The final segment of the Park Row thoroughfare has opened in the Energy Corridor, making the four-lane road now drivable from Dairy Ashford Road at Interstate 10 to the city of Katy.
The final segment, which has been called Park Row’s “missing mile,” runs from the Addicks Park and Ride to North Eldridge Parkway. Its completion is the last piece in the roughly 10-mile Park Row, giving commuters and workers an alternate route from I-10 in an area dominated by Houston energy companies.
“It’s important not only for daily commuting for people getting back and forth between home and the area, but it’s also for emergencies,” said Carolyn Wolff Dorros, executive vice president at Wolff Companies, the developer of Park Row. “For example, when we experience (severe weather), for people to be able to use another route is crucial.”
The road is a private-public project mainly between the Energy Corridor District, city of Houston and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It has cost about $25 million.
Construction occurred in two phases beginning in 2013. The first phase took the road from the Addicks Park and Ride east to Central Park West Boulevard, while the second phase extended it to North Eldridge Parkway.
The project also included construction of two bridges over Langham Creek – property that is maintained by the federally-funded Corps of Engineers – as well as drainage improvements, street lighting and landscaping.
“This was a very complicated project, which required many different businesses, organizations and governmental entities to work together to ultimately increase economic activity and quality of life,” said David S. Wolff, chairman and president of Wolff Companies. “We are celebrating more than the completion of an important thoroughfare which has become one of the best business addresses in Houston. We are celebrating the collaborative spirit that built both this road and west Houston.”
The Energy Corridor is home to oil giants such as BP, ConocoPhillips and Shell Oil. It will also house a future MD Anderson Cancer Center facility.
Wolff companies developed the first segment of Park Row in the 1970s. Stakeholders believe its final segment would be crucial not just for the corridor’s workers, but everyone else as a parallel option to I-10.
Dorros said the project experienced delays mainly due to its second phase, which ran through a waterway connected to the Addicks Reservoir. The Corps of Engineers had to study the effects of the road to the waterway before construction could begin. The area was also affected by catastrophic flooding about a year ago.
Larry Johnson, president/CEO of Johnson Development Corp., said drainage should be a priority for the next several years.
Several area leaders representing entities such as the Grand Parkway Association met recently to discuss continued investment into west Houston, where they said good schools, brand-name corporations and affordable homes make the area attractive.
The road is part of a larger effort by the Energy Corridor to improve transportation to one of Houston’s busiest places. The district has improved sidewalks and roads, and there are plans for busses to transport some of the energy employees, Dorros said. “It’s a wonderful luxury and a long-term project for an area that continues to develop,” she said. “We anticipate that growth will continue on Park Row, and this (road) is crucial for that.”
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