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Transportation

Study Focuses On Busy Road East Of Houston

Transportation planners say improvements are long overdue on State Highway 146. The road is a major hurricane evacuation route for the growing region.

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Survey area extends from Baytown to the Liberty County-Chambers County Line.
Houston-Galveston Area Council
Survey area extends from Baytown to the Liberty County-Chambers County Line.

There a lot happening on State Highway 146, in particular the stretch between Baytown and Chambers County.

Chemical plants are doing big business so that means lots of heavy trucks on the road. Then you have delivery trucks and passenger vehicles. On top of all that you've got to get the kids to school.

Carlene Mullins is a senior planner with the Houston-Galveston Area Council:

"Some of the school districts when there's residential neighborhoods on either side, they do not allow the children to walk to school," says Mullins. "They provide bus service to the kids so they do not have to cross 146."

So as the population grows, what can be done to improve 146, especially considering it's a major hurricane evacuation route?

Mullins is coordinating a study for H-GAC. She says for one, they're looking at how to get more truck traffic onto the nearby segment of the Grand Parkway. They're also thinking about creating medians for 146, with designated turning lanes instead of a continuous left turn lane. As for a quicker fix Mullins says they want to study the traffic lights.

"As far as something that could be done quickly, that would be one item that could be done within a year or two or less," adds Mullins. "Just simply synchronizing the signals could really make a big difference."

H-GAC plans to have more public meetings in the fall and Mullins expects a final report by December. It will then be up to local communities to find the money to make those upgrades.