Montgomery County Commissioners debate removing Hwy. 242 flyover tolls

Montgomery County Commissioners debated removing tolls along the Hwy. 242 flyovers Tuesday.

Montgomery County Commissioners debated removing tolls along the Hwy. 242 flyovers Tuesday.

The removal of tolls along two flyover roads at I-45 and Hwy. 242 will not move forward at this time, while Montgomery County officials wait to determine how that action would affect maintenance on the roads.

County Judge Mark Keough brought a proposal to eliminate the tolls to the April 9 Montgomery County Commissioners Court, citing resident concerns over both the fees and traffic backups caused on the adjacent freeway service roads by drivers avoiding the tolls. Keough said that transportation in the county—and the tolls at Hwy. 242—have been persistent complaints from his constituents.

“By removing the tolls, I believe we’ll be able to remove much of the traffic jam that is there,” Keough said, adding traffic counts have shown only 3% of drivers traveling between the interstate and the state highway use the tolled flyovers.

While the majority of commissioners agreed in principle to taking away the tolls, several members of the court questioned how the roads would be maintained and how the Texas Department of Transportation would handle funding and maintaining the flyovers if removal efforts proceeded.

Keough said a contract between the county and TxDOT shows the state department’s responsibility for the roadway, while County Attorney B.D. Griffin said the agreement is unclear as to whether the state or county would be liable for maintenance.

“I do not know TxDOT’s interpretation,” Griffin said. “We have not spoken with them regarding whether they see a unilateral action by the toll road authority in Montgomery county to trigger an automatic maintenance responsibility.”

Following further discussion of the issue, the proposal was put to a vote and failed 3-2. Keough and Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack voted in favor of the toll removal, while commissioners Mike Meador, Charlie Riley and James Metts voted against it. The commissioners agreed to pursue a meeting with TxDOT officials to determine what the flyovers’ status would be if the tolls were removed in an effort to move the process forward.

“I’m ready to get the tolls taken off. The sooner we can get TxDOT in here, I think the sooner we can come to an agreement,” Noack said.

In other news April 9, commissioners:

  • Unanimously approved a lease agreement between the county and DCR Development, LLC for hangar development on around 1.7 acres of land at the Conroe North Houston Regional Airport.

  • Unanimously opened the position of Administrative Assistant I with an annual salary of $45,630 in Precinct 3, and closed the position of part-time clerk while opening the position of Clerk IV with an annual salary of $46,530 in Precinct 4.


By Ben Thompson
Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2019 and is a reporter for The Woodlands edition.


MOST RECENT

Aug. 13 marked the fourth day in a row in which the daily case count was under 1,000, an occurrence that took place only twice between July 15 and Aug. 9. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 931 new cases, 34 deaths confirmed Aug. 13

Aug. 13 marked the fourth day in a row in which the daily case count was under 1,000, an occurrence that took place only twice between July 15 and Aug. 9.

Daily festival capacity will be limited to 22,500, according to festival information for the upcoming 46th season. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)
Mask-break areas, limited capacity: Texas Renaissance Festival unveils health guidelines for 46th season

All tickets for the upcoming 46th festival season are date-specific, and no general admission tickets will be sold at the gate.

More than 71% of Montgomery County COVID-19 cases have recovered, while nearly 18% remain active. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Active resident COVID-19 cases, countywide hospitalizations fall in Montgomery County on Aug. 13

A total of 91 people are hospitalized in Montgomery County with COVID-19, including 52 county residents.

The Harris County Annex off Cypresswood Drive is among the buildings that reopened Aug. 10 to offer several services by appointment, including marriage licenses. (Staff photo)
Harris County Clerk's Office reopens annex buildings for services by appointment

Residents can now arrange to get marriage licenses, birth and death certificates and Doing Business As filings at 11 annex buildings located throughout the county.

Dr. Peter Hotez and Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi are co-leading the research team developing a coronavirus vaccine, which now has a licensing agreement with India-based company Biological E. Limited. (Courtesy Baylor College of Medicine)
Baylor College of Medicine announces licensing agreement for COVID-19 vaccine candidate

India has reported nearly 2.4 million total COVID-19 cases since the pandemic reached its borders.

The Texas Department of Transportation will soon host a virtual public meeting to gauge public feedback on the ongoing FM 1960 Access Management Study. (Courtesy Fotolia)
TxDOT to host virtual public meeting to discuss FM 1960 Access Management Study

This is the second round of public meetings meant to solicit feedback from community members, with the first meetings having taken place in October 2019.

Houston firefighters marched on City Hall in April 2019 to protest the city's legal battle against Proposition B. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Appeals court denies request for oral arguments in Houston firefighters Proposition B case

The decision is the latest development in a yearslong clash between the city and the firefighters union.

The Beehive Boutique & Garden will open in the fall in New Caney. (Courtesy Beehive Boutique & Garden)
The Beehive Boutique & Garden coming to New Caney

The boutique will sell home goods and garden items.

(Courtesy AMC Theatres)
AMC Theatres to reopen Aug. 20 with 15-cent tickets

AMC Theatres—which has multiple locations in the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas—will begin reopening its movie screens Aug. 20.

After eight months of delay, a the First Court of Appeals ruled that the Houston City Council District B runoff election can take place this November. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Appellate court rules Houston City Council District B runoff race may proceed

After eight months at a standstill, a court ruled that the Houston City Council District B runoff election can take place this November.