Friday, July 29, 2011

Houston Area Grand Parkway moves to Develop Status

Recent decisions in June and July by Montgomery County and TXDOT  have determined that the Montgomery County portion of the Grand Parkway (State Hwy 99) will be be built and operated as a toll road under the auspices of TXDOT. So the G and F-2 segments near The Woodlands officially moves into the execution phase of the approved plan, previously reviewed and adopted in the planning phase. The past few months have been a transition from planning to execution, as legal issues had to be resolved. Now since Montgomery County has rescinded its right to develop and operate the portion of the G (I-45 to I-59) segment within its territorial domain, it has cleared the way for full steam ahead development. The full completion of the parkway segments F-1, F-2, G  is predicted to occur by the end of 2014. Segments E and I-2 are under development, and some portions are being prepared for operation, dependent also on the outcome of this RFI and RFP.

When completed, this four lane 70 mph toll road will provide a much needed means to quickly reach east and west portions of the greater Houston area without using north/south freeway systems. This alternative is expected to bring large commercial developments along the segment, significantly impacting the economy of the area. Some downsides include its close proximity to nearby schools in Northampton and loss of some structures and homes in its path. TXDOT has the means and commitment to mitigate noise, so it is my hope and expectation that the resultant deliverable will not affect classroom learning in Northampton.

During the construction phase, some roads will likely be inaccessible near construction, and traffic is expected to be rerouted. More details will be coming as they become available.

An RFI (Request for Information) was issued in early June in order to decide on which contractors will be chosen to submit a proposal. The RFI has been closed and the information has been submitted to TXDOT and is under review with one-on-one interviews. Requests for Information is preliminary to contracting and establishes materials required and a general knowledge interchange pertinent to the project.  It helps develop the language and contractor selection criteria for the contract. We can expect an RFP (Request for Proposal) afterwards to select the general contractor(s) and operators.  

References
+ Montgomery County Minute Order (PDF)
+ Grand Parkway Project by TXDOT (PDF)
+ Request for Information              

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