The long-awaited Hwy. 249 corridor expansion—a project that was removed from the Houston-Galveston Area Council 2035 regional transportation plan in 2010 because of funding concerns—became a reality when Phase 1 opened to drivers April 12.
“This [project] has been a long time coming,” said state Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress.
Within the first 24 hours of the Tomball Tollway opening, 33,000 vehicles traveled on the road, according to the Greater Tomball Chamber of Commerce. Phase 1 spans from north of Spring Cypress Road to north of FM 2920. With tolls ranging from 90 cents for one exit or entrance to $1.45 to travel the entire 6 miles, HCTRA brought in an estimated $50,000 in toll collections during the initial 24-hour period.
“It’s a big impact to the region and another option for commuters heading from Montgomery County into Harris County,” said Quinton Alberto, HCTRA assistant director of maintenance and traffic engineering. “It’s a great solution, and it will help ease congestion on [FM] 2920.”
In 2012 city and county leaders gathered to form the 249 Partnership, which is now chaired by Magnolia City Council Member Anne Sundquist. The group works to improve lines of communication among residents and officials in the three largest cities along the route of the future Hwy. 249 expansion project—Tomball, Magnolia and Navasota.
The $175 million Phase 2 project will extend the Tomball Tollway 1.5 miles north of FM 2920 to the Harris County line and add new bridges at Spring Creek, HCTRA spokeswoman Mary Benton said.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in fall 2016, span two years and be complete at the same time as the Montgomery County toll road segment through Pinehurst.