By Elsa Maxey
Fort Bend County and Sienna Plantation Municipal Utility District (MUD) No. 5 have entered into an agreement to fix up an existing gravel road in Missouri City’s extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ). This is the area immediately south of and next to Sienna Plantation also known as Sienna South. As part of the approval action by the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court this month, it agreed to jointly develop and finance the construction of the area from Waters Lake Boulevard to FM 521. It will be turned into emergency services access and also used for evacuation purposes.
The MUD district and county entered into a Primary Interlocal Agreement, which includes the design and construction of rehabilitating an existing gravel road and constructing segments at the Waters Lake Boulevard to the farm road. It also includes clearing, filling of low areas and installing fences with gates to limit access. An easement from a landowner for the construction is needed and it will be the responsibility of the district to get it. According to the agreement, that easement will terminate when the permanent roadway is dedicated as a public right of way.
In the meantime, the county may opt to construct the project itself with the help of its Road and Bridge Department. How much will this cost and who’s paying? The county’s obligation under the agreement is to pay up front for the project, but the costs will be reimbursed by the MUD district. “This is one of those new specialized MUDs that allows the MUDs to be reimbursed for the transportation projects,” said Precinct 1 Commissioner Richard Morrison in whose district the project is located. “The law that allowed the MUDs to do this is a good idea,” he also added.
Engineering, staking, testing, fencing, rehabilitation, clearing, and construction of the gate structures, culverts, and gravel road are estimated to be $1,884,618. And, if the County issues bonds, all the interest costs it incurs will also be factored into the total project cost. The debt by the MUD district is expected to be paid back within 10 years, “no later than August 2022,” in accordance with the agreement.
Essentially, the project is intended to provide access over and across Sienna South for emergency access. Commissioner Morrison said, “more importantly, this is going to provide a back entrance out of Sienna Plantation, a back exit,” in the event of an emergency. The gates and fences to be installed will limit access until a permanent road is constructed and dedicated to the county.