Commissioners approve agreement to further Hwy. 249 development

The Hwy. 249 toll road project is one step closer to reality following a decision made by Harris County commissioners Jan. 8 to loan Montgomery County no more than $20 million for a portion of the future tollway.

"The [memorandum of understanding] is virtually identical to the one that the Harris County Toll Road Authority did with Fort Bend County on the Westpark Tollway," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. "Because 249 goes across the county lines, we need an MOU with Montgomery County."

Viewed as precedent to the Hwy. 249 project, Harris County in 2002 loaned Fort Bend County $15 million to construct the Westpark Tollway, which runs through both counties. For the Hwy. 249 project, the loaned money will help Montgomery County pay for the design, surveying, permitting, land acquisition and administrative costs associated with the project, according to the MOU, and the loan will be repaid back with interest.

The Hwy. 249 project involves turning the portion of the roadway from north of Spring Cypress Road to FM 1488 in Montgomery County into a 6 or 8-lane tollroad. Work is expected to begin this fall on the first portion of the project, which spans from Spring Cypress Road to FM 2920. The Montgomery County portion of the roadway will run from FM 2920 to FM 1774 in Magnolia.

"The bottom line is that it's about mobility," said Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle. "If you try to travel in that area, the congestion in the region is just overwhelming. At the end of the day, if you can improve mobility, you can improve prosperity and quality of life."

By Marie Leonard
Marie came to Community Impact Newspaper in June 2011 after starting her career at a daily newspaper in East Texas. She worked as a reporter and editor for the Cy-Fair edition for nearly 5 years covering Harris County, Cy-Fair ISD, and local development and transportation news. She then moved to The Woodlands edition and covered local politics and development news in the master-planned community before being promoted to managing editor for the South Houston editions in July 2017.