Texas State Highway 249

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State Highway 249 markerState Highway 249 toll marker

State Highway 249
SH 249 highlighted in red, future SH 249 highlighted in blue
Route information
Maintained by TxDOT
Length31.443 mi[1] (50.603 km)
Existed1988–present
Component
highways
Major junctions
South end I-45 in Houston
  Beltway 8 / Sam Houston Tollway
SH 99 Toll
North end FM 1488 east of Magnolia
Location
CountiesHarris, Montgomery
Highway system
SH 248SH 250

State Highway 249 (SH 249), also known depending on its location as the MCTRA 249 Tollway, Tomball Parkway, Tomball Tollway, Aggie Expressway, or West Mount Houston Road, is a generally north–south highway in Southeast Texas. The southern terminus is in North Houston at Interstate 45 (I-45). The current northern terminus of the highway is east of Magnolia at the intersection of Farm to Market Road 1488 (FM 1488).

Route description[edit]

Westbound Zion Road at State Highway 249. Tomball Tollway is maintained by HCTRA, while the 249 Tollway is maintained by MCTRA. SH 249 is signed only on the frontage roads.

The section of SH 249 north of its junction with Beltway 8 is referred to by area residents as the Tomball Parkway because it leads to and is the main road through Tomball. Along the east-west section between I-45 and West Montgomery, it is called West Mount Houston Road. West Mount Houston Road, however, actually extends east past the intersection of SH 249 at I-45.

Tomball Tollway section[edit]

Phase I[edit]

Phase one runs for 6 miles (9.7 km) from just north of Spring Cypress Road, the current terminus of the existing free lanes to just north of the existing Tomball bypass. The Tomball Tollway is three lanes in each direction that are used to bypass seven stoplights and will only accept electronic toll-tags (EZ Tag, TollTag and TxTag) as no cash payments will be allowed; the total cost of the toll for HCTRA's segment is $1.50 for two-axle vehicles, while the SH 249 frontage roads will remain free to all drivers.[2][3] Construction of phase one began in fall 2013 and was completed on 12 April 2015.[4]

Phase II[edit]

Phase two extends the tollway into Montgomery County from Business SH 249-B to Sentinel Oaks in Montgomery County north of Spring Creek. This $335 million project was overseen by the Harris and Montgomery County toll road authorities.[5] Construction on Phase 2 commenced in fall 2016 and was opened to traffic on December 19, 2019.[6]

MCTRA 249 Tollway section[edit]

From Spring Creek to FM 1774 in Pinehurst, the tolled mainlanes of SH 249 will be maintained by the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority.[7] Signed as MCTRA 249 Tollway, the first section to open was between Spring Creek and Sentinel Oaks (coinciding with Phase two of the HCTRA segment) on December 19, 2019. Construction on the next segment of MCTRA 249 Tollway from Sentinel Oaks to FM 1774 commenced in spring 2018.[6] The next section of MCTRA 249 Tollway opened from Sentinel Oaks to Woodtrace Boulevard on March 26, 2020. The remaining MCTRA segment connecting to the TxDOT maintained section north of Woodtrace Boulevard opened on August 8, 2020.[8][9] The total cost of the toll for MCTRA's segment is $1.25 for two-axle vehicles and, like HCTRA's Tomball Tollway, will only accept electronic toll-tags (EZ Tag, TollTag and TxTag).[10]

Aggie Expressway section[edit]

From FM 1774 in Pinehurst to FM 1488 east of Magnolia, the toll road continues as SH 249 Toll, also known as the Aggie Expressway. The tolled mainlanes of Section 1A, which opened on August 8, 2020, are maintained by TxDOT. Unlike the HCTRA and MCTRA sections of the toll road, TxDOT will offer a pay-by-mail option for all users in addition to EZ Tag, TollTag and TxTag. Currently, the Aggie Expressway toll road is free to use until either October or November of 2020[11][12]

History[edit]

Originally a part of FM 149, the highway was given the designation of SH 249 in 1988.[1] The highway's importance grew after Compaq Computer Corporation (now known as Hewlett-Packard) moved its headquarters close to the intersection of SH 249 and Louetta Rd.[13] In 2003, a portion of SH 249 in Tomball was renamed Business SH  249B from Hicks Road to Holderreith Road. This is because of bypass that bypasses Tomball on the west side of the city. In 2015, SH 249 was extended northwest 24.4 miles from FM 149 and FM 1774 to SH 105 near Stoneham. A section of SH 249 from Woodtrace Boulevard to FM 149 was renumbered as a southern extension of FM 1774 in December 2019.[14] On August 8, 2020, the section of SH 249 from FM 1774 to FM 1488 was opened.

Previously, SH 249 was designated on June 22, 1937[15] from then-SH 73 (now Interstate 10) near San Felipe north to the Brazos River. The route was redesignated on May 9, 1940 as Texas Spur 99.[16] The route became part of Farm to Market Road 1458 on January 20, 1966.

Future[edit]

Current plans call for the highway to extend to the BryanCollege Station area. Continued growth in the Bryan/College Station, Conroe and NW Houston regions have congested existing roadways, including SH 105 and FM 1774. Texas A&M University and businesses in the Bryan/College Station area would benefit from faster connections to Bush-Intercontinental Airport, the Port of Houston and the Texas Medical Center. A bypass of Magnolia, Texas is desirable because of the large traffic load every October due to the annual Renaissance fair. Decreased funding for road projects in recent years had stalled the extension of SH 249. However the rapid growth in the area has led to a renewed push in 2012 to build further segments.

Plans for the middle segments (Pinehurst-Todd Mission) and north segment (Todd Mission-Navasota) were revived by the Texas Department of Transportation in early 2013. TxDOT has formed a working group with local officials and stakeholders to discuss alternatives for the SH 249 corridor.[17][18][19] The segment from Sentinel Oaks to FM 1774 in Pinehurst (maintained by MCTRA) opened in spring 2020.[9] From FM 1774 in Pinehurst, north up to SH 105 in Grimes County, SH 249 will be under the jurisdiction of TxDOT. The remaining portion of SH 249 in Montgomery County from FM 1488 to FM 1774 in Todd Mission is projected to be completed in spring 2021.[20] In Grimes County, the north segment will be constructed as a non-tolled two-lane freeway.[21] Construction in Grimes County began in late 2018 and is projected to be completed in spring 2023.[22][23]

Popular culture[edit]

The country music group Eli Young Band references "Highway 249" in their 2008 single "Always the Love Songs." Several of the band members[which?] grew up in Tomball.[citation needed]

Major intersections[edit]

All exits are unnumbered.

CountyLocationmikmDestinationsNotes
HarrisHouston I-45 (North Freeway) – Dallas, Downtown HoustonI-45 exit 57B
Beltway 8 (Frontage Road) / Sam Houston Tollwayinterchange; south end of freeway
FM 1960 / Gessner RoadAccess to Methodist Hospital Willowbrook
Grant Road / Schroeder Road / Perry Road
Cypresswood Drive
Chasewood Park DriveAccess to CHI St. Luke's Health - The Vintage Hospital
Louetta Road / Jones Road
Spring-Cypress Road
Northpointe BoulevardLast free northbound exit before entering the Tomball Tollway[24]
Tomball TollwaySouthern terminus of the Tomball Tollway[24]
Toll gantry for both directions
Electronic toll tags only, no cash allowed
SH 99 Toll (Grand Parkway) / Boudreaux Road
SH 99 Toll (Grand Parkway) – Katy, SpringFuture direct ramps to east and westbound Grand Parkway (SH 99) from northbound Tomball Tollway.[25]
Tomball
Bus. SH 249 north (Tomball Parkway) / Holderrieth Road / Alice Road
Southern terminus of Bus. SH 249[26]

FM 2920 / Bus. SH 249 south (Tomball Parkway) – Tomball, Hooks Airport / Alice Road
Northern terminus of Bus. SH 249[26][failed verification]
Brown Road / Baker Road / Zion RoadAccess to Lone Star College-Tomball campus
MCTRA 249 TollwayNorthern terminus of HCTRA's Tomball Tollway; southern terminus of MCTRA 249 Tollway[24]
MontgomeryDecker Prairie Road / Hardin Store Road[27]
Toll gantry for both directions
Electronic toll tags only, no cash allowed
FM 1774 – Magnolia - Woodtrace BoulevardSouthern terminus of FM 1774; only Wooodtrace Boulevard appears on the exit signage[27]
SH 249 TollNorthern terminus of MCTRA 249 Tollway; southern terminus of SH 249 Toll (Aggie Expressway)[24]
FM 149 – Montgomery[28]
Future toll gantry for both directions
Tolls to begin in October or November of 2020[29]
Audubon BoulevardRoad not connected yet[30]
FM 1488 – Hempstead, Magnolia, The WoodlandsTemporary northern terminus of SH 249 [28]
FM 1486Future - Toll road exit (Planned Montgomery County extension)[28]
GrimesTodd Mission FM 1774Future exit (Planned Montgomery/Grimes County extension); northbound terminus of toll road and start of two-lane freeway[28][31]
CR 304Future exit (Planned Grimes County extension)[31][32]
CR 306Future exit (Planned Grimes County extension)[31][33]
SH 105Future interchange (Planned Grimes County extension)[31]
Future - Northern terminus of SH 249 (Planned)[31][34]
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "State Highway No. 249". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
  2. ^ Harris County Toll Road Authority. "Tomball Tollway". Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  3. ^ "HCTRA Projects: SH 249 Phase 1".
  4. ^ "Houston Newsmakers".
  5. ^ "HCTRA Projects: SH 249 Phase 2".
  6. ^ a b Lotz, Anna (August 8, 2018). "Hwy. 249 extension to Spring Creek on track for 2019 opening, additional openings to extend road to Magnolia in 2020 and Navasota in 2022". Community Impact Newspaper.
  7. ^ HCTRA System Map www.hctra.org
  8. ^ New Hwy. 249 tolled lanes open in Pinehurst Community IMPACT Newspaper
  9. ^ a b McIntyre, Kara (January 30, 2020). "Opening of Hwy. 249 main lanes in Pinehurst delayed". Community IMPACT Newspaper. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  10. ^ [1] Montgomery County Toll Road Authority (MCTRA) SH 249 Retrieved May 8, 2020
  11. ^ First stretch of ‘Aggie Expressway’ toll road opens Saturday Houston Chronicle. 8 August 2020 (same-day retrieval)
  12. ^ SH-249 Expansion: A faster route to get to Aggieland is on the way Click2Houston.com (KPRC-TV). 15 September 2020 (Retrieved 17 September 2020)
  13. ^ Slotboom, Erik (2003). Houston Freeways. OF Slotboom. ISBN 0-9741605-3-9.
  14. ^ Dominguez, Catherine (December 12, 2019). "Montgomery County commissioners approve Texas 249 rename to FM 1774 near Pinehurst". The Courier of Montgomery County.
  15. ^ "Minutes of the June 21, 1937 State Highway Commission meeting" (PDF). TxDOT.
  16. ^ Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "State Highway Spur No. 99". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
  17. ^ "MCTRA Projects: SH 249". TxDOT. January 20, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  18. ^ Winkler, Liza (December 11, 2015). "TxDOT holds public meeting on updated Hwy. 249 extension plan". communityimpact.com. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  19. ^ "TxDOT Projects: SH 249". TxDOT. April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  20. ^ McIntyre, Kara (January 7, 2020). "TOP STORY OF 2020: Hwy. 249 main lanes to open in Magnolia by summer". Community Impact Newspaper.
  21. ^ SH 249 - Todd Mission to Navasota (Schematics) Texas Department of Transportation. 2 October 2019 (Retrieved 16 August 2020)
  22. ^ Falls, Clay (September 19, 2018). "Work on new Highway 249 extension to start in Grimes County this fall". KBTX-TV.
  23. ^ Falls, Clay (April 12, 2019). "Grimes Co. leaders pleased with changes coming to Hwy. 249 extension". KBTX-TV.
  24. ^ a b c d "Interactive Map of Houston Toll Roads". Harris County Toll Road Authority.
  25. ^ [communityimpact.com Direct connectors set for early 2020 construction] Community IMPACT Newspaper. 4 January 2020 (Retrieved 22 August 2020)
  26. ^ a b Transportation Planning and Programming Division (n.d.). "Business State Highway No. 249-B". Highway Designation Files. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  27. ^ a b "249 Toll Extension Schematic - From Harris county into Montgomery county" (PDF). TxDot.
  28. ^ a b c d "Aggie Highway Schematic (249 Toll - From Montgomery/Harris County line to the Montgomery/Grimes County line)" (PDF). TxDot.
  29. ^ SH-249 Expansion: A faster route to get to Aggieland is on the way Click2Houston.com (KPRC-TV). 15 September 2020 (Retrieved 17 September 2020)
  30. ^ State Of the City - City of Magnolia Update - Winter 2020 (Page #51 of #54) Retrieved 22 August 2020
  31. ^ a b c d e "SH 249 - Todd Mission to Navasota with Schematics (249 Toll - From Montgomery/Grimes County line to SH 105)". TxDot.
  32. ^ SH 249 - Todd Mission to Navasota (Schematics) Texas Department of Transportation. 2 October 2019 (Retrieved 16 August 2020)
  33. ^ SH 249 - Todd Mission to Navasota (Schematics) Texas Department of Transportation. 2 October 2019 (Retrieved 16 August 2020)
  34. ^ SH 249 - Todd Mission to Navasota (Schematics) Texas Department of Transportation. 2 October 2019 (Retrieved 16 August 2020)

External links[edit]

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