A potential memorandum of understanding between Harris and Montgomery counties regarding the Hwy. 249 project was put on hold for two weeks Dec. 4, giving commissioners more time to review the possible funding mechanism.
The memorandum of understanding would help move the project that spans both counties forward at a faster rate with an investment from Harris County, but would also return the county’s money with interest, shortly after Montgomery County receives its bond funds, said Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle.
“This is not the final agreement in this manner, but it sets the footprint,” he said. “It doesn’t do us any good to build a road to a border that doesn’t have something on the other side to match it.”
Phase one of the project involves the portion of the roadway in Harris County from Spring Cypress Road to FM 2920 in Tomball, while phase two would extend from FM 2920 to FM 1774 in Magnolia. The cost estimate for both phases is about $335 million, according to Harris County.
Harris County took a similar approach in 2002 when the Fort Bend Parkway was constructed. Harris County loaned $15 million to Fort Bend County to help move the project forward at a faster rate, an approach that Cagle said should be seen as precedent for the potential Hwy. 249 memorandum.
Meanwhile, the use and sale of two types of fireworks—missiles with fins and skyrockets with sticks—will not be allowed in Harris County from Dec. 20–Jan. 1, per a vote Dec. 4 by commissioners court.
When the drought index reaches a certain threshold, commissioners court can enact different preventions, ranging from a burn ban to a ban on fireworks.
“The drought index is about 400 points higher than it normally is this time of year, and we reached that threshold two days ago,” said Mike Montgomery, county fire marshal. “This is a precautionary measure.”
If the drought index drops below the threshold of 575 on a scale of 0–800 with 800 being the worst, the ban will be automatically rescinded, Montgomery said.