A number of projects are progressing throughout Montgomery County as a result of the $280 million road bond that was passed in November.
The road bond was divided between the county’s four precincts and enables 54 road projects that are expected to increase mobility for residents of the county and provide faster travel times.
“The goal is to get mobility moving across the county,” Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal said. “All of the projects are a priority, especially for Rayford Road and FM 1097 to I-45 N.”
The road bond gave all four precincts the ability to take on projects that were previously listed on the failed $350 million road bond election that occurred in May. Now, projects in some precincts are in one of these phases: engineering, design or construction. Road bond funds started making their way to the four county precincts in January.
Doyal said during that month the county sold $53 million of the $280 million in bonds, which gave the county $60 million in revenue from the sale.
Precinct 2 will receive $64 million in total from the $280 million bond election for 19 road improvement projects. The $8 million Research Forest Drive project started its design phase in April. The project in The Woodlands will consist of the construction of two additional concrete lanes with asphalt shoulders from FM 2978 to Branch Crossing Drive.
Commissioner Charlie Riley said this project will be one of the first to begin construction, along with the realignment of Nichols Sawmill Road.
“[Those] are probably the quickest projects we have got,” he said. “If not all, some of these will be under construction by the end of the year. If we have to do a bunch of extra work, it could take longer.”
Other projects in The Woodlands include two projects on Hwy. 242. The first project is the addition of a left-turn lane from westbound Hwy. 242 to southbound Gosling Road and the addition of a left-turn lane from northbound Gosling Road to westbound Hwy. 242. The other project on the road is an additional left-turn lane that will be added at westbound Hwy. 242 to Greenbridge Drive. The total amount of both projects is $700,000.
Although projects in Precinct 2’s vicinity are expected to improve mobility for residents in the area, some of the road bond’s biggest projects that have heard the most concerns from residents are in Precinct 3.
With the $60 million Rayford Road project and the $14.6 million Woodlands Parkway project, Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack and his office have started a study and design phase for the projects.
Chief of Staff Matt Beasley said the precinct’s biggest priority is the Rayford Road project, which is in the design phase.
“The right of way acquisition is in progress for the project,” Beasley said. “The projects are going to add capacity in most places.”
Construction on the Rayford Road project is expected to widen lanes from Lazy Lane to the Grand Parkway as well as add an overpass at the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. County officials said the projects will greatly improve east-to-west traffic flow and safety along the Rayford Road corridor.
Another project that is expected to improve mobility in The Woodlands area is the Woodlands Parkway project, which Beasley said is still in the study phase along with the Lake Woodlands Drive project and the I-45 single point urban interchange project.
“We’re still studying the SPUI, we may have a different design,” Beasley said. “We do need to keep up with the growing community.”
Shenandoah and Oak Ridge North
Precinct 4’s projects have significant effects on the Shenandoah area, with David Memorial Drive and Tamina Road both on the bond’s list.
Greg Smith, city administrator of Shenandoah, said the David Memorial Drive project has three phases and Phase 1—Shenandoah’s portion—will soon enter the engineering phase.
“Phase 1 is in the city of Shenandoah, Phase 2 is in unincorporated area of the county and Phase 3 is within Conroe city limits,” Smith said. “The city’s portion will be out to bid for engineering in the next three to four months.”
The $2 million David Memorial project is going to acquire right of way and construct a new road from Hwy. 242 to Shenandoah Park.
“This is going to improve mobility and create another north-to-south corridor, especially through and around the Oak Ridge North area,” Smith said. “You can totally stay off I-45 or the feeder.”
Smith said the $4.9 million Tamina Road project is slated to widen the road to four lanes from David Memorial Drive to Main Street, while also improving the railroad crossing at Main Street. He said it is an important project but not as critical as the David Memorial Drive project.
“Most of our efforts are on north-to-south traffic,” he said. “It’s also important to realize that while this road is coming, it had been on our thoroughfare plan for 10 years. We’re excited that it’s going to become a reality.”
Smith said the projects in Precinct 4 will help hospital employees, among others in the Hwy. 242 area, get to work.
“With the major hospitals at Hwy. 242 and I-45, it gives people a second entrance in,” Smith said. “When all that rain came [in mid-April], the feeder was completely shut down. The project gives people another option to get places. It’s going to give relief to the public.”