Blacklands Corridor
2:40 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Bumped off rail line, Public Werks still pursuing toll road

The chances for a toll road being built along the old railroad right-of-way between Greenville and Lavon seem very slim, now that the North Central Texas Council of Governments' Transportation Division has said the corridor doesn't look like a good place for a road of any sort.

But, Dallas-based Public Werks, Inc., the firm that first proposed the "Blacklands Turnpike," hasn't given up the idea of a toll road connecting Greenville with the suburbs of Dallas.

In a recent interview with the Dallas Morning News, Public Werks president John N. Crew said his company still hopes to be involved with a toll road in the area.

"We still feel there is a need," Crew told the Dallas Morning News. "I think the growth the [North Central Texas Council of Governments] is trying to assess will show that. We are still very encouraged."

In the same report, Tom Shelton, a senior program manager with the North Central Texas Council of Governments, was quoted as saying he does see a need for another route from Greenville to the northeastern suburbs of Dallas.

"The idea is to connect Garland to Greenville, and there are some people coming down [from Greenville] in the morning for jobs in the metro area," Shelton told the Dallas Morning News. "There does appear to be some need to travel from one end to the other."

When clear, Interstate 30 offers a 45-minute commute from Greenville into central Dallas, with Garland and Mesquite accessible in a half hour. But that's only when I-30 is clear. Congestion occurs regularly.

To the north, Greenville commuters can reach the super-suburbs of Allen and Frisco by way of McKinney from U.S. Hwy. 380.

But between I-30 and Hwy. 380, there's no large road. Travel from Greenville to the Murphy-Wylie-Sachse area and Plano involves taking small state roads to Lavon, the eastern gatekeeper of the little strip of land between Lake Lavon and Lake Ray Hubbard.

That isthmus is the problem in the planning puzzle. It's the only land in a watery barrier that stretches from Farmersville to Sunnyvale. 

Many in Lavon and Wylie already feel there's enough traffic in the local area without a new highway dumping commuters from Greenville and points east onto Texas Hwy. 78. At a 2013 public meeting in Lavon hosted by the North Central Texas Council of Governments, locals were overwhelmingly opposed to a new road from Greenville, toll or otherwise.

Texas Hwy. 78 is near the end of a two-year construction project to expand it to a six-lane, divided thoroughfare from Spring Creek Parkway in Wylie to State Hwy. 205 in Lavon. The Texas Department of Transportation plans to continue the expansion of six-lane traffic to the intersection of Hwy. 78 and FM 6, just west of Nevada.

The Council of Governments will host a telephone town hall meeting on the topic on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. Particpants must register numbers in advance at www.nctcog.org/townhall or by calling 817‐608‐2335 before Feb. 19 at 6 pm. The Council of Governments will then call all registered phone numbers on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. Following the telephone town hall, an audio recording will be posted at www.nctcog.org/blacklands.

The next Council of Governments public meeting on the topic will be March 20 in Greenville.