Wednesday, June 11, 2008

“They’re just doing it, and doing it under cover.”

New Trans-Texas Corridor route a bumpy road

June 11, 2008

By Lee McGuire / 11 News
Texas Cable News
Copyright 2008

HOUSTON -- On Tuesday, 11 News reported that the Texas Department of Transportation is ending its plans to plow a massive superhighway through rural Waller, Grimes, Montgomery and Walker counties.

While many are thankful the Trans-Texas Corridor won't run roughshod through their rural property, many more are concerned that the project will lead to a traffic nuisance.

And if the Trans Texas Corridor is ever going to be built, TxDOT will need people like Sean Trobaugh’s support and so far, he’s not happy.

You see, when the buzz saw’s off you can hear the Grand Parkway, even get a peek at it from his front yard.

He says he doesn’t mind the traffic, but he minds the concept. “The conceptual idea of having a massive eight lane freeway that goes from Mexico to Canada is not something I think we should be doing.”

That’s the same argument TxDOT heard from farmers west of Houston.

They said that the corridor is secretly part of a superhighway linking the U.S. and Canada.

TxDOT now wants the road to come up Highway 59 and do “something” when it gets to Harris County. No one knows what that “something” is.

“The connection in Houston is a complicated issue because there are so many variables that come into play,” said Steve Simmons. He’s TxDOT’s deputy executive director.

On Tuesday, TxDOT’s director told 11 News that one option is expanding the Grand Parkway. That expansion would begin where it meets Highway 59.

After all, the road was built with an eye for eventual expansion.

But some of that Grand Parkway option would mean plowing over farmland in the areas north of I-10.

Most residents in the area have always known the Grand Parkway was likely to expand eventually.

Another idea is completing a Grand Parkway Loop to meet the Port of Houston or TxDOT could widen the 610 Loop.

Trobaugh doesn’t trust any of it. “They’re just doing it, and doing it under cover.”

By law, county officials call most of the shots when it comes to building toll roads in Fort Bend and Harris Counties.

That means TxDOT has to work with local governments before it can do anything.

The project, if approved, won’t get started for at least three to five years.

© 2008, Texas Cable News

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