By Elsa Maxey
Some concerned residents in Sugar Land’s New Territory neighborhood are waiting for their home owners association meeting next month to find out what kind of impact construction by the toll road authority will have on the Grand Parkway. After this Monday’s meeting, here’s what participating residents found out. In August, the Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority will start construction on the Grand Parkway alongside the New Territory community, and that causes concerns about the impact it will have on traffic not only on the Grand Parkway, but also alongside the streets in and out of the neighborhood, including New Territory Boulevard and Sandhill Drive.
Most importantly, residents are also concerned about how the construction will close a walking path under the Grand Parkway. The pedestrian sidewalk serves the southwest side of the subdivision and has been regularly used by students walking to and from Sartaria Middle school, maintains one of them. Just how long it will be closed is not known at this time; however, construction is estimated to take about 15 months to complete. “During that time, it will be a mess,” is the sentiment of those about to deal with the construction just days away from getting started.
While neighborhood residents understand safety reasons that dictate the need for the closure during the road construction, what they really want to know are alternatives for their kids getting to school since there is no longer bus service available to them. They say that about a year ago due to the school district’s re-zoning plan and bus route alignment, bus service was discontinued by the Fort Bend Independent School District to students on the southwest side of New Territory.
Next month on August 6, the residents’ local meeting looks like it have a toll road authority representative present. In the meantime, however, FBISD school board members can look forward to hearing from their constituents about safety concerns in this area and a request that the school district work closely with the toll road authority. They may be asking for crossing guards on the heavily traveled Grand Parkway among other alternatives that will help get their children to and from school safely.