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Author Topic: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension  (Read 9912 times)

TXtoNJ

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2017, 10:11:39 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.

The Johnson County portion of the Chisholm Trail Parkway near Cleburne is Super-2, and it works perfectly well for the traffic counts it gets.

https://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/get-involved/hou/sh249-extension/082117-notice.pdf

http://www.yourconroenews.com/neighborhood/moco/news/article/TxDOT-commissioner-urges-county-to-construct-12446037.php

Here's what I've found recently. Apparently there are some in Montgomery County who do not want to be responsible for the tolled section.
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sparker

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2017, 04:38:52 PM »

Looks like, as advertised, it will eventually -- possibly in the next phase -- connect directly with TX 6 near Navasota.  That will in turn lead directly to the planned cross-state I-14 corridor -- likely one of the purposes for the whole 249 concept; the toll road will function as a direct way to and from the westerly portions of the Interstate corridor (anything west of Bryan, including Temple and beyond) into metro Houston.  It's also likely that once a connection is made to I-14 (whenever that occurs), the 2-lane segment of Toll 249 will be expanded to at least 4 lanes.  249: not just a suburban spur, but part of an interregional connector! 
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Chris

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2018, 10:00:31 AM »

The tolls were scrapped and the plans were downgraded significantly in Grimes County, it will basically just be another two-lane rural road.

Quote
The project was environmentally cleared with a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on Sept. 9, 2016, as an approximate 10-mile, two-lane roadway on new location with direct connection to SH 105. The roadway was tolled and included passing lanes in alternating directions along the entire alignment and frontage roads on half the alignment.

The following updates to the project are being proposed:

  •     The project would no longer be tolled 
        The project would no longer have passing lanes or frontage roads 
        Several previously proposed grade-separated intersections are now proposed as at-grade intersections
        Alignment adjustments to avoid right of way impacts to wetlands and other sensitive environmental features


http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/bryan/012518.html

TXtoNJ

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2018, 10:34:47 AM »

While disappointing, can't say it's all that surprising with the anti-toll sentiment that has taken hold in Texas. There just wasn't going to be a way to fund this without raising fuel taxes, and we're not quite there yet politically.
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Bobby5280

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2018, 01:40:32 PM »

Hopefully the ROW they're securing for this 2-lane road will be enough to provide room for expansion in the future.
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sparker

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2018, 02:07:12 AM »

Looks as if the main corridor from semi-planned I-14 to Houston will have to be either I-45 or an expanded TX 6/US 290 combination.  OTOH, by the time I-14 actually gets built in the area, the 2-lane 249 might well be itself expanded; the future of that corridor is now likely more dependent upon housing development along the route than any connection to the State College/Bryan area.  Well -- it was a good idea while it lasted!
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Bobby5280

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2018, 11:44:48 AM »

The nearest I-14 would skirt Houston is connecting College Station, Huntsville and Jasper where it would cross the Sabine River. TX-249 would not connect to I-14 at all. Navasota is the last stop for the TX-249 expansion, either ending at TX-105 or dove-tailing into TX-6.

The TX-105 corridor between Navasota, Conroe and Cleveland is pretty busy (especially in Conroe and West to Montgomery). It's another area TX DOT will have to examine for building some kind of super highway or toll road.

Getting into fictional territory that stretch of road could be part of a larger Texas version of I-12 corridor serving North Houston & Austin (going along or near TX-105 from Beaumont, to Cleveland, Conroe, Navasota then SW to Brenham where it would pick up US-290 and go to Austin, then West near Johnson City, Fredericksburg and hooking back into I-10).
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Perfxion

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2018, 12:45:20 PM »

SH249 needs to just hit highway 6 and not much else would be needed. I rather it be a 4 lane highway than just a 2 lane. As long as the ROW is secured for future expansion, its a start.
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DNAguy

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2018, 01:36:20 PM »

I might catch some flack for this but... here I go.

The new plan makes this project not worth even pursuing.

Here are the stated goals of the project:
1.) Improve safety: Crash rates on FM 1774 and SH 105 exceed the statewide average
2.) Address traffic growth: Since 1980, traffic has increased 274 percent on FM 1774 and 197 percent on SH 105
3.) Improve regional connections: Provide transportation system continuity to surrounding area
4.) Address evacuation needs: Increase evacuation capacity during emergencies

Here's how the revised project addresses them:
1.) Now that this project will not be grade separated, it will add a light onto SH150 and include additional crossing. Maybe you reduce the crash rates at FM1774, but overall crashes will increase.
2.) SH150 traffic will increase after this project. FM1774 traffic will increase for those taking 249 to Montgomery / Lake Conroe.
3.) Improve regional connections. IDK what that even means. They're building in the middle of nowhwere a two lane road w/ no passing lane. Its a county rd essentially.
4.) A two lane road as an evacuation route? ROTFL. You're kidding, right?

Here are the ways you actually fix each issue without the square peg (new highway / road) for a round hole (see 1-4 goals of project).
1.) Grade separate or upgrade SH105 and FM1774 intersection
2.) Put in more lanes on each road then.
3.) Again, IDK what this means. The county / regional planning should address connectivity problems w/ their mobility plans. A rural / suburban expressway to Houston does little to address Grimes county mobility issues IMO.
4.) This is already being done w/ the 290 expansion really. In addition, upgrading FM1774 and SH105 will also accomplish the same thing.

IF this was done as a grade separated tollway, then a lot of the stated goals would be addressed. Maybe not the best way but, the project now doesn't address any. It provides no immediate benefit with only the faint hope that in the future a real highway is built. This is terrible, terrible waste and public policy. All Texans are paying for this w/ their tax $'s.

If you're pairing down your goals and a road must be built, the design needs to change. In addition, in 2000 when this was thought up, there was no new bullet train going in or plans for I14. All of this has to be taken in consideration.

So what should be done? Either kill this section (not happening as there's too much momentum) or re-route it. My thoughts? Use the utility / bullet train ROW & alignment or just go with the ROW along the slow railroad west of 1774 (BNSF line?)  that drops you off between Stoneham and Plantersville. Future connections to I14 become easier as you just follow the train / utility ROW up to I14.

But I'm a lone voice. The real reason for any new road in / around Houston is more about opening up land for housing or commercial purposes. Mobility is just a nice bonus.
A two lane road along a railroad that has minimum crossings makes a hell of a lot more sense from a safety standard and evacuation standard.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2018, 04:24:00 PM »

Actually, this is "old news" because tolls were removed from this section and plans downsized in June 2017 when the design-build contract was approved.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/State-approves-plan-to-toll-some-of-Texas-249-11256775.php

This public meeting is just part of the administrative process for removing the tolls on this section, since the ROD documents included tolling. The de-tolled section is everything west of FM 1774 at Todd Mission.

The section east and south of Todd Mission is still tolled, as specified in the June 2017 decision.

sparker

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2018, 05:20:26 PM »

SH249 needs to just hit highway 6 and not much else would be needed. I rather it be a 4 lane highway than just a 2 lane. As long as the ROW is secured for future expansion, its a start.

That was pretty much the concept that I expected -- SH 249 merging into TX 6, which would, in all likelihood, host a segment of projected I-14 before it veered east (probably somewhere along SH 30) toward Huntsville.  But with 249 now downgraded to a conventional facility (at least for the near term), it's less apt to be utilized as part of an interregional corridor than a local server; as I inferred previously, any I-14 traffic -- way down the line, of course -- will need to find another routing into metro Houston (unless metro Houston actually comes out to meet it -- not beyond the realm of possibility!).
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DNAguy

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2018, 09:34:57 AM »

Actually, this is "old news" because tolls were removed from this section and plans downsized in June 2017 when the design-build contract was approved.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/State-approves-plan-to-toll-some-of-Texas-249-11256775.php

This public meeting is just part of the administrative process for removing the tolls on this section, since the ROD documents included tolling. The de-tolled section is everything west of FM 1774 at Todd Mission.

The section east and south of Todd Mission is still tolled, as specified in the June 2017 decision.

But was the decision to take out the grade separations and the passing lane also done in June 2017? I don't recall hearing anything about that... only the de-tolling.

This seems like a totally different project than was initially proposed.
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Bobby5280

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #37 on: January 15, 2018, 11:20:52 AM »

The act of de-tolling this section likely brought about the downgrades like eliminating the grade separations. That's the funding reality of trying to do all this stuff only with fuel tax revenue. As long as they acquired enough ROW along the planned corridor (and have iron clad property set-backs that effectively bitch-slap any development from building right up next to the highway) the road could be upgraded to a full fledged freeway at a later date. Unfortunately that later date could be well off years into the future with the current public and political attitude toward tolling.

Not far from here in Duncan, OK they have a bypass around the West side of town. The bypass is only 2 lanes, has several at-grade intersections along its length and only 3 freeway style exits. But there is enough ROW preserved along the corridor to do upgrades, like converting an intersection to a freeway exit or adding the other pair of travel lanes. It will be a long time before those upgrades ever happen, given Oklahoma's current budget situation. I don't think it's feasible to put tolls on that little bypass (not enough traffic to generate good toll revenue, the bypass is not difficult to shun-pike). At least the physical possibility for upgrades is there.
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rte66man

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #38 on: January 19, 2018, 07:04:32 PM »


Not far from here in Duncan, OK they have a bypass around the West side of town. The bypass is only 2 lanes, has several at-grade intersections along its length and only 3 freeway style exits. But there is enough ROW preserved along the corridor to do upgrades, like converting an intersection to a freeway exit or adding the other pair of travel lanes. It will be a long time before those upgrades ever happen, given Oklahoma's current budget situation. I don't think it's feasible to put tolls on that little bypass (not enough traffic to generate good toll revenue, the bypass is not difficult to shun-pike). At least the physical possibility for upgrades is there.

Thank you Jari Askins.  It was due to her untiring efforts that the Duncan Bypass is the way it is instead of yet another bypass with inadequate RoW.
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Bobby5280

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2018, 10:44:39 PM »

Yep, gotta love Oklahoma style pork. A bunch of US-183 out West was four-laned thanks to the efforts of another politician from Frederick (and that was a downgrade from the turnpike some people wanted). Meanwhile in Lawton our fake Interstate, aka Rogers Lane, continues to be a problem. But a new traffic signal was added to the 67th St & Rogers Lane intersection, a long overdue safety improvement. Yesterday I was driving on Rogers Lane on the way to watch a movie at the Carmike/AMC Patriot 13+IMAX theater. Some guy going the opposite direction in a pickup lost something out of his bed and the container had landed in the road. He had to stop in the right travel lane since this road has no shoulders at all (unlike real freeways). The guy was literally running to get this container out of the road and avoid the traffic approaching from the 38th Street traffic intersection.
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rte66man

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2018, 07:21:25 PM »

Yep, gotta love Oklahoma style pork. A bunch of US-183 out West was four-laned thanks to the efforts of another politician from Frederick (and that was a downgrade from the turnpike some people wanted).

You are correct.  Loyd Benson from Frederick was OK Speaker of the House when the Garvee bonds were being parceled out. He and Gilmer Capps from Altus got the money to widen 183 from Clinton south to Frederick.
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MaxConcrete

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #41 on: March 07, 2018, 11:07:37 AM »

Clearing of the forest for the new tollway right-of-way north of Tomball. Photo taken March 1, 2018



http://dallasfreeways.com/dfwfreeways/AARoads/20180301_249-0015_1600.jpg

Chris

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2018, 08:50:24 AM »

They are going to restripe a section of SH 249 to eight lanes:

Quote
TxDOT is proposing to restripe SH 249 from Chasewood Park Drive to Gregson Road from six to eight main lanes in Harris County, Texas. This notice advises the public that TxDOT is affording an opportunity for a public hearing on the proposed project  and that final environmental documents are available for public review.

The proposed project would add an additional lane in each direction creating an eight-lane highway. The restriping would occur to the inside of the existing highway. 

The existing SH 249 right-of-way (ROW) width varies within the project limits, but the minimum ROW width is approximately 320 feet.  The proposed project would be constructed within the existing right of way; therefore, the proposed project would displace no residences or commercial structures.

http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/houston/042718.html

Bobby5280

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #43 on: March 27, 2018, 01:03:28 PM »

As if Houston area traffic isn't bad enough, these re-striped lanes a couple feet more narrow than normal will give drivers even more opportunities to "trade paint."
:rolleyes:
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Chris

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #44 on: March 27, 2018, 02:56:20 PM »

This section appears to be designed for eight lanes. The left shoulder is very wide. They can turn that into a fourth lane and still maintain a decent left shoulder.

Bobby5280

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #45 on: March 27, 2018, 03:46:26 PM »

Oh. Well, thank goodness for that. I've seen a few other stretches of freeway in Texas with that kind of configuration. I was afraid this re-striping project would have been more along the lines of I-35E in Carrollton & Lewisville where the lanes shrink down to as little as 10' in width. I absolutely HATED driving on I-35E through there the last time I did a few months ago. It was a white-knuckle experience. Normally I get in and out of the DFW metroplex via TX-114 or sometimes out through Fort Worth and US-287.
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Perfxion

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Re: ROD issued for SH 249 Toll extension
« Reply #46 on: March 28, 2018, 07:55:37 PM »

That would help as the is the slowdown in the free section northbound is the loss of a lane backs up traffic. And it ends when the tolling starts, which right now sees a massive drop in AADT.
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