The East End Line Underpass Metro Hasn’t Begun Building

That no-tracks land along Harrisburg Blvd. between 66th and Cowling on the East End Line is supposed to look something like the underpass that these new renderings depict. Right now, though, Harrisburg isn’t passing under anything — but lying in wait instead between the nearly completed eastern and western sections of the line that stop here dead in their tracks. Though Mayor Parker announced more than 2 years ago that the East End Line would get $20.6 million in diverted funds to build the Hughes Underpass below the Union Pacific East Belt freight rail line, construction hasn’t started. Why? Well, it appears that Metro hasn’t selected a company yet.


You can read more from Metro about the engineering logistics and environmental impact of the underpass here.

Renderings: via Swamplot inbox

31 Comment

  • Really Metro!? Really?

  • I’m a huge supporter of rail for Houston, but I find this disappointing news. So how far back will this move the opening of the harrisburg line? It seemed like it was recently announced to be opening soon. Are they going to open a partial line that will stop at the proposed underpass or hope the trains can jump the abyss? Why oh why is Metro dragging their feet on this. Especially after the city found the money to help pay for it by forgoing other projects in the area. Shame on you. I thought you were trying to improve your public image by getting things done in a timely manner. Just pick a company and get the damn thing done already. How are you ever going to get support for the much needed University line if you keep tripping over your own rails!

  • That looks like major work still needs to be done. Metro’s site claims all that’s left is “finishing touches.”

  • @ Bob (#2)

    Hear! Hear!

    I so agree with you, especially since the University Line would probably have a much higher ridership that the East End Line (or any of the other lines currently under construction for that matter).

  • Typical Metro bullcrap! It’s PR aside, Metro obviously really does NOT want expanded service anywhere. This is proof. Metro needs a forensic accounting of it’s books. And another changr in “leadership.”

  • They gotta hurry up and finish it, how else will they keep the new ginormous homeless shelter packed that’s going up in EaDo.

  • I am theoretically pro more transit, but I have so little confidence in Metro that I am anti transit.

  • I have heard from several people that the East End Line will partially open next year. For now, the last stop on the line will be the Altic Station. Meanwhile, Metro says it’s beginning testing of the line next month. The underpass will eventually happen, especially since 1/4th of the line is coming to completion across the freight train track.

  • On a separate note, I do realize that METRO must comply with ADA requirements and its allotted budget, but that six-switchback ramp system is extremely inefficient for able-bodied pedestrians. Would it have been asking too much for a set of stairs? Pedestrians are pretty much essential to have along transit routes, after all.

    It all makes me wonder — do they even care?

  • @TheNiche:

    Good catch. I about to say that stairs might just be obscured by the automobile overpass in the top image, but the last image seems to confirm it. The problem isn’t just the added distance, it’s the major traffic jam that will form behind obese or disabled people on the ramp.

  • Typical Metro – holding Houston back until they can give the contract to one of their friends or wannabe friends.

  • What’s with the “hughes” name. I see in the story above this one that the Woodlands is using “hughes” as the name of an apt. area complex.

  • Does anyone know if Metro’s dispute with UH has been resolved? Metro wanted to take UH land along Scott by the new stadium. UH said “no”, go get the land on the other side of Scott.

  • Look at the pdf. There are stairs.

  • google the Howard Hughes family + Houston

  • I’m willing to bet UP or whoever owns the freight line is holding up Metro. However Metro is generally slow to complete any of the Metrorail projects.

  • The street parallel to the railroad track and perpendicular to Harrisburg is called Hughes Street. The land on the other side of the railroad track was the site of the Hughes Tool Company, where Howard Hughes got all his money after his father died. Light rail trains will stop at Altic Street until the underpass is completed and that station is called Altic/Howard Hughes. The delay was not caused by Metro, but by the nearby residents that wanted an underpass instead of an overpass.

  • Bobby D is right. I’ve heard there are negotiations with UP. The idea is to open the section from BBVA Stadium to Altic the commence construction early next year and open the entire line sometime during 2014.

  • The UH issue was resolved and they did use UH land but agreed to give UH two direct access stations…this only can be a benefit to UH @greg

  • Same old Metro. I am generally pro-mass transit, but Metro has been (and looks like maybe still is) one of the most wasteful and inefficient orgs our there. I wish there was a business case for a George Mitchell type to take over Metro and actually get some results.

  • This is much ado about nothing. Design work on the underpass only began when the decision to go forward with it was made two years ago. A company hasn’t been selected to build it because they can’t put the project out to bid until it’s designed. The delayed opening of the final segment between Altic and Magnolia TC has been expected since the change was made.

  • Spenser

    I of course know Howard Hughes connection to Houston, but it was strange to see his name being used for 2 things on the same day on this site.

  • The harrisburg line: the train that goes nowhere, but private investors/ and our tax $, is going to some one.

  • I’m going to use this harrisburg line over and over again God-willing.

  • I agree with Mayor Parker’s belief that Metro should FIRST serve people who are reliant solely on Metro for personal transportation. To whomever above, all these lines will serve more than they can handle. I use all those routes at one time or another, currently served by bus, and they will be well and much used, I can assure you; a great springboard for further expansion as well as great reduction of buses downtown, another plus.

  • @Colleen: and to connect the dots in this strange conjunction, The Woodlands is now owned by The Howard Hughes Corporation, which oddly, is based in Dallas. My recollection is that H. Hughes, while being a Houstonian, hated Houston and his father’s Hughes Tool Co. based here. So, its interesting that some of the remnants of his estate wound up being operated out of Dallas, a city that seems to have hating Houston as part of its charter values. (I like Dallas overall, but I still find the circuitous path of history to be interesting.)

  • Guido you have it backwards. Houstonians hate Dallas and for whatever reason, they can’t seem to let it go. I was born and raised and schooled in Dallas and no one, including the newspapers, ever mentioned Houston. The Dallas rivalry was/is with Ft. worth. I cannot tell you how many rude comments I heard from people here when they asked where I moved from. It’s just plain stupid.

  • I dont know why so many people on here are freaking out. Its been known for over a year that the East End line will partially open in 2014.

    This is not new information.

  • Jt, NO I’m afraid you’re off as well. I’m also born and raised in Dallas (Pleasant Grove/Skyline High School ’91) & I think there’s an equal amount of hate from Dallasites toward Houstonians – and vice versa. We in Dallas just pretend that Houston doesn’t exists. I do recall the Dallas Morning News (& Herald) mention Houston often when there was a negative story to report.

  • I hate dallas…lame cornaball every negative texas stereotype dallas…also Metro needs to be shutdown or the city needs to find a way to get someone else to build rail…Metro is run by fools

  • No, JT, I’ve encountered this friendly rivalry even in different countries. At least it was friendly between us. I can’t speak for other Swamplotters.