Work begins on Hwy. 249, Grand Parkway direct connectors in Tomball

Tree clearing and site work began in mid-March on the direct connector project. (Dylan Sherman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Tree clearing and site work began in mid-March on the direct connector project. (Dylan Sherman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Tree clearing and site work began in mid-March on the direct connector project. (Dylan Sherman/Community Impact Newspaper)

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The project is anticipated to take 27 months. (Dylan Sherman/Community Impact Newspaper)
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The Harris County Toll Road Authority direct connector project was listed as the top transportation story of 2020 in Community Impact Newspaper's January 2020 issue. (Community Impact staff)
Tree clearing and site work began in March for the Harris County Toll Road Authority project to build four direct connectors providing a direct route between the Grand Parkway and tolled Hwy. 249 lanes in Tomball, according to Matt Kainer, HCTRA assistant director of maintenance and construction engineering.

Williams Brothers Construction was awarded the approximately $90 million, 27-month contract and was given notice to proceed with construction March 17, Kainer said.

The drilling crew began working on the first shafts along the Grand Parkway in mid-April.

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, as Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

Although it will connect two toll roads, the project itself will include no new tolling points, Kainer said. He added that Tomball-area residents can expect to see some lane closures on the frontage roads, but there will be no reduction in lanes on Grand Parkway or Hwy. 249 main lanes during the construction period.

"Initially, there will be some lane closures to install concrete barriers to make room for construction and protect the workers and drivers. There will not be any reduction in the number of lanes on either Grand Parkway or [Hwy.] 249 main lanes," Kainer said in an email.

As the project progresses, Kainer said drivers can expect to see closures of the northbound exit ramp to Boudreaux Road and the Grand Parkway and the southbound entrance ramp from Boudreaux Road and the Grand Parkway to tie together the new direct connectors. However, he said these closures will be well-publicized and will last for only about a month each.

"There will not be any changes in speed limits, but we always ask drivers to use caution and pay attention when driving through construction zones, as normal traffic patterns that they are accustomed to may have changed," Kainer said.

The project is anticipated to provide traffic relief near Boudreaux Road, as drivers will no longer have to use Boudreaux and the frontage roads to travel between the toll roads, Kainer said.

"The project will provide traffic relief in the immediate area, which will improve drive times," he said. "When the project is complete, a large volume of traffic that currently utilizes the frontage roads and Boudreaux Road will have a direct connection from [Hwy.] 249 to 99 and vice versa and therefore will no longer need to exit and use the frontage road and Boudreaux Road to travel between the two roadways."

Timeline: March 17, 2020-June 2022

Cost: $90 million

Funding source: HCTRA
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.