Archive for August, 2011

Toll Fees on the Rise?
August 29, 2011

Q: Hey Jen,

Question? Is there something in the near future planning of raising the Toll way prices….? I heard that would be happening come Jan 2012….. Mr. Shorten

A: Uh-oh…this viewer heard correctly. Here’s what the Harris County Toll Road Authority said: 

The next scheduled toll increase will not occur until the first quarter of 2012. The exact date has not been established. – HCTRA

Making History: 1 Billion Cars
August 25, 2011

Wow, eye-opening article I wanted to share about the number of cars on the roads, worldwide and about problems it could pose for us in the future.

Viewer Mail: 45 North at Beltway 8
August 22, 2011

Q: Jennifer,

Could you ask whoever has responsibility for painting the lines on the roads to check out the ramp from I-45 North to Sam Houston Tollway North Loop East and the ramp from I-45 South to Sam Houston Tollway North Loop East.  These ramps merge and the lines are no longer visible for the drivers and therefore is un-safe.

Rey Velasquez

A: Rey,

Your email was forwarded to my office. This area is one we are familiar with. We have an ongoing construction project to add one lane on the Sam Houston Tollway east of IH 45 in each direction to eliminate a bottleneck.

The work will be done in the coming month , and we will restripe this section of highway.

I am providing this to our Area Engineer in charge of construction and we will review the location to determine if temporary restriping would be beneficial. Thanks for taking the time to report this location.

Stuart Corder
Director of Transportation Operations

Viewer Mail: Grand Pkwy/Westpark
August 17, 2011

Q: Ms. Reyna,

 During busy times of the day it can take upwards of 10 minutes just  to get through the intersection of Grand Parkway and 1093 (southbound on  Grand).

 I have heard there are plans to expand the Grand Parkway from the  I-10 area to 290. I would like to know when the mainlanes of the Grand Parkway over  1093 will be completed to reduce the traffic at the feeder intersections. Can you help find this out from TxDOT?  – Todd

A: The Fort Bend Grand Parkway Authority has started constructing the overpasses on the Grand Parkway between US-59 and through and over Westpark and FM-1093.   The first two projects, Riverpark and West Airport, began construction this week.  The remaining projects are still in design.  We expect to begin construction on all of them by late spring of 2012 with completion in 2013.

Specifically we expect design to be complete in May 2012 for the overpass over Westpark and FM-1093, construction would begin 45 days are so after design is complete.

The FBGPTRA will have a website up in the next month or so detailing the overall program and project specifics.  On that website we expect to show the map of the projects and the schedule.  – Michael Stone ; Professsional Project Management Services

What a Summer…
August 14, 2011

The drought has been in the news a lot lately, so I went to take a closer look for myself, at one of our lakes. Ok, sooo maybe it wasn’t only to investigate the water levels, but to enjoy Lake Conroe!

Holding on!

In the “Pier 1” picture, if you look hard enough, you can see how low the water levels are. I’d say a good 5 ft or so. It certainly seems like we should continue to practice our water conservation techniques for a while to come.

Lake Conroe (August 2011)

And as the summer winds down and we get back to our normal schedules…I will be, too. This weekend, was my last to fill-in for weekend mornings. I’m off until Wednesday (8/17), but will be looking for you after that.

Prepping for the morning show; August 14, 2011

Green Space NOT For Sale
August 14, 2011

TxDOT Committed to Preserving Green space

“Kingwood site will remain a green space and is not for sale.”

Houston District Engineer Delvin Dennis reaffirms the state’s intention to keep the property at the southwest corner of US 59 North and Kingwood a landscaped green space not available for purchase by the Kingwood Medical Center.

The Kingwood Medical Center had inquired about the 6.5 acre parcel of land and expressed interest in purchasing the property to convert it into a parking lot for the adjacent medical-center complex. However, the property is being used as part of a beautification project that is centered on enhancing the aesthetics of the community while improving the local environment.

Some of those improvements are made by The Green Ribbon Project which has worked to enhance communities by planting trees that provide shade, harbor birds and other wildlife, reduce noise, store carbon, reduce erosion, and produce oxygen.

Earlier this year the Houston District reached a lofty goal through a partnership with local organizations in planting one million trees in Houston as part of the initiative. A decision to dismantle and sell the property for future development would not be in-keeping with our goals to aesthetically enhance the quality of life of the communities we serve,” Mr. Dennis said.

(I’m a big advocate of GO GREEN projects in general and must say that I am proud of Mr. Dennis and the decision he has made in this case. -Jennifer)

Construction: City of Conroe
August 13, 2011

TXDOT Schedules Roadwork

 Beginning Sunday: August 14, 2011

The City of Conroe announces scheduled roadwork that will take place on the section of State Highway 75 from FM 3083 to Loop 336 (south) through Conroe. This roadwork starts Sunday, August 14, 2011. The project is scheduled for nighttime work only between the hours of 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM and estimated to take 5 months (75 working days). The project should be completed by February 2012.

You can read more about CONROE Construction on my blog, by scrolling to the bottom and searching under Construction.

America’s Got Talent: Barbara Padilla
August 12, 2011

It looks like it was meant to be! Stardom for Barbara Padilla.

You may recognize her from America’s Got Talent or from seeing her on Local 2. She’s got one inspirational story which starts with her amazing vocal talent and continues with her message of triumph. It all began in college when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph tissue. She was treated, but doctors thought she would never sing again because of the radiation’s damage to her vocal cords. Thankfully for her and for all of us, her incredible voice was untouched. Eleven years later she remains cancer free and…

The lovely and talented Soprano, Barbara Padilla and Jennifer.

After fighting cancer, maintaining hope and giving America’s Got Talent a shot…she’s excited to announce her upcoming album, Viviendo. (Spanish for “living” – so appropriate for her spirit.) She sings in four languages on the album: Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and English!

On a more personal note: For any of you who have lost a loved one in your life…take the time to listen to Barbara’s rendition of Andrea Bocelli’s, Time to Say Goodbye.  She sings it with such passion. I love this song so much!  It makes me think of my mom who passed away just 6 months ago.

Major Accident: I-45 at Airline
August 9, 2011

MAJOR TRAFFIC ALERT…A sight that we’ve never seen before; below is a Houston Transtar picture of a hydraulic bed that impacted an overhead freeway sign at I-45 North outbound at Airline around 5:30pm, Tuesday evening. Luckily, there have been no reported casualties.

For those of you who drive the North Frwy, traffic is heavily congested into downtown. Take 59 Eastex to avoid brake lights. Southbound traffic is just as bad, so consider the Hardy Toll Road or N. Shepherd Dr.

(As of 7pm) ** I-45 North Frwy will be shut down for next 8-9 hours in both directions as crews repair the overhead sign. We’ll update you in the morning on the freeway conditions.

45 North at Airline

Closure: N. Main St. Bridge
August 6, 2011

N. Main St. Bridge Closes to Motor Vehicles

Beginning Monday, Aug. 8

Drivers commuting via North Main should expect a change in routine as the N. Main Street bridge closes to motorists beginning Monday, August 8. Light-rail service will continue normal operations and pedestrian access on the UH-Downtown side of the street will remain in place.

Northbound traffic on Main will follow this detour – right on Franklin, left on San Jacinto, right on Rothwell, left on Hardy, right on Lyons, left on Maury, left on Lorraine to Hogan and back to N. Main.

David Couch, METRO Sr. Vice President for Capital Programs says, “We are configuring two major bridge structures for the light-rail expansion on the new North Line. Our goal is to provide Great Transit Infrastructure and this work brings us a step closer to providing our downtown and Northside stakeholders with enhanced service. The finished project will be a major benefit for all of Houston.”

The closure between Naylor and Franklin streets allows crews to begin rebuilding the northern section of the Main St. bridge for light rail use. They’ll also construct the southern part of the bridge, over the Union Pacific tracks.

Southbound traffic will be detoured as follows: left on Hogan (which becomes Lorraine), right on Maury, right on Lyons, left on McKee, right on Providence, left on North San Jacinto and connect back to Main via Commerce.

If you’re walking in the area, please be on the lookout for directional signage. Safety is a priority and METRO urges pedestrians to heed all signs. Those traveling the area should expect a longer commute. The detour will last a year to 14 months. For more information about the rail expansion program visit