AP NEWS

Land clearing for Grand Parkway final segments underway

February 11, 2019

Officials from Grand Parkway Infrastructure announced to members of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce that field clearing and grubbing began last summer and continues as work progresses on the Grand Parkway heading toward the final phase in Liberty County.

GPI is also conducting right-of-way acquision on the project, company officials said.

Janice Hays, public relations manager for GPI, described the company as a joint venture or a partnership with Ferrovial Agroman Construction, along with Webber, LLC and Granite Construction, Inc.

The Segments H, I-1 and I-2 span approximately 52.8 miles from the north at New Caney and south to Baytown and will be a toll road.

The GPI section of the toll road, Hays said, will cost $894 million and stretches through Chambers, Harris, Liberty, and Montgomery counties.

“Construction began in the summer of 2018 and will be complete Spring 2022,” she told anxious chamber members.

When completed, the SH-99 Loop will be the largest in North America equaling 184 miles and traverse through seven counties including Liberty County. Today, riders can get on in New Caney and travel to Spring, Tomball or Katy before it dead ends in Sugar Land.

Some officials also believe the circumferential highway is the only place in the world where three loops circle a major metropolitan area.

“One of the interesting facts is that nearly 270 million cubic feet of earth will be moved,” Hayes told chamber members.

The project is expected to help improve mobility, improve safety and reliability, support new business and residential growth, and employ qualified subcontractors and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) subcontractors.

James Martin, traffic control and maintenance manager for GPI, said work at the Hwy. 59 corridor has already begun where right-of-way has already been secured.

“We hope to begin work on I-1 between US 90 and I-10 sometime this summer,” he said. Additional sections would get underway by summer of 2020.

“Since it’s a design-build job we would still need to acquire right-of-way,” he said.

Martin expected Dayton residents to begin to see more progress in the next 12-14 months.

Dayton will receive four exits, the most of any other area in the final buildout section.

Segments H and I-1 are approximately 38 miles of a two-lane toll facility with intermittent four-lane sections for passing. Segment I-2A will receive tolling equipment upgrades and other improvements for approximately 8.7 miles of an existing four-lane facility from FM 1405 to IH-10. Segment I-2B is approximately 6.1 miles of a new four-lane toll facility from SH 146 to FM 1405.

Martin said the project will have 80 new or reconstructed bridges, utility relocations, and another approximate 200-plus right-of-way acquisitions

The sticking point for some, including developers, is the two-lanes. Most believe it will not be near enough for the anticipated growth that accompanies the toll road. With an addition of thousands of new residents in the county and a census projection climbing to 110,000 in 2020, some are hoping the road will be widened while the project is underway.

Liberty County Judge Jay Knight has already sent a letter requesting TxDOT reconsider and extend the highway.

To learn more about the SH-99 project, visit the GPI website at: www.sh99grandpkwy.com.

Safety Manager Pete Flores told chamber members that they had already encountered snakes, alligators, wild hogs and more as they prepared the land for construction.

“The work in construction is dangerous, but the No. 1 safety hazard on a site is falls,” he said. Flores encouraged the public to say something if they see something unsafe being done while construction crews are working.

dtaylor@hcnonline.com

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