Infrastructure Projects Will Provide Hundreds of Construction Projects in 2020
As 2019 winds down, it’s good to see upcoming construction projects being planned for 2020. Given the current abundance of construction opportunities, it would be easy to overlook transportation infrastructure activity, but that would be a mistake. Construction opportunities always follow infrastructure projects – whether as a part of the initial project or because of it.
Texans spend thousands of hours each year on Texas roadways, and as the population surges, traffic congestion will only increase. Infrastructure cannot be ignored. Roadway needs are huge, and transportation projects are occurring throughout the state.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is about to publish a plan for future multimodal projects. The Texas Transportation Plan (TTP) 2050 will be published by the end of 2019. The new planning document will cover projects related to rail, aviation, truck freight, ports, highways and bridges, and roadway safety.
The TxDOT board recently approved another plan that covers planned projects over the next 10 years. These projects represent investments of more than $77 billion. Safety projects alone, over and above other planned projects, have costs projected at more than $60 million and these projects should launch over the next two years.
The $300 million I-30 project in the Dallas region includes reconstruction and widening two miles of roadway. The plan includes six lanes in each direction and two feeder roads. Bike lanes and sidewalks will be added. A new bridge will extend Browder Street reconnecting the road dissected by I-30 and will intersect Cadiz at I-30. As roadway changes are made, watch for construction projects for new retail or high rise facilities.
In Austin, the I-35 Capital Express North project, from SH 45 North to U.S. 290, is projected to cost $400 million. Another project, I-35 Capital Express South, has a projected cost of $300 million. The north project will add one non-tolled managed lane in each direction, reconstruct six bridges, add a diverging diamond intersection at Wells Branch Parkway and improve bicycle and pedestrian accommodations along I-35 frontage roads. The south project will add two non-tolled managed lanes in each direction and improve accommodations for bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Additional construction near the roadway is expected.
Hays County will build two road projects within the city of San Marcos. A $1 million county road widening project for Old Bastrop Road is currently in the design phase. The second project will add turn lanes along Staples Road with a target construction start date in 2020 at a cost of $1.2 million. A third project, in design phase until October 2020, will reconstruct a number of alleys between Guadalupe Street and LBJ Drive. This project also will launch in 2020.
In San Antonio, projects on Zarzamora Street will be identified over the next several months and some of the construction – on both temporary and permanent projects – will begin in 2020. Approximately 7 miles of the street will receive $7 million for street redesigns for increased accommodations for mass transit. Design study is ongoing now to analyze improvements for intersections and changes needed for streetscapes.
The City of Longview will spend $870,504 over the next three years to widen George Richey Road/FM 2275. Another roadway project estimated at $13.5 million has a tentative start date of 2021. The road will be expanded from two to five lanes. More than $533 million in other infrastructure projects are currently in discussion stages.
Wise County officials and the North Central Texas Council of Governments are preparing for growth with projects planned for the next 20 years. Renovations of frontage roads and at least three intersections on U.S. 287 are priorities. Officials believe that tens of millions of dollars will be needed to widen not only highways but also to convert two-lane country roads into urban thoroughfares because of increased residential development.
City officials of Corpus Christi are developing a three-year plan for street repair. In 2020, work will begin on design and procurement documents for the projects. In the 2020 budget the city has allocated $128 million for these projects. Approximately $25 million is allocated for residential street reconstruction projects and more than $70 million is earmarked for arterial and collector street reconstruction projects.
TxDOT has a study underway for a 14-mile stretch of FM 1488 between I-45 and FM 149 in Montgomery County and the cities of Conroe and Magnolia. The study will determine the best way to reduce crashes and limit conflict points in this area. Short, medium, and long-range improvement plans have been outlined. Short-range proposed improvements have a projected cost of $19.53 million and include improved intersection turn lanes, raised medians, and enhancements for bicycles. Medium and longer range plans have projected costs of more than $60 million.
And not to overlook another type of infrastructure project, airport expansions should not be ignored. Many airport roadways, better known as taxiways, are in need of infrastructure upgrades as well. Upgrades to taxiways often precede other construction upgrades or new facilities.
The City of San Antonio’s Stinson Municipal Airport plans to reconstruct Taxiway E to meet Federal Aviation Administration design standards in a new location beginning in 2020 for $6.45 million. Taxiway D will be upgraded in 2021 at a cost of $1.9 million. San Antonio airport executives are considering numerous other larger projects, still in the planning stages, for airport expansion projects.
Officials at Athens Municipal Airport have announced plans to extend their runway from 4,000 feet to 5,000 feet. The airport’s 10-year plan, beginning in 2020, is estimated at just under $25 million.
The City of McKinney’s National Airport also will see runway expansions and other taxiway projects. Airport officials plan to start an environmental assessment that will be required to extend the airport’s existing runway from 7,002 feet to 8,502 feet. Following the assessment, airport officials will begin the design phase, and plans are to launch the project in 2021. TxDOT recently approved a $15 million grant to assist in funding the project under the Aviation Facilities Grant Program.