Fort Bend County expanding Westpark Tollway and FM 1093

It took Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers two years to convince the Harris County Toll Road Authority that it needed to expand the Westpark Tollway beyond Hwy. 6 to the Grand Parkway and another eight years to see it happen.

Meyers is now pushing for the road to be widened all the way to Fulshear.

"The county has been encouraging the state to widen 1093 because of all the growth we've had," he said. "It's a congested road and an unsafe road."

That will change beginning in 2013 when Westpark Tollway is extended west from Grand Parkway to Spring Green and later to FM 1463. Meyers said if construction can start in 2013 that it should be complete in late 2014 or early 2015.

Where the tollway becomes FM 1093, the county will widen it to four lanes to the intersection of FM 359 in downtown Fulshear.

Three years ago a plan was developed through which the state will pay $40 million, the Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority will fund $40–50 million and, Meyers estimates, the county will contribute $10 million.

"The design is under way," said Fort Bend County Engineer Richard Stolleis. "We're still waiting for the environmental appraisals that the federal government requires."

Stolleis said FM 1093 and Westpark Tollway from Fulshear to Beltway 8 are well traveled and well over capacity.

Meyers said when the tollway opened in 2004, it was designed to take pressure off of I-10. It did, and it was over-capacity from the time it opened. Now that the Grand Parkway is being expanded, Meyers said the traffic counts on FM 1093 are only going to increase.

"I'm anxious to get started on construction on the freeway because it's become such a bottleneck," he said.

Another person as anxious as Meyers is Fulshear Mayor Tommy Kuykendall.

"We definitely need to expand FM 1093," he said.

Between growth in the subdivisions and communities west of Fulshear, expansion of FM 1093 has become a priority for the city. He said failure to improve FM 1093 and other roads in Fulshear will cause congestion to the point of slowing and even stopping growth.

Kuykendall said he hopes the improvements to FM 1093 will help straighten the road where it curves through town and intersects FM 359 "at our infamous signal light."

Meyers said the county will eventually recoup its share of the cost through property taxes from development that occurs from more territory being opened up with the expanded road.

"This area here is going to continue to grow and continue to develop," Meyers said. "The quality of life out here attracts people."