State and area officials gathered last week to break ground on the northern sections of the Grand Parkway project, which will run south of Tomball into Montgomery County and beyond.
"This latest phase of construction represents a continuation of the forward thinking and planning that will expedite mobility and provide the infrastructure this area will need as Texas welcomes more drivers and business traffic," said TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson. "We are proud of the partnerships that share our vision of addressing congestion and helping motorists move freely and safely on Texas highways."
"Every hour a truck idles in traffic, every minute a family is delayed in traffic and every second a first responder is kept from providing vital services, costs our state," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst added. "The Grand Parkway is an essential investment in the future of our state's economy, our quality of life and public safety. It simply makes Texas stronger."
Local leaders said the project will not only help with mobility issues, but will help the area economically as well.
"For me, the Grand Parkway is really about to come full circle," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. "As a legislator, I sponsored its creation and now, as county judge, I get to see it develop into the driving force that will keep our region growing and prospering."
The latest phase is expected to take between 2-3 years to complete. Once completed, motorists will be able to drive from US 290 to US 59 directly.
"We developed a public/private partnership with TxDOT and the Grand Parkway Association several years ago to coordinate the parkway alignment through Springwoods Village," said Keith Simon of Coventry Development. "The Grand Parkway will be a major factor in improving east-west mobility from Kingwood to Sugarland."
The project will be financed through a recent sale of nearly $3 billion in toll revenue bonds by the Grand Parkway System. Some proceeds will go to reimburse the Harris County Toll Road Authority and TxDOT for earlier Grand Parkway expenses and $300 million of preliminary work for other sections of the planned loop.
Harris County Pct. 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle said the project, along with the SH 249 expansion that is about to start, will be an economic boon to northwest Harris County.
"Within weeks of the long-anticipated and celebrated groundbreaking of the Grand Parkway by The Texas Department of Transportation, our own Harris County Toll RoadAuthority will break ground on SH249," Cagle said. "How exciting to witness the transportation needs of our region met by multiple hands, at multiple levels of government working together for our community. Harris County will continue to be known as a place where we plan well for our families and get things done to sustain our thriving business climate."
Montgomery County Judge Alan Sadler is happy to see decades of planning finally start to take shape. The project has been in the planning stages since the early 1960s.
"The Grand Parkway has been a dream for many years," Sadler said. "Finally, today, we are breaking ground on this project, which exemplifies its reality."