By: Sherrie Shorten
PORTER, TX - The Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDOT) is proposing 5 miles of improvements to FM 1314 in Porter from Loop 494 to 99.
Currently, FM 1314 is a 4-lane divided highway with a center turn lane. TxDOT wants to convert the center turn lane into raised medians with left turn access. The project is within the current right-of-way, therefore, no businesses along FM 1314 will be displaced.
However, the raised medians will restrict left-hand turns to specific points along FM 1314 in an effort to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities.
Citizens were especially concerned about the intersection of FM 1314 and Fatheree. Fatheree serves as a back way into Porter High School, access to Sorter Mills Elementary School, and an alternate route from FM 1314 to Sorters Road. The left-hand turn lane in both directions regularly fills up with traffic during high traffic hours. Citizens questioned how a raised concrete median with a limited left-hand turn lane and no traffic signal will improve the intersection.
While TxDOT officials view the project from the aspect of safety, citizens were concerned the raised medians will push the line of turning traffic into the through traffic during rush hours. With enough citizen comments, TxDOT engineers will analyze the intersection for longer left-hand turn lanes in the raised medians to see if the same level of safety can be accomplished.
Another area of concern was the intersection of FM 1314 with 99 where HEB has purchased property as a future store/shopping center site. The presentation is based on current traffic patterns and crash data, therefore, TxDOT has not adjusted the raised medians for future development.
Citizens also voiced concerns about putting raised medians in front of the McDonald’s, Burger King, and Porter First Baptist Church. That intersection at U.S. 59/I-69 is already heavily traveled, so access to and from those businesses might be complicated with raised medians.
Citizens can view the TxDOT video presentation online in English or Spanish at: https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/houston/020820.html.
The link above contains 4 schematics with the proposed changes to FM 1314 and a comment card that can be downloaded, completed, and mailed to TxDOT before February 28, 2022.
Now is the time for citizen involvement in the process. TxDOT asks taxpayers and business owners to review the changes to FM 1314 access and submit their comments.
Approximately 30 citizens attended TxDOT’s only in-person presentation of the proposed FM 1314 improvements. While TxDOT had plenty of representatives on hand to discuss the changes, no one from the Montgomery County Commissioners Court or anyone from their staff was present to hear what citizens had to say.
Instead, Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts held a fundraiser in East County, which County Judge Mark Keough was a guest speaker.
Around June 1, 2022, TxDOT will complete the compilation of citizen comments and any changes TxDOT deems appropriate and post them online.
TxDOT stated the County Commissioners have a right to provide input into the planning process by submitting a letter to their office, but were unaware of any specific concerns at this time. The Montgomery County Gazette has submitted an Open Records Request for any letters to TxDOT regarding the FM 1314 project, however, the county has 10 business days to fulfill the request.