By Betsy Dolan
It’s taken more than two years, but the Sugar Land City Council on May 21 was able to sign off on a plan to begin the final segment of University Boulevard which will connect U.S. 90A to State Highway 6.
The final section will link University North, where it currently ends behind the Walmart on SH 6, to U.S. 90A.
It is the last phase of the 11-mile “University Loop” which creates a regional corridor through Sugar Land and Fort Bend County. Once the final section is completed, University Boulevard will extend from U.S. 90A north of Walmart to Highway 6 at Murphy Road in Missouri City.
“This is an important project on the north side of town,” said Councilwoman Bridget Yeung. “It will help alleviate traffic on Brooks Street.”
In February, the city opened a 1.8 mile stretch of University from Commonwealth Boulevard to the Riverstone Development to help alleviate congestion on SH 6.
The $5.4 million project on University North was identified in the City’s Master Thoroughfare Plan. Funding is coming from an 80/20 agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation and federal grant money, city funds and through the 2007 Fort Bend County Mobility bond program.
When the city started the design phase back in 2009, the hope was to have the project finished by 2011. But because the project is partially funded by federal dollars, the City had to follow strict guidelines from the Federal Highway Works Administration which delayed construction.
“Unfortunately, while we were in the middle of the process the regulations changed and they wanted us to do a noise impact study and that pushed the project back two years to get environmental approval.”said Shashi Kumar, Sugar Land’s Senior Engineer.
Texas Sterling Construction was awarded the construction contract. The City also hired PTP Transportation for $245,124 to help navigate the contract administration and construction management to make sure the city adheres to the strict federal regulations in order to get reimbursed for the project.
After the project passed unanimously, Mayor James Thompson turned to newly elected councilman, Steve Porter and said,”We’ve been working on this for 2 1/2 years and you were able to get it done on your first night!”