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Texas Department of Transportation - Houston
7600 Washington Avenue
Sims Bayou Bridge
TXDOT Bridge over Sims Bayou
State Highway 3 (SH 3) is a major north/south principal arterial roadway that traverses Harris and Galveston counties. Along this segment of SH 3 there is an average daily traffic count of 13,514 vehicles and a posted speed limit ranging from 55 miles per hour. It does not have a designated bicycle facility. The need for the proposed project is demonstrated by the following conditions: •Sims Bayou transverses east/west SH 3 (Galveston Rd), the bridge currently has a 5 foot sidewalk. • The Sims Bayou trail currently has a 10 shared use path lane in places along the road, but the shared use path is completely absent over the bridge. • Many cyclists and high school students ride along the Sims Bayou Bridge at SH 3 to cross Sims Bayou without any designated bicycle route across the bridge, to connect the north and south trails of Sims Bayou. • Sims Bayou is a major waterway barrier; there is no bicycle route that connects the north and south side Sims Bayou. • There is a gap in the existing Sims Bayou Shared Use Path. The Houston Parks Board (HPB) is currently constructing greenways and 10’ wide concrete trails on both sides of this bridge to make connections from nearby parks, schools and neighborhoods. HPB has finished construction of the greenway trail on the south side of Sims Bayou and will finish construction Spring 2019 of the second half of the trail which is on the north side. Many more pedestrians and cyclists will be traveling on this bridge including lots of school-aged kids commuting to/from school.
The proposed bike facility is located on SH 3 and spans over Sims Bayou. The project includes bridge widening, installing a physical barrier and the 48” bridge railing and signage. This project does not require additional acquisition of right-of-way. Sims Bayou Greenways Trail is a regionally significant east-west bikeway facility, as indicated by HPB, in its totality the trail begins in southwest Houston and flows east near Hobby Airport toward the Houston Ship Channel.
The purpose of the proposed project is to provide a safe and continuous bicycle facility along the SH 3 Bridge across the bridge span over Sims Bayou, the facility will be separate from vehicular traffic by a physical barrier creating a safe and hospitable bicycle route, improving connectivity for alternative modes of transportation to and from schools (bicycle), and encourage mode shifts from driving to cycling for non-work trips. The project will address a gap along the Sims Bayou Greenway Trail.
Less than $100 million
View Uploaded File: HOU_88_SIMS - Letter of Support.pdf
Categorical Exclusion (CE)
(c)(3) Construction of bicycle and pedestrian lanes, paths, and facilities
View Uploaded File: HOU_88_SIMS - Interagency Coordination.docx
View Uploaded File: HOU_88_SIMS - Timeline.pdf
Advanced Funding Agreement (AFA) will be needed for this project since the Houston Parks Board (HPB) will provide the 20% match required.
No permits from the railroad are expected to be required before the project can be constructed.
No documentation is needed from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).
TxDOT’s Houston District Environmental Section has reviewed the project and indicated that the criteria for FHWA Categorical Exclusion Action (c)(3) Construction of bicycle and pedestrian lanes, paths, and facilities would be appropriate for this project, a United States Coast Guard (USCG) Permit will be needed as the ped/bike bridge will cross SIMS Bayou.
This project does not require additional acquisition of right-of-way (ROW), no ROW acquisition and/or easements is needed. ROW is owned by City of Houston, which is a project partner.
The existing load bearing capacity for the SH3/Galveston Bridge NBI No. 12-102-B261-05-003 will share with the proposed widened substructure the additional concrete dead load.
Bridge design consideration:
10ft shared use path w/ 1% roadway slope and 2% sidewalk slope.
14 ft total width. 3% combined slope.
60 ft proposed bridge width
298 ft existing bridge length
TxDOT’S Bridge Section provided the preliminary typical section for the proposed shared use path bridge and a detailed construction budget.
This project leverages the HPB Sims Bayou Greenway improvements that connect the share use path to an existing sidewalk along Galveston Rd.
Scoping meeting conducted by TxDOT
TxDOT held several internal meeting to discuss the project.
• 8/30/2018 - Meeting with TxDOT Directors: Director of Consultant Contracts, Director TP&D, Senior Planner on behalf of Dir. of Adv. Transportation Planning, Dir. of Project Development, Director of Design.
o Directors meeting to discuss improvements with TxDOT Management and get feedback on any preliminary design concerns.
• 5/9/18 & 10/15/18 - Meeting with Houston Parks Board
o Meeting to discuss improvements, as well as request letters of support.
• 7/25/208 - TxDOT – City of Houston meeting
o Meeting to discuss improvements, get preliminary feedback, and discuss possibility of City of Houston Public Works and Engineering Department willingness to serve as a project sponsor, if needed.
View Uploaded File: HOU_88_SIMS - Project Readiness.zip
View Uploaded File: HOU_88_SIMS- Location Map.pdf
View Uploaded File: HOU_88_HGAC_Template.xlsx
View Uploaded File: TxDOT - Bike Ped Safety Benefits - SIMS Bridge.zip
View Uploaded File: TxDOT - Bike Ped Delay Benefits - SIMS Bridge.zip
View Uploaded File: TxDOT - Bike Ped Emissions Benefits - SIMS Bridge.zip
View Uploaded File: HOU_88_SIMS_Additional_Information.zip
View Uploaded File:
Sims Bayou Bridge Daily User Methodology
A Bicycle and Pedestrian Demand Sketch methodology (Greg Griffin) was utilized to generate daily bicycle and pedestrian volumes for the Sims Bayou Bridge Facility. This methodology utilizes American Community Survey commuting mode share data (Subject Table “S0801 Commuting Characteristics by Sex”) to estimate mode shares along the facility for both bicycle and pedestrians. A multiplier was generated to account for additional bike and pedestrian travel outside of the commuting periods. To develop the most accurate estimate of mode share for each project, buffers were utilized to account for surrounding land uses and area types. A 1.5-mile buffer was utilized for pedestrian projects and a 5-mile buffer for bike projects. ACS data within these buffers was averaged to generate a likely mode share for both bike and pedestrian modes.
This data was then applied to traffic volumes generated from the regional travel demand model to estimate daily user bike and pedestrian trips. The specific process utilized to develop daily user estimates is outlined below:
Assemble mode share and roadway network data
• ACS data collection for city/county/MPO bike and pedestrian commute share
• Pull ADT information from regional model for appropriate network links parallel or nearby project facilities
• Load data into GIS
• Identify ACS Block Groups within buffer range to generate ACS mode share estimates
Apply local count bicycle rate to roadway segments
• The SH 3 Access Management Study was utilized to pull local bike count data as the study limits were in proximity to the Sims Bayou Bridge Facility. The bike count was used to extrapolate a reasonable bicycle mode share for the project. This bike mode share was applied as a proportion of current and/or projected vehicular volumes along specific roadway segment to develop estimated daily users.
Apply pedestrian rates to roadway segments
• The direct ACS pedestrian mode share was applied to the Sims Bayou Bridge project as a proportion of current and/or projected vehicular volumes along specific roadway segment to develop estimated daily users. Transit ridership estimates were utilized to determine that this method was more feasible than applying the sketch planning multiplier.
• A reasonable check was conducted by reviewing local information and transit ridership information to assess the reasonableness of user estimates generated in the previous steps. The initial methodology resulted in unreasonable reasonable estimates of potential bicycle and pedestrian users in the year open to traffic based on local knowledge of the area. Thus, a local count study was utilized to better adapt the methodology. When the new bicycle mode share rate was applied, the counts were found to be reasonable.
Interpolate to Estimate Build Year Daily Users
• The HGAC Model Years are 2018, 2025, and 2045. To estimate the “build year” daily users, an interpolation was applied to develop estimates for 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024.
0.67 tons/year NOX
0.18 tons/year VOCs
901 - 1000
Interagency coordination: City of Houston, Houton Parks Board, TxDOT
Houston-Galveston Area Council