Houston's third outer loop just got a boost with the Texas Department of Transportation naming PBS&J as the General Engineering Consultant for the Texas Grand Parkway. The state's proposed 180-mile scenic highway traverses seven counties in Texas and encircles the greater Houston region. One 18-mile segment opened to public use in 1994, and additional segments have since been under environmental review, design, and construction.
The majority of the segments are four-lane, controlled access toll roads. Segment I-2, under construction from IH 10 to FM 1405, is slated to be opened in December 2007.
PBS&J will serve the Houston District as the general engineer to support in the completion of the Grand Parkway, also known as S.H. 99. PBS&J will provide professional project management services and coordinate project development activities. Activities include financial plan analysis, working with segment engineers to produce approved environmental documents, schematic designs, coordinating right-of-way maps and participating in the public review process. Additional segments are anticipated to be opened beginning in September 2011 with the final segment slated to open in September 2015.
Among other activities, PBS&J will be responsible for:
- Financial Plan Analysis: determine the cost effectiveness of corridor alternatives and prepare a funding strategy; evaluate toll feasibility; revenue and risk assessment;
- Public Involvement: convene a public agency committee to development and implement the Corridor Mitigation Plan covering landscaping, wetland mitigation, joint development opportunities and vegetation; facilitate small group meetings with local community stakeholders; attend public information meetings, including public workshops and environmental hearings; host and maintain the project Web site;
- Environmental Coordination: coordinate the process to prepare an overall Project Mitigation Plan; review the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for impacts to human and natural environment; review the Record of Decision for the final Environmental Impact Statement and submit it to the State;
- Schematic Design: coordinate design element review, including alternative alignments for select segments of the Grand Parkway; and
- Right of Way: review parcel maps, legal descriptions and right-of-way maps to facilitate acquiring real property and title.
"The completion of the Grand Parkway has been a long time coming," said David Gornet, executive director for The Grand Parkway Association. "We're anxious to complete this highway to provide an alternative route to improve traffic flow, while shoring up continued funding via toll revenues."
"We're proud to serve the Grand Parkway Association and the Texas Department of Transportation to complete this ambitious and essential highway project," said Jerry Ramos, project manager and vice president for PBS&J. "We look forward to leading the engineering efforts to bring Texas travelers an aesthetic highway experience and improve regional mobility in metropolitan Houston."