TxDOT Plans To Upgrade Upper Kirby Southwest Fwy. Feeder

A project to improve a 2.9-mile stretch of the Southwest Fwy. feeder road between South Shepherd Dr. and Newcastle St. could get started as early as May 1, a rep from TxDOT says. And the Upper Kirby Management District contributed some funds to the $19 million project, which might give you an idea about what to expect.


Accordingly, The TxDOT rep says that the “old and failing” feeder will be repaved and, in some areas, widened. Trees will be removed. New sidewalks will be built, bad ones repaired, and substandard accessibility issues, like the absence of wheelchair ramps, will be addressed.

And Kirby Dr.-like decorative pavers, traffic signals, and backlit street signs will be installed in the major intersections at Buffalo Speedway, Greenbriar, and South Shepherd.

In all, the project will create smoother sailing right on past Lakewood Church . . .

. . . to Lancashire and Newcastle Dr., almost out to the Loop:

The project, says the TxDOT rep, is expected to take up to 16 months, with a planned stoppage during next year’s traffic-heavy holiday-shopping season.

Images: TxDOT (maps), Candace Garcia (Kirby Dr. at Kipling)

29 Comment

  • Too bad they aren’t planning to just go ahead and patch up Shepherd up to Richmond while they’re at it…

  • I find the idea of sidewalks on feeder roads hilarious. They’re like my Cavalier King Charles in a tuxedo.
    ‘Mr Wiggles you’re not people, you’re a dog.’
    [Starts crying as I realize that I don’t have functional sidewalks in my neighborhood and a freeway does]

  • So unnecessary.

  • Oh no, not again! Little will be improved, entire forests of trees will be removed and construction will continue to torment the area for another year. This is after a year of Richmond construction; many years of Kirby construction; years of 59 construction; a year of congestion at Buffalo and 59. When did we have an opportunity to vote on this project? Yeah…we didn’t, did we? Now Upper Kirby will look even more like the suburbs!

  • sounds like an un-needed “beautification” project, but i guess if they’re going to spend the money regardless better here than elsewhere.

  • Yep, waste of time, money and energy. We have real pressing transit problems and money is focused on this? Someone is gettin some payola!

  • I’m surprised they call the feeder “old and failing”, because it’s in much better shape than Bissonnet just a couple blocks south of there, which is in desperate need of being rebuilt.

    The only real thing that needs improvement along 59 are the sidewalks, which are in awful condition, but few people use them anyway. The decorative pavers and backlit street signs will look nice, though.

  • New sidewalks and wheelchair ramps – yea
    Taking out trees – boo!

  • this will take 5 years

  • Jesus Christ, TXDOT, can you guys just stop already?

  • No! No! No! NO TREES SHOULD BE REMOVED, especially if they’re not being replaced.

  • Just don’t F’ with my 59-Hazard U-turn.

  • If this was such a needed project, why didn’t they do it at the same time they were working on Kirby and Westpark? TXDOT seems to start projects just has the old ones are finished. On a side note, they just finished redoing the bridges over I-10 at Shepherd/Durham (reducing the lanes down to two) and what do they do next? The feeder! Now we are down to two lanes again. Incompetence.

  • This area would rank 1,385th on the “needed” scale for roadway repairs and upgrades inside the loop. Nice to hear they plan on getting rid of those pesky trees.

  • Its too bad they don’t teach state or local public finance as a subject matter in high school or university curriculum.

  • Eh, still better than blowing the money on the toy trains.

  • @infinite jim

    I totally agree

  • Folks…Upper Kirby is the driving force here. Apparently they are a development war path, with Levy Park in their sights next. Apparently, a six-story mixed use commercial building will be going up in place of the softball field and a new road through the community garden. More tax revenue for the city and the district I would imagine. It sure would be great if we could know what those on the TIRZ 19 and HCID 3 Boards were up to, but alas public meeting minutes on the Upper Kirby District website only current through 2010.

  • What??? Shepherd, Greenbriar and South Rice are built like war zones, and a perfectly good feeder road — with speedy lanes a-plenty — is getting redone? Agree with the commenters above. This is nuts. Kirby is the only decent north-south road in Houston. We don’t need more east-west flow. We need better north-south flow.

  • Northbound on Kirby in FRONT of Helfman / River Oaks Chrysler dealership, Kirby is still restricted to the original 3-4 lanes. Jack Helfman WOULDN’T sell the right of way to the City / TxDot. The greedy bastard should have eminent domain foisted on his sorry butt and the hell with him whining about parking in front of the building. TxDot officials are getting payola as are the douche bags in the Texas Legislature & as are City of Houston Council Members: all payola is given as “campaign contributions”.From Obama on down ALL levels of government are broken,ineffectual,CORRUPT and NON-DEMOCRATIC. ALL of the surface streets are CRAP. No thanks to Ms.Green Houston, Mayor Annise Parker. I could care less about the $ 600 MILLION the City is going to spend on Green Initiatives,while our surfaces streets are the crappies they’ve been in DECADES. Can’t wait for Annise to be out of office.

  • Hope they move back the ramp from southbound 59 onto the feeder at the Kirby exit. Taking that exit and trying to make a right turn onto Kirby means cutting off at least three other drivers.

  • Rice village needs these sidewalk improvements much worse than 59. Too bad it’s outside of upper Kirby trz so instead the frontage road gets it.

    On a separate note, I don’t know how Kirby headed north is supposed to accommodate all this growth. They just rebuilt it and it already backs up below bissonnet pretty badly. There used to be three lanes northbound at that point, but when they widened the lanes they took one out and now we get long backups on a road they just completely redid. Oh well, maybe when they redo it again in 20 years they can get us back to 2008’s level of northbound capacity.

  • @infinite_jim–amazingly well written analysis. Makes a lot of sense (says a guy who drives it 2-3 times a day). Will never happen :(

  • Interesting to announce this during Complete Streets Week ( houstoncompletestreets.org ).

  • Nice……but they can’t fix part of Fairview where there are no sidewalks. Or fix lower Richmond and Montrose where you can leave half your car.

  • TxDOT has too much money for it’s own good. I wish local transportation projects got as much a share as TxDOT.

  • While we’re pipe-dreaming, I’d like to run a second spur, a tolled viaduct connecting US 59 to the Buffalo Bayou bridge. It’d help in moving traffic around the obstruction posed by Memorial Park.

  • It just seems like yesterday when TXDOT was busily expanding the South’s Worst Freeway HWY59 back in the 00 years. I remember then asking myself why they didn’t expand the width of the Freeway as far as they could have from the get go? Instead they planted trees and shrubs that make the Freeway look more aesthetically pleasing to look at but does next to nothing to help alleviate the ever increasing traffic congestion in the area. Flash ahead to the present well now we know why they didn’t do this. TX DOT after tying up traffic for so many years with the SWF expansion is now going to tear out and up root all the tress they planted in order to what they should’ve done the first time around. Is it just me or does this seem like a waste of effort on TX DOT’s part? Shame on you TXDOT you should have done back then what your planning to do now. Isn’t it bad enough that your going tear up HWY290 for the next 4 or so years wouldn’t our efforts be better spent helping that project along at a faster pace? Why do you guys have to tear up all the freeways at once? I think this is a complete waste of time. So what’s next for the SWF expansion plans after y’all accomplish this? When do you start taking land from Lakewood Church because the SWFWY needs to be expanded even further? No more wasting time & money planting unnecessary greenery this time fella’s!