SH 242 DC

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The IH-45/SH 242 interchange is one of the busiest intersections in the County. This interchange experiences heavy congestion during both the morning and evening drivetime. It is not unusual for the northbound mainlanes to experience a backup of over two miles caused by the exiting traffic at SH 242. When projects for the Montgomery County Finance Program were selected, this project ranked high on the list. The initial reaction to the congestion was to widen the interchange. Upon further study, it was determined that the interchange had sufficient space for the through traffic. What was causing the backup was the left turn movement in both directions. The solution was to add a pair of electronically tolled Direct Connectors to allow motorist to jump ahead of the line, pay a toll and take the Direct Connector either from westbound SH 242 to southbound IH-45 or from northbound SH IH-45 to westbound SH 242. There will always remain in place a free alternative for those not wanting to pay the toll. Although this project is a part of the Pass-Through Finance Program, only 50% of the funding will be repaid through Pass-Through Tolls. The remainder of the funding will come from actual toll revenue.

While Montgomery County has had the authority to set up a toll authority since the Harris County Toll Road Authority was created, the County never had the need. The development of the SH 242 Direct Connectors created the need for Montgomery County to setup an entity to manage this toll project. On August 24, 2006, Montgomery County created the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority (MCTRA). Set up to the handle IH-45/SH 242 Direct Connector project, MCTRA will handle all future toll projects developed in Montgomery County. MCTRA is another example of the Commissioners Court planning for tomorrow today.

The construction contract was awarded to Williams Brothers Construction Company, Inc. in March 2013. Construction is scheduled to begin in April 2013. The project will be operational in 2014.

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