TxDOT holds public meeting on updated Hwy. 249 extension plan

The Texas Department of Transportation held a public meeting Dec. 8 on the proposed design changes for the Hwy. 249 extension from FM 2920 to Hardin Store Road.

The Texas Department of Transportation held a public meeting Dec. 8 on the proposed design changes for the Hwy. 249 extension from FM 2920 to Hardin Store Road.

A number of area residents asked questions during the TxDOT public meeting. A number of area residents asked questions during the TxDOT public meeting. [/caption]

The next phases of the Hwy. 249 corridor extension—known as the Aggie Expressway—from FM 2920 in Tomball to Hwy. 105 in Navasota are one step closer to breaking ground.

During a Dec. 8 Texas Department of Transportation public meeting, a number of area residents had an opportunity to offer feedback on the proposed design changes from FM 2920 to Hardin Store Road on the future Hwy. 249 tollway project.

The design changes include ramp configuration alterations, the addition of a continuous overpass from Brown to Baker roads and an overpass at Zion Road, which will require 0.2 acres of additional right of way, according to TxDOT plans. The updated plan includes additional floodplain mitigation near Spring Creek, 5.8 acres of detention in Harris County and 9.8 acres of detention in Montgomery County.

“There were some difficulties in building the project the way it was originally shown,” said John Tyler, deputy director of engineering for the Harris County Toll Road Authority. “The benefit to having a continuous overpass is it won’t have a wall in that section—looking at the road, it will be more open. The ease of construction was the main reason.”

Effect on LSC-Tomball, businesses

With the design changes, a proposed southbound entrance ramp to the estimated $175 million Tomball Tollway Phase 2 in front of Lone Star College-Tomball was deleted, Tyler said.

“The reason it was deleted was we were coordinating with the college and the city of Tomball, and we found out the college is building a new south entrance that will come off of Baker Road,” Tyler said. “It allowed us to shift the frontage road farther away from the college.”

The existing north entrance to the college at Zion Road will remain, and a new south entrance will be constructed before Phase 2 breaks ground in January 2017, Tyler said.

Some residents with businesses located along the Phase 2 route also asked questions during the meeting about the proposed effects of construction. There will be no permanent closures of the entrances and exits at shopping centers near LSC-Tomball during construction, HCTRA project engineer Dale Hilliard said.

Funding system

The tolling system on the future phases will be similar to the structure seen on the 6-mile Tomball Tollway Phase 1, which costs $1.45 to travel, Tyler said. Another mainlane toll plaza, similar to the plaza on Phase 1, will be constructed on the first section in Montgomery County, he said.

TxDOT and the Houston-Galveston Area Council are contributing funds for frontage roads and improvements to drainage channel M124 along the Tomball Tollway Phase 2, Tyler said. HCTRA will also assist the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority with tolling on its section in Pinehurst, he said.

“That’s the plan,” Tyler said. “We currently provide tolling operations to the [Hwy.] 242 direct connectors.”

Future steps

The tollway design changes will be approved in mid-2016, and the bidding process for the project will complete next fall, Tyler said. Construction is expected to be complete in early 2019.

The first Hwy. 249 section in Montgomery County from Spring Creek to the area near Woodtrace Boulevard is undergoing the final stages of its environmental impact statement, said Danny Perez, TxDOT Houston District public information officer. Construction on the Montgomery County portion in Pinehurst could begin in mid-2017 and complete around the same time as the Harris County section, he said.

TxDOT is constructing the remainder of the Hwy. 249 extension in two segments—one from near Woodtrace Boulevard to FM 1774 near Todd Mission and another from FM 1774 to Hwy. 105 in Grimes County. The Grimes County portion is also undergoing an environmental assessment, and a public hearing will be held in February or March, Perez said.

“TxDOT has previously issued a request for qualifications and has short-listed five [construction] teams on the Hwy. 249 extension from near FM 1774 [in Pinehurst] to Hwy. 105,” Perez said. “The timing and scope of the project is subject to the results of the environmental studies currently in progress.”

TxDOT’s two segments are projected for completion in summer 2019 pending the environmental studies and design process, Perez said.

Public comment deadline

All public comments on the Tomball Tollway Phase 2 design changes must be submitted by the Dec. 22 deadline to hou-piowebmail@txdot.gov.

For more information on the project, visit Hwy. 249 extension to Todd Mission and Hwy. 249 extension to Grimes County.


Victory Pie Company & Cafe expanded its menu and business hours Jan. 12. (Courtesy Victory Pie Company & Cafe)
New Tex-Mex restaurant, healthy smoothie bar and more: Here's the latest business news in Tomball, Magnolia

The Tomball and Magnolia area has seen a number of recent business openings and expansions in recent weeks.

At a Jan. 15 emergency court hearing, officials came up with a plan to try to reduce the inmate population at the Harris County Jail that centers on hosting more bail reduction hearings. (Courtesy Brian Jackson/Adobe Stock)
With open beds dwindling, officials look for ways to reduce Harris County jail population

The inmate population at the Harris County Jail is rising, and officials are looking for ways to quickly ease the pressure as concerns grow over the ability to quarantine and restrict the spread of the coronavirus.

Bocca Italian Kitchen serves seasonal, Italian-inspired dishes, such as polenta and various pastas. (Courtesy Marco Torres)
Italian eateries open in Generation Park; Houston bike lane fines enforced and more local news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

The independent pharmacy went through 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine in nine days. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Magnolia Pharmacy aims to open volunteer-run COVID-19 vaccine clinic Jan. 22

If everything goes according to plan, the clinic could administer 200-400 doses per day to those who qualify, regardless of their county of residency.

Officials said Beacon Hill will help spur future growth in the city of Waller and in the surrounding area. (Rendering courtesy Wolff Companies)
Wolff Companies acquires additional 43 acres for Beacon Hill development in Waller

Plans for the 564-acre project include a business park along the future Hwy. 290 frontage road and about 870 single-family homes.

Officials expect demand for the vaccine will be huge once it opens to the general public. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Montgomery County plans vaccine distribution; FDA warns of false negatives and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular stories from the past week from the Houston area.

During a Jan. 12 meeting, Magnolia City Council members approved a petition submitted by Forestar Real Estate Group to annex 69.53 acres of land. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)
Magnolia annexes 69.53 acres of land for future 100-home development

The tract is slated to bring over 100 homes to Magnolia by developer Beazer Homes.

Commissioner James Metts speaks in support of creating two courts at law for Montgomery County. (Screenshot via Montgomery County livestream)
Montgomery County commissioners begin discussion to add 2 courts in 2021

Montgomery County commissioners wish to gather more information about court needs before approving at least one court at law.

A prescribed burning on the W.G. Jones State Forest along FM 1488 is scheduled for Jan. 14-15, weather permitting. (Courtesy Texas A&M Forest Service)
Prescribed burning of W.G. Jones State Forest scheduled for Jan. 14-15

As a result of the burning operations, certain areas of the forest will be closed to the public during this time.

La Cocina de Roberto launched its second eatery in The Woodlands area in January. (Courtesy La Cocina de Roberto)
La Cocina de Roberto restaurant opens in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.

From Jan. 19-29, Coalition for the Homeless and staff from The Way Home will conduct the 2021 Homeless Count & Survey, in which they will work to identify sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness across Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. (Adobe Stock)
Coalition for the Homeless, The Way Home to conduct annual Greater Houston-area homeless count Jan. 19-29

The results of the 2021 homeless count and survey are expected to be released to the public this spring.