Fort Bend Commissioners Court OKs joint agreement to build connector roads from Westpark Tollway to Grand Parkway

The Fort Bend County Grand Parkway Toll Road Authority is designing connector roads from the Westpark Tollway to the Grand Parkway. (Courtesy Andy Meyers, Fort Bend County Precinct 3 commissioner)
The Fort Bend County Grand Parkway Toll Road Authority is designing connector roads from the Westpark Tollway to the Grand Parkway. (Courtesy Andy Meyers, Fort Bend County Precinct 3 commissioner)

The Fort Bend County Grand Parkway Toll Road Authority is designing connector roads from the Westpark Tollway to the Grand Parkway. (Courtesy Andy Meyers, Fort Bend County Precinct 3 commissioner)

A mobility project to build direct connectors from east- and westbound Westpark Tollway to northbound Grand Parkway is moving forward.

In a 4-0 vote, the Fort Bend County Commissioners approved a joint agreement to construct these direct connectors at the Nov. 26 court meeting. Judge K.P. George was absent.

These connectors are needed “to alleviate traffic congestion and related public safety concerns,” according to the agreement document.

The joint agreement is between Fort Bend County, Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority, Fort Bend Grand Parkway Toll Road Authority and Fort Bend County Assistance Districts Nos. 1 and 9.

Under this agreement, about $10.3 million of sales tax revenue from the county assistance districts and Fort Bend County Emergency Services District No. 100—which entered into an agreement with Fort Bend County in 2011 to help fund road improvements to improve response times—will be contributed toward the total project cost of $46.5 million, per the agreement document.


Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers stressed during the court meeting that none of the county’s general funds will be used to build the roads. Additionally, these contributions will be made in cash, allowing for additional benefits, such as allowing the westbound connector to be a toll-free road.

“Because we are able to pay in cash [by] utilizing the [sales] tax money to avoid borrowing and interest costs on our direct connect, we can guarantee that our westbound to northbound direct connect[ors] will be free and will not be tolled,” Meyers said. “This results in further savings on construction and a free route to motorists that keeps them away from the merge problems that currently exist at grade."

The toll road authorities will contribute the remaining $36.2 million for the project and oversee its design and construction, per the agreement document.

Design plans for the direct connectors include constructing one lane with shoulders, Mike Stone of Mike Stone Associates Inc. and of the FBCTRA said in an email in October. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and will last about 30 months.

Under the existing configuration, west- and eastbound traffic on the Westpark Tollway must exit onto FM 1093 and drive about one mile before merging onto Grand Parkway.

State’s role


Grand Parkway is overseen by the Texas Department of Transportation, and work on the connectors will coincide with the department’s own improvement work on the state highway, Meyers said.

TxDOT has begun designing a project to widen the Grand Parkway between FM 1093 and I-10 with additional lanes, ramp reversals and new traffic patterns, Meyers said.

“The goal for everyone is to have the Toll Road Authority open up these direct connect[ors] simultaneously with TxDOT opening the [Grand Parkway] northbound expansion,” Meyers said. “These flyovers will not be opened until TxDOT gives the word that their [Grand Parkway] main lane improvements are ready.”

According to the TxDOT project tracker website, the project to widen the Grand Parkway between FM 1093 and I-10 will cost about $50.1 million. A representative from TxDOT was not immediately available to provide additional information.

TxDOT and Fort Bend County are also working together to construct southbound frontage roads on the west side of the Grand Parkway between Cinco Ranch Boulevard and Westheimer Parkway and between South Fry Road and FM 1093. This project is estimated to cost about $24 million and will be funded by a 2017 Fort Bend County voter-approved bond.
By Jen Para
Jen joined Community Impact Newspaper in fall 2018 as the editor of the Katy edition. She covers education, transportation, local government, business and development in the Katy area.


MOST RECENT

L1 Foot and Bodyworks is now open at 23112 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy. (Courtesy L1 Foot and Bodyworks)
L1 Foot and Bodyworks now open in Katy

The business offers Swedish massages, deep-tissue massages and reflexology as well as a variety of combination packages.

There are more than 400 board games available to play at Battlehops Brewing. (Morgan Theophil/Community Impact Newspaper)
Family-owned business brings beer, board games to Katy

Most people who walk into Battlehops Brewing in Old Katy say they have never seen so many board games in one place.

Maverick Remodeling and Construction employees use electronic gauges to determine how well a League City house that flooded from bust pipes is drying. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Freeze-damaged homes might qualify for property tax reduction

As of March 31, HCAD said it had only received about 150 applications for the exemption.

Money to begin the Wallis Street project was approved by voters in November as part of Fort Bend County’s $218.2 million mobility bond. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Fort Bend County transportation bond to fund ‘unique’ downtown Fulshear project

To improve mobility in downtown Fulshear for both cars and pedestrians, the city, along with Fort Bend County, is working to convert Wallis and Main streets into a one-way pair.

As part of President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen schools safely nationwide, the department’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option is being expanded beyond the summertime. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
USDA extends free school meals provision through 2021-22 school year

Schools nationwide will be able to serve nutritious meals to all students free of charge regardless of eligibility through June 30, 2022, officials announced.

The Houston-area wing restaurant will open a location in Katy at 22762 Westheimer Parkway this summer. (Courtesy Big City Wings)
Big City Wings location coming to Katy this summer

Big City Wings will offer a variety of wings, burgers, sandwiches, salads, beer, and other drink and menu options.

Caroline Bordelon's son Caleb, 9, lives with autism. Caleb is nonverbal and has eloped from home many times. Upon learning about the Take Me Home program, Caroline immediately registered Caleb and said the program is greatly needed and gives her peace and comfort for her family. (Courtesy Hope For Three)
Fort Bend County program provides emergency assistance to residents with cognitive disabilities

A new program run through the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office is designed to give people with cognitive disabilities special assistance if they are found alone or in times of emergency.

Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston region in 2017. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
How Harris County residents can prepare for hurricane season

After the most active hurricane season on record in 2020, Harris County officials said residents should be prepared for the upcoming season starting June 1.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at an April 19 press conference at a mass-vaccination site at NRG Park. (Screenshot courtesy Facebook Live).
Harris County accepting walk-ins for vaccine at NRG Park

As demand for vaccines has fallen, officials are looking for ways to make them more accessible.

Katy Wines and Spirits will be have a variety of wines and will carry liquor and other options. (Courtesy Creative Commons)
Katy Wines and Spirits coming soon to area

Katy Wines and Spirits will open a location at 5901 Highway Blvd., Katy, this summer.