(Above photo: The Grand Parkway interchange at Interstate 10, facing east along I-10, April 2016.)
The Grand Parkway E-segment created a direct link between the towns of Katy and Cypress between Interstate 10 and US Highway 290. Prior to the opening of this segment, the simplest route between the two points was to travel all the way into Beltway 8, or use Highway 6, which could prove to be quite a time consuming task in the peak traffic hours. After the completion of the D-segment in 1994, the Grand Parkway project was put on hiatus until the end of 2011.
By early 2012, the first signs of construction on the new E-segment began to appear at various points crossing the new SH-99 alignment. Due to the large scale of the construction project, I simply selected a few key intersections from which to monitor the progress of the new freeway. I began with the interchange stack at I-10, and also included several more intersections, including Franz, Morton Ranch Rd., Longenbaugh, Stockdick School Rd., FM 529, House & Hahl, and finally the new interchange stack at US 290. In August of 2013 I managed to get my first aerial photographs of the construction progress.
Update***: In late December 2013, the new segment of Grand Parkway was finally opened to the public. I got my first trial of the road on the night of December 21st. I must say, it was quite a satisfying feeling. To finally be allowed to use the road I had spent two years closely watching come to life. I imagine it must be the same feeling a home brewer gets when a long awaited batch of beer is finally ready for consumption, and it turns out perfect.
It seemed like such a short time had elapsed from the day I accidentally stumbled upon the first signs of construction resuming on the northern dead end of the freeway, and the day I got to drive the newly completed road. The scale of the task seemed enourmous, and I wondered how long it would be until I was looking at a finished project. I spent countless off-days and weekends out on location photographing the progress from various intersections, making it my obsession for a good bit of time. Even with the road freshly opened, it is not exactly finished. Many of the exits are still closed, and many portions of the road remain in darkness at night. The street lamps are only in patches along the 14 mile stretch of the E-segment. Coming up on the big interchange with 290 was a bit eerie, like being in the future. Two years ago, I would have been looking at a pitch black pasture. Now I was on a completely new freeway, and it felt like a part of me, because I had watched it grow from a few red flags stuck in the grass to a fully functional concrete freeway. Enjoy the photos of the construction! -John W, January 2014.
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: I-10 & SH-99 exit ramp construction.
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: New realigned portion of Stockdick School Rd. facing north near FM 529. The northern tip of the road was repositioned slightly west of the original intersection with FM 529, because the original road was apparently too close to the new frontage road right of way. This process is how most of the abandoned road segments in Houston were created. In time, this closed off segment of road will deteriorate, or be sodded over.
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: Facing north on House & Hahl Rd. at the site of a realignment. The new direction of House & Hahl cuts west through what used to be a field, and passes beneath Grand Parkway at a completely new intersection. An old segment of the road became a dead end as a result of this improvement.