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Transportation

Officials Planning Next Stages Of Big Freeway Loop Project

Companies prepare to bid on the newest sections of the Grand Parkway.

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An ambitious project to build a 180-mile loop around the greater Houston area moves into the next phase as state officials plan the newest segments of the Grand Parkway. TxDOT is now screening companies that want to bid on two segments that will take the Grand Parkway to the east.

The work will start at U.S. 59 Eastex Freeway and connect with I-10 near Mont Belvieu. From there, it  will  join up with a small section of the parkway that’s already open.

The two segments are about 37 miles. Construction is expected to cost about $750 million. If all goes as planned, TxDOT hopes to start construction in early 2016 and finish by 2020.

David Gornet with the Grand Parkway Association says unlike other segments, the controlled access toll road will probably only have one lane in each direction

“They don’t quite have the growth dynamics that are happening on the west and the north side, and for the short term, two lanes would be acceptable to handle the traffic demand that’s forecasted out there.”

Besides addressing future transportation needs, Gornet says the eastern segment will give people another evacuation route. If there’s a major hurricane they can easily access freeways to the north.

“The far east side of Harris County along Galveston Bay, Chambers County, Liberty County, they all have areas that could be inundated.”

Right now the Grand Parkway is open on the west side, from U.S. 59 Southwest Freeway to U.S. 290. Construction is underway on the northern part of the road from 290 on to the Eastex Freeway.

 

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

News Anchor

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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