By Elsa Maxey
Fort Bend County Commissioners Court unanimously approved a $33,973,716 contract on Aug. 28 between the Fort Bend Grand Parkway Toll Road Authority and Williams Brothers Construction Company to construct two sections of overpasses on a segment of the Grand Parkway. The sections are part of what is known as Segment D. Sections 2 and 3 are the proposed overpasses on New Territory Boulevard and US 90A/FM 1464. About a year ago, a groundbreaking ceremony organized by the county and the Texas Department of Transportation for the overpasses took place on the Grand Parkway signaling the ceremonial start of the project.
As announced the tolled overpasses, part of the county’s move to develop its own mobility solutions, are scheduled for completion within two years.
These overpasses on Segment D of the Grand Parkway are intended to be financially self-sustaining. On July 24, County Commissioners okayed issuing $179,825,000 in bonds and entering into an agreement for the payback of those bonds to finance the Segment D project.The roadway where the overpasses will be constructed stretches over 17 miles from US 59 to IH 10 and runs through both Harris and Fort Bend counties.
Once this project is completed, motorists may elect to take the non-stop tolled roads using an EZ-TAG or continue to use the frontage roads with traffic lights and avoid paying a toll.
At the time of the groundbreaking announcement to construct the overpasses, some critics said there was not that much traffic on the road to justify them. Yet, others considered it forward thinking due to the continuing growth of Fort Bend County already showing heavier traffic these days on the Grand Parkway. Evidence of this area’s growth was recently substantiated with a new property value total for Fort Bend County for 2012 amounting to $1,101,298,258.
Commissioners Court recently voted to record the submission of the 2012 tax year appraisal roll and new property value for the county’s general fund submitted by Fort Bend County Tax Assessor/Collector Patsy Schultz. The total taxable value of all properties in the county is reported to be $39,439,974,054.
Commissioners Court also voted unanimously to authorize a $19,104,707 contract between the Grand Parkway Toll Road Authority and Williams Brothers Construction Company for the construction of two other Segment D sections of the Grand Parkway, Sections 9 and 10, which are Bellaire Boulevard and Westpark Tollway and FM 1093 overpasses.
The Grand Parkway passes through eight counties in the Texas Gulf Coast and the Greater Houston Region.