Westpark Tollway

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The Westpark Tollway was the first highway in the United States using all electronic toll (AET) collection. It opened initially 8.5 miles west from the Galleria area to Old Westheimer Road following a ribbon cutting ceremony held on May 1, 2004. Costing $260 million, this segment of the Westpark Tollway was the first new limited access highway opened in Harris County since the completion of the Crosby Freeway (U.S. 90) in February 1991. The toll road opened up additional land for development.1

Planning for a limited access highway along the Westpark corridor started in the 1960s. Proposals progressed to 1992, when a 100 foot width right of way along an abandoned rail line was purchased by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. An early concept was the construction of a reversible, single lane roadway for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) vehicles. The Harris County Toll Road Authority came into an agreement with the Metropolitan Transit Authority to purchase half of the corridor in exchange for letting its buses use the planned tollway without charge.1

Construction on the Westpark Tollway commenced in June 2001, five years after supporters envisioned it would be open. It was built using AET collection due to the narrow right of way and lack of space for conventional toll booths. Tolls are charged using EZ TAG electronic transponders.1

Additional phases of the Westpark Tollway through Summer 2005 extended the limited access corridor west to the Fort Bend County line, and then Grand Parkway (SH 99).1 The Harris County Toll Road Authority completed their section of the Westpark Tollway, from SH 6 to the Fort Bend County line, in June 2005. The six mile section west from FM 1464 to SH 99 debuted to motorists following a "ribbon-tying" ceremony held on August 17, 2005. Costs of the $65 million segment were funded by the Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority.2

Construction followed on the Westpark-Sam Houston connector, which provided direct ramps between the two toll roads. Connections from the Westpark Tollway west to Sam Houston Tollway south and from the south to east were opened by February 2, 2006.3

Fort Bend Westpark Tollway East
A toll collection point lies midway between the Peek Road entrance ramp and exit for Mason Road. Photo taken 11/02/05.
The Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority (FBCTRA) posts unique shields for its section of the Westpark Tollway in place of those found further east on the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) maintained section. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Mission Road heads north into the Cinco Ranch master-planned community and south to Grand Mission Estates and other suburban development. Grand Mission Boulevard stems south from adjacent FM 1093 into the Grand Mission subdivision. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Fort Bend Westpark Tollway confirming marker posted beyond the Mason Road on-ramp. Photo taken 11/02/05.
A single off-ramp from the toll road eastbound serves FM 1464 south, Barker Cypress Road North, FM 1093 (Westheimer Road) east and Westpark Drive / Alief Clodine Road to SH 6. Photo taken 11/02/05.
All traffic to FM 1488 to Mission Bend, George Washington Park, FM 1093 (Westheimer Road) and SH 6 at the Eldridge / West Oaks area of Houston depart Westpark Tollway eastbound here. This is the last exit in Fort Bend County and the last exit for 8 miles, reflecting the design of the road to feed traffic from suburban Fort Bend County to Uptown (and Downtown) Houston. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Westpark Tollway East
Looking east at the three level interchange with SH 6, with SH 6 on the top and the frontage roads in the middle. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Continuing east through a narrow right of way, the Westpark Tollway runs along the north side of the Alief neighborhood of Houston. Photo taken 11/02/05.
A HCTRA toll collection gantry operates just ahead of the parclo interchange with the Sam Houston Tollway. Photo taken 11/02/05.
A direct ramp joins the Westpark Tollway with Sam Houston Tollway / Beltway 8 southeast to IH 69/U.S. 59, the Brays Oaks community of Houston and Missouri City. The northbound on-ramp utilizes the Beltway 8 frontage road for the toll road north through the Briar Forest and Memorial areas of the city. Photo taken 11/02/05.
East of Sam Houston Tollway, Westpark Tollway meets Gessner Road south of the Westchase and Mid West communities in Houston. Photo taken 11/02/05.
A short auxiliary lane opens along the toll road east from the Sam Houston Tollway entrance ramp to the Gessner Road exit. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Gessner Road comprises a commercial arterial within the vicinity of Westpark Tollway. Gessner Road, and parallel Fondren Road to the east, heads south through Sharpstown to IH 69/U.S. 59 (Southwest Freeway). Photo taken 11/02/05.
Westpark Tollway passes through an area of warehouses and other industrial businesses to both Fondren Road and IH 69/U.S. 59 (Southwest Freeway). Photo taken 11/02/05.
Fondren Boulevard is an arterial route north through Mid West Houston to FM 1093 (Westheimer Road) and the city of Piney Point Village. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Entering the second toll plaza along the Westpark Tollway eastbound in Harris County. Photo taken 11/02/05.
A HCTRA shield for the Westpark Tollway stands beyond the toll collection point. Photo taken 11/02/05.
A lane drop occurs at the flyover joining the Westpark Tollway eastbound with IH 69/U.S. 59 (Southwest Freeway) north to Downtown Houston. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Looking east at the Westpark Tollway through the multi level interchange with IH 69/U.S. 59. Photo taken 11/02/05.
The Westpark Tollway dives beneath IH 69/U.S. 59 and climbs back out, gaining back the second lane upon returning to grade. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Westpark Drive parallels the north side of the Westpark Tollway through the Gulfton community. Photo taken 11/02/05.
The Westpark Tollway separates with a single lane ramp for Westpark Drive east to IH 610 and a two lane flyover for Posk Oak Boulevard north to Greater Uptown. Photo taken 11/02/05.
A final toll collection point lines the Westpark Tollway connector to Post Oak Boulevard north. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Two lanes continue from the toll gantry below IH 69/U.S. 59 (Southwest Freeway) to the toll road end at Post Oak Boulevard and Richmond Avenue. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Westpark Tollway West
Leading away from IH 69/U.S. 59, the Westpark Tollway elevates between the Mid West and Sharpstown neighborhoods of Houston. The first exit is for Fondren and Gessner Roads. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Continuing west beyond Gessner Road, the next exit along the Westpark Tollway is for the Sam Houston Tollway. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Westbound at the Gessner Road entrance ramp Portions of the Westpark Tollway are elevated to fit within the available right of way. Photo taken 11/02/05.
The tollway runs through a former railroad right of way, paralleling power lines and Westpark Road (FM 1093) into the Westchase District. Photo taken 11/02/05.
A third westbound lane opens leading to Beltway 8 and Sam Houston Tollway. Photo taken 11/02/05.
The Westpark Tollway goes over the Sam Houston Tollway, with the ramps depressed between the Westpark and Sam Houston tollways or beneath the Sam Houston Tollway. Some connections use the Beltway 8 frontage road system. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Just after the Sam Houston Tollway is the second toll plaza in Harris county. The Westpark Tollway has no staffed toll booths - motorists are required to have EZ Tag or other eligible transponders. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Advancing west between Westchase and the Alief communities, Westpark Tollway continue 0.75 miles to Houston Center Boulevard. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Houston Center Boulevard (formerly Old Westheimer Road) stems north from parallel Alief Clodine Road to FM 1093 (Westheimrer Road). Alief Clodine Road parallels the toll road west to Dairy Ashford Road. Photo taken 11/02/05.
A loop ramp departs in 0.75 miles for Eldridge Parkway at the Eldridge / West Oaks community in Houston. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Westpark Tollway runs along side Alief Clodine Road and vacates the Houston city limits just beyond Eldridge Parkway. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Eldridge Parkway south to Alief Clodine Road leads motorists from Westpark Tollway to SH 6 south to Sugerland. A direct ramp joins the toll road with SH 6 north in one mile. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Remaining within a narrow right of way, the Westpark Tollway continues a half mile west to a pair of ramps with SH 6 northbound. Photo taken 11/02/05.
SH 6 constitutes a major arterial route north through Eldridge / West Oaks in Houston to IH 10 (Katy Freeway) and the Addicks Park Ten area of the city. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Passing through the interchange with SH 6, the Westpark Tollway is the lowest level, with the frontage roads in the middle and SH 6 above. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Westpark Drive returns to the Westpark Tollway at the ensuing interchange. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Westpark Drive leads east back into Houston while forming the frontage road system to the Westpark Tollway west to Clodine. Photo taken 11/02/05.
FM 1093 (Westheimer Road) angles southwest along George Washington Park to meet the Westpark Tollway opposite FM 1464 south to Mission Bend and Four Corners. Photo taken 11/02/05.
The slip ramp to FM 1093 and FM 1464 departs here. For the remainder of its length, the Westpark Tollway will run between both sides of FM 1093 (Westpark Road). Photo taken 11/02/05.
Fort Bend Westpark Tollway West
Advancing west into Fort Bend County from Clodine, Westpark Tollway separates George Washington Park to the north from suburban development to the south. Photo taken 11/02/05.
The first toll collection in point in Fort Bend County precedes the off-ramp for George Mission Boulevard. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Grand Mission Boulevard stems south from FM 1093 and the Westpark Tollway to the Grand Mission development and Harlem Road south to Pecan Grove. Photo taken 11/02/05.
The exit for Mason Road departs from the Westpark Tollway westbound next. Photo taken 11/02/05.
Mason Road winds through suburban development southward to Pecan Grove and northward into the Cinco Ranch master-planned community. Photo taken 11/02/05.
A half diamond interchange joins the toll road westbound with Peek Road ahead of SH 99 (Grand Parkway). Photo taken 11/02/05.
Peek Road comprises a suburban arterial through the Cinco Ranch community. A limited access toll road, SH 99 (Grand Parkway) parallels to the west. Photo taken 11/02/05.
The exit for SH 99 utilizes FM 1093 and the Grand Parkway frontage roads. The Westpark Tollway formerly ended here. The toll road extends west to Katy Gaston Road. Photo taken 11/02/05.

Sources:
  1. "Harris County's first new highway in a decade opens today with high hopes that the "electronic toll road" will ease traffic problems and spur economic development. - No Cash Accepted." Houston Chronicle (TX), May 1, 2004.
  2. "Westpark Tollway to open in Fort Bend - Corridor goes from Texas 99 to Loop 610." Houston Chronicle (TX), August 11, 2005.
  3. "Toll road users find commute easier - Sam Houston, Westpark now directly linked." Houston Chronicle (TX), February 2, 2006.


Photo Credits:

11/02/05 by Kevin Trinkle

Connect with:
Interstate 69
State Highway 6

Page Updated 07-23-2019.