Texas to push ahead with SH 249 extension

The state's main transport body has approved the $410 million road project, clearing the way for procurement to begin.

The Texas Transportation Commission (TTC), a five-member body that governs the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), approved issuance of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the development of an extension to State Highway (SH) 249 on Thursday, signalling the start of the related procurement process . 

The SH 249 Controlled-Access Tollway Extension project will be the second of three construction segments planned for the highway. It is to be constructed in conjunction with additional segments being led by Harris and Montgomery counties. Estimated cost of the extension is $410 million. 

Connecting FM 1774 in Pinehurst to the same highway North of Todd Mission, the new roadway is expected to improve mobility and safety in Grimes and Montgomery counties as well as provide regional connectivity between Navasota and Houston, the release said.  

According to the most recent draft environmental impact statement for the project, the extension of SH 249 meets three specific transportation improvement needs. 

“First, inefficient connections exist between suburban communities and major and minor radial and circumferential arterials,” reads the statement from TxDOT's Houston District. “Second, projected population and employment growth in the area would likely increase demand in the current transportation infrastructure [and] third, there are growing safety concerns around the impacts of increased congestion and emergency evacuation (hurricanes).” 

According to the TxDOT website, the project consists of four regular-use lanes within a “typical” 400-foot-wide right of way and spans approximately 15 miles, calling for roughly 727 acres of additional right of way. 

The project has already the support of county leadership in Grimes, Montgomery, Harris and Brazos counties, as well as that of several cities along the proposed route.  

TxDOT plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) later in the year, anticipating a spring 2016 due date. Substantial completion could occur as early as winter 2018.