Marking progress on Grand Parkway, which will be nation's biggest loop when finished

The Grand Parkway will be the nation's biggest loop when it's completed
February 11, 2014 4:49:29 PM PST
From the massive pilings to the tons of rebar and the towering overpasses, construction on the three northernmost sections of the Grand Parkway is well underway.

The sections comprise 38 miles of what will be the nation's largest loop -- a $1.1 billion effort that is scheduled to open in late 2015.

"We're making good progress," said Raquelle Lewis with TxDOT. "There's major bridge work that's happening at each of the major interchanges."

Those interchanges stretch from the just recently completed part of the Grand Parkway, which runs from I-10 to Highway 290 all the way to Highway 59. The intent is to finish all three sections at once.

If there's anything that could prove to be a hiccup in the future of this construction, it's the right of way. TxDOT still hasn't acquired all of the land it needs to finish the project.

To date, just more than 30 percent of the required right of way is under TxDOT control.

"Right of way is always a challenging effort, especially when you have an aggressive track project like the one that we have," said Lewis.

Part of that aggressive track is because of the neighboring Exxon Mobil's new, massive facility in north Harris County, just south of the Woodlands, which opens to some employees this spring.

"Mobility is our biggest challenge," said Karen Hoyleman with The Woodlands area Chamber of Commerce.

She says the Parkway, when finished, will be a huge benefit to residents and businesses across the north side.

"To be able to get in and out of Houston, in and out of the airport, in and out of west Houston, are very important to them and to all of our companies here," said Hoyleman. "So we are very excited about it."

It's a big project, affecting tens of thousands of drivers every day. So far, so good.

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