Calling For Construction

State Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton, addresses the Texas Department of Transportation during a hearing on its 10 year construction plan. One must, he said, was the Grand Parkway through Fort Bend County linking Hwy. 99 to Hwy. 288.

A highway extension plan in Fort Bend County that will assist Wharton County residents heads eastward.

It’s part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s 2020 Unified Transportation Program, one that was in danger of being dropped last month.

State Rep. Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton) testified before state planners Aug. 29 in an effort to ensure the project’s inclusion in the 10-year plan.

The issue, he said, is the state’s overall economy.

“Texas is the greatest economic engine in the Union. This project is a must if the southern region of the Greater Houston area is to accommodate its growth,” Stephenson said.

The Grand Parkway Project includes a segment extending Hwy. 99 south of I-69 (Crabb River Road) to Hwy. 288.

The Fort Bend portion falls nearly entirely within House District 85, Stephenson’s district.

The representative also cited safety as a reason for continuing the route.

“I have lived in Wharton County for a long time, and I have seen the consequences of folks trying to escape a natural disaster who don’t have adequate evacuation routes,”

Nearly a hundred were on hand to testify that day, prompting the representative cut his testimony short.

“You promised it, let’s finish it!” Stephenson said.

TxDoT agreed.

Once complete, the Grand Parkway Project will provide both the Port of Houston and the Port of Freeport a direct route to both I-69 and I-10.

“I want to thank all the elected officials, economic development councils and concerned citizens for the work they have done to keep this project alive and going forward. We need to move on this ASAP. In a few years it could cost double what it’s going to cost now,” Stephenson said.

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