Cypress-North Houston Road (or CNH for short), is among the oldest when it comes to road running through western Harris County. It dates back to the age of oyster shell paving, when there was nothing on either side of the road but tall trees and the occasional mailbox. It originally started at Hempstead Rd. and ran all the way east to Jones Rd, making a couple of zig zags along the way. The biggest one was just a few blocks from the terminus at Jones Rd., where CNH made a 90 degree turn to the north, and a block later, another 90 degree turn to the east where it finally intersected Jones Rd.
This was obviously done in observation of private property lines when the road was first built, but in the later 1960's, TxDOT bypassed the sharp turns at the eastern end of the road, and cut a path straight through to Jones, where the present day intersection is. The older bypassed portion of CNH was renamed McCracken, after the family that owned property inside the corner of the road bend. It remains open to traffic today, but few probably stop to think about it being the original Cypress-North Houston right of way.
In 1982 (a seemingly great year for TxDOT's budget), Cypress-North Houston was expanded to four lanes, and realigned at three locations to smooth out the sharp corners. The first realignment was done at Telge Rd. to fix an offset. There is little evidence today of this realignment, but the power line path shows the original right of way.
The second realignment was done right in front of Timberlake Estates, one of the older suburbs in the area. It sits on the north side of CNH behind Galson Auto & Body. If you've ever noticed the little branch-off road at that curve, it's actually a remnant section of the original Cypress-North Houston Rd. that was left behind after the realignment. The little road is still only two lanes wide, paved with asphalt, and has trees on both sides. The sharp corner caused lots of accidents, especially during the night. The "island" (the section of land between the old and new roads) also contains some of the best evidence of the realignment. There is a section of chain link fence, and the original brick entrance marker to Timberlake Estates. Basically, the original neighborhood entrance is across the street from the actual neighborhood.
Immediately to the east of this realignment, you will notice a few small houses. These homes were present before the realignment, and lost a substantial amount of street front property during the process. The western-most house had to be torn down, but the others stayed put, although dangerously close to a busy street.
The third realignment was done just a few blocks east at E. Shadow Lake Dr., an entrance to the Cypress Creek Estates community. This is the realignment at which you can find evidence of the original oyster shell paving. The sharp turn was simply smoothed out, with no remnant road left behind, however, the shoulders of E. Shadow Lake Ln. tell the tale of the procedure. Today, there remains a pair of original sewer drain pipes that wouldn't have ordinarily been in place unless a road had once ran there. On the road itself, two "ears" of asphalt stick out further than the actual road, and these ears are part of the old Cypress-North Houston alignment. It just happened that the asphalt was chiseled away, revealing some of the old oyster shell paving beneath, and this tiny piece of history managed to survive the TxDOT cleanup. The photos below will show all four of the points in which Cypress-North Houston was realigned.
The realignment site at Telge:
The realignment site across from Timberlake Estates near Mile Dr.:
The realignment site near Eldridge, in front of E. Shadow Lake Dr.:
The realignment site near Jones Rd. (now named McCracken):