Big improvements coming to Montgomery Co. roads

THE WOODLANDS, TX (KTRK) -- There's bad traffic. There's horrible traffic. And then there's the overwhelming gridlock on Rayford Road in Southeast Montgomery County.

"It's a nightmare," said Montgomery County resident Penny Benbow.

She lives in the Bender's Landing community.

"We have so many cars driving down one main artery that feeds to 45 that it's just crazy," she said. "And because of that there are wrecks almost on a daily basis. "

But all of that is soon changing. Rayford is the first beneficiary of the $280 million road bond passed in November. It was the first road bond to win approval in more than a decade. And $60 million of it is going to widen Rayford to six lanes and build an overpass at a railroad crossing

"I think this is the single most important project in all of Montgomery County right now," explained Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, who championed the effort. "This is a great place to live, work, play, and pray. And if you cannot get to where you want to go easily it's going to inhibit all of those. "

The project has passed the first big stage this month and now moves to the design and construction phases.

"This project is so impactful on our quality of life over there, "added Benbow.

Given the continued growth, and thousands of new homes under construction in the coming years, the project will help the county stay ahead of traffic that a recent study found could close to double in the next 25 years. But it's not just the bond project that will make a huge difference.

A much smaller project -- at $300,000 -- will add an elongated turning lane for the more the 40,000 cars that pass Rayford at I-45 every day.

"Any time you want to go anywhere down Rayford Road you need to plan your day out, because you're gonna be there for a while. Especially in the mornings and in the afternoons," said resident Kenneth Brown. "If you're going northbound on 45 to the woodlands or the woodlands mall, you're going to be sitting there through a couple cycles of those lights and it can back you up pretty good."

That project kicks off first and should be relatively quick. The bond program, which will six lane all of Rayford and add an overpass at a busy railroad crossing will take a lot longer. As much as 30 months to complete. But for those who drive this stretch daily, the wait is worth it.

"We want to be able to get to the amenities we have," said Brown.
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