Transportation planning experts in the Houston region have proposed widening segments of the Grand Parkway sooner than planned to improve mobility and meet growing demands.

The project scope includes the widening of the two lanes heading in both directions to three lanes from I-45 to Hwy. 249 and from Hwy. 290 to I-10—which was previously set to happen in fiscal year 2029.

Jim Dickinson, senior transportation planner for the Houston-Galveston Area Council, said the project would be fully funded by state toll revenue.

“These widenings would mitigate congestion and improve the operational efficiency of the system,” he said at the Dec. 16 H-GAC Transportation Policy Council meeting.

The H-GAC’s Transportation Advisory Committee on Jan. 18 formally recommended moving these projects into the 2023-26 Transportation Improvement Program. The TPC could grant final approval on the plan at its Jan. 27 meeting.

High-priority transportation projects included in the TIP are approved to receive federal funding over the next four years, according to the H-GAC. The TAC and TPC regularly approve revisions to the TIP as needed, including project delays and the re-evaluation of project scopes.

Emily Black, public information officer with the Texas Department of Transportation in Houston, said this project is needed as tollway use has grown. An agreement between TxDOT and the seven counties where the Grand Parkway passes through states main lane expansion must take place to maintain a certain level of service.

She said construction for the four segments could each take between 18-30 months. Cost estimations are reconsidered each year to account for inflation, and further widening could be needed in the future depending on traffic counts.

The Grand Parkway was built with large medians, so widening can be made from the inside to minimize disruption, according to Black.

Timelines and cost estimates outlined in the TIP amendment proposal include:

• Kuykendahl Road to Holzwarth Road: $45.94 million in FY 2023

• Hwy. 249 to Kuykendahl Road: $65.34 million in FY 2024

• Hwy. 290 to West Road: $72.8 million in FY 2026

• West Road to I-10: $100.8 million in FY 2026