A 15-mile stretch of toll road that has opened near the west side of Houston means a simpler route between Katy and Cypress.

The Texas Department of Transportation says Monday was the first day of weekday traffic for Segment E of the Grand Parkway, also known as State Highway 99. The new stretch of toll road can be driven for free through Jan. 31.

TxDOT spokesman Mark Cross says final work was completed Saturday and the roadway opened. TxDOT says the toll road provides a nonstop route between Interstate 10 and U.S. 290 and should help alleviate traffic congestion.