SUGAR LAND, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fort Bend County was a historic crossroads during the early exploration and settlement of Texas, and its strategic location continues to deliver unmatched benefits to businesses and residents. Paths early Texas settlers trod are becoming the transnational Interstate 69 (I-69), which will link Canada with Mexico and Latin America through Texas, and bring even more opportunity to the region that leads the U.S. in job growth.
“Fort Bend County means business when it comes to enhancing transportation options,” said Jeff Wiley, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council (EDC). “As we continue to grow, mobility initiatives such as I-69 will remain a top priority. Fort Bend County and regional leaders will continue to work with state and federal authorities on ways to keep our County moving ahead of the curve.”
I-69, the first interstate of the 21st Century and a prime NAFTA corridor, generally follows the route of current U.S. Highway 59: it will enter Fort Bend County from the southwest near Kendleton and continue northeasterly until I-69 crosses into Harris County. Texas-branded I-69 shields already mark some sections of the new interstate in Fort Bend County, where the standards for interstate designation have been met, and more roadside shields are to come.
Construction for two segments of the new I-69 in Fort Bend County will go to bid: Spur 10 to FM 762 will be bid out and started in Q4 of this year; FM 762 to SH 99 will be awarded in Q1 of 2014. The segment of I-69 stretching from FM 762 to SH 99 (the Grand Parkway) will be eight lanes plus dedicated feeder roads, and FM 762 to Spur 10 will have six main lanes plus feeders.
“Our County prioritizes mobility projects, and it shows,” said Commissioner James Patterson, Fort Bend County, Precinct 4. “The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) has done great work expanding US 59 west of the Grand Parkway, with the result that this important stretch of highway was practically ‘interstate-ready.’ In addition to TXDoT, The Alliance for I-69 Texas, a coalition of cities, counties, port authorities and community leaders, and its member Mayors and County leaders, has been crucial to Fort Bend County being able to spur growth with I-69.”
In addition to the interstate access provided by I-69, Fort Bend’s regional connectivity is undergoing a similar transformation. Construction will be complete on the Segment D lanes of the Grand Parkway by the beginning of next year, allowing direct access from U.S. Highway 59 northbound to Interstate 10 (I-10). At its completion, the Grand Parkway will serve as Houston’s next “outer loop,” offering an enhanced transportation route for Fort Bend County’s growing communities, and making Houston the only metropolitan area in the nation to have three continuous loops.
“County leaders have demonstrated stellar leadership assisting the development of the Grand Parkway,” said Patterson. “Once construction is complete, you’ll be able to drive from US 59/I-69 in Fort Bend to US 59/I-69 in Montgomery County by 2015, without entering the inner-loop of Houston. For Fort Bend residents and businesses, that quick connection straight to airports and other regional communities and business centers is key.”
In addition to transportation innovation, Fort Bend County businesses are producing employment growth that is rated in the top ten nationally1, and the County is home to seven of the top twenty-four master planned communities in the nation2.
For more information on infrastructure enhancements in Fort Bend County, or general information about moving your business to Fort Bend, visit www.FortBendCounty.com or call 281-242-0000.
About Fort Bend County
Fort Bend County is located in the Houston metropolitan area of southeast Texas. Its population is among the fastest growing in the United States and has been recognized as being among the most educated and diverse counties in the nation. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Fort Bend County has more than 585,000 residents and ranks 1st for growth out of the ten largest counties in Texas. Fort Bend’s vibrant economy has also received national recognition: the County is among the top 10 for employment growth out of the largest counties in the U.S., according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. For more information about Fort Bend County, including a complete list of recognitions, visit us at www.FortBendCounty.com. Join Fort Bend County on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
About Interstate 69
Once nicknamed the NAFTA Superhighway (North American Free Trade Agreement), the I-69 route encompassing Fort Bend County was selected by the US Department of Transportation as one of six Corridors of the Future. In 2012, I-69 was prioritized in the passage of national legislation called The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), a funding and authorization bill to govern United States federal surface transportation spending. Given the importance of upgraded interstate corridors such as I-69 to carry manufactured goods and products, MAP-21 can facilitate program consolidation to provide Texas with greater state-level flexibility, approve continuation of innovative financing authority, and develop the National Freight Plan to direct federal investment throughout the United States including Texas and Fort Bend County. While some federal funding is available for the Texas-to-Michigan superhighway, local support is key to completing the various segments, and Fort Bend is leading the way. On May 30, 2013, the Texas Transportation Commission gave final approval to designation of an additional 116 miles of freeway in South Texas and Northeast Texas as part of the Interstate 69 system. The Federal Highway Administration approved the four highway sections, as well. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration online at www.fhwa.dot.gov/.
1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013
2 Robert Charles Lesser & Co., 2013