Behind the Curtains: A Peak at What it Takes to Create Safer Roads and a Smoother Commute

 

It’s exciting to see changes happening daily around Memorial Heights as work continues to build a better Houston and elevate the day-to-day experience for the people who live, work, and play in this area.

The Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority has worked tirelessly on our mission of rehabilitating roadways into a hassle-free commuting experience while optimizing stormwater retention and increasing accessibility and safety for pedestrians and cyclists. We’re proud to say we’re making significant progress!

Thank you for your continued vigilance and patience near construction zones. With your help, we’ve accomplished so much this year and look forward to what’s still to come. It takes time to elevate Houston to the best it can be, and we know the new changes at Shepherd-Durham will be well worth the wait.

Bike and Pedestrian Updates

A 1,600-foot extension has connected the White Oak Bayou Trail to TC Jester Boulevard, providing safe access to the MKT Hike and Bike Trail. The pedestrian and bike safety updates on Heights Blvd. from Washington Ave. to Center Street are near completion and will soon be finished with the installation of street name markers and the laying of sod. We have added a stormwater inlet and adjusted some elevations to enhance drainage systems along this route.

Going Down Under

Roadway improvement also includes investigating what’s beneath the surface. Our team has:

  • Installed or replaced 6,325 linear feet (LF) of 6” to 12” water main lines that carry the community’s potable water from water pumping stations to homes, businesses, schools, and industrial sites.
  • Replaced 750 LF of existing sanitary sewers that transport wastewater out from homes and businesses.
  • Replaced 2,775 LF of existing storm sewers with 24”, 36”, 42”, and 66” storm sewers along 15th, 16th, and 20th St.to help prevent flooding during routine Houston storms.
  • Upgraded existing manholes and inlets with precast concrete manholes and inlets that collect stormwater from the street.

Above ground, 3,850 square yards of new concrete pavement have been constructed. This work will provide modernization to a zone with infrastructure that has remained the same since 1950.

The Shepherd-Durham project is a much-needed improvement aimed at lessening the high crash rate, improving access to all, and improving stormwater management. We’ve made significant progress in Phase 1 of rebuilding and modernizing the roadway. Pavement replacement is now underway on Shepherd and Durham and on 15th, 16th, and 20th St. Drivers will notice temporary traffic signals installed in these areas to maintain safety in the work zones.

What’s Still to Come

Shepherd & Durham water main installation

Existing water mains are being replaced along both Shepherd and Durham Drives, as well as on some of the cross streets. The new lines are replacing older city water mains, and in many cases, are being installed deeper underground to allow for the construction of other parts of the project such as new storm sewers, sanitary sewers, and tree planters. Water mains are the pipes delivering the water supply throughout the community.

Storm sewer and inlet installation

Storm sewers are being upgraded throughout the project corridor. This includes replacing the existing system, increasing pipe sizes to meet current design standards, and improving the storm sewer system capacity. In some locations that are currently drained by roadside ditches, the ditches are being replaced with pipes, manholes, and inlets to capture and convey rainwater. As a result, the corridor should see reduced street flooding during normal rainfall events.

Pavement demolition and replacement

Once all of the underground work is completed, the roadway will be fully reconstructed. This includes new pavement, wider sidewalks, and dedicated bikeways, as well as planters with new trees throughout the corridor.

As progress continues on the Shepherd-Durham Project, you can expect even more changes in the area.  There will be dedicated turn lanes, enlarged pedestrian and bicycle facilities, new traffic signals, crosswalk improvements, upgraded public transit stops, and improved drainage systems. We are committed to keeping you informed and safe throughout the Shepherd-Durham Project. You can learn more about the project by visiting this link. You can find construction updates at www.shepherddurham.com.

Please keep a watchful eye on the crews working to make our community safer. We appreciate the support you continue to provide for the future of this area.

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Your Opinion Matters!

The Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority (MHRA) would like to know about the people and businesses that live and work in our service area by participating in a mobility survey. Your responses are confidential and will only be used to plan for future capital projects.