The Houston Regional Group/Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club (Sierra Club) submitted public scoping comments to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) about the proposed FM 149 Project, from Grimes County Line to FM 1791 (FM 149 MCRP), CSJ: 0720-02-095, in Montgomery County, Texas, in Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF).
This proposal would: widen existing travel lanes from 10 feet to 12 feet for 4.5 miles; add 5-foot-wide outside shoulders for 4.5 miles; and construct and maintain open ditches for 4.5 miles.
Some issues/concerns the Sierra Club submitted to TxDOT included:
1. Due to the significant issues/concerns of this proposal the Sierra Club calls for the TxDOT/DOT to prepare an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This proposal can be viewed as a “major significant action affecting the quality of the human environment” and thus an EIS would be required.
2. Increased speed (speeding) increases the number of people/other living things that are killed, injured, and property damaged/destroyed. The Sierra Club desires safety with a balance that takes into consideration mobility needs (travel time) and safety of all road users and not just maximum vehicle movement for motor vehicles.
Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) is heavily used by a variety of people who hike/walk, hunt, fish, horseback ride, bicycle, use permitted off-road vehicles, and participate in other outdoor activities. All of these road/near road users mobility needs and safety must be taken into consideration and protected from motor vehicle safety problems, like speeding.
3. SHNF is the largest public land unit in the Houston Area. 100,000’s of recreational users come to SHNF each year. To maintain the ecological/biological integrity of this forest road planning, design, construction, use, operation, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, and replacement must be conducted so that this integrity is maintained.
To do this the Sierra Club recommends that the TxDOT/DOT implement mitigation measures that address fragmentation of wildlife habitat, the scenic nature of SHNF, noise/lighting impacts, the urbanization of SHNF, protection for recreationists in SHNF, wildlife/aquatic life road crossings, use of the best available science, protection of the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, protection of the headwaters tributary of Litte Lake Creek and other riparian areas along streams, climate change, and cumulative and induced development impacts.
If you would like to comment on this proposal you have until December 8, 2023. Send your written comments via email or regular mail to:
Texas Department of Transportation
Houston District Office
Advanced Project Development Director
P.O. Box 1386
Houston, Texas 77251-1386