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Author Topic: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension  (Read 9900 times)

MaxConcrete

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ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« on: February 14, 2016, 11:48:11 PM »

A ROD (Record of Decision) was issued in January for a section of the SH 249 toll extension, which means that it can now proceed to construction. TxDOT posted a notification on its twitter feed last week, so I'm thinking the web site was recently updated with the full documentation.

http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/houston/sh249-extension.html

The schematic shows a 400-foot-wide corridor, 4 toll lanes, a 100-foot wide median, and minimal frontage roads. As usual with today's environmental processes, the route has some twists and turns.

A section to the south still needs some costly frontage roads built before the toll main lanes can be pushed northward to reach this section. But I'm thinking this project will start relatively soon (within 2-3 years). The next section going north and west was recently mired in an alignment controversy due to some vocal landowners.


MaxConcrete

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2016, 12:17:52 AM »

Update from today's Houston Chronicle
http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/spring/news/article/Plans-take-shape-for-next-phase-of-Texas-249-6831338.php

Highlights
* The next phase is a 1.6 mile route that begins at FM 2920 and entends to Spring Creek (Harris/Montgomery county line) - which is estimated to cost $120 million. This high cost is due to the need to widen the corridor and build new frontage roads, as well as the bridge. Construction is scheduled to start in September.
* The way I read this article, Montgomery County will build the full section of toll road (shown in the map in my previous post) to FM 1774 in Pinehurst. The article's dates seem suspicious, but it says it will open in 2018.

Plans take shape for next phase of Texas 249 extension

Officials with Montgomery County, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Harris County Toll Road Authority are starting to see the key segments of Texas 249 between Harris and Montgomery counties beginning to taking shape.

James Baker, director of transportation Houston region, for Halff Engineers, met with members of the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce to talk about the progress of the second phase in Montgomery County, between Spring Creek and FM 1774 in Pinehurst.

"This is their starter toll road," Baker said. "It's probably an ideal project because Harris County is building all that infrastructure up to Spring Creek, and then the Texas Department of Transportation is carrying it north of us, so this was the perfect project for them to get into the business of project development for toll roads."

In April 2015, Harris County opened the first phase of the Tomball Tollway, between Spring-Cypress Road and FM 2920.

The 6.7 mile segment cost $73 million to build, and tallied 7.9 million transactions in all of 2015.

It's believed that the second phase will attract just as much traffic when it is finally completed within the next two years.

Currently, HCTRA is designing the second phase of the project - a 1.6 mile route that begins at FM 2920 and entends to Spring Creek - which is estimated to cost $120 million.

The design phase for that project is about 60 percent complete, but officials said this will not affect the start date, scheduled for September, said John Tyler, HCTRA's deputy director of engineering.

The designs will be reviewed internally in March.

Once those plans are finalized, they will be submitted to the Harris County Commissioners Court in August which will allow HCTRA to advertise and receive bids in September.

"We are communicating with utility companies, private and public, to work with them to start their relocation. We have the last property acquisition, with the Lone Star College-Tomball campus. We are having meeting with them and we are working through that process," Tyler said.

Meanwhile, the design work for Montgomery County's section is about 30 percent completed, and officials expect to begin seeing bids in June 2017.

Although the projects are staggered, both are expected to be completed by early 2018.

Chris

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2016, 08:39:45 AM »

This project is really put on the fast track. The next step would be an extension from Todd Mission to Navasota, where it would link up with the SH 6 freeway through College Station and Bryan.

The population growth projection for Grimes County is funny though. It's hard to believe that Montgomery County would grow to near 1.3 million people while neighboring Grimes County would stay entirely rural with almost no growth.

TXtoNJ

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2016, 11:22:32 AM »

This project is really put on the fast track. The next step would be an extension from Todd Mission to Navasota, where it would link up with the SH 6 freeway through College Station and Bryan.

The population growth projection for Grimes County is funny though. It's hard to believe that Montgomery County would grow to near 1.3 million people while neighboring Grimes County would stay entirely rural with almost no growth.


That's a very good point. I think a lot of Texas A&M graduates would find the prospect of living in a Houston exurb, with a 45-60 minute commute to employment centers in the Woodlands (90 to the Energy Corridor), to be attractive, especially since they'd only be 45 minutes from College Station for gameday activities. This might also be particularly attractive for A&M employees to commute into College Station.
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Bobby5280

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2016, 12:59:13 PM »

A completed TX-249 toll road, completed as in going all the way to Navasota and TX-6, would create a possibly more attractive, time saving bypass of I-45 for long distance drivers heading to Houston via Waco. I have coworkers who visit the Houston area on a frequent basis and they usually drive through Waco to get out on to Houston's west side without having to deal with I-45 traffic.

This could put a whole lot more traffic onto the TX-6 corridor, which might lead to some necessary upgrades of TX-6 North of College Station.

I wonder how long it will be before the TX-249 toll road gets extended from Todd Mission to Navasota. I imagine it might be a good bet that by the time the section from Tomball to Todd Mission is completed (in 2018) they'll probably be ready to break ground on the section going to Navasota.
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TXtoNJ

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2016, 02:07:12 PM »

A completed TX-249 toll road, completed as in going all the way to Navasota and TX-6, would create a possibly more attractive, time saving bypass of I-45 for long distance drivers heading to Houston via Waco. I have coworkers who visit the Houston area on a frequent basis and they usually drive through Waco to get out on to Houston's west side without having to deal with I-45 traffic.

This could put a whole lot more traffic onto the TX-6 corridor, which might lead to some necessary upgrades of TX-6 North of College Station.

I wonder how long it will be before the TX-249 toll road gets extended from Todd Mission to Navasota. I imagine it might be a good bet that by the time the section from Tomball to Todd Mission is completed (in 2018) they'll probably be ready to break ground on the section going to Navasota.

I believe the plan is to have it ready in five years. The current holdup has to do with land acquisition issues more than anything.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2016, 09:49:21 PM »

The full length project (14.6 miles) is listed on the TxDOT web site with an August 2016 letting date and a price tag $246 million. Of course, letting dates are subject to continuous adjustment.

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/insdtdot/orgchart/cmd/cserve/let/2016/montgomery.htm#363501001

rte66man

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2016, 12:24:54 PM »

A completed TX-249 toll road, completed as in going all the way to Navasota and TX-6, would create a possibly more attractive, time saving bypass of I-45 for long distance drivers heading to Houston via Waco. I have coworkers who visit the Houston area on a frequent basis and they usually drive through Waco to get out on to Houston's west side without having to deal with I-45 traffic.

This could put a whole lot more traffic onto the TX-6 corridor, which might lead to some necessary upgrades of TX-6 North of College Station.

But what would Hearne do without the massive speed trap revenue they rake in?
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Bobby5280

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2016, 12:39:57 AM »

I think speed traps in Hearne would probably do pretty brisk business once the TX-249 toll road is connected to Navasota and TX-6. It's just a question of how long that gravy train would last. Maybe the cops there can start an illegal cockfighting ring to make up for lost business afterward. :-P

If more Houston-bound traffic migrates to TX-6 to take advantage of a TX-249 connection then a number of things could happen. Hearne would probably be bypassed in some way. I can certainly imagine a new toll road connecting Waco to College Station, leaving the existing TX-6 road intact. Or much of TX-6 could get upgraded to a freeway. Hearne, Calvert and perhaps Riesel would still get bypassed.

For all the silly "I-14" stuff being promoted, I think we're more likely to see a limited access connection between Waco and College Station. At least 1 or more Houston to Austin Interstate quality connections are in the cards for the long term.
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TXtoNJ

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2016, 10:24:03 AM »

http://www.chron.com/news/transportation/article/Tomball-Tollway-extension-plan-nearing-6852322.php

Looks like the decision to cede the centerline ROW to HCTRA from TxDOT should come today.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2016, 11:32:50 PM »

There is a public meeting scheduled for June 30 for the alignment of the western section, west of FM 1774. Only one segment of this section is not final. There has been some landowner protest in the area where there are two options.

The segment which is the subject of this meeting is not scheduled for construction in the near term. This section is slated to be initially be built as a super-2.

http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/bryan/063016.html

TXtoNJ

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2016, 08:36:31 AM »

Huh. I was under the impression that they would connect all the way to the SH 6 freeway in Navasota. That's decidedly not the case here.
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DNAguy

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2016, 11:03:37 AM »

If the Aggie Tollway isn't going to terminate @ Highway 6, then why not just follow the ROW along the RR tracks & FM 1744 and terminate @ SH105 7 miles east? There seems to be no good reason to follow the alignments shown for the June meeting other than to open new areas up for development that are not currently served by a major road.

If you stick to the rr alignment and terminate between Stoneham & Plantersville then you potentially:
A) Reduce the cost of the project by not acquiring ROW
B) Reduce the # of pissed off farmers, ranchers, and landowners
C) Leave the possibility for future expansion northward up to I-14 whenever (if) that gets built out

Not to get too much off topic but TXDot is playing a dangerous game of putting roads on virgin land and not using existing corridors in the Houston area. Example: Segment H and I1 of the grand parkway which could have used SH146 for most of its alignment in Liberty county. However, someone thought it was a great idea to route it 2 miles west and have it run parallel to SH 146 in the middle of a bunch of farmland.

The opposition to the bullet train between Houston and Dallas is showing an increasing rural opposition to big public/private infrastructure projects. Add to that the failing of the southern section of SH130 AND the limited state $$ for roads and you have a recipe for an increasingly difficult climate for big / future infrastructure.

I fail to understand how the Houston region does such a poor job of adding new highways while the Dallas region seems to pull this off no problem. It baffles me.

/rant
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MaxConcrete

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2016, 08:59:57 PM »


If you stick to the rr alignment and terminate between Stoneham & Plantersville then you potentially:
A) Reduce the cost of the project by not acquiring ROW
B) Reduce the # of pissed off farmers, ranchers, and landowners
C) Leave the possibility for future expansion northward up to I-14 whenever (if) that gets built out
The alignment was decided in a previous study, and I don't know the reasons for the alignment selection. But I do know that TxDOT prefers to avoid building along railroads since it complicates the intersections along the highway, and causes traffic disruptions when trains come through. Also, they often align roads to please large landowners who want the access, are willing to donate right-of-way, or are cooperative sellers. National Oilwell Varco owns property on the proposed route SH 249, and they could have wanted the highway on their property. According to recent comments at the TxDOT commission meeting the NOV land is now for sale.

The landowners have been opposing the tollway at every TxDOT Commission meeting, including again yesterday, see the open comments
http://txdot.swagit.com/play/05262016-704

But I don't know if these landowners have any political power behind them, because they've been loudly complaining for about a year but little has changed.

Quote
Not to get too much off topic but TXDot is playing a dangerous game of putting roads on virgin land and not using existing corridors in the Houston area. Example: Segment H and I1 of the grand parkway which could have used SH146 for most of its alignment in Liberty county. However, someone thought it was a great idea to route it 2 miles west and have it run parallel to SH 146 in the middle of a bunch of farmland.
With any route including the Grand Parkway, building along an existing road normally involves more property acquisition and cost, since there is normally more development along an existing road. My perception is that the alignment is often decided by selecting a route where there are cooperative landowners who want the road, or don't oppose the road. That's one reason why we get the crazy winding alignments on many new routes, since they'll shift the alignment to send it through a friendly property.

Quote
The opposition to the bullet train between Houston and Dallas is showing an increasing rural opposition to big public/private infrastructure projects. Add to that the failing of the southern section of SH130 AND the limited state $$ for roads and you have a recipe for an increasingly difficult climate for big / future infrastructure.

I fail to understand how the Houston region does such a poor job of adding new highways while the Dallas region seems to pull this off no problem. It baffles me.
/rant

North Texas was fortunate to get a lot of donated property back in the 1980s and 1990s for SH 121 in Collin County and SH 170 north of Fort Worth. In Fort Worth, the alignment of the Chisholm Trail Parkway had been preserved since the 1970s and 1980s. But there have been plenty of problems in recent years. For example, the proposed Northeast Corridor toll road was killed very quickly by opposition in 2014 and 2015. The extension of the east Bush Turnpike south of IH-30 has been taking forever due to controversy http://www.theeastbranch.org/ and is still under study. And there has been big opposition to right-of-way acquisition along existing freeways, including IH-635, IH-35E south of downtown, and US 75 in the north suburbs (which has caused plans for expansion of US 75 to be put on hold).

As for the Collin County outer loop, it is aligned in the exurbs with very little development nearby, and only a short segment has been built so far.

Going back to the 1980s and 1990s where were huge controversies about the alignment of the Bush Turnpike in Grand Prairie, Carrollton and Dallas.
http://dfwfreeways.com/book/ExControversy?startOdd=False

Also in North Texas, the regional planning council NCTCOG is generally more proactive and forward-looking than Houston in terms of long-range planning, and planning needed routes far in advance makes those routes easier to build when the routes are needed. The Collin County Outer Loop is an excellent example of good planning.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2016, 09:02:22 PM by MaxConcrete »
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dfwmapper

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2016, 09:48:21 PM »

Quote
Not to get too much off topic but TXDot is playing a dangerous game of putting roads on virgin land and not using existing corridors in the Houston area. Example: Segment H and I1 of the grand parkway which could have used SH146 for most of its alignment in Liberty county. However, someone thought it was a great idea to route it 2 miles west and have it run parallel to SH 146 in the middle of a bunch of farmland.
With any route including the Grand Parkway, building along an existing road normally involves more property acquisition and cost, since there is normally more development along an existing road. My perception is that the alignment is often decided by selecting a route where there are cooperative landowners who want the road, or don't oppose the road. That's one reason why we get the crazy winding alignments on many new routes, since they'll shift the alignment to send it through a friendly property.
Also, building along the path of an existing public road means that they're required by Texas law to maintain access to adjacent properties, which means building frontage roads, or buy up the access rights to the property, which effectively means buying the property since it's not worth much without access. Building across virgin land means they can skip the frontage roads and just build normal interchanges at a far lower cost.
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rte66man

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2016, 10:19:12 PM »


If you stick to the rr alignment and terminate between Stoneham & Plantersville then you potentially:
A) Reduce the cost of the project by not acquiring ROW
B) Reduce the # of pissed off farmers, ranchers, and landowners
C) Leave the possibility for future expansion northward up to I-14 whenever (if) that gets built out

The alignment was decided in a previous study, and I don't know the reasons for the alignment selection. But I do know that TxDOT prefers to avoid building along railroads since it complicates the intersections along the highway, and causes traffic disruptions when trains come through. Also, they often align roads to please large landowners who want the access, are willing to donate right-of-way, or are cooperative sellers. National Oilwell Varco owns property on the proposed route SH 249, and they could have wanted the highway on their property....

In your superb book "Houston Freeways" you mention the history of how the Southwest Freeway was routed through Sharpstown.    Some things never change.   :bigass:
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Anthony_JK

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2016, 06:48:45 AM »


Not to get too much off topic but TXDot is playing a dangerous game of putting roads on virgin land and not using existing corridors in the Houston area. Example: Segment H and I1 of the grand parkway which could have used SH146 for most of its alignment in Liberty county. However, someone thought it was a great idea to route it 2 miles west and have it run parallel to SH 146 in the middle of a bunch of farmland.


The routing of the Grand Parkway Segments H and I-2 east of 146 was due to Union Pacific Railroad donating an abandoned rail line, and to public opposition to extending the existing 146 freeway across the Chambers County line, IIRC.
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DNAguy

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2016, 01:28:19 PM »


Not to get too much off topic but TXDot is playing a dangerous game of putting roads on virgin land and not using existing corridors in the Houston area. Example: Segment H and I1 of the grand parkway which could have used SH146 for most of its alignment in Liberty county. However, someone thought it was a great idea to route it 2 miles west and have it run parallel to SH 146 in the middle of a bunch of farmland.


The routing of the Grand Parkway Segments H and I-2 east of 146 was due to Union Pacific Railroad donating an abandoned rail line, and to public opposition to extending the existing 146 freeway across the Chambers County line, IIRC.

Yes, but there doesn't seem to be any reason to route it west of 146..... as 146 could be the frontage rd (preserving access) for the tollway and there isn't any real development between Dayton and Mont Belveau.

That's my main gripe. Why not duplex tollroads with state highways and make the state highways the frontage rds for the tollroad?
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dfwmapper

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2016, 10:13:26 PM »

The existing ROW isn't wide enough to support a freeway, and adjacent landowners get pissed at losing their property for construction of a toll road.
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Chris

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2016, 04:33:39 PM »

A FONSI has been issued for SH 249 in Grimes County, from FM 1774 near Todd Mission to SH 105. This portion will be constructed as a tolled super two with alternating passing lanes, with a right-of-way wide enough for a future expansion to a four-lane divided facility. Which seems sensible considering there isn't much development out there (yet).

http://txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/bryan/090916.html

MaxConcrete

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2016, 03:27:55 PM »

Next week Harris County is slated to approve a $99.3 million contract for the final section in Harris County, which appears to include both the frontage roads and tolled main lanes

Recommendation for authorization to award a contract to Webber, LLC, lowest and
best bid in the amount of $99,309,393 for construction of the Tomball Tollway and
SH-249 frontage roads, Phase II from FM-2920 to the interface of the Montgomery
County Toll Road project in Precinct 4, and that the County Judge and appropriate
officials execute the contract and bonds when they are fully executed by the
contractor (UPIN 130505R124).

https://www.harriscountytx.gov/agenda/2016/2016-10-25ag.pdf

MaxConcrete

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2017, 08:51:44 PM »

Today the TxDOT commission approved a $562 million design-build contract for the tollway and freeway.

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2017/0629/9-presentation-corrected.pdf
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/State-approves-plan-to-toll-some-of-Texas-249-11256775.php&cmpid=gplus-premium

Yes, the good news is that tolls were removed from the western section of the project (the red section 2 in the map in the first link), about 1/3 of the total length, although this section is being built as a super-2.

The project covered by the $562 million contract is around 23 miles long, which translates to about $25 million per mile, which seems high since the design is nothing fancy and about 1/3 is super-2. Of course that cost does not include right-of-way and utility relocation, which surely pushes the cost to well over $600 million.

The Montgomery county section, a separate project on the south end of this project, segment 3 on the map in the first link, will also be tolled.


Quote
State officials are proceeding with plans for a tollway along Texas 249 in Grimes and Montgomery counties, but not nearly as far as first envisioned.

The Texas Transportation Commission on Thursday approved designating the project between Pinehurst and Todd Mission as a design-build toll project.

Perhaps more significant is what the commission decided would not be tolled: the segment northwest of Todd Mission to Navasota.

"I am personally delighted segment two will be built on a non-tolled basis," Transportation Commissioner Bruce Bugg said.

Commissioners also chose Williams Brothers Construction to build the project, including the tolled segment to the south and the northern segment to Texas 105 in Navasota. Combined, the two segments stretch 23 miles. Officials said they anticipate having a contract with Williams Brothers by September.

Based on the current time-line, construction could begin in a few months, with the tolled segment opening in June 2020, and the entire route open in January 2022.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 08:55:39 PM by MaxConcrete »
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Chris

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2017, 09:29:41 AM »

http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/bryan/081817.html

The estimated toll rates on SH 249 have been published, and they're pretty steep, $ 0.27 / mile when it opens and $ 0.30 per mile by 2025, going up 3-4 cents every 5 years.

A part of the toll road will be a super-two highway. It doesn't quite seem like value-for-money to pay a couple of dollars to drive on a two-lane road.

sparker

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2017, 03:05:49 PM »

http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/bryan/081817.html

The estimated toll rates on SH 249 have been published, and they're pretty steep, $ 0.27 / mile when it opens and $ 0.30 per mile by 2025, going up 3-4 cents every 5 years.

A part of the toll road will be a super-two highway. It doesn't quite seem like value-for-money to pay a couple of dollars to drive on a two-lane road.

Is the super-2 at least being built on a 4-lane easement for future expansion?  That would seem the most reasonable thing to do with a facility that serves an outwardly expanding metro area. 
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MaxConcrete

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2017, 07:29:39 PM »


A part of the toll road will be a super-two highway. It doesn't quite seem like value-for-money to pay a couple of dollars to drive on a two-lane road.

Is the super-2 at least being built on a 4-lane easement for future expansion?  That would seem the most reasonable thing to do with a facility that serves an outwardly expanding metro area. 


Yes, the super-2 section will be on a right-of-way designed for the ultimate freeway.

The super-2 section, which is west of FM 1774, will not be tolled.

 


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