Hardy Toll Road

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Operated by the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA), the Hardy Toll Road is a limited access highway paralleling IH 45 north from IH 610 to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and IH 45 by the Montgomery County line. Offering an alternative to crowded IH 45, the Hardy Toll Road extends 21.03 miles to the north Harris County suburbs of Westfield and Spring. The expressway uses all electronic toll (AET) collection via EZ Tag and other eligible transponders.

The Hardy Toll Road opened from Beltway 8 (North Belt) 13.6 miles north to IH 45 (North Freeway) by the Harris / Montgomery County line on September 20, 1987. The toll road cost $340 million, with funding obtained from a $900 million bond election passed by Harris County voters in 1983.1 A grand opening ceremony, including a fly-by, live music at a stage set up at the Park Spring Toll Plaza and the Hardy Classic, a 54-mile long bicycle race, accompanied the festivities the day before it debuted to motorists.2 The southern 8.2 mile leg to IH 610 (North Loop) opened on June 28, 1988.3

Hardy Toll Road North
Entering the Hardy Toll Road north from IH 610, the elevated roadway winds northward to a wye interchange with Crosstimbers Road. This is the only free exit on the Hardy Toll Road. Photo taken 09/20/05.
The 1.43 mile, toll free section of the Hardy Toll Road between Loop 610 and Crosstimbers Road is designated by TxDOT as Spur 548. The route is unmarked. Photo taken 09/20/05.
Passing Crosstimbers Road, the Hardy Toll Road advances one mile north to the exit for Tidwell and Parker Roads. Photo taken 09/20/05.
The northbound lanes shift over to the east side of the Union Pacific Railroad while the southbound lanes are on the west side along the Hardy Toll Road from north Houston to Aldine. Photo taken 09/20/05.
Tidwell Road, and parallel Parker Road to the north, run across the Northside / Northline and Eastex - Jensen Area of Houston. Photo taken 09/20/05.
With the UP Railroad in the median, overpasses along the Hardy Toll Road are unusually high in this section. Photo taken 09/20/05.
The next exit leads to Little York Road and Gulf Bank Road to northern reaches of Houston and Keith-Wiess Park. Photo taken 09/20/05.
The succeeding northbound exit departs ahead of Aldine Mail Route to the unincorporated community of Aldine. Photo taken 09/20/05.
As the Hardy Toll Road is not a TxDOT maintained highway, guide signs for Aldine Bender Road omit FM 525. FM 525 follows the arterial east to Lee Road and west to IH 45. Photo taken 09/20/05.
Crossing Halls Bayou, the Hardy Toll Road leaves the Houston city limits and reaches the off-ramp to Aldine Mail Route and FM 525. Photo taken 09/20/05.
The Hardy Toll Road meets Beltway 8 and the Sam Houston Parkway north beyond the Hardy North Plaza all electronic tolling (AET) gantry. Photo taken 09/20/05.
The North Belt west to IH 45 and east to IH 69 is toll freeway and signed as Sam Houston Parkway. There are no direction connections from the Hardy Toll Road north to the parkway. Instead the Beltway 8 frontage roads join the two. Photo taken 09/20/05.
2 photos
2 photos
The Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) converted the Hardy Toll Road to all electronic tolling on July 18, 2016. Toll booths at the two plazas were torn down during an entire road closure of the expressway on July 15.4 Photos taken 09/20/05.
The Hardy Toll Road meets Beltway 8 at a three-level interchange with a single flyover joining Sam Houston Parkway east with the toll road north. Photo taken 09/20/05.
Passing under Beltway 8, the next two exits serve George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Rankin Road. Photo taken 09/20/05.
Running along the Greater Greenspoint neighborhood of Houston, the Hardy Toll Road crosses Greens Bayou and then curves northeast to the Airport Connector. Photo taken 09/20/05.
Extending east to JFK Boulevard just inside the boundary of IAH, the Airport Connector opened in 2000. An AET gantry operates along the 2.68 mile spur ahead of the exit for Waverly Drive and Aldine Westfield Road. Photo taken 09/20/05.
The off-ramp to Ranklin Road departs the northbound Hardy Toll Road from within the two-wye interchange with the Airport Connector. Photo taken 09/20/05.
2 photos
2 photos
The Hardy Toll Road navigates through an S-curve from Rankin Road northwest across Hardy Road and the UP Railroad. Rare undeveloped frontage lines this stretch. Photos taken 09/20/05.
Paralleling the UP Railroad to the west, the Hardy Toll Road continues north into a diamond interchange with Richey Road. Photo taken 09/20/05.
Following Richey Road, the succeeding exit northbound is with FM 1960 at the Westfield community. Photo taken 09/20/05.
Beginning at U.S. 290 and SH 6 and traveling 48.81 miles east to U.S. 90 at Dayton, FM 1960 is a major arterial through the North Houston suburbs. FM 1960 varies with six lanes between SH 249 and Humble, and four lanes between Humble and Huffmann. Photo taken 09/20/05.
The toll road northbound reaches FM 1960 west toward Hurricane Harbor Splashtown and east to Humble. Located off IH 45 north of Louetta Road, Hurricane Harbor Splashtown is a theme park operated by Six Flags. Photo taken 09/20/05.
The six lane toll road runs between a UP Railroad line and Cypress Creek Park at Timberlane on this stretch. Photo taken 09/20/05.
Aldine Westfield Road crosses paths with the Hardy Toll Road beyond the Hard North Plaza AET gantry. Photo taken 09/20/05.
The Hardy North Plaza toll collection point lies just west of the Park Spring subdivision in the suburb of Spring. Photo taken 09/20/05.
Cypresswood Drive spans the hardy Toll Road northbound just ahead of the exit for Louetta Road and Aldine Westfield Road. Photo taken 09/20/05.
The exit ramp to Aldine Westfield Road ties into Bellchase Drive, entrance to the Lexington Woods subdivision. Aldine Westfield Road continues north into Spring, next intersecting Louetta Road west. Photo taken 09/20/05.
A half diamond interchange joins the Hardy Toll Road with Riley Fuzzel Road to Old Town Spring. Photo taken 09/20/05.
A directional T interchange connects the Hardy Toll Road with SH 99 (Grand Parkway) next, followed by the exit for Northgate Crossing and the the Northgate Crossing community. The toll road concludes at IH 45 (North Freeway) in 0.8 miles. Photo taken 09/20/05.

Sources:

  1. "First section of Hardy Toll Road to open." Houston Chronicle (TX), September 17, 1987.
  2. "Festivities open toll road." Houston Chronicle (TX), September 17, 1987.
  3. "Toll road leg opens." Houston Chronicle (TX), June 29, 1988.
  4. "You'll No Longer Be Able To Use Cash On The Hardy Toll Road." Houston Public Media (TX), July 13, 2016.


Photo Credits:

09/20/05 by Kevin Trinkle

Connect with:
Interstate 45
Interstate 610
Sam Houston Tollway / Parkway

Page Updated 07-25-2019.