The Grand Parkway was a vision that began 50 years ago, when Houston was able to handle growth with the 610 loop. Former Texas Transportation Commissioner Ned Holmes says Segment E of the Grand Parkway is the first new stretch of the planned 180-mile outer loop to open in 5 years.
Holmes was at a luncheon celebrating the opening of the latest segment.
"What people don't realize is that there are a million, 500,000 people that live in the corridor of the Grand Parkway, from the Southwest Freeway where it intersects, all the way around up to 59-North. And so, we have a population base that will make that work."
Billy Burge, chairman of the Grand Parkway Association, says SH 99 represents the economic growth in west Houston:
"What you're seeing is, is the employers moving out to where the people want to live, and they want to live where they have school districts and they have a backyard."
He says users realize that getting from point-A to point-B comes at a price.
"If their gasing tax goes up they don't mind that, if they have good streets with it, and the freeways go where the people live, or where they want to live."
Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Mosely says SH 99 will service the needs of the unincorporated population of Harris County, which is equal to the 5th largest city in the U.S.
"This corridor will serve the communities that primarily are in unincorporated areas today, but they're already there, and they need a corridor to get to work and to get their goods to market."
The entire 15 mile stretch will cost motorists $2.50 to travel.