July 3, 1999
New Access Ramps on Sam Houston Tollway Open July 3, 1999
Through the joint efforts of the Harris County Toll Road Authority and the Westchase Business District, new entrance and exit ramps along the Sam Houston Tollway between Briar Forest and Westheimer opened to traffic on July 3, 1999.
"This is an area where development and traffic volume continue to grow at a rapid pace. With the addition of these new ramps, we hope to see some relief in congestion and easier assess for our patrons," said the Toll Road Authority's former Executive Director Wesley E. Freise, P.E. "We are especially appreciative of the Westchase business District's efforts in facilitating this project," he added.
Westchase approached the Toll Road Authority with the offer to hire HNTB for a preliminary analysis of the project. As a result of that analysis, a three-phase plan was developed. The first phase was to acquire state right of way from adjacent property owners in order to add additional lanes on the service road, which was accomplished with Westchase's assistance. Phase two was construction of the new ramps, which are better positioned to allow easier access on to and off of the Sam Houston Tollway. Phase three will include a grade separated interchange at the Tollway and Westheimer to further reduce congestion at that intersection.
At the official ribbon cutting ceremony, Westchase Chairman of the Board Mark Taylor of BMC and General Manager Jim Murphy, drove the first vehicle through the southbound entrance, paying their toll to HCTRA's former Executive Director, Wesley Freise. "We are very pleased to have played a part in this project," Taylor said, "and feel confident that these new ramps will improve mobility in the are."
The new Briar Forest ramps opened to traffic on Saturday, July 3, 1999.