The SH 249 Extension project signified rapid regional growth and opportunities for the citizens of Grimes and Montgomery Counties. The Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) assessment indicated there were inefficient connections between suburban communities and major/minor radial and circumferential arterials. The projected population and employment growth in the area would likely increase demand on the current transportation infrastructure. In addition, there were growing safety concerns regarding the impacts of increased congestion and emergency evacuation (especially related to hurricane season).
TxDOT’s goals for this extension project included the delivery of critical infrastructure necessary for safety improvements, congestion relief and regional economic development. TxDOT contracted WBCCI, LLC to design and construct this 24-mile new location with supporting infrastructure from FM 1774 in Pinehurst to SH 105 near Navasota. Segment 1 is a 14-mile, 4-lane divided tollway and Segment 2 is a rural, 10-mile Super 2 non-tolled highway.
Collaboration Key to Overcoming Project Challenges
This was a complex project with a variety of challenges, including environmental concerns, traffic disruptions and the need to coordinate with multiple stakeholders, including numerous utilities across the roadway and beneath bridges.
The project team developed multiple design alternatives in an effort to reduce the wetland footprint. Close partnership with TxDOT and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) resulted in a scope change that allowed the team to use an existing nationwide permitting structure, which saved the Owner and developer more than a year of permitting time. The design lengthened bridges and reduced footprint within navigable streams and wetlands.
The developer designed drainage to store flood waters on-site in a series of linear and off right-of-way ponds that worked to reduce the throughput flow volume and velocity of the 24-mile new location project. The complex and interconnected drainage design aided in reducing downstream flooding. The level of partnership in drainage design, modeling and calibration benefits the entire region.
The team also constructed unique piling trestle pile bridges instead of drill shaft supports to minimize impacts and performed special grading and seedings.
|Client/Owner:||Texas Department of Transportation|
|Design-Build Firm:||WBCCI, LLC|
|Engineer:||Parsons Transportation Group, Inc.|
|Specialty Contractors:||Raba-Kistner Infrastructure, Inc.|
|Owner Advisor:||BGE, Inc.|
|Project Cost:||$607.5 Million|
|Construction Duration:||60 Months|