Grand Parkway opens to motorists

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The Grand Parkway is now almost half completed.

"All together, we'll have 70 miles, from 59 South to 59 North, open today, that you can drive without going through a stoplight," says David Gornet, Executive Director of the Grand Parkway Association.

There were some special guests participating in Tuesday afternoon ribbon cutting and balloon launch.

"Bob would be thrilled. This is magnificent," Elyse Lanier told Fox26. She's the former First Lady of Houston, the widow of the the late Mayor Bob Lanier. Mrs. Lanier says the Grand Parkway was his vision, but he did not lay the ground work all by himself.

"Bob worked with Jon Lindsay [former Harris County Judge] on every project, every toll road, along with Billy Burge [former Chairman of Harris County Metropolitan Transit Authority]," Mrs. Lanier said. "These are great men who all worked together and made this happen."

Jon Lindsay was also on hand for the event.

"It's just one more step in improving our transportation problems," Lindsay says. "We never solve them, but we improve on them."

Current Harris County Judge Ed Emmett credits Lindsay for great advance planning. Emmett says the Harris County Toll Road System, which includes the Beltway, the Hardy Toll Road, and the Westpark Toll Road, have greatly improved Houston's mobility.

"It was really well designed so that the revenue from one could build the other," Emmett explains. "That way, the property tax payers wouldn't be responsible for building all those roads."

According to Commissioner Cagle, the cost to travel each segment of the Grand Parkway is expected to be about $1.50, but the masterminds of the plan, and the current leaders of the day, all feel commuters will happily spend the money, to save time on the road.