad tracks across FM 2100 between Kernohan St. and Jackson Bayou.
One factor that came as a dull surprise was that the completion of the project may be in August or September of next year depending on the number of surprises the construction encounters during the process.
We have found all of the utilities on the East side, I can tell you that for a fact. Boehm joked in reference to surprises encountered with utilities including the natural gas lines being next to power poles, three unexpected gasoline tanks and other utilities not being where they were expected to be. Power pole had to be braced last weekend for work to continue on the storm sewer that runs the length of the project all the way to South Diamondhead.
Sometime in September of this year, the roadway will consist of two lanes North on the East sides new frontage roads and one lane South, all new roadway on the East side.
After that time, the extant FM 2100 will be torn up, the company will then start laying all the sewer leads and new water leads that will ultimately replace a two inch water line with a new 8 inch plastic water line.
Boehm answered that for much of the construction period that the traffic configuration will be from Wahl St. South will be one lane North and one lane South. From Wahl St. North there will be two lanes North and one lane South.
The project is being built on TXDoT specifications and there is to be 5 foot wide sidewalks running the length of the project.
Once the leads have been established, a huge new box culvert will join one already in place on the East side (since January) and work on the West side will begin making the center and southbound frontage road. The 1/2 of that big culvert that crosses FM 2100 between Kernohan St. and Wahl St. is one of the major complications to the project. It will begin late September to October.
It will be tight, answered Boehm, By the time we are finished all the utilities are going to know exactly where everything is, because we will have dug everything up at least twice.
Once these phases have been accomplished, there will be a time in which the constructors will have to switch the water and sewer systems to the new lines and each individual household will be asked to cooperate for a few hours as the switch is put in place.
Residents will be notified in writing and other methods of the approach of this time.
Construction of two sides of the new frontage road is going to be completed near late Spring or early Summer of next year. When that feat is accomplished there will be for some time two lanes running North and South but those lanes will be periodically interrupted for construction of pillars and walls for the overpass as the project nears completion.
One can see the beginning of the overpass constructed now in one wall going up. The overpass itself is to run from Wahl Street up over the tracks to its height and then comeback down on the North side at about equal distance from the track in both directions.
The increasingly frequent trains running through Crosby will cease to stop all traffic at that time. Moving through the center of FM 2100 will be much easier. Precinct 2 will be re-building South Diamondhead Boulevard also.
Incidentally, the completion of the expansion of the Panama Canal Project is thought to be finished in 2014, many wonder if that could mean even more goods and services coming to the Houston Ship Channel via trains, increasing the frequency through our area?