The City of College Station continues to experience exponential growth, especially to the south and west. As a result, Wellborn Road has become an increasingly critical highway to serve the area’s booming population.
One connectivity challenge to the west is the Union Pacific railroad tracks, which parallel Wellborn Road for the entire length of the roadway. Due to operational efficiency and safety, there are limited crossings providing access to Wellborn Road from the west. The crossings that do exist, however, tend to be undersized and don’t require Wellborn Road traffic to stop. The city is starting to improve these crossings to increase traffic capacity and connectivity, improve safety of the railroad crossings, and the safety of the intersections with Wellborn Road.
One of these railroad crossings is South Dowling Road in the Wellborn Community. South Dowling is a two-lane roadway that crosses the railroad and intersects Wellborn Road on its west side. The roadway continues on the east side of Wellborn Road as Madison Street. The City hired TEA and McClure & Browne Engineering to analyze the intersection and provide options to increase safety and efficiency. The consultant also looked at how intersection improvements could be used to improve the flow of traffic and connectivity of the community west of Wellborn Road to the northeast city center. They have recommended two options for the city to review.
Option 1: Provide a new arterial roadway with a new railroad crossing at another location along Wellborn Road within the Wellborn Community, and close the South Dowling crossing. The new intersection would include a traffic signal and would provide a safer crossing, allowing for the future extension of the roadway to connect to Victoria Avenue to the east and I and G Road to the west.
--> Click here to see Exhibit 1.
Option 2: Reconstruct and widen the existing South Dowling crossing on the west side of Wellborn Road. The widening would also include moving Koppe Bridge Road/South Dowling intersection further to the west, and improvements to Madison Street to the east of Wellborn Road. The improvements would include a traffic signal, providing a safer crossing at South Dowling and future connection to I and G Road to the west. These improvements would not allow for future extension of the roadway to the east due to existing development.
--> Click here to see Exhibit 2.
The city held a public meeting on Feb. 3, 2016, at Greens Prairie Elementary to discuss the report and the two recommended options.
Speed Study: Texas Department of Transportation evaluated the speeds in the area and determined the 85th percentile speed was 60 mph, so lowering the speed limit below the existing 55 mph would not be approved.
Other Alignments: Union Pacific Railroad has not indicated that alternative crossing locations are beyond consideration; however, any crossing must be a typical perpendicular intersection.
Next Steps, Funding
The city plans to further explore several options for improvements at this location. The project is not currently funded.