University Boulevard Extension – City of Sugar Land

Sugar Land Texas

The University Boulevard Extension was an important project for the City of Sugar Land to provide additional access to Constellation Field and a growing residential and retail area. LAN performed the final design and construction administration services for the extension of University Boulevard from U.S. Highway 90A north to Stadium Drive. This new location four-lane, divided north-south connector includes an at-grade rail crossing with traffic signal preemption, grade-separated overpass of the UPRR Spur and Oyster Creek, a shared bike path and sidewalk, aesthetic elements, retaining walls, right-of-way acquisition and utility design carried on the bridge.

The project included substantial stakeholder coordination. The new rail crossing required closing tow existing crossings and field diagnostic reviews with UPRR, FRA, TxDOT and The City. LAN prepared presentation materials for public meetings, assisted the City with public meetings, documented public input and recommended closing the Wood Street crossing and the NALCO private crossing. Additionally, LAN coordinated Exhibit A approval for the grade separation over UPRR and proactively and successfully obtained approval for an aerial water line over UPRR. A major financial supporter, Johnson Development, was to develop lands adjacent to the roadway and was consulted on several major project decisions, specifically related to the aesthetic design. Coordination was required with NALCO Chemical during the redevelopment of the adjacent property to assure that drainage and access were compatible with their plans. Finally, LAN redesigned the westbound US 90A lanes to accommodate the profile of the new roadway at the UPRR crossing with TxDOT review and approval.

The bridge and retaining wall design proposed several critical challenges. The geotechnical analysis showed that the site was made up of very soft, loose soils and that there was a layer of soils that provided no driving resistance 20 feet below ground. Due to these conditions, Controlled Modulus Columns were provided as a foundation improvement method throughout the embankment areas leading up to the bridge. The bridge foundation size and lengths were increased to safely carry the loads from the bridge. LAN performed the aesthetic design and details which included brick and precast elements that matched nearby bridges as well as Constellation Field.

LAN provided electrical and illumination design for the extension. The design involved decorative roadway lighting installed on bridge pilasters. This involved close coordination with the structural and roadway staff to coordinate the conduit routing and lighting foundation designs. The fixtures are going to be purchased and installed by the City after construction, which created some minor challenges for the design. Not knowing the final fixture selections, the design team iterated different fixture wattages and voltage drop scenarios to size the conduits. TxDOT’s NEWVOLT spreadsheet was used for these calculations.

Additionally, the bridge spanned a pedestrian pathway. LAN coordinated with the structural designers for pedestrian lighting provisions at these crossings under the bridge. LAN modeled potential lighting scenarios here to ensure safe and adequate pedestrian lighting upon selection and installation of the lights by the City.

The rail crossing design posed several challenges. The lead track to the Sugar Land rail yard serving NALCO was several feet lower than the Union Pacifc main tracks. An at-grade crossing for this scenario was not feasible. LAN developed design to relocate the lead track to match the elevation of the main tracks to allow the crossing to be constructed. LAN developed construction phasing that allowed the existing lead track to remain in service during construction. The construction phasing included work by the rail contractor, roadway contractor, and UPRR.

At a glance

$21M construction cost

510-foot grade separated railroad and creek overpass

Comprised of 560 cubic yards of reinforced concrete bent and abutment substructure elements

4,000 linear feet of drilled shaft foundations

Nationally Recognized – American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)

Gold Medal (Transportation) – Texas Council of Engineering Companies (Texas ACEC)


New location 4-lane, divided north-south connector

Includes an at-grade rail crossing with traffic signal preemption and a grade-separated overpass of the UPRR Spur and Oyster Creek

Incorporates a shared bike path and sidewalk, aesthetic elements, retaining walls, right-of-way acquisition and utility design carried on the bridge.

Included extensive stakeholder coordination.


Final design

Structural Design

Construction Administration

Public Involvement

Aesthetic Design

Electrical and Illumination


City of Sugar Land

Related Work

Planning and Modeling


Transportation Services