Tuesday morning, not far from the former grounds of Forbidden Gardens, its now-ransacked replica gravesite of Emperor Qin, and his army of one-third-scale terracotta soldiers at the stub-end of Hwy. 99 and Franz Rd., TxDOT and a contingent of public officials will gather to celebrate the groundbreaking of a notable project for Houston: the paving of a $350 million four-lane toll highway with “intermittent” development-ready access roads across an expanse of largely uninhabited prairie land that stretches between Katy and Cypress. When it’s complete, the 180-mile-long Grand Parkway will be Houston’s fourth ring road, cutting through 7 different counties. But none of the planned segments will forge so dramatic a path through undeveloped land as this particular north-south stretch, called Segment E.
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A little too late for a possible rebirth of interest in the ancient Chinese monarchy at the defunct Forbidden Gardens attraction, the state highway will allow a much easier path for travelers moving from the Houston Premium Outlet mall in Cypress to the Katy Mills Mall. Three of four contracts with separate construction firms working on various portions of the 15.2-mile segment were awarded over the summer. In late August, the Sierra Club filed its latest lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and several other agencies who have given approvals to the state-funded toll-road project, claiming that runoff likely to result from it was not accounted for properly in environmental studies, and may cause flooding problems in Memorial-area neighborhoods downstream from Addicks and Barker dams.
- TxDOT to break ground on Grand Parkway segment [Ultimate Memorial]
- Construction Ahead: TxDOT Responds to Call to Construct Grand Parkway Segment E [TxDOT]
- Segment E [Grand Parkway Association]
- Exxon Headquarters Near Houston To Get New Road Despite State Budget Shortfalls [Huffington Post]
- Previously on Swamplot: Last-Ditch Grand Parkway Defense Spotlights Dangerous Conditions at Addicks and Barker Dams, Out of the Way, Tiny Soldiers, Here Comes the Grand Parkway: Katy’s Forbidden Gardens Is Closing Down, Bridgeland Over the Floodwaters
Photo: KUHF News