The long-discussed reconfiguration of League City’s most-cussed traffic convergence is on the cusp of moving forward.
Motorists as soon as next week can expect to see initial work begin on a project to ease traffic through the notorious Five Corners, City Manager Mark Rohr said Thursday.
“We’ve completed the purchase of the former Mattress Firm and property for about $2.2 million,” he said.
That completed the property-acquisition phase the project, which was first discussed in 1992. Five other properties surrounding Five Corners have been condemned and purchased through eminent domain and will provide space needed to reconfigure the traffic chokepoint, at which motorists often experience lengthy delays.
All told, the former Mattress Firm property and the five eminent-domain properties cost League City $3.3 million, although that figure could change. To date, the owners of two of the eminent-domain cases have accepted the city’s offers. Four others have not, although the city does have the right of possession on those properties.
Earl Smith, the city’s director of engineering, cautioned that eminent domain cases can be appealed and that the overall outlay for those five properties could change.
Rohr said the state is picking up 80 percent of the anticipated cost for construction, which is projected to come in around $2.35 million. The Texas Department of Transportation is overseeing the request for proposals from contractors, the opening of bids and the construction itself.
“Right now, TxDOT is expected to let the contract in February 2017,” Smith said. “We’re looking at an eight-month schedule for construction.”
When the project is completed next October or November, weather permitting, traffic flow through Five Corners is expected to ease motorist angst, which is particularly acute during the morning and evening rush hours.
Yet, before the project is completed, construction likely will add to their aggravation.
“I think it’s reasonable to expect there will be a negative impact from the work,” Rohr said. “But when it’s completed, the plan to alleviate the traffic pressure can’t help but improve things.”
Motorists in the next few weeks can expect to see crews removing trees and demolishing the structures that now stand in the way of the project.
Plans call for a new right-hand turn lane off FM 518 onto a bypass that will connect it to FM 270.
“This is going to increase the efficiency of the entire intersection,” Smith said.
He said the engineering design phase included numerous public hearings and various studies and was designed to enhance traffic flow for at least a 20-year period.
As it is now, the Five Corners intersection is something of a misnomer given that the three farm market roads don’t in fact intersect; FM 270 crosses just west of where 518 and 2094 come together.