Among a few Fifth Ward buildings abutting a new railroad underpass scheduled to be installed near the intersection of Lyons Ave. and West St.: The warehouse pictured above at 2305 Lyons Ave., graced by a Wiley Robertson mural. The Gulf Coast Rail District plans to eliminate the at-grade railroad crossing west of I-69 and directly to the east of that corner by routing Lyons Ave. under the tracks. According to the district, 30 trains a day currently cross Lyons Ave. — on 3 separate sets of tracks. North of Lyons, 3 additional at-grade crossings will be eliminated by closing down West St. entirely from a little south of Lyons to a little south of Brooks St.
The earliest possible start date for the project, which would cost an estimated $28.5 million and take approximately 2 years to complete, is listed as the fall of 2020. At a meeting last night at the Saint Arnold Brewery, which is just west of the West St. intersection, the district and TXDOT showed these images of a widened Lyons Ave. with dual 12-ft.-wide car lanes as well as bike lanes and sidewalks passing under the HB&T rail line:
From the east:
And from the west (with the building at 2305 Lyons pictured at left):
According to Rail District drawings, however, the underpass is only the first of several plans to transform the entire area into a multimodal transportation through-way. This map shows the northbound portion of the Hardy Toll Road Downtown Connector will be routed in a bridge directly over the railroad crossing; the separate southbound route is shown a little to the west of the soon-to-be-abandoned West St. Also shown: 2 separate detention ponds controlled by the county’s toll road authority:
The rail district is accepting comments on the proposal until July 11.
Photo: El Muralcho Bayou City Murals. Images: Gulf Coast Rail District/TXDOT