Westpark Tollway

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Fort Bend Westpark TollwayWestpark Tollway

Westpark Tollway
Fort Bend Westpark Tollway
Westpark Tollway highlighted in red
Route information
Length: 20.0 mi (32.2 km)
Existed: 2004 – present
Major junctions
West end: SH 99 (toll)
 

SH 6
Beltway 8

I-69 / US 59
East end: Westpark Drive,Post Oak Blvd
Highway system

The Westpark Tollway, also Fort Bend Westpark Tollway, is a limited-access toll road serving western Houston and Harris County, and northeastern Fort Bend County. Construction on the facility began in 2001 and portions of the road were opened to traffic in May 2004. Construction of the roadway was completed in August 2005. The Westpark Tollway begins at Post Oak Boulevard in the Uptown District of Houston and runs approximately 20 miles (32 km) west to State Highway 99 (Grand Parkway). It runs roughly parallel and to the south of Westheimer Road (FM 1093) in Harris County and concurrently with FM 1093 in Fort Bend County.

The Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) and the Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority (FBCTRA) operate the Westpark Tollway jointly. The 14-mile (23 km) HCTRA section is simply named Westpark Tollway; however, the six-mile (10 km) section of the toll road operated by the FBCTRA is named Fort Bend Westpark Tollway.

There are two major interchanges in between: the Southwest Freeway (I-69)/(US 59) and the West Sam Houston Tollway (Beltway 8), along with several minor interchanges. The namesake of the tollway is Westpark Drive—an east–west major arterial running through a mostly industrial area. Like other toll roads in the Houston area, the speed limit is 65 mph—even inside Beltway 8.

The Westpark Tollway is the first fully electronic toll road in the United States. There are no tollbooths or toll collectors along either section of the route. The only way to legally drive on the road is by using a transponder unit attached to a vehicle's windshield (either HCTRA's EZ TAG, NTTA's TollTag, or TxTAG). These transponders communicate with overhead sensors to deduct tolls from the user's toll account. Prior to the Westpark Tollway's 2004 opening, HCTRA ran ads on TV, radio and print, stating that the tollway is "EZ Tag Only: No Cash, No Coins, No Exceptions!"

Fort Bend Westpark Tollway[edit]

The Fort Bend Westpark Tollway ties-in to the recently constructed HCTRA portion of the tollway and is operated by the Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority (FBCTRA). The Fort Bend Westpark Tollway project was completed on August 10, 2005.

The project improves auto mobility for residents in northeastern Fort Bend County by creating a new east–west corridor with access to State Highway 6, Sam Houston Tollway (Beltway 8), I-69/US 59, and the Uptown District of Houston.

The Fort Bend section of the Westpark Tollway is patrolled by Fort Bend County Constable, Precinct 4. Additional coverage is provided by the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department or other agencies as needed.[1]

Future Segments[edit]

Parallel to the Fort Bend Westpark Tollway, FM 1093 has been widened by Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to four lanes. FM 1093 at this location serves as a toll-free frontage road for the tollway. The Fort Bend Westpark Tollway will add an additional four lanes to this effort—resulting in an eight-lane road. TxDOT is funding construction of the tollway interchanges at State Highway 99 and FM 1464.

Additionally, a 2012 expansion plan shows a Westpark Tollway addition to the city of Fulshear, Texas. The expansion promises a connection with the future Fulshear Parkway, and additional direct connection flyovers with SH-99, with a final completion date of February 2016.[2][3]

WestHouston.org graphic indicating future construction

Westpark Tollway (Harris County)[edit]

The Harris County portion of the tollway right-of-way was acquired by HCTRA from METRO, which had previously purchased the entire railroad right-of-way from Southern Pacific in 1992.

The Westpark corridor has a storied history as a transportation possibility. Originally on the books in the 1950s as the location of what is now Interstate 69/U.S. Highway 59 (Southwest Freeway) before developers lured it south to serve Sharpstown, the Westpark corridor has seen several transportation plans. The first time a toll road was mentioned was in a 1979 survey of several routes by the Texas Turnpike Authority, leading to the construction of the Hardy Toll Road in Northern Harris County by HCTRA. A heavy rail line along the corridor was floated in the 1980s, but failed to win voter approval, along with a monorail that was ended with Mayor Kathy Whitmire in 1991. Another commuter rail idea ended as METRO purchased the corridor and planned to run trains, but reversed itself and floated plans for a reversible high occupancy vehicle and bus transit lane to supplement the Southwest Freeway, tearing out the tracks in the mid 1990s. In 1999, HCTRA and METRO reached an agreement for half of the 100-foot (30 m) right-of-way to go towards a toll road run by HCTRA and the other half for use by METRO for light rail. [1] Whether or not it will be the main corridor for the University Line is a contentious issue - Richmond Avenue, to the north, emerged as another option under consideration, along with the fact that Westpark Drive and its corresponding railroad right-of-way do not intersect METRORail at any point, much less Wheeler Station, which was chosen as the junction between the lines. As of 2006, a final corridor has not been chosen. As of 2014, a combination of Westpark and Richmond has been chosen as the University Line (METRORail), but the city has not allocated money for the project.[4]

Exit list[edit]

County Location Mile km Destinations Notes
Fort Bend   FM 1093 west (Westheimer Road) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
  SH 99 (toll) (Grand Parkway) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
  Peek Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
  Mason Road, Grand Mission Boulevard No westbound entrance
  Grand Mission Boulevard Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Harris   SH 6 / FM 1093 / FM 1464 / Barker Cypress Road
  Westpark Drive Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
  SH 6 north No westbound entrance
  Eldridge Parkway Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
  West Houston Center Boulevard, Dairy Ashford Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
  Sam Houston Tollway
  Gessner Road No westbound exit
  Fondren Road, Gessner Road No westbound entrance
  I-69 / US 59 north - Downtown Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; eastbound entrance from I-69/US 59 north
  Westpark Drive Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
  Post Oak Boulevard Eastbound exit only
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing

  1. ^ FBCTRA Question and Answer page
  2. ^ "Westpark Tollway". West Houston Association. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ FBCTRA
  4. ^ "University Line Landing Page".