Updates to Montgomery County thoroughfare plan expected in 2021

As road bond projects finish up in Montgomery County Precinct 3, officials said new needs will be determined in 2021. (Courtesy Fotolia)
As road bond projects finish up in Montgomery County Precinct 3, officials said new needs will be determined in 2021. (Courtesy Fotolia)

As road bond projects finish up in Montgomery County Precinct 3, officials said new needs will be determined in 2021. (Courtesy Fotolia)

With the last Montgomery County mobility projects funded by a 2015 road bond underway, area officials are looking to shape a new set of transportation priorities in 2021.

The Montgomery County Major Thoroughfare Plan, last updated in 2016 and originally scheduled for revision in 2020, was pushed back to the summer of 2021 as a result of COVID-19-related delays. However, officials said before that gets off the ground, the county’s four precincts will need to hold several community meetings this spring.

According to Brown and Gay Engineers, the company updating the thoroughfare plan through a $125,000 contract, the plan will include an analysis of major roadways; east-west and north-south connectivity; and accessibility on highways, such as the Grand Parkway, Hwy. 249, I-45 and Hwy. 59.

Andrew DuBois, project manager for Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, said in a Dec. 31 email the county will consider projects that meet its needs for growth as well as providing safety and mobility. An initial stakeholder meeting with a diverse group representing communities and interests in Precinct 3 was held Nov. 18, he said.

Although he did not specify projects Noack hopes to see included in the plan, DuBois identified several he said the commissioner believes do not have resident support.

“Specifically, Commissioner Noack already has pushed for the removal of the Woodlands Parkway, Gosling Road and Branch Crossing extensions from the Major Thoroughfare Plan,” DuBois said in the email.

Gordy Bunch, chair of The Woodlands Township board of directors, said in an email the township also has objected in writing to those projects: extending the Woodlands Parkway to Hwy. 249, extending Branch Crossing to FM 1488 and Gosling Road to FM 1488.

The township does not fund or contract for those projects.

Bunch also said the I-45 area from the Grand Parkway to South Loop 336 is in need of attention, and Bruce Rieser, vice chair of The Woodlands Township board, also identified some needs on I-45, a state highway.

Rieser said access ramps at FM 1488 and at Hwy. 242 where the roads meet I-45, and congestion relief at Research Forest Drive and I-45 would benefit the community.

Officials said they are also looking at whether remote working has changed commuting patterns.

“We will need to re-evaluate needs post COVID to see if pre-pandemic traffic returns or if the new remote working environment shifts traffic patterns materially,” Bunch said.

Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify that The Woodlands does not fund regional transportation project.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


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