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Overpass planned for Federal Road

RED INDICATES NEW OVERPASS 1100 FEET LONG, AND APPROACHES TOTAL 2760 FEET. PURPLE INDICATES FRONTAGE ROADS AND TURN-AROUNDS.

Federal Road in East Harris County was the site this Wednesday morning of a Groundbreaking for a new overpass, that promises to relieve the long waits many drivers have experience at the pair of railroad tracks that cross Federal and lead into the railroad yard. Drivers headed to or from the Washburn Tunnel, or Clinton Drive, have reported many delays due to the activity of the Port Terminal Railroad, which blocks the road with crossing gates and trains.

However, a partnership of federal, state, and county government agencies has worked out a solution to this problem, which is an overpass over the railroad tracks.

On Wednesday morning, in the traffic circle in front of the Washburn Tunnel, officials gathered to start the $16.32 Million project, officially known as the Federal Road Grade Separation Project.

Speaking at the ceremony were Congressman Gene Green, Pct. 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, and TxDOT assistant district engineer Eliza Paul. These are the three entities that will pay for the improvements. The federal government will contribute $10.06 Million, Harris County will pay $3.34 Million for design and utility relocation, and $2.98 for construction, while TxDOT will be responsible for management and cost over-runs. The project is scheduled to take 22 months to complete.

GROUNDBREAKING PARTICIPANTS on Wednesday morning were, L to R, Margie Buentello, North Channel Chamber; Joe Costanza, Engineer; Jeff Norwood, PTRA railroad; Commissioner Jack Morman; Congressman Gene Green; Eliza Paul, TxDOT; David Galnares, Texas Sterling Construction; and John Blount, Harris County Engineering.

In his remarks, Commissioner Morman pointed out the importance of Federal Road, relieving traffic from parallel arteries such as Beltway 8 and the East Loop.

The design of the overpass, by engineering firm J. A. Costanza and Associates, shows a 2760 length, of which 1110 feet in the middle is the actual bridge over the railroad tracks.

Construction will be phased to allow rail and vehicle traffic to continue.