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Grand Parkway in West Houston

11 July . 2019

Relocating to Houston 101: What is the Grand Parkway?

They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and that’s definitely true with the Grand Parkway, the third highway loop around Houston. Also known as SH 99, the Grand Parkway is more than 180 miles in length, making the longest highway loop in the United States.

Most of the Grand Parkway is a toll road, with no cash accepted, so users must have an electronic tag, or EZ Tag, from the Harris County Toll Road Authority. 

The Grand Parkway was envisioned in the 1960s, and the first segment, between I-10 West and U.S. 59/69 South, opened in 1994. Today, the Grand Parkway is nearing completion, with the remaining segments on the region’s northeast side (from U.S. 59/69 in the north to SH 146 in Baytown to the south) currently under development.

Elyson is located along Segment E of the Grand Parkway, a 15-mile section that connects I-10 West to U.S. Highway 290 West. West of downtown, I-10 West is most commonly referred to as the Katy Freeway. U.S. Highway 290 West is also known as the Northwest Freeway, but most often it’s simply called 290.

The Grand Parkway makes it possible for residents and workers to travel directly between some of Houston’s fastest-growing areas on a scenic express highway, without having to drive out of their way or use routes filled with stoplights.

For example, if you live in Katy, you can take the Grand Parkway south to Fort Bend County, home to major employers such as Fluor, Schlumberger, Minute Maid and Texas Instruments.

Driving north on the Grand Parkway from Katy will take you to U.S. 290 West and the Cypress area. Continue north, and you’ll reach ExxonMobil’s vast Houston campus and The Woodlands.

Elyson’s location on the Grand Parkway is roughly equidistant between the Katy Freeway and the Northwest Freeway, offering residents equally convenient access to the Katy and Cypress areas. Some residents have found that Elyson’s location is ideal for split commutes, where family members must commute in opposite directions.

As Houston’s newest highway loop, the Grand Parkway corridor is home to thriving residential and mixed-use communities like Elyson and its sister community, Cinco Ranch, now completed. The Grand Parkway also boasts some of the region’s premier destinations for dining, entertainment and shopping, including LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch and Houston Premium Outlets.

By the way – what are the first two highway loops around Houston?

The first is I-610, commonly referred to as 610 or just “The Loop.” Started in the 1950s, this 38-mile loop is roughly one-fifth the size of the Grand Parkway. The Loop is commonly accepted as the dividing line between Houston’s inner city (“inside the Loop”) and its outer parts. Not-so-fun fact: The Loop between I-10 and U.S. 59 is consistently ranked as the busiest and most congested freeway in Texas. It is not a toll road.

Beltway 8, a.k.a the Sam Houston Tollway, is the middle loop around the Houston area. Construction of the 88-mile loop began in the early 1980s. It is commonly referred to as “the Beltway,” and the vast majority of it is a toll road.

Learn more about Elyson’s great west-by-northwest location and how it fits with the more than 4,000 lane miles of freeways and expressways in the Houston metro area.