After two years in the making, Commissioners Court approved the Montgomery County Thoroughfare Plan on Jan. 26. The plan identifies the type and general location of future roadways throughout the county.
“Right now I-45 is really the only major carrier of traffic,” said Thomas Gray, Houston-Galveston Area Council chief transportation planner. “There are not really any alternatives to carry traffic from The Woodlands to Conroe. So one of the things we needed to find was more north-south connection. At some point that is going to be necessary because I-45 cannot carry all of the [county’s] traffic.”
Before approving the plan, however, several commissioners exchanged words over the inclusion of an extension to Woodlands Parkway from FM 2978 in The Woodlands to Hwy. 249. The roadway has been on the county thoroughfare plan since its last update about 30 years ago, County Judge Craig Doyal said.
Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack said that if public meetings were held in The Woodlands then comments would show a lack of support for the extension. Public comment meetings were held in the cities of Conroe, Magnolia, Shenandoah and New Caney.
“If [a] meeting would have been held in The Woodlands, I can assure you that you would not be seeing support for the Woodlands Parkway extension,” Noack said. “Our governing body at some point needs to address the future of that parkway extension and decide [if] we should remove that from the major thoroughfare plan.”
Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley responded in support of the thoroughfare extension because of feedback he received in Magnolia in favor of it.
“I think it needs to stay right where it is at,” Riley said. “Magnolia wants the roadway.”
In response to Riley, Noack said he would not allow the project to move forward while he is in office.
“I can assure you the people of The Woodlands don’t, and it will never happen as long as I am sitting here,” Noack said.
Riley, however, challenged Noack’s assertion.
“We’ll see about that,” Riley said.
Regardless, Gray said the Thoroughfare Plan does not guarantee a roadway will be built.
“A thoroughfare plan is not a promise to build roads and does not set a road alignment in stone,” Gray said. “It is a planning tool to help the county figure out where roadways need to go as the county develops.”
Click here for more information about the Thoroughfare Plan.