Opposition speaks out against One-Way Pairs at public hearing
By Betsy Dolan
Dozens of Rosenberg residents and business owners spoke out against the One-Way Pairs road project at a Texas Department of Transportation public hearing April 8 at Lamar Consolidated High School.
Phase 1 would involve turning portions of U.S. 90A (Avenue H) and FM 1640 (Avenue I) into one-way streets. The change would convert the four lanes of U.S. 90A one-way westbound and the four lanes of FM 1640 one-way eastbound.
TxDOT contends that the existing roads are not adequate for the area’s projected population growth. A traffic volume study showed 29,772 cars moving through the SH 36 and U.S. 90A intersection every day by 2015. The number grows to 37,304, a jump of 25% by 2035.
The second phase calls for a bridge at State Highway 36 and U.S. 90A to cross over the Union Pacific railroad tracks. TxDOT says the current railroad passes are not tall enough and there are no shoulders for safety.
“I am in favor of this project”, said Richard Morrison, Fort Bend County Commissioner. “The most important part of this project is the triple-fork bridge to help make a very dangerous intersection safer. But we can’t get to that part until we do Phase 1″.
Opposition speaks out
Rosenberg City Councilman, Billy Benton, questioned the safety argument, stating that he has seen crash figures from TxDOT that show the area in question as being safer than the intersection of U.S. 90A and Thompson Road (FM 762) in Richmond.
“I think TxDOT has been hanging their hat on the safety aspect and I don’t think it is justified”, Benton said. “Sixty-nine businesses have left Highway 90 in 20 years and businesses don’t leave when you see increased traffic”.
Some who spoke out against the project said the congestion problems are from semi-truck traffic and lights that aren’t synched properly. Others worried that the change in the roads would change Rosenberg’s small-town atmosphere.
“I know things have to change but this is a very big deal and is not the best thing for Rosenberg,” said one long-time resident. ” I feel like TxDOT is trying really hard to sell us on this and if it is such a great project it should stand on its own.”
One-Way Pairs special election
On May 10, Rosenberg residents will be voting on whether the city should donate land for the project. A “yes” vote will prohibit the City of Rosenberg from donating land to TxDOT. A “no” vote will allow the land to be donated.
Donating land for the project is an issue because cities need to pay 10% of the right-of-way costs for any farm-to-market or state highway project.
On February 25, Fort Bend County Commissioners Court approved a $1.5M advanced funding agreement that would allow TxDOT to buy the land, eliminating the need to donate the property.
According to TxDOT, the project would require approximately 8.5 acres of additional right-of-way and would impact a residence, a church and several businesses.
Phase 1 is projected to cost $5 million and could begin this fall. Phase 2, is currently unfunded but is projected to cost $20 million.
TxDOT will receive public comments through April 22.
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