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I couldn't find an actual topic on SH 249 (Tomball parkway) and its expansion up to ~ Navasota.

 

So here's some background for anyone interested:

 

HCTRA expanded SH249 to Tomball as Phase 1 of a multi-phase extension of SH249. This was completed and opened in 2015.

 

https://hctra.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=527d9322e2244039b0bc3e93fe2c4fc1

 

The plan is for SH249 to ultimately terminate at SH 105 roughly close to Navasota, hence the nickname the "Aggie Tollway" or "Aggie Highway".

 

This extension seems to be broken up between the Houston TxDOT office and the Bryan TxDOT office.

 

The Houston office is over the section from the current terminus to Todd's Mission.

 

http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/houston/sh249-extension.html

 

The Bryan office is over the section from Todd's Mission to ~ Navasota... well actually SH 105 east of Navasota and west of Plantersville / Stoneham.

 

http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/bryan/sh249.html

 

However, it seems as if there is "significant" local opposition to the last segment of the project from Todd's Mission to SH 105:

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Texas-249-growth-proceeding-despite-vocal-6234179.php

 

http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2015/05/01/59957/txdot-to-move-ahead-with-249-toll-road-despite-local-opposition-2/

 

https://communityimpact.com/houston/news/2015/12/11/txdot-holds-public-meeting-on-updated-hwy-249-extension-plan/

 

Here are two more recent articles as well:

 

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/07/03/grimes-county-residents-turn-out-against-toll-road/

 

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/07/21/rural-land-owner-preps-sue-state-transportation-de/

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I think part of it is the whole cutting through land issue. They've already scaled down the plan so it will be with only one lane (with periodic passing lanes), possibly to ease traffic issues. I imagine that it would reduce problems actually in Plantersville because that's the way down to Tomball (and Renaissance Faire), but the segment they refer to won't even connect to Navasota, it will hook into 105 and still another 7 miles on 105 to 6. Any further expansion could be done on the 105 right of way since it's wide and has extra segments on both sides of the highway from an older alignment.

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Oh and due to the objection of local land owner's I thought I'd call the Bryan office of TxDOT to understand why the last alignment was chosen.

 

One of the main questions / abnormalities that I observed when looking at the final sections' alignment was that it was completely through virgin land and not along numerous existing ROW's.

 

I specifically called out:

1.) Continuing w/ FM 1774 w/ a Plantersville bypass

2.) Following the UP RR from Shadow Lake Subdivision to SH105 and intersect SH105 east of Stoneham

 

I also asked if this project had taken into consideration the newly designated I-14 corridor and the possible future tie-ins to that as well as the need to upgrade SH105 from the termination of SH 249 to highway 6.

 

The response I had can be summarized by:

 

The current final section was routed in a more westerly direction due to objection from the Stoneham community and the increase traffic along 105 and the elementary school that resides on in if a more eastern intersection of 105 was the option. That is why a routing along FM 1774 or the UP railroad was avoided.

 

No consideration was taken for I-14 because this planning started back in the 80's / 90's.

 

SH 105 will need to be upgraded in the future from SH 249 terminus to the highway 6 terminus. However, there's nothing in any planning stage for that.

 

When I asked if opposition can still affect the alignment the rep told me that due to so many starts and stops for this projects over the years, that he wouldn't be surprised by anything.

 

Full disclosure:

 

I think the section from FM 1774 to 105 is a horrendous alignment. The road needs to follow the railroad tracks alignments to SH 105 as there is little development along it and it doesn't take much land from home owners.

 

If you really want to reduce traffic along SH105, then you could try and follow the UP railroad to the Atchinson & Sante Fe railroad alignment all to the way to HIghway 6 and have a direct intersection w/ highway 6 to avoid dropping traffic on SH 105 all together.

 

I think that when it comes to objections from the public, that TxDOT does listen. I just think their conclusions are lazy, lack critical thinking, and create solutions that have even more problems. Is putting a tolled facility in virgin country really the best solution for this part of the state? Or is upgrading capacity along existing ROW's really the best solution?

Edited by DNAguy
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  • 1 month later...
On 9/15/2016 at 3:56 PM, cspwal said:

I'm sure that this will be a nice narrow right of way with low impact ....oh wait it won't be

yeah not like ROW for rail which is very small. Like two lane road small. It can hold more people too I hear and their aren't any traffic jams. Maybe that's all a myth though...

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On 9/15/2016 at 3:24 PM, Luminare said:

oh I'm sure they will not use eminent domain to get this land for a toll road that the country folk don't want.....oh wait... yes they will.

 

It's a lot easier for the country folk to stomach the inconvenience of having their land taken from them when they get some kind of benefit out of the deal. if the country folk could use the train tracks to drive their truck into the city to go shopping at the galleria from time to time, I'm sure it'd be an easier sell.

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