Transportation

$200 Million Project Aims To Lessen Congestion In Brazoria And Fort Bend Counties

Officials say the work will help move the increasing flow of truck traffic from Port Freeport. More efficient hurricane evacuation is also a goal of the project.

Work is about to start on three big construction projects on a busy route west of Houston. The projects total about $200 million and will widen parts of State Highway 36 in Fort Bend and Brazoria Counties.

Shane Pirtle is Chairman of Port Freeport and the Highway 36-A Coalition, which is advocating for a new transportation corridor between the port and Highway 6 near Navasota.

Pirtle said the current roadway is handling more and more vehicles as the region's population grows, especially in communities south of Rosenberg like Needville and West Columbia.

"It's a delay in travel time, especially in the mornings and evenings when people are going to and from work," said Pirtle. "There is a growing amount of traffic not just from Port Freeport but from other businesses up and down Highway 36. And honestly, there are a lot of people looking for an alternative around the west end of Houston."

As for the port traffic, Pirtle said he doesn't see it letting up anytime soon.

"We're planning to grow. We're adding another berth down there," said Pirtle. "The Port of Freeport, in and of itself, puts about 120,000 trucks on the road a year. Monday through Friday that's about 200 trucks a day."

Pirtle said hurricane evacuation is also a concern and they'd like to see Highway 36 widened all the way to U.S. 290.

One of the current widening projects extends from just north of FM 2218 in Pleak to south of Needville. Another extends from south of Needville to the Brazoria County line. The third project runs south from the county line to just north of County Road 467/Hogg Ranch Road in West Columbia.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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