NO. 6 ROAD: When a Plan Comes Together

Dec. 7, 2023
An all-star team used strategy and innovation to deliver in Texas

Texas is so big that the state’s Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has divided its counties into 25 districts.

Stretching from Grimes County in the Bryan District to Montgomery County in the Houston District, the State Highway (SH) 249 extension project was a massive undertaking that required innovation, planning, and teamwork.

After a lengthy and unique design approval process, the team came up with the following plan for this 24.5-mile stretch of state highway:

  • Segment 1 is divided into Sections 1A and 1B; collectively the area is approximately 15 miles of controlled-access tollway with intermittent frontage roads from Farm to Market (FM) 1774 in Pinehurst, Montgomery County to FM 1774 in Todd Mission, Grimes County.
  • Section 1A extends from FM 1774 in Pinehurst to FM 1488 in Magnolia, Montgomery County.
  • Section 1B extends from FM 1488 in Magnolia to FM 1774 north of Todd Mission in Plantersville, Grimes County.
  • Segment 2 is an 11-mile, two-lane non-tolled rural highway from FM 1774 north of Todd Mission in Plantersville to SH 105 between Plantersville and Navasota, Grimes County.

TxDOT’s goal was to fix inefficient connections between suburban communities and major radial and circumferential arterials.

The project faced challenges, like safety concerns regarding the impact of increased congestion and emergency services, especially as it related to hurricane evacuation.

To address these concerns, the project team employed a design-build delivery method to be carried out by Williams Brothers Construction Company.

Through coordinated meetings with the project team, the innovative design approval process was adopted by TxDOT as a best practice across all its design-build projects.

Early on, as the team worked on early construction plan submittals, they realized that the comment review and resolution process could delay construction. With TxDOT, the team developed an improved design approval process that focused on major comments that may affect construction.

By assigning priority levels to comments, concurrence with being ready for construction could be achieved with only minor comments outstanding. This resulted in project plans being issued 1-3 months earlier per design package.

The design build team possessed the enthusiasm, tenacity, and commitment to develop the SH 249 extension project to leave a lasting positive impact on Texas’ infrastructure. Now, the project serves as a safer and reliable section of the state’s transportation system.

“Thanks to the hard work of the entire team, this project was an overwhelming success. As the Bryan District’s first exposure to a design-build delivery model, our partnership with TxDOT’s Houston District and Williams Brothers Construction could not have run more smoothly,” said Chad Bohne, TxDOT Bryan district engineer. “We look forward to many years to come enjoying the benefits of SH 249 for travelers throughout this region of Texas.” RB

Project Name: SH 249 Extension 

Project Location: Grimes and Montgomery Counties, Texas 

Owners: Texas Department of Transportation 

Designer: WBCCI, LLC 

Contractors: WBCCI, LLC, wholly owned by Williams Brothers Construction Company, Inc. 

Cost: $607.5 million  

Length: 24.5 miles 

Completion Date: October 2022 

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