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Photo by Connor Hyde
Grand Parkway construction set for early summerConstruction has begun on direct connectors at Hwy. 290 and the start of Segment F1, which connects Hwy. 290 and I-45.
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Grand Parkway construction set for early summer
The first signs of construction on segments F1, F2 and G of SH 99, or Grand Parkway, could be visible by the middle of June. The three segments, which represent the northernmost portions of the 184-mile loop, will connect Hwy. 290 with Hwy. 59.
Linda Merritt, public information office for Zachry-Odebrecht, the firm in charge of developing segments F1, F2 and G, said construction will likely first begin at I-45 just south of Spring Crossing Road. Direct-connect flyovers will be constructed at the intersections of Grand Parkway and major highways, such as Hwy. 290, I-45 and Hwy. 59.
“There will be times when it will be inconvenient,” Merritt said. “There is a staggered or phased construction schedule to hopefully ease the interruption of lane closures.”
David Gornet, executive director of the Grand Parkway Association, said the interchanges are the largest construction pieces of the project and are most likely to affect traffic. Once the interchanges are built, construction on the rest of the roadway would go relatively quickly.
“Building the road across open ground and across two feeder roads is pretty easy,” Gornet said.
A few final hurdles needed to be cleared before construction could begin. Gornet said that while environmental clearance for segments F1 and F2 had been given by the Army Corps of Engineers, clearance had not been given for segment G.
Gornet said environmental clearance should be finalized by the middle of June. Once environmental clearance on the entire project is permitted, he said, the Texas Department of Transportation can then sell bonds for the project.
“Probably by the middle of [June, TxDOT] will sell bonds, and as soon as they sell the bonds, they will get a notice to proceed or a notice to do construction,” Gornet said.
Although the northern sections are divided into segments, F1, F2 and G are considered one project, he said. In addition to environmental clearance and the selling of bonds, TxDOT is in the final stages of acquiring right-of-way along the proposed Grand Parkway route.
“Normally that process starts within a year of construction being started,” he said.
During the right-of-way acquisition process, TxDOT makes offers to landowners along the proposed route, Gornet said. The landowners can choose either to accept the offer, reject it or make a counter offer. Even if the landowner and TxDOT do not come to an agreement, he said, TxDOT can still start construction on the property in dispute.
“Whether or not the right-of-way acquisition goes smoothly or not doesn’t slow [construction] down,” he said.
Unlike the other segments of Grand Parkway, which have so far been developed and constructed individually, F1, F2 and G will be constructed simultaneously, Merritt said.
“The three pieces should be ready by late 2015,” she said.
Representatives from Zachry-Odebrecht are communicating with local entities to get the word out about their plans for constructing Grand Parkway.
“We are meeting with school districts and other community groups to answer their questions, and are working with schools and businesses and planning ahead,” Merritt said.
A website has been developed, www.grandparkway99.com, that features construction plans, expected lane closures and project updates.