Businesses and master-planned communities such as Valley Ranch are cropping up around the 13.7-mile Segment G and rapidly developing areas like New Caney and Porter, said Rick Hatcher, president of the Greater East Montgomery County Chamber.
The Valley Ranch Town Center includes retail anchors, such as Academy Sports + Outdoors, Sam’s Club and Kroger.
“The development was somewhat driven before Grand Parkway opened, when developers realized what the route would be,” Hatcher said. “They preplanned and started in anticipation to what the Grand Parkway would bring.”
The project is also a benefit for drivers on Houston-area freeways, such as Hwy. 59 and I-45, as the region continues to grow, Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Moseley said.
“The Grand Parkway today will give back a huge return on investment,” Moseley said. “It will give us back this miracle of time savings.”
Bill Hale, Texas Department of Transportation chief engineer, said building corridors like the Grand Parkway help drivers willing to pay to use the toll road as well as those who choose not to because traffic is better dispersed.
Mosely said he is excited to see taxpayer dollars put to work in the private sector to make the Grand Parkway a reality.
“The catalyst that really triggered and made this segment of the parkway become a reality was economic development related to the ExxonMobil campus coming to this region of the state,” Moseley said.
The connector from the Grand Parkway to the Hardy Toll Road will be completed during summer 2017, according to the Harris County Toll Road Authority.
Toll charges on the newly opened Grand Parkway segment began April 4. It costs $3.01 to get from I-45 to Hwy. 59.
The three newest sections of the Grand Parkway extend 38 miles from Cypress to New Caney.