METRO’s is taking the Green Line over Hughes Street to connect the line to the Magnolia Transit Center.
After several meetings with East End residents, civic leaders, elected officials and extensive discussions with environmental professionals on the subject of the Hughes Street overpass/underpass, the METRO Board of Directors voted today in favor of an overpass.
“I think it’s important that we never lose sight of our fiduciary duty, and we represent everyone and everything within the service area,” said METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia. “We’ve got to complete the line. That is the best thing we can do for this community – complete the line and get out of the way.”
Eight board members voted in favor with Christof Spieler absent. Spieler did however send an email in support of an overpass.
The METRO Board will move forward with the option that will take light rail and vehicular traffic, plus sidewalks over Hughes Street. The option also provides a lane for vehicular traffic and pedestrian sidewalks at street level. Preliminary costs are estimated between $35-$43 million. The overpass is projected to take 31 months to complete.
The underpass option would have cost $52-$68 million and take approximately
42 months to complete. That does not include the costs of environmental clean up outside of the project area.
The Board approved motion states:
I MOVE THAT METRO RESCIND ITS PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION FOR AN UNDERPASS, AND CONSTRUCT A LIGHT RAIL OVERPASS WITH A LIMITED NOTICE TO PROCEED WITH THIS DESIGN. METRO WILL WORK WITH THE CITY OF HOUSTON TO SECURE FUNDING AND AGREEMENTS BY JUNE 30TH, TO ALSO HAVE TRAFFIC LANES OVER AND PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS AND TRAFFIC LANES AND PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS AT GRADE AND PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS. IF AN AGREEMENT IS NOT ENTERED INTO BY JUNE 30TH, METRO WILL DESIGN AND CONSTRUCT AN OVERPASS WITH LIGHT RAIL ONLY.
The light rail only option would cost $27-$37 million and take approximately 28 months to complete. Next steps include working with the city of Houston to try to expedite the construction process. “We want to work to move this forward as fast as possible,” said Garcia.