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TxDOT gets Grand Parkway approval

Another step in the march of the inevitable.

The state Transportation Commission on Thursday granted the Texas Department of Transportation authority to begin design work and negotiating contracts to build a key segment of the Grand Parkway.

The unanimous vote did not, however, authorize funds to start work on Segment E of the tollway, which would link the Katy Freeway to the Northwest Freeway, just west of Fairfield.

“The Grand Parkway project is an important project for our region and our state,” said state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands. “Having a loop that passes around Houston, whether it’s the third or fourth loop depending on where you start counting them, … will help reduce congestion and facilitate economic development.”

Williams, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, called the parkway one of his highest priorities.

TxDOT spokesman Mark Cross said the agency estimates it will cost about $350 million to build the 15 miles of toll road linking Interstate 10 to U.S. 290. He said the agency has no construction time frame, but the Transportation Commission wants work under way as soon as possible.

When completed, the parkway would be about 180 miles in circumference – running as far north as Tomball and New Caney, as far south as League City, as far west as Katy, and as far east as Baytown. The total price tag for the project is expected to exceed $6 billion.

I don’t care to re-litigate all of this, because I know you know where I stand, but the Grand Parkway sure ain’t going to help alleviate any congestion I encounter. Beyond that, all I really want to know is where we’re getting the money for this, and what projects TxDOT will not be doing while it engages in this elaborate and unnecessary bit of exurban planning.

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2 Comments

  1. Adam Mann says:

    Mr. Kuffner:

    While I read a lot of opposition to this segment, I suggest you drive on the Grand Parkway from US 59 to I-10. You will notice new development along the way. It has relieved congestion on US 90 in Sugarland and thereabouts.

    The new segment may not affect you, but it will affect me. My drive time on 290 will be greatly reduced if I can swing down to I-10 on the Parkway and loop around that way to work in the I-10 Dairy Ashford area. I am all for building this segment in the grass lands of the prairie which are currently not even being used for farming. The Grand Parkway segment E will use up all of 27 acres of land. No doubt it will attract additional development, which in turn create jobs and schools and additional population growth. Yes some birds will be diverted, but really, the city has to expand to conquer its predicted population growth.

    This segment E has been controversial for far too long. Lets just build it!

    Adam M
    Cypress

  2. matx says:

    Prairie? Unused farmland? More like wetlands that absorb water that otherwise might be forced into already swollen waterways during some of our area’s frequent heavy rains. That displaced water has to go somewhere . . .