Changes to Hardy Toll Road will curb congestion

Some changes are coming to the Hardy Toll Road that could curb congestion.  Have you heard about it?  Let me bring you up to speed.

The Hardy Toll Road Grand Parkway project is a work in progress.  Once complete it's expected to offer residents who run into roadblocks during rush hour in this area, major relief.

“Currently there's a bit of a bottle neck between FM1960 and I-45.  Hopefully with the opening of Grand Parkway and the addition of another lane it will get commuters to and from home and work a bit faster,” explains Harris County Toll Road Authority Assistant Director of Maintenance and Traffic Quinton Alberto.

The upgrades are expected to be finished next summer.  Until then, there will be a few night time road closures including a shut down this weekend from Friday at 10:00 p.m. until Saturday afternoon.

“Hardy Southbound will be closed from I-45 all the way down to FM1960.  The entrance ramp from Northgate Crossing, the entrance ramp to Riley Fuzzle will also be closed,” says HCTRA Hardy Program Manager Matt Kainer.

Nine Hardy highway improvements are in the works and set to be complete late next year.  “Just like your house or anything else, about every thirty years you spend some investment to improve its durability,” adds Quinton.
“When all of the work is finished the Hardy Toll Road will be electronic tolling only.  We're removing the cash option, which means you'll need an EZ Tag.  By removing the toll booths it adds safety.  We get people out of the way of cars.  It also allows cars to continue to move through without having to stop and dig for change,” explains HCTRA Manager of Media Relations Mary Benton but once the Hardy and the Ship Channel Bridge are converted to cashless toll ways eighty-eight Harris County Toll Road Authority employees will need new job titles.

“No one is losing employment.  Toll Collectors are the backbone of this agency.  We are in the process of helping people transition.  Depending on their circumstances.  Some people may choose to retire, other people are going to be transferred to open positions within HCTRA.  One of the great things we’re also doing, we’re offering Career Counseling.  We’re also offering people an opportunity to improve their job skills,” adds Benton.

There will be a small EZ Tag increase of about a nickel beginning September 12, 2015.