Progress of the Grand Parkway

India Blake, reporter

Progress of the Grand Parkway
Grand Parkway 99 is currently under construction in the Houston area, and the construction process affects many drivers, but will ultimately facilitate transportation by providing quicker routes and more lanes.
“When they start building this thing they have 24 months to get it done. You are going to see 38 miles of new highway being built simultaneously,” Texas Department of Transportation GEC Deputy Project Manager Robert Maxwell said on
State Highway 99 is a proposed 180+ mile circumferential scenic tollway traversing seven counties and encircling the greater Houston area, according to The Grand Parkway Association. Its purpose is to make accessing downtown easier and more convenient as the population of the Houston area grows. For example, it won’t be necessary to have to drive as far to highways like 249 to get downtown as the Parkway is closer to the community and a direct link into the city.
“This latest phase of construction represents a continuation of the forward thinking and planning that will expedite mobility and provide the infrastructure this area will need as Texas welcomes more drivers and business traffic,” Texas Department of Transportation, also known as TxDOT, Executive Director Phil Wilson said on the department’s website.
The construction company Zachry-Odebrecht is in charge of the building of the highway. This process and added trucks and rebuilding has brought more traffic and delays, especially along Boudreaux Road where there are overpasses and ramps being built. Roads are being closed and construction trucks slow down the flow of traffic.
“The construction makes driving to school confusing and more difficult. It changes frequently so I have to go different ways and the dump trucks are so annoying,” senior Elizabeth Spangler said.
Segment F-2 of the Grand Parkway goes through the Tomball/Klein area and passes by neighborhoods like Gleannloch Farms and schools such as Klein Oak High School. Several overpasses and access ramps have been constructed so far; but this construction has its downside, however: disruption of traffic and routes.
“The construction of the grand parkway makes my drive confusing because of the numerous detours,” senior Anh Doan said.
Many road closures are occurring and scheduled to occur for the duration of the construction, and the locations of these closures can be found on traffic updates and local news websites. Police are often outside directing traffic through the detours, trying to keep organization in the commotion of confused drivers.
“Road closures are scheduled as needed to successfully and safely complete construction for Segments F-1, F-2 and G,” public information manager officer of Zachry-Odebrecht Linda Merrit said to the Houston Chronicle.
While these closures and detours make navigating tricky for some people, depending on where they live and their route to school, others get by unaffected.
“I think we take Gosling, so it doesn’t really affect us,” sophomore Abigail Meibaum said.
Construction of the F-2 segment, which will run through the northern Houston area has been underway since June 2013, and is expected to be completed in December 2015 with an opening at Gleannloch Farms. It will be in use soon, and it will making going downtown easier, fulfilling its objective.
“I take I-45 mostly, so the Parkway will occasionally be useful to me,” teacher Kathleen Powell said.