By Karolyn Gephart
Both Galveston and Brazoria County officials are reporting great news for their areas from TxDOT. On August 29, 2019, TxDOT officials approved the 2020 Unified Transportation Program(UTP), including the funding of the Grand Parkway (SH99) project.
The Galveston County Commissioners Court passed a resolution in support of this project in July and both County Judge Mark Henry and County Commissioner Ken Clark traveled to Austin during the public comment period to provide testimony to TxDOT officials.
Commissioner Clark also spoke at the meeting August 29 before the final vote was taken.
The State of Texas was contemplating the removal of several unbuilt segments of the Grand Parkway in areas that affect Friendswood and the Alvin-Manvel area.
On August 6, TxDOT held a hearing in Austin on the topic. Many of both Galveston and Brazoria County residents attended and spoke to TxDOT against the removal.
“I’m happy to report that TxDOT voted on the final UTP and the sections near Friendswood were included,” Friendswood Mayor Mike Foreman said to his community. “Once these sections are completed, and that will take many years, they will not only make a positive difference for a large number of daily commuters, but be available as a vital storm evacuation route. I’m grateful to everyone who let TxDOT know their opinion on this matter. It made a difference.”
Galveston County Judge Mark Henry spoke at the TxDOT public hearing August 6 regarding Sections B and C of the Grand Parkway needing to be completed as planned.
“Construction of these segments will create a critical hurricane evacuation route for our county, provide an additional corridor to improve mobility in the region, reduce daily traffic congestion, and increase economic development and growth in the region,” Henry said. “Thank you to the big group of supporters from Galveston County who made the trip to Austin to provide input on this project.”
Texas Representative Ed Thompson attended the meeting along with a delegation from Brazoria County to hear the vote.
“This is a big win for House District 29 and the surrounding areas,” Thompson said.
The Alvin-Manvel Area Chamber of Commerce sent its members the good news about the TxDOT vote and thanked its members for speaking against the removal. They remarked that it was noted that this topic received the most input to TxDOT officials.
County officials will continue to work with TxDOT to bring this project to completion.
“I’m grateful to everyone who let TxDOT know their opinion on this matter. It made a difference,” Foreman said.