Hardy Downtown Connector Project
Hardy Toll Road Downtown Connector project, which extends the
Hardy Toll Road from its current terminus at 610 North Loop to
downtown Houston, consists of four toll lanes (two in each direction)
for a distance of 3.6 miles. This project will link the Hardy
Toll Road directly into downtown Houston and should help alleviate
congestion on the North Loop, North Freeway and U.S. 59. It will
complete a vital traffic artery that first opened two decades
ago. When finished, a visitor leaving George Bush Intercontinental
Airport can enter the Hardy Toll Road and drive all the way to
downtown Houston without stopping.
Hardy Downtown Connector project has a total estimated
cost of $400 million paid for entirely by toll revenue.
No tax dollars are being used. The road will be adjacent
to one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and will
play a large role in alleviating traffic congestion in
this neighborhood because several at-grade railroad crossings
will be removed. The new grade-separated crossings will
eliminate time lost waiting for trains and will improve
safety for commuters and pedestrians alike. Designers
have also included extensive landscaping details into
the plan using native trees, shrubs and grasses wherever
The current engineering designs call for reconstruction
of Collingsworth Street where it meets the railroad tracks
and rebuilding Quitman and Lorraine streets where they
meet the toll road and the railroad tracks.
on image to enlarge.
The City of Houston
approved an ordinance in August 2009 authorizing Harris County
to design, construct and fund the reconstruction
of Lorraine Street in connection with the extension of the
Hardy Toll Road South.
The passage of this
ordinance was vital to moving the project ahead and a key component
of its grade separation agreements with the HB&T Railroad
Company. The railroad has agreed to rebuild their crossings at
all three streets, with the railroad going over Lorraine Street
and under Collingsworth and Quitman. Two additional agreements
with the City of Houston will be needed for Collingsworth and
Quitman Streets and are anticipated for fall 2009 and early
The Hardy Downtown
connector project includes features intended to ensure the toll
road does not negatively impact drainage in the area. About 45
acres have been purchased for use as storm water detention.
The first segment
of the original Hardy Toll Road opened for traffic in 1988. The
second portion opened a year later. The 21.6 mile road runs from
northern Harris County near the Montgomery County line to Loop
610 in north Houston. In 2000, the Hardy Airport Connector linked
the toll road directly to George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
The Hardy Toll Road provided a new and speedy thoroughfare
serving far northern Harris County, downtown Houston and the airport.
The toll road helped ease frequent traffic congestion on the North
Freeway, but southbound motorists still have to exit the toll road
at the North Loop. The extension of the toll road into downtown
will finally complete a project begun more than 20 years ago.
Final design of the Hardy Connector project is expected to be completed by fall 2010, with construction beginning in early 2011.
To view the progress
of these two projects and other HCTRA construction projects currently
underway or in the planning stage, visit https://www.hctra.org/about_construction/.