Houston gets kudos for Westpark toll roadFrom TOLLROADSnews:
2005.08.14 HOUSTON AREA
Westpark Tollway opens in Fort Bend Co TX
The Westpark Tollway extension in Fort Bend County on the western fringe of the Houston area opened Aug 10. The extension in Fort Bend County takes the Westpark Tollway from central Houston at US59 and the inner belt I-610 out 32km (20mi) to TX99, the Grand Parkway. The Westpark Tollway of 23km (14mi) was completed within Harris County in three stages, heading west, the first opening May 1 2004 to a bit beyond the Sam Houston Tollway, and another to Highway 6 on Oct 9 2004. The third opened to FM1464 at the Fort Bend/Harris county lines Jun 8 2005.
The road is a striking demonstration of how Texans lead the rest of the U.S. in skill and economy of roadbuilding and willingness to embrace cutting edge technology.
The new extension in Fort Bend Co has no cash toll collection. It is full highway speed open road transponder tolling, like the HCTRA part of the Westpark Tollway.
Economy: for $70m they built a motorway standard pike of 8.9km (5.5mi), 2x2 lanes mainline, 5 sets of slip lanes to frontage roads, 4 interchanges with bridges long enough for those frontage road U-turns, the pavement all out of foot thick (300mm) fully reinforced concrete, plus toll systems. Cost per lane-mile of mainline: $3.14m ($1.97m/lane-km). [Here in Maryland, sadly, we have spent something like $70m on studies, permitting, public outreach on our new tollroad, the Inter County Connector, and that is before detailed design has been done, let alone construction begun!]
Other technical details, as well as pictures and some paragraphs on the Ft. Bend Parkway, are at the link. Toll violations have also dropped from 16% to 2% on the road as people figured out the EZ-tag-only requirement.
My favorite picture caption:
"Houston is tidal swamp so serious roads have pavement built like bridge deck out of heavily reinforced concrete "
Nothing attracts new residents, developers, and growth like a good 'ole "tidal swamp", eh?
(headed to San Antonio - probably no more posts until next week)