The expansion of State Highway 35 to the University of Houston campus was in the works since
the 1960s, and construction finally began in summer 1997. When completed, S.H. 35 will extend from
Interstate 45 to Pearland.
Upon completion of the first phase, two two-lane feeder roads will run from 1-45 to Old Spanish
Trail. The feeder roads will run on either side of a projected eight-lane freeway. The main lanes between
Wheeler and 1-45 will be completed during the first phase. Construction of the second phase is
scheduled to begin in 2002, if funds are available.
The entrance ramp from Calhoun to 1-45 south was closed in Spring 1997 in order to construct
bridge supports for the new highway. Calhoun Road was permanently closed off from 1-45 in Summer
1998, but Wheeler and part of UH Entrance One will be
extended to reach the feeder roads by the time Calhoun is
closed. The road will be closed from Entrance 19 near the law
center to 1-45, and that portion will become a campus road.
"Coming off the freeway (to UH) is going to be
super-fast," said Ron Shoup, director of architectural services
for UH system facilities, planning and construction. "Plus
we're not going to have the entire city of Houston coming
down off the freeway at 50 miles an hour," Shoup said.
Though planning began more than two decades ago, concrete decisions about S.H. 35 did not
begin until 1985. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, support for the project dwindled
because of population growth in Northwest Houston. "In 1985, the Board of Regents, the City of
Houston andTxDoT agreed to acquire the right of way (for S.H. 35)," Shoup said. "But nothing much
happened until 1993, when the university went toTxDoT and said, 'we all agreed on this, why don't we
get moving on it?'" In 1996, the contract was awarded, and the highway should be available for public
use in 1999, according toTxDoT.
"The biggest hassle was the utilities," Shoup said. All the telephone and electric wires that cut
across the proposed highway had to be relocated, and the relief sewer near Elgin Street had to be
rerouted. Many students said they have not experienced the expected delays. Sophomore education major
Saira Siddiqui, who takes 1-45 to UH, said she hadn't noticed delays. "I didn't know they were building
anything," she said. Though she hopes that S.H. 35 will improve access to UH, Siddiqui added that she
didn t think Houston needs another highway. "There's already enough highways here," she said. Amy
Zinnante, a sophomore occupational therapy major, said she hadn't noticed the construction either. "If
there is construction, it doesn't bother me," she said.
"Coming off the freeway is
going to be super-fast, "