The new direct-connect flyover road is being designed to carry northbound travelers on I-45 onto eastbound Hwy. 242 with no traffic interruptions. The road will join existing flyovers connecting northbound I-45 to westbound Hwy. 242, and westbound Hwy. 242 to southbound I-45. The project was previously announced by Riley and Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts last spring.
Riley said the flyover is being implemented to relieve frequent congestion in the area, which is home to several medical and commercial centers.
“Overall, with the development of the [Hwy.] 242 east bound direct connect, and the current west direct connect, both of which are non-tolled passages, the expectation is that this will bring relief to the traffic snarls that occur in this area and allow for all vehicles that need quicker access to reach the area hospitals a better chance at saving time to save lives as well as other emergencies," Riley said in an April 6 statement.
As noted by Riley, the third flyover will open as a nontolled road. The first two flyovers at I-45 and Hwy. 242 initially opened as toll roads before county commissioners voted to remove travel fees in May 2019.
Along with the flyover's construction, Riley also said a drainage project is being planned just south of the highway junction along St. Luke's Way to provide flooding relief near the medical campuses of CHI St. Luke's Health-The Woodlands Hospital and Texas Children's Hospital The Woodlands.
“The goal will be to give the water a place to flow other than onto the street surface.” Riley said. “This had become a safety concern and I’m finding a solution that will alleviate this problem. The healthcare workers, patients and all vehicles that use this area will have a clear road for travel while the drainage of the pond overflow will pass under this area, from west to east, and the water will continue away from the roads and into creeks and ponds that have more green space.”
Riley's office said the road and drainage projects are moving forward at an estimated cost of $30 million combined with funding from the county and Houston-Galveston Area Council. Both projects are expected to be completed within two years.