Grand Pines Drive construction underway in Magnolia area

Construction on Grand Pines Drive is now underway after more than two years of delays.

Construction on Grand Pines Drive is now underway after more than two years of delays.

Construction on Grand Pines Drive—a three-lane road from Nichols Sawmill to Sanders Cemetery roads in the Magnolia area—is underway after more than two years of delays, Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley confirmed with Community Impact Newspaper on June 4.

"This is one of the first projects—one of the main projects—I've wanted to do and unfortunately it got held up longer than any of the [rest]. It's finally happening, and it's going to be fantastic for the southwest portion of Montgomery County," Riley said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asked the county in spring 2018 to compensate the construction impact for an additional 0.8 acres of wetlands before construction could begin, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. The concern among the Corps was that the wetlands were located in jurisdictional territory—meaning the area is in federal control rather than county control—and the county would be required to comply with whatever the Corps determined to compensate the impact of construction, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

Sandra Arnold, chief of public affairs for the Corps, said in an email the Corps determined there were no federal waters in the project area and no additional permits would be required to begin construction.

"We're making good progress on Grand Pines Drive now that we've gotten the Corps to agree with us," Riley said.

Riley said work on the $6.7 million project, under contract with Fuqua Construction and funded by the 2015 Montgomery County road bond, began in mid-April and will be complete in spring 2020 depending on weather.

Grand Pines Drive is expected to relieve traffic congestion on Nichols Sawmill and Sanders Cemetery roads, as well as Glenmont Estates Boulevard, Riley said.

"They're all dangerous roads. They're all 18 feet wide with no shoulders and a bunch of winding curves. They're just not made for the kind of traffic they're carrying today," he said. "[Grand Pines Drive] is so long overdue."