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Upper Kirby Update 

April 4, 2014   

Upper Kirby Construction
Work Ongoing at Buffalo/Westheimer Intersection       



Paving, Drainage and  Streetscape Improvements Project: 


Utility relocation continued this week at Westheimer and Buffalo Speedway; an effort that will remove overhead power from the street in anticipation of coming drainage and pavement improvements.  


Two parallel ducts are being constructed on the south side of Westheimer to hold the power and telecommunications services currently mounted on poles. For the past few weeks, focus has centered on boring under the existing St. John's School tunnel system, a process that has been difficult due to significant groundwater found around 15-feet below the street.


Last week, however, a second crew began work pushing through the intersection from the west side of Buffalo Speedway with the electrical duct bank. They have been working days and nights to expedite the intersection work and concentrate north/south lane impacts during off-peak hours. Once electrical is complete, workers will lay the telecommunications duct through the intersection and move the operation east.

Daytime lane impact through the intersection is confined to the closure of the right-turn lane northbound on Buffalo Speedway. Peak-hour Westheimer traffic stacking has made right turns here difficult and has caused backup on Buffalo Speedway. Upper Kirby and the City of Houston is looking into signal timing adjustments here to alleviate the problem but it is recommended that those motorists who can, use Alabama or Richmond as a eastbound alternative from Buffalo Speedway. Work within the existing traffic control plan is expected to last several more weeks.


As was the case east of Shepherd, construction will be undertaken in 1000-foot segments. Work on this stretch will impact the two eastbound lanes on the south side of Westheimer. Traffic will be shifted to one lane in either direction through the construction zone. Each 1000-foot segment is expected to take four to five weeks to complete. Once a given segment is completed, it will be restored with asphalt and opened prior to the next segment beginning.

The contract duration on this project is 120 days putting completion somewhere around June/July 2014. Weather permitting, roadway construction between Kirby and Shepherd should be able to begin immediately following utility completion west of Kirby.


CenterPoint and the telecommunications companies will follow behind duct bank construction reconnecting services underground. The duration of this reconnection work will be up to the utility providers though 45 to 90 days is typical. Traffic impact during this work is negligible.  


Once the utilities have been removed and the lines brought underground west of Kirby, Upper Kirby will move forward with drainage and underground infrastructure improvements followed by complete repaving of the roadway. The project will also entail the installation of a pedestrian-oriented streetscape similar to the treatment provided on the recent Kirby Drive and Buffalo Speedway projects. This work will first be completed between Shepherd and Kirby followed by an identical scope of work between Kirby and Buffalo Speedway.  


Roadway reconstruction is anticipated to last approximately 10 months. Drainage improvement and roadway reconstruction between Kirby and Buffalo will immediately follow and will have a similar approximate duration. 


For more information on Upper Kirby construction and related activities or for construction related issues or concerns, please contact Travis Younkin at 713.524.8000 or travis@upperkirby.org.   

Surls on Kirby 
Tree and Three Flowers Installation April 6
James Surls' Tree & Three Flowers

Surls on Kirby  


The Upper Kirby District Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is coordinating a monumental public art installation that will place an original James Surls sculpture entitled, Tree & Three Flowers in the Kirby Drive median just south of Westheimer Road.  


Crews have been busy this past week constructing the substantial foundation for the art piece in the center median so that it is ready for installation this Sunday morning. The large art piece should reach the site around 9 am and the installation should last a matter of hours.  


A dedication ceremony will take place Tuesday morning, April 8th at 10:15 am on the west side of Kirby Drive between Kipling and Westheimer (approximately 2800 Kirby). Mayor Parker, James Surls and Council Member Ellen Cohen will be in attendance to offer brief remarks.


Seen by over 50,000 cars per day, this sculpture will immediately become one of Houston's most visible and iconic art installations ever.


Tree &Three Flowers is a 38-foot tall steel and bronze sculpture that is intended to signify growth and potential, to act as a magnet for tourism and commercial patronage, to inspire citizen's creativity and to add dramatically to the community's sense of place. It is intended to be a collaboration of the community taking ownership in its cultural and civic identity and relaying that identity on a local, national and international level to the residents, business owners, patrons and visitors that pass by every day.


Just minutes from Houston's museum district and just blocks from Gallery Row on Colquitt, the Tree & Three Flowers sculpture echoes loudly the love of art and culture that has long been part of the Houston landscape.


The Surls on Kirby is a 50/50 public private partnership leveraging TIRZ and Management District participation as well as private donations to make this project a reality.


Become a part of the strong cultural tradition in Houston and help us relay that message to the rest of the world.


Donate Now.



For more information on this installation, contact 713.524.8000 or travis@upperkirby.org.   
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Upper Kirby is a constantly evolving urban area marked by an outstanding location, great shopping, unique residential neighborhoods, smart development and a small town feel. It is an area of successful businesses, involved communities and a synergy between the public and private sectors. It is the heartbeat of Houston and everywhere you want to be.