Houston freeway funding OK'd

| 1/31/2003

The Texas Transportation Commission approved a funding deal Jan. 30 to put a toll road along the congested Katy Freeway, the Houston Chronicle reported. Officials expect to start work later this year.

The pact, approved Thursday, will pay for a big bulkof the $1 billion project through a partnership with the Harris County Toll Road Authority.

County and federal officials are expected to sign off on the deal in the next few weeks.

The state's plan includes two toll lanes in each direction from the West Loop to Texas 6, four through lanes and three frontage lanes, totaling 18 through lanes plus the entrances and exits, the newspaper reported. The stretch now has 10 lanes, as well as a high-occupancy vehicle lane down the middle.

The inclusion of toll lanes into the expansion is intended to speed up the widening project by plugging any gaps in federal highway funding that might cause delays. That, local and state officials have said, will trim construction time from 10 to six years.