GRIMES COUNTY, Texas A plan for a new and quicker route from Navasota to the Sam Houston Toll Road in Houston is looking more like a done deal.
The 'Aggie Highway' as it's coming to be known could cut drive times back and forth significantly, if you're willing to pay the price.
The proposed extension of Highway 249 got the 'green light' from the Texas Transportation Commission and now it's just a matter of how to fund it.
Feeding hay to the horses is a frequent part of life for Robin Welch of Grimes County.
She lives about a mile away from what could soon be the Aggie Highway, a high speed highway connecting Navasota to Houston.
She's part of the the Stop Grimes 249 Group opposing the plan which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars with no final figure yet.
"The amount of funding that's required when you look at what it will address, we don't think that the road is a benefit to anyone and the funds could be utilized in a much better way throughout the state, being a taxpayer," said Welch.
Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp says it's an idea that's been talked about for decades.
He says it will be great for travelers to and from Aggieland with the drive from College Station to Intercontinental Airport only taking an hour.
"One of the things that does, obviously it conveniences students, it'll be convenient to our folks that travel. But it's also convenient to researchers and people that come in here and partner with A&M," said Sharp.
Nelson Garcia of College Station says it's something he'd drive on for work.
"I think that would definitely cut down on our traffic time. You know it usually takes an hour and a half, two hours sometimes depending on traffic," said Garcia.
For Robin Welch the concerns continue that what could be toll road here will hurt their way of life .
"It's not just about our way of life but it's about how it impacts everyone who utilizes these roads. It isn't a solution. It's merely moving traffic from one place to another at the cost of taxpayers," said Welch.
In the meantime TxDOT is still looking at finding money to bring the highway here and if it will be a toll road or not.
It's still not known how much the project will cost.
The state has allocated $300 million for the project.
Construction isn't expected to begin for at least another two years and the final route has not been determined.
The Stop Grimes 249 Group will have a meeting for the public to attend on September 16th at 7 P.M. at the Plantersville Fire Department.
*Texas A&M System Press Release*
John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, today announced that the Texas Transportation Commission has approved part of the Unified Transportation Plan for 2014 that will enable work to begin on Highway 249 extensions from Houston to Navasota. The highway will reduce the travel time from College Station to Houston Intercontinental Airport to just over one hour. Once complete, the freeway will provide the nation’s highest concentration of Texas A&M Former Students housed in Houston a quick route to their alma mater in College Station, prompting the project to be known as the Aggie Highway.
“I applaud the hard work of our governor, TxDOT, the Texas Transportation Commission and our legislative and community constituents who have worked for years to make this a reality. Transportation is no less important today than it ever has been in this state and this unique solution to better managing traffic is a great example of the “can do” spirit of this state,” said Sharp.
The Aggie Highway is a freeway that would connect the suburbs of Houston to Highway 6 in Navasota. It would specifically extend State Highway 249 in Harris County and connect it to Highway 6 in Grimes County. The TTC authorized $293 million for project development and construction, bringing the total commitment from the state to over $300 million.
TxDOT began conducting working group meetings on this project in March 2013 and will continue public outreach activities through the fall.