The TxDOT FM 529 Expansion project will have a substantial impact on land adjoining the road. If your land is affected, you should get help protecting your rights and your land. Call 800-266-4870 or text 979-320-9320 to get started.
Summary of the FM 529 Widening Project Video
I’m Philip Hundl, and I’m providing a Project Alert about the TxDOT FM 529 expansion project that’s poised to affect landowners in Waller and Harris Counties in Texas. The project centers around the expansion of FM 529, a roadway spanning from FM 362 in Waller County to Highway 99 in Harris County. I update landowners about such projects, to try to ensure that they’re well-informed about potential impacts on their properties.
FM 529 Project Description
With rapid growth unfolding in these areas, TxDOT is planning to widen FM 529. The stretch between Highway 99 and the Katy Hockley Cutoff Road will be improved from a two-lane roadway to a six-lane road with an 18-foot raised median. Beyond the Katy Hockley Cutoff Road and up to FM 362, the road will be expanded to a four-lane roadway, also featuring an 18-foot raised median. Additional enhancements include installing 12-foot outside shoulders and sidewalks on both sides of the road from State Highway 99 to 362, as well as adding turn lanes at intersections and median openings.
The anticipated right of way for these improvements will need about 180 feet in width. Therefore, it’s highly likely that many landowners along the route, on both the north and south sides of the road, will be impacted. TxDOT may acquire portions of land from either side of the road, depending on existing structures and facilities.
The Land Acquisition Phase is Starting
Although this project has been in the planning stages for quite some time, with a public meeting held as far back as April 2019, it’s now gaining momentum in 2023. I am urging landowners to familiarize themselves with their rights and understand what TxDOT, the condemnor in this case, can and cannot do.
I’m also emphasizing that the condemnor cannot access the property without the landowner’s consent or the actions of a court, hence the importance of temporary access agreements for any necessary surveying. I’m encouraging landowners to seek legal assistance in negotiating these temporary access agreements. It’s crucial to engage with an attorney well-versed in condemnation or eminent domain proceedings to safeguard your interests.
We encourage temporary access agreements so that TxDOT can do the surveying that they need. If you’re not willing to negotiate, TxDOT can go to court and get access to do that surveying. We can work with you and negotiate with TxDOT to provide them with access for surveying while controlling access to protect your property.
Potential Impacts to You of the FM 529 Widening
Certainly, the impact of road improvements on a landowner’s property can vary greatly depending on the specifics of the project and the features of the property. If your property is along this route, you may be affected in different ways.
The most direct impact is land acquisition, or the ‘taking’ of a portion of your property for the widening project. This may reduce the size of your property and can affect its value. Whether TxDOT takes land from one side of the road or both sides depends on several factors, including existing structures, utilities, and the natural landscape. In some cases, only a small strip of land bordering the road is taken, but in others, substantial portions may be acquired, potentially affecting buildings, fields, or other features on your property.
Beyond the taking, the roadway improvements could bring changes that indirectly affect your property. For example, the addition of sidewalks, outside shoulders, turn lanes at intersections, and median openings may lead to increased traffic and potentially higher noise levels. While these enhancements are meant to improve safety and efficiency, they could affect the tranquility and privacy of your property, particularly if your home or business is located close to the road.
Furthermore, the construction process itself can bring temporary disturbances. These may include noise, dust, and vibration from construction equipment, as well as changes to local traffic patterns during the construction period. Also, alterations such as new culverts or changes to the roadway’s grade could affect drainage on your property. While TxDOT typically claims it won’t adversely affect drainage, it’s something that we need to monitor closely.
Finally, certain changes could affect access to your property. New turn lanes, medians, or other features could alter how you and others reach your property from the road. It’s crucial to understand whether there will be any changes to your access points and how that might affect your use of the property.
Get Knowledgeable Legal Help to Protect Your Rights
In all of these matters, it’s essential to understand your rights as a landowner. If TxDOT or another entity is planning to acquire part of your property, or if the planned improvements will negatively affect your property in other ways, you have the right to seek compensation. Early consultation with an attorney knowledgeable about condemnation proceedings can help you understand the process and ensure your interests are protected.
Overall, despite the project being in the planning stages for quite some time, it’s just starting in terms of the condemnation process. My key message to those potentially affected is to know your rights, and don’t hesitate to secure professional legal assistance to navigate the complexities of the Texas eminent domain process.