HOUSTON – The Grand Parkway is used by thousands every day. It’s a 184-mile toll road connecting seven counties around Houston. With construction in northeast Houston coming to an end as the new stretch of pavement from New Caney down to Dayton opened on Thursday, May 19, the vision of creating the largest loop in the country is becoming reality.
It was closed for most of the morning hours of Thursday because several approvals needed to happen before crews gradually opened the highway. Once open, folks can use it for free until the tolls begin at midnight on Saturday, May 21.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Wednesday, May 18, but it was still considered a construction zone until lanes opened on Thursday.
Work started on this section of the tollway, segments H, I-1, and I-2, back in 2018, and residents in the area are thrilled to see it finally open, with comments on Facebook reading:
- “...Woooo Hooooo best news I’ve heard all day! I go that way tomorrow so hope it helps!”- Wendy Foster
- “I’m so excited! We travel north to Hwy 59 and I45 often. This will cut our travel time for sure!”- Karen Browne Johnson
This project spans from Harris, Montgomery, Liberty and Chambers county, marking the continuation of the construction of this 184-mile highway loop around the Greater Houston area. The total cost of the project is $1.28 billion.
It is the outer-most loop around the metro area, with construction that has been ongoing for the past two decades. The project was first conceptualized in the early 1960s. It is divided into eleven segments, the first of which opened on August 31, 1994. That first section, Segment D, extends from the Southwest Freeway to the Katy Freeway on Houston’s southwest side.
When complete, the Grand Parkway will be 180 miles long. Here is the current status for each of the various segments:
- Segment A: This short segment, near Dickinson and League City in Galveston County, extends from SH 146 to IH-45, the Gulf Freeway. It is currently not considered viable, but that status could change in the future.
- Segment B: This 28-mile segment extends from IH-45 (Gulf Freeway) in Galveston County to to SH-35 in Alvin and SH 288 near Rosharon, in Brazoria County. This segment is environmentally approved but construction has not begun.
- Segment C: This is a 26-mile segment that extends from SH 288 in Brazoria County to the Southwest Freeway in Fort Bend County. It connects with the existing Segment D. It is currently environmentally approved, but construction has not begun.
- Traffic Expert Anavid Reyes spoke with Brazoria County, no decision has been made yet in terms of moving forward with segments A, B and C.
- Segment D: Completed in 1994. It is a 17.4-mile segment from the Southwest Freeway to the Katy Freeway on Metro Houston’s southwest side.
- Segment E: Completed in 2013, Segment E runs 15.2 miles from the Katy Freeway to SH 290, the Northwest Freeway, near Cypress.
- Segment F-1: Completed in 2016. It is a 12-mile stretch of road running from SH 290 to SH 249 in Tomball.
- Segment F-2: Completed in 2016. It is 12.1 miles long and runs from SH 249 in Tomball to I-45 near Spring.
- Segment G: Completed in 2016: It is 13.7 miles long and links I-45 in Spring to I-69/US 59 in New Caney.
- Segment H and I-1: Under Construction since July 2018. Opened on May 19, 2022. Segment H and I-1 combined extend 37.5 miles, from I-69/US 59 in New Caney through southwestern Liberty County to I-10 in Chambers County, near Mont Belvieu.
- Segment I-2: Now complete. Segment I-2 is 15 miles long and runs between Mont Belvieu and Baytown on Metro Houston’s east side. The portion from I-10 south to FM 1405 has been complete since 2008. The portion from FM 1405 to SH 146 in Baytown was completed on May 19, 2022.