HOUSTON – Crews started work along Post Oak Boulevard in Uptown in 2016 and now there may be an end in sight.
After years of construction, the transformation is nearly complete and drivers in the area are seeing the difference.
“Oh, how this looks? It’s amazing. It’s beautiful,” said Carmen Klein who lives in the area.
“I guess you take the pain for the end-result that is very nice and efficient,” said Maria Janish who likes to shop in the area.
One of the goals was to improve the appearance of Post Oak Boulevard, making it a more walkable environment by widening sidewalks and adding trees.
“We think everyone wins, the pedestrian, the transit riders, as well as automobile driver,” said John Breeding, president of the Uptown Management District.
Another goal of the project was to make travel easier by adding dedicated bus lanes.
Barring delays, the first METRORapid route in Houston could start service next spring. Workers are still installing electrical and fiber optics systems.
“It ties us in to that regional system that has long been working and very successful for METRO,” said Breeding.
In the end, rail-like buses will run along Post Oak about every ten minutes for most of the day with multiple stops.
On the northern end, passengers will connect from a new Northwest Transit Center on Old Katy Road, set to be done next December.
TxDOT is adding an elevated bus lane from the Northwest Transit Center to Post Oak, expected to be done early next summer.
On the southern end, crews are working on a major construction project on Richmond estimated to be done next spring that will link buses to the new Westpark/Lower Uptown Transit Center.
“It really will make a difference," said Breeding. “... Imagine living out in Cypress (and) never driving on 290, never driving on the West Loop, but yet going to work at Williams Tower.”
People who shop and work in the area hope for a smooth ride.
“I think it’s gonna be very helpful, especially if you think about the Houston population growing and soon to be the third-largest city in the United States,” said Jordan Are who works nearby.
But it may not be as smooth right away. With each project finishing at different times, buses may have to take temporary detours in the meantime.
Spokesperson Tracy Jackson with METRO released a statement saying, “METRO is coordinating with our partners as they complete their work and we are evaluating when service should begin. But our proposed operating schedule could change.”