Officials to continue advocating for Grand Parkway expansion, hope to hear scheduled plans soon

Grand Parkway segment map

Bay Area officials are continuing to talk to Texas Department of Transportation officials about the planned expansion of Grand Parkway through League City, and they hope to hear more concrete plans in the next several weeks.

The Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership on Aug. 3 hosted a webinar about the project. Rep. Ed Thompson, R-Pearland; League City City Manager John Baumgartner; and Larry Buehler, director of economic development and government relations in Alvin, all spoke about the project's importance to the Bay Area and its progress.

Grand Parkway is the "third loop" around Houston. Today, several segments of the project are complete, including sections that run through Fort Bend, Harris and Montgomery counties. Demand for the Grand Parkway is high; already, officials are looking to widen segment D.

Segments C, B and A—which run from I-69 in Fort Bend County to Hwy. 288 in Brazoria County, Hwy. 288 to I-45 in Galveston County, and I-45 to Hwy. 146, respectively—are all not constructed.

Buehler said he and other officials in the area are in regular talks with TxDOT and hoping to nail down scheduled plans to progress the project, particularly segment B. Specifically, TxDOT is looking closely at a subsection of segment B that runs from Hwy. 35 on the south side of Alvin to I-45 in League City, and it seems like the project will soon get the green light because TxDOT is considering a traffic and revenue study for the segment, Buehler said.

"We think the numbers there are able to support that," he said.

Buehler said he hopes TxDOT will release more details in a few weeks.

"We hope to have some answers sooner than later," he said.

Baumgartner said League City is anxious to see scheduled, secured plans. City officials wonder if they can begin acquiring right of way or start design knowing residents are looking for traffic congestion relief as soon as possible, he said.

About $5 million of the $72 million bond League City voters approved in May 2019 is going toward the expansion of the Grand Parkway, giving League City residents a vested interest in its construction, Baumgartner said.

"There’s a tremendous demand and expectation from this community on what the roadway does," he said. "...When it comes time to build it, we're ready to go."

Additionally, officials said the Grand Parkway would provide an extra evacuation route in the event of a hurricane or other disaster, making the project important not only for mobility but safety, officials said.

BayTran President Theresa Rodriguez said a decade ago, people said no one would use the south or east side of the Grand Parkway. However, the area has since seen tremendous growth, and people recognize the need, she said.

Last summer, TxDOT considered removing segments B and C from its 10-year plan to guide transportation projects, which would have at least delayed the project. Bay Area officials and residents reached out to TxDOT, and TxDOT decided to not remove the segments from the plan after all.

“TxDOT said it was the largest outpouring for support for a project that they had ever seen," Thompson said.

That kind of advocacy must continue to make the southeast segments of the Grand Parkway a reality, he said.

Grand Parkway's segment A—which would connect to Hwy. 146, which is now being widened—is not in TxDOT's 10-year plan. BayTran board Chairman Carl Joiner said officials and residents should push for all three segments A, B and C to be done simultaneously so segment A is not left behind.
By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.



Clear Creek ISD will pay each of its staffers either $250 or $500 by mid-April. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Clear Creek ISD to provide staff with one-time COVID-19 payments despite trustee objections

The payments, which are intended to recognize extra risks and efforts associated with working during the pandemic, will cost the district a total of $2.8 million. Trustees Michelle Davis and Scott Bowen opposed the payments due to the timing amid budgetary uncertainty.

frozen tree
One in 4 Houstonians experienced water leaks during winter freeze, new data finds

Houston Public Works fielded 11,000 calls related to water issues during and after the weather event.

The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market is returning in person for its spring iteration. (Courtesy Jennifer Greene/HoustonBallet)
Houston Nutcracker Market to make in-person return this spring

Of the 150 merchants on the roster, nearly 50 will be making their spring debut in 2021.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 that mask mandates and business capacity restrictions will be lifted in Texas. (Courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)
Gov. Greg Abbott lifts statewide mask mandate, business restrictions in Texas

With vaccine distribution increasing, Gov. Greg Abbott said "people and businesses don't need the state telling them how to operate." Some local officials are pushing back, saying the relaxed restrictions are coming too early.

Most of the electric grid in Texas is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which is not linked to other interconnected national electrical systems. (Courtesy Electric Reliability Council of Texas)
Leaving the Texas power grid 'not likely to be an option' for Harris County, official says

Just two weeks after severe winter weather dropped Harris County temperatures below freezing for three consecutive days, which led to widespread power outages, loss of water and the deaths of at least 50 county residents, Harris County Commissioners Court called for major reform at the state level regarding the Texas power grid and related energy policies.

Mayor sylvester turner
Houston expanding vaccine supply as 6,000 Johnson & Johnson doses arrive March 2

The first shipment will be sent to the mass-vaccination site run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at NRG Stadium. The site vaccinates individuals who sign up for doses though the Houston Health Department’s vaccine waitlist.

Hank's Crab Shack gets and sells several hundred pounds of crawfish daily, especially during the peak of crawfish season. (Morgan Theophil/Community Impact Newspaper)
Hank's Crab Shack serving Katy; 16 Spring-Klein business updates and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

District officials shared storm damage photos at a Feb. 22 board meeting. (Courtesy Clear Creek ISD)
Clear Creek ISD updates: 82% of campuses sustained damage during winter storm, quarantine practices revised

District safety officials briefed trustees at a board meeting Feb. 22 about the extent of damages and gave other details related to CCISD’s storm responses. Of the 42 campuses, 37 sustained damages requiring immediate action, officials said.

key in door lock
Evictions continue in Houston as new measures aim to stem tide

Over 32,000 eviction cases were filed in Harris County courts in 2020.

Houston City Hall in rainbow lighting
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrates five years of service

The organization is open to all and serves members throughout the Greater Houston area.