In a recent Houston Chronicle article, sources report that after several months of delay, Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert expressed his hopeful attitude that the much anticipated FM 1093 expansion into Fulshear, TX could begin within this next year. Located west of Grand Parkway, the expansion project was part of a $185 million roads bond, which was approved by Fort Bend voters back in 2013.
According to Hebert, the ground breaking should start before the end of 2015, and at the latest, early in 2016. In a conversation during the annual infrastructure summit, Hebert considered federal involvement to be liable for hindering the project’s start date. The financial state of the project and the vastness of its vision has certainly played a part in the delay. For example, the flyover construction includes $40 million from the state transportation department, but will also include federal funding. In order to move the process along, they had to meet very strict environment standards, which took about 18 months instead of the typical nine or ten.
Looking a little deeper, federal involvement would also require that the FM 1093 expansion be completed in two distinct phases. Because the portion of FM 1093 west of FM 1463 is considered rural, and the other portion is considered urban, there are different approval standards for the two portions. Not only this, but according to Commissioner Andy Meyers mentions that utility issues could also hinder the projects inertia. The project cannot continue until some pipeline and cables are removed, which state law is requiring the County to pay half the cost. “I don’t have the time to debate and argue the issues and fight it through mediation or the courts over who’s going to pay for what,” Meyers said. “I need to go build a road.”
Fulshear City Administrator, CJ Snipes considers this “public-private ownership” development to a distinctive project when compared to other roadways in the county. The expansion will consist of not only donations from landowners, but it will contain landscape reserves and roundabouts. He also notes the frustration by the community for the delay, “I think everyone believes that had the project not included that $40 million in state funding, the project might have been done by now,” said Snipes. But, Snipes maintains that the $40 million for the flyover is vital to reducing commute times and increasing drive safety. The parkway and FM 1093 expansion are among the most important and impactful projects that have been undertaken in the Fulshear area.
Even with the community frustration and the constant delays, the finished product will greatly impact the area, Fulshear specifically.
As noted by Judge Hebert, “that area has just been very successful from a development standpoint,” he said. “Our population out there has grown in the last 10 years tremendously. Hopefully, we’ll be able to give them some relief.”