By Elsa Maxey
The shovels in the ground last Thursday are a clear indication of Fort Bend County’s announcement of the construction of tolled overpasses on the Grand Parkway to be built in two phases. Motorists will have the option to use them and pay a toll for continuous, high speed vehicular traffic use, or they may stay on the frontage roads and pay no toll on the roads already in use.
Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert joined by other county officials, board of directors of the toll road authority, and representatives of the Texas Department of Transportation broke ground on the Grand Parkway at West Airport for what is called Segment D, the main lane overpasses. “Fort Bend County Commissioners Court assumed local primacy over Segment D of the Grand Parkway nearly two years ago,” said Judge Hebert. He also said it was for expediting the extra high-speed capacity needed to meet increasing daily traffic needs along the segment. “This project will efficiently add that new capacity.”
The groundbreaking signals the start of construction of what will be nine overpasses beginning with Phase I from the Westpark Toll Road southward to U.S. 59. Two of them, one at West Airport Boulevard and the other at West Riverpark Drive, are now underway and will be finished in about a year. According to Fort Bend County, construction on the remaining overpasses will begin next year by early spring or next summer.
Once the overpasses are fully operational, motorists will have the option to take the raised toll roads or the non-toll frontage roads. The tolls for overpass use, not unlike other toll locations, must be paid electronically in accordance with the EZ-TAG system.