Direct connectors set for early 2020 construction

The Harris County Toll Road Authority anticipates beginning construction this spring on director connectors between Hwy. 249 and the Grand Parkway. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Harris County Toll Road Authority anticipates beginning construction this spring on director connectors between Hwy. 249 and the Grand Parkway. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Harris County Toll Road Authority anticipates beginning construction this spring on director connectors between Hwy. 249 and the Grand Parkway. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
The Harris County Toll Road Authority anticipates beginning construction this spring on director connectors between Hwy. 249 and the Grand Parkway.
Nearly four years after the Grand Parkway segments F-1 and F-2 opened to drivers, the Harris County Toll Road Authority is set to begin construction this spring on four connectors providing a direct route from the tolled Hwy. 249 main lanes to the Grand Parkway, HCTRA Deputy Director of Engineering John Tyler said.

“This project is just to provide better connectivity between the two major roads ... both of which have high-volume usage right now,” he said. “I know we would say that the traffic volumes we expected when we opened our roadway have been greater than what we were projecting.”

According to an Aug. 31 report from the Grand Parkway Transportation Corp., vehicle transactions from Feb. 1, 2014, to Aug. 21, 2019, along the Grand Parkway exceeded the numbers forecast in 2013 by 62%.

HCTRA is funding the construction of the four connectors as part of an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation, Tyler said. TxDOT, via the Grand Parkway Transportation Corp., will maintain the connectors, TxDOT Public Information Officer Danny Perez said.

Construction of the project, estimated to total about $90 million, is anticipated to take 30 months, Tyler said. HCTRA received construction bids for the project Dec. 16. The project includes connectors in four directions: heading north on the Tomball Tollway to eastbound or westbound on the Grand Parkway and going eastbound or westbound on the Grand Parkway to southbound on the Tomball Tollway, he said.


“Both the Tomball Tollway and the Grand Parkway were laid out and designed with the future interchange planned, so there’s not going to be a lot of rework involved in that aspect,” Tyler said. “The right of way that was acquired for the construction of the Tomball Tollway and, more specifically, the Grand Parkway included all the land that was necessary for this interchange.”

Tyler said no additional land acquisition had to take place for the project, and no tolls will be added.

“I just want to make that clear,” he said. “The tolling that’s out there today is going to stay there, but there is no new tolling as part of this project for the connectors.”

Tyler said he anticipates the connectors will improve mobility in the Tomball area, as drivers will no longer have to exit the Tomball Tollway, go through traffic lights and turn to enter the Grand Parkway.

“We’re seeing a lot of tie-ups in the evening or the afternoon times at the exit of Boudreaux and the Grand Parkway off of [Hwy.] 249, so this is coming at the perfect time,” said Bruce Hillegeist, the president of the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.

Hillegeist said the chamber advocated for connectors at the time the tollway was being built to get ahead of the anticipated traffic growth.

Tyler said the four connectors will be built to connect to four remaining connectors, but Perez said TxDOT has no current plans to develop those.

“[We’re] glad that HCTRA is seeing the need, because those of us who drive everyday are aware of the need. It’s going to be a lot better for convenience,” Hillegeist said.
By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball/Magnolia & Conroe/Montgomery

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball/Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.