FM 517 from SH 35 to I-45
The TxDOT Houston District is proposing to reconstruct and widen FM 517 from a two-lane to a four-lane divided roadway with an 18-foot-wide raised median and curb and gutter drainage. The project would extend for a total of 9.8 miles along FM 517, from SH 35 to I-45 in Brazoria and Galveston Counties, Texas. The proposed project is needed to improve mobility in Brazoria and Galveston counties and to improve safety by providing a divided roadway.
The purpose of the proposed project is to accommodate future anticipated traffic demand and growth in the region, as well as improve safety and mobility by constructing a divided roadway with raised medians.
The existing FM 517 roadway from SH 35 to McFarland Road consists of two 12-foot-wide travel lanes (one in each direction) with no median and 9.5-foot-wide shoulders and open vegetated ditches or swales. The existing right of way in this section of the project is approximately 100 feet in width.
At SH 35, the intersection of FM 517 with the SH 35 northbound and southbound frontage roads includes left-turn lanes between the two frontage roads.
From McFarland Road to FM 646, the existing roadway has two 12-foot-wide travel lanes (one in each direction), a 14-footwide center left-turn lane, 4-foot-wide shoulders and open vegetated ditches or swales. The existing right of way in this section of the project is approximately 100 feet in width. The existing roadway includes left-turn lanes in each direction onto FM 646.
From FM 646 to I-45, the existing roadway consists of four 12-foot-wide travel lanes (two in each direction) with a 14-foot-wide center left-turn lane and no shoulders in a curb-and-gutter section. The existing right of way in this section of the project is approximately 100 feet. At the intersection of FM 517 and I-45, the center left-turn lane becomes a raised median to accommodate one left-turn lane to northbound I-45 and a right-turn lane onto the southbound frontage road of I-45.
The existing roadway from SH 35 to west of Drake Run Lane does not provide pedestrian or bicyclist accommodations except adjacent to the Lobit Elementary and Middle School complex. An existing sidewalk is located between Bay Sky Drive and west of the Jordan Cove Apartments; however, it is outside of the existing right of way. There are existing unconnected sidewalks located in portions of the existing right of way east of FM 646 to I-45.
In 2013 the Houston-Galveston Area Council prepared an access management plan for FM 517. The Access Management Plan identified that the area between FM 646 and I-45 contains the most congestion, highest crash rate along the proposed project limits, and a high density of driveways accessed by the center left turn lane. TxDOT began evaluating the needed improvements to FM 517 in 2016. At the start of the project, existing conditions data was collected and evaluated to identify corridor needs. Once needs were identified the project team began developing alternatives to meet the project’s needs.
A public meeting was held in 2016 where the proposed project and two design alternatives were presented. The proposed improvements presented at this meeting included widening the existing two-lane facility to four lanes, including two 12-foot-wide travel lanes in each direction, 18-foot-wide raised median with turn lanes, and five-foot-wide sidewalks throughout the project limits. The proposed project presented at the 2016 public meeting included the conversion of FM 517 to a curb and gutter system with open vegetated ditches.
After the 2016 public meeting, the project team reviewed the comments received, further evaluated design options, and refined the design to one recommended alternative. The original schematic showed the project limits from SH 35 to FM 646. In response to public comments and logical termini concerns, the project was extended east to I-45 in 2017.
Since 2017, TxDOT has continued to refine the recommended alternative.
- Reconstruct and widen FM 517 from a two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided roadway for a total distance of 9.8 miles.
- From SH 35 to FM 646, the improvements would include the addition of one 12-foot-wide travel lane in each direction, an 18-foot-wide raised median with turn lanes at intersections, 14-foot-wide shoulders, and 10-foot-wide shared use paths, for pedestrians and bicyclists, on both sides of the roadway. The total right-of-way width would be approximately 160 feet which would include approximately 30 feet of additional right of way on both sides of the roadway. The roadway would be converted to a curb and gutter drainage system with open vegetated ditches. Approximately 61 acres of proposed right of way would be required from this section.
- From east of FM 646 to I-45, the improvements would include the addition of a 16-foot-wide raised median with turn lanes at intersections and a 10-foot-wide shared use path on the north side of FM 517 for pedestrians and bicyclists. This section currently has four 12-foot-wide travel lanes without shoulders. The existing right-of- way width would remain 100 feet in this section.
- The project also would include improvements at Old Alvin Road, McFarland Road/Algoa-Friendswood Road and FM 646. Improvements at Old Alvin Road would extend approximately 440 feet to the north of FM 517 and include realignment of the intersection. Improvements at McFarland Road/Algoa-Friendswood Road extend approximately 900 feet to the north and south of FM 517 and include realignment of the intersection and construction of left and right turn lanes. Improvements at FM 646 would extend approximately 1,000 feet to the north and south of FM 517 and include construction of left and right turn lanes at the intersection.
The project would require the acquisition of approximately 30 feet of right of way on both sides of FM 517 between SH 35 and FM 646, resulting in a new right-of-way width of 160 feet. The proposed improvements between FM 646 and I-45 would not require any new right of way and would include 10-foot-wide shared use paths for pedestrians and bicyclists. The proposed project would, subject to final design considerations, require approximately 61 acres of additional right of way and potentially displace three commercial facilities.
- Jan. 26, 2016 - Public Meeting
- July 20, 2021 - Virtual Public Hearing
- July 22, 2021 - In-person Public Hearing
TxDOT Houston District