PEARLAND, TX (KTRK) -- If anyone knows Pearland, it's Ronnie Killen. "I grew up here. We moved here in 1975. In '75, there were 5,900 people here," he remembers.
The renowned chef with a resume filled with accolades and awards could have chosen any place to open his restaurants, but he chose Pearland.
"It's where I'm from. I went to school across the street. I've known this area for a long time, and I wanted to give back to my community," Killen adds.
Killen's roots are in Pearland, but many others are breaking ground and calling this town home.
"From around 2000 to today, the city has grown from 30,000 residents to about 113,000 residents," says Trent Epperson, the Assistant City Manager of the City of Pearland. "With the growth comes tremendous traffic," he continues.
So, Pearland is working on several road expansions to help ease the growing pains. One close to completion is the extension of Pearland Parkway from Oiler Drive to Dixie Farm Road.
"We're getting it ready to open in the next two to three months," says Epperson of Pearland Parkway.
Kirby Drive, off Broadway is currently a two lane road and the home of the new Alvin ISD High School. This is also under construction.
"The project that just got underway will add two lanes to that area," says Epperson.
But, the biggest burden for commuters is 518, also known as Broadway. Killen's Barbecue is on Broadway, and Killen knows first-hand how backed up traffic can be. "At times, it can take an hour to get from here to 288," he says.
"FM-518 runs through the middle of town east and west, and with that being our main corridor, it generates a lot of traffic, so we've created alternate routes. The first is Bailey Road. Bailey Road runs parallel to 518 on the south side. The plan here is to widen the road between Veterans and FM-1128 from two lanes to four lanes. This construction should start within three months.
"Then, another major improvement," explains Epperson. "The main corridor north of Broadway to the east and west will be the extension of McCard connecting that from West of Cullen and East of Mykawa."
That construction should take place in late 2017. And the expansion of Broadway is in the works, says Epperson, but that will be in the distant future.
"The state has started the schematic design for widening that from four lanes to six lanes," he says.
As for Ronnie Killen, the guy serving barbecue on Broadway, he says, "I think it's good, as long as they don't take any of my frontage because then we might have problems with people lining up in the road."
Construction projects planned to ease Pearland's traffic congestion
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