Two Direct Connector Lanes Open at 59 and Sam Houston Tollway Interchange

The Texas Department of Transportation opened two new fly over lanes in northeast Harris County today. As Wendy Siegle reports — the direct ramps connect north and southbound US 59 to the newly constructed section of Beltway 8 East.
The new ramps mean cars traveling northbound on the Eastex freeway can coast directly onto the Sam Houston Tollway and continue east, without having to get off and wait at a stop light. They were supposed to be finished in time to open with the last section of the Tollway, which was completed three weeks ago, but construction took slightly longer than anticipated. Congressman Gene Green spoke at the ribbon cutting.

“This connector will make it so much easier for folks to get home. They won’t have to sit in traffic. And I can tell you, on a Friday evening or any night of the week it’s so stacked up going to the east here. But now with both the toll road and the direct connectors, people will be able to get home quicker. They won’t use as much of that expensive gas. And it will also help this part of the county.”

TxDOT is putting the final touches on two more connectors at the interchange, which will link drivers on 59 directly with the Beltway in the opposite direction. TxDOT says they’ll open next weekend. The project cost nearly $30 million dollars. It was funded entirely by federal stimulus grants. TxDOT engineer Delvin Dennis says without the federal money, the ramps wouldn’t have been built.

“This project was unfunded. There was no money for it. We had no design for it. There wasn’t a reason to design it if we didn’t have the money. So everything came together with Congressional Act, appropriating the stimulus dollars. And then we designed it; it was funded; we built it.”

Dennis says using the direct connectors could shave 15 minutes off your commute.

Delvin Dennis, Texas Congressman Dan Huberty, US Congressman Ted Poe, US Congressman Gene Green, US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
 
From the left: Delvin Dennis, Texas Congressman Dan Huberty, US Congressman Ted Poe, US Congressman Gene Green, US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee